48 Hours in Beijing

16 Oct

The Princess of China returns…

..And this time, I travelled over as a passenger! There was a super last minute aircraft change meaning I was randomly selected from the crew to position over to Beijing in order to make up the crew numbers to bring a larger aircraft home. It’s not so bad sitting in First Class for the 9 hour journey East! The hardest part is remembering to pack every little part of your uniform and selecting the perfect staff travel outfit, (trolley dolly probs).

First thing is first: download a good VPN in order to access your basic social media apps, including WhatsApp & Instagram. I use VPNmaster which doesn’t make you sign up or threaten you with subscription, so I would definitely recommend. Also remember to book any tours with reception on arrival at the hotel to secure your transport for the clear day.

Day 1

Now, back to the fun parts. Having experienced a flat bed for the night, you’d imagine I was fresh and ready to explore on landing day. However we land early morning, which, when coupled with the horrendous 8 hour time change, completely wipes you out. I often choose to nap for a few hours before meeting the rest of the crew for dinner and drinks, however this is also the perfect time to visit the famous Chinese markets for those needed knock offs. When prescription glasses are £20, you can’t really say no to a shopping trip. My personal favourite is Pearl Market, but tenders can be pushy and aggressive, so it’s so important to be in a group, watch your belongings and have your wits about you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner time is not something I look forward to in the Far East. Sadly my genetics don’t make eating Chinese Cuisine easy, so a decent translator app was very necessary. There’s only so many times you can act out Anaphylaxis in charade form. Keeping it safe, (and western), there’s a Macdonalds, KFC, Starbucks and a few pizza options within 10 minutes of our hotel, but I hate to feel like I’m missing out on the local yummy cuisine! I’d loooove to tell you the name of the restaurant we went to, but I have no idea how to write the symbols. Basically, head out of our hotel, cross the road in front of you, and walk straight until you see a pretty red building on your left hand side with something about ‘spicy rolls’ in the window. The chef comes to your table to carve your Peking duck and it’s super yum.

 

Day 2

After an early night, there’s only one thing for it. The Great Wall of China. Unfortunately for us, on this trip we arrived in Beijing on one of the busiest days as it was a National Holiday. However this also meant that the air was 100 times easier to breath as a lot of the factory and building work had stopped for the duration of our trip. A huge group of 10 of us were all still keen to brave the crowds to see The Great Wall. Usually, our hired minibus takes us to the Mutianyu portion of the Wall. It has the chairlift going up and a toboggan sliding down.

Mutianyu toboggan

Mutianyu toboggan

Mutianyu portion

Mutianyu portion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is definitely one of the highlights of the wall! Sliding down one of the Wonders of the World at full speed is such an adrenaline rush! However, a fantastic and less touristy alternative is Gubei Water Town; only an extra 30 mins on top of the usual journey to Mutianyu. We were all massively surprised by how beautiful the town was, how empty the Wall was, and the lack of foreign tourists.

 

Gubei Water Town

A more polluted day on the Wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A portion of the town is free to walk to, but the most quaint & beautiful part is within the ticket barrier area. Entry including the gondola ride to the Wall is around £25. Whilst the area is pretty much a recreation of an old Chinese village, it really is a relaxing wander on a breathtakingly ornate path to the Wall, particularly in Autumn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wall itself is an absolute must see. Trying to picture its construction is unfathomable, and the views on a particularly clear day as ours was, are something you could never imagine. Get there early to avoid the groups & the midday sun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a fascinating day, there’s nothing better than a snooze on the bus back to the hotel & a cheeky Pizza Hut before bed and pick up early the next morning.

Thanks for a wicked weekend Beijing!

 

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