A Family Trip to Bejiing 

Written by Mar 23, 2012 03:58
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Two years ago, I spent almost a week traveling in Beijing. I visited almost all renowned tourist attractions of Beijing. Two years later, I came to Beijing again. This time, I traveled with my parents and little sister.

In fact, my sister and I planned this trip one month ago. My parents did their best to bring us up. They never had a chance to travel outside before. At present, my sister and I are adults. It’s time for us to repay them. Thus, my sister and I planned to bring them to travel in Beijing and Tianjin.

My sister worked out a Tianjin travel route and I arranged our Beijing Trip. I ordered train tickets and hotel 12 days in advance.

March 7

My parents and I boarded the train at Xian Railway Station at 19: 35. The train left 31 minutes later. To be frank, it was my parents’ first long rail trip. They were a bit nervous on the train and didn’t sleep well.

March 8
Our train reached Beijing West Railway Station on time. We walked out of the railway station at 07:25. It was too early. So we decided to get to our hotel first. We took No.301 to the Qianmen. My parents didn’t come to Beijing before. They kept asking me some ‘naive’ questions. As their son, I did my best to answer their questions. At this moment, they looked like two pupils who were curious about everything.

The transportation was too bad. All cars and buses moved very slowly on the road. OMG! I just remembered that two important sessions were held in the Great Hall of the People. We were heading for the Qianmen located very close to the Great Hall of the People. No wonder so many traffic polices appeared on the road, directing traffic.

Anyway, we arrived at Qianmen Bus Station at 07:52. The wind was too strong. There were few people at the avenue of Qianmen. We walked very fast toward our hotel. 10 minutes later, we got there and checked in successfully. It was 08:43 when we put our luggage in our room.

Time to have breakfast. The breakfast in the hotel costs CNY 15 per person. Three of us had porridge, steamed buns and some fruits. We finished our breakfast in 25 minutes. My mom complained that it was too expensive. I just smiled and said “you are right”. Then we went back to our room and sorted out our luggage.

Fifteen minutes later, we headed for our first destination, that is, Tiananmen Square. We intended to get there on foot. 5 minutes later, we got there but were told that Tiananmen Square was closed due to the ‘two sessions’. What a mess! I was worried about this and searched on the internet many times on the internet before setting off. No one said that Tiananmen Square would be closed.

Because of this accident, my parents failed to visit Mao Zedong Memorial Hall and Monument to the People’s Heroes at the square. Fine! We have no choice but head for the next destination, the Forbidden City.

Since the Tiananmen Square was closed, we had to pass through two underground passages and then walk about 15 minutes to the entrance of the Forbidden City. The armed polices were everywhere. We went through four checking points to reach the Tiananmen Tower. The securities checked very carefully. They scanned our bodies and required us to open my bag. Luckily, we didn’t encounter any problem.

After we got to the Jinshui Bridge in front of the Tiananmen Tower, we found that there was a long queue too. The security officers examined everyone more carefully. The tourists had to enter the Forbidden City with their ID cards.

Ten minutes later, we successfully passed through the Tiananmen Tower. My parents and I bought the entrance tickets and entered the Forbidden City. We just wandered in the Forbidden City with the help of a small map. Sometimes, we joined a tour group and listened to the tour guide to tell the history of the buildings.

Tip: I do suggest you hire a tour guide or rent the wireless speaker when visiting the Forbidden City. Most of the tourists are not architects. They are interested in the history of the Forbidden City rather than the architectural styles of the buildings.

My parents and I spent about 1.5 hours in the Forbidden City and then went out of the Gate of Devine Might. We didn’t climb the Jingshan to have a panoramic view of the Forbidden City. After taking some photos in front of the Gate of Devine Might, we went to the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube by subway.

Tip: Take No.101 or 109 public bus at the bus station near the Gate of Devine Might and get off at Dongsi. There you can take subway line 5 to Huixinxijienankou, change subway line 10 to Beitucheng and take subway line 8 to Aotizhongxin and then get out at B1 or B2 Exit. Just walk a few hundred meters to the Bird’s Nest.

Personally, the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube are two main stadiums to hold the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It’s been four years after the 2008 Olympics. But there are many tourists who come here to visit the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube.

My parents and I didn’t enter the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube. We just walked around these two stadiums. By the way, the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch was moved to the north square in front of the Bird’s Nest.

Two hours later, we decided to get back to our hotel because my parents felt a bit tired. As a result, we took the reverse route to reach our hotel near the Qianmen Street at 16:40. Three of us took a nap and woke up at 18:20. It’s getting dark outside. We felt a bit hungry so that we came out to search for food on the Qianmen Street.

Strangely, my parents were not interested in the Peking Duck. Thus, I took them to taste a local snack called Chao Gan (Stewed Pig Liver). We came to Tian Xing Ju located at the Xianyukou Lane near the Qianmen Street. It started to sell Chao Gan in 1862.

Tip: Tian Xing Ju is famous for its Chao Gan. It tastes very well. Actually the steamed stuffed buns are very nice too.

I have to say that there are many other traditional Peking Style Restaurants located on the Xianyukou lane, such as Kao Rou Ji, Bian Yi Fang Roast Duck and Jin Gao Zhang.

We took a walk on the Qianmen Street after feeding ourselves. The night scene was beautiful. We planned to visit the Tiananmen Square. Unfortunately, it was still closed. The wind was too strong at night. Thus, we came back to our hotel.

March 9

My dad woke up very early this morning because he wanted to see the Flag - raising Ceremony in front of the Tiananmen Square. When I woke up, he was already came back. He told me that he got up at 05:40. On his way to the Tiananmen Square, he met many soldiers who were walking to their posts. When he arrived at the Tiananmen Square, there were just less than 20 people. All of them were tourists who joined a tour group.

The Flag-Raising Ceremony only lasted for 10 minutes. My dad said that he was impressed by those flagmen. It was very cold at that time. However, they just wore their thin uniforms. Unfortunately, I lost the chance to watch the Flag-Raising Ceremony. Next time, I would definitely see it. Needless to say, the Tiananmen Square was closed again after the flag-raising ceremony.

Today, our destination was the Badaling Great Wall. My sister gathered together with us at 08:20. She just came from her friend’s home. We finished our breakfast at the KFC near the Qianmen Street. Then we took subway line 2 to Jishuitan and walked to Deshengmen Bus Station to take long distance bus to Badaling Great Wall.

Tip: You will probably meet some people who stop travelers and ask them to take their bus to the Badaling Great Wall. I suggest you leave them immediately and head for the Deshengmen Bus Station. They charge you less money but won’t take you to the real Badaling Great Wall.

Please remember that you need to take No.877 Bus from Deshengmen to Badaling Great Wall. It costs CNY 12 per person. If you have Beijing Transportation Card, you just need to pay CNY 4.8.

We queued up for getting on the No.877 for 10 minutes and then got on the bus successfully. But it wasn’t a pleasant trip because we met a bad tour guide. She was very hospitable at first. During our 1 hour long trip, she introduced the Badaling Great Wall briefly and emphasized ‘things not to do” several times.

After that, she started to promote her souvenirs to the passengers on the bus. It was a certificate called Hao Han Shu. What was it used for? You must have heard about this sentence “He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man”. How to be a true man? Climbing the Great Wall was not ok. Better get a certificate to prove that you have conquered the Great Wall.

I was not interested in the certificate because I didn’t have to tell the world that “I am a true man” with a certificate. Some passengers were interested in it and asked her how to get it. She gave them a piece of a paper and told them that she would bring them to make their certificates.

It was 10 minutes before we arrived at the Badaling Great Wall. She started to speak again. This time, she told us where our bus would arrive, that is, the Front Hill Parking Lot. And she said that we had to take pulley to reach the fourth beacon of the Great Wall. Why? We couldn’t climb the wall on foot from the Front Hill. All of us believed her words.

When we arrived at the parking lot, we bought tickets including entrance ticket and pulley and then followed her instructions to take pulley to the forth beacon tower of the Badaling Great Wall. Standing on the wall, we saw the Front Hill parking lot. In fact, we could enter the gate near the parking lot to climb the Badaling Great Wall. Suddenly, I realized that we were fooled by her. We already bought a round trip pulley ticket. There was nothing we could do.

Tip: Do not believe all words said by the tour guides. Sometimes, you might be fooled and pay extra money for your trip.

I really regret that I didn’t do enough lessons for our Beijing Trip. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been fooled.

In fact, it was the second time that I had visited the Badaling Great Wall. I chose to bring my parents and sister to visit the Badaling Great Wall because transportation was very convenient.

Thanks to the damn pulley, we finished our Badaling Trip less than 2 hours. Then we got back to Deshengmen by bus and changed subway to Beijing South Railway Station. We arrived there at 15:50. It was three hours before our high speed train departed. We planned to take high speed train to Tanggu at 18:52 but we got there three hours in advance. Thus, we had to endorse our train ticket to take the high speed train that left at 16:52.

At last, we took the high speed train to Tianjin. Our Tianjin Trip started.

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Comments (1)


Oct 15, 2012 12:03 Reply

Mr.HO from Singapore said:

The first time i visit Beijing was in June 1997. Group tour by Singa China Travel Services. Tour guide only interested in bringing us to shop, shop and shop. Reach Badaling at 3.30pm chased everyone to the bus at 4pm. Horrible experience. I say to myself that is the last time i am going to visit Beijing. But in 2010 i decided to visit Beijing again and this time without using travel agent service. It was on the first week of April. Unfortunately Spring was 3 weeks late and end up going there at the tail end of Winter. Oh boy! believe me coming from a hot and humid country it was very cold at night, zero degree. Climbing the Great wall is a dangerous affair because of the slippery snow. We used the metro and taxis and i am surprised we never encounter traffic jam. Except for the cold weather and the couple of taxi drivers who deliberately drove us to the wrong entrance, overall we had a nice time there. I think at that time the bullet train to Tianjin is not ready yet. I am planning to visit Beijing again in 2013 maybe third week of May or mid-October. Will visit Tianjin and Xian too.

Oct 15, 2012 20:05
JIMMYB replied:

Mr. HO,

Sorry to hear your bad experience. If you plan to use a travel agent, better do a lot of researches about that travel agency. If someone complained it on the internet, just pass it and seek for others.

Actually, I am eager to see Great Wall in winter. Can't imagine how it looks in snow. But I won't go to Badaling anymore. Mutianyu or Jinshanling will be on my list.

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