Beijing– It is one of the largest city in China. It is known for it’s Peking duck, Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Temple of Heaven and indubitably the locals “yelling” at each other.
Shahrom and I did not spend a lot of time in Beijing as our main agenda was to go to Mongolia for our Honeymoon! Yes we got married!
Nevertheless Beijing is a memorable one. Given another opportunity we will surely re visit Beijing.
We started our journey from Singapore transited Hong Kong only to arrive in Beijing after traveling for more than 8 hours. Beijing airport is absolutely clean and beautiful. Everything is modern and it felt like we never left Singapore.
After the long flight we were tired and decided to take a taxi to the hotel. We thought taking taxi would saves us time however the journey from the airport to the hotel was longer than expected. We could not understand the taxi driver nor could he understand us. To us he was shouting like a mad man but actually that is how the people there speaks. So take no offence. 🙂
Tip: Pre book the hotel and request for the address in Chinese characters. This allows you to ask directions easily as well as easy for the taxi driver to read the directions.
Tip: Take the express train from the airport to the city center instead and make your way to your destination. It is very straight forward and convenient. Plus it’s super fast too!
Novotel Beijing Xinqiao
Book a hotel near a train station so it’s convenient to move about. As for us, we stayed in Novotel Beijing Xinqiao. There is an underground train station, Chongwenmen below the hotel that links to the airport! Along that line, you can visit Tiananmen Square. You can check out the city guide at this link.
Initially, the plan was to visit Tiananmen Square after we checked in but, due to crazy traffic we only reached at the hotel after sunset. Which gives us only enough time to wash up, get ready and grab our dinner before setting off early for the highlight of this trip that is the Trans-Mongolian Railway ride.
Tip: Learn basic mandarin or download “Weibo” app on your mobile for easy access to everywhere. The locals don’t speak much English neither do the service staff. It is really tough to communicate with them. Since Google and Facebook is banned in China, Weibo is the next best companion to have with you all the time. It has GPS tracker to direct wherever you want to go, to train line to even booking hotel.
We did not know what to eat so we just got the taxi driver to stop us at a nearby area which has lots of eateries. After 10 minutes of driving, he alighted us and it was merely one straight road down. We could have walked. Oh well.. While we were busy looking around to see what food entices our palate, so we found a restaurant that sells Xinjiang styled skewered meat. Since Shahrom is a massive meat lover we settled for it. Besides, I was too lazy to walk any further.
To our surprise, the meat (we ordered lamb) was superbly awesome. It was well-marinated with spices and cooked perfectly. We ordered other dishes like fried rice and prawn fritter but the lamb skewers was the best of them all!
Tip: The lamb have a heaty after feeling. Eat in moderation. Shahrom could not sleep that night from all the heatiness. You could say he was feeling hot on our honeymoon night. Hehe.
After filling up our belly, we took a stroll back to the hotel. It’s about 20 minutes walk but we took slightly longer because Shahrom was busy taking photos. Beijing at night was pretty happening. There’s the oldies exercising, people hanging out at the park, no one was rushing and couples sitting down chatting away. It was a calming ambience in comparison to the afternoon “adventure” we had in the taxi.
Moving along from our romantic stroll, we thought of taking a train back to the hotel. While I tried to dig up some loose Yuan (we spent all of our money on dinner), there wasn’t enough cash to take the train. Of course, the next in mind was to change money right? We took for granted the convenience of money changer in Singapore, as they are everywhere and opened till late but NOT in Beijing.
Tip: Always have sufficient cash. They only allow foreign exchange to be transacted in a bank.
Thankfully, our hotel is not too far away. We continued our walk home hand in hand…. 🙂 And Shahrom could not stop singing a song he heard many years ago. He does not understand the lyrics but the English one liner in the song sums it all up.
To be continued….in our Mongolia adventure.