After upwards of 20 hours of travel, I arrived in Beijing. I found the hostel and went for a bit of a walk around.
My first full day I wanted to go to the Forbidden City, having queued up (I use the word queue lightly) to get through security, the tickets for the day had sold out. Instead, I went to the Temple of Heaven, but it was so crowded I just wanted to nap. After an hour and a half there I went back to the hostel to catch up on my sleep, as travelling every day since I’d left Australia was something that I needed to recover from.
The following day I made it into the Forbidden City, with what seemed to 80,000 others at the same time. I used an audio guide as it was something that I wanted to take the time to enjoy, but couldn’t go ten minutes without being pushed or navigate my way through hundreds of people, and I ended up wanting to get it over and done with which was a shame. Ironically, there’s a temple there called the Temple of Earthly Tranquility – nothing about being there was tranquil.
During the evening, I went on a food tour with the company Untour with five others. The first stop was a Mongolian Hot Pot place, where the locals were surprised to see a group of foreign people. It was mainly vegetarian, though we had some mutton which was alright. We then moved onto a rice wine bar after where we had a paddle of six shots, including two of a regular batch, two rose flavour, peach and a flower native to China. I’d be concerned coming to Asia that my next good glass of wine would probably be in England, but the rice wine was really good. First world problem, I know.
After, we had some Biang Biang Noodles (Biang is supposedly the sound made when the noodles are hit on the work bench whilst they are being pulled, but it just sounds like a louder version of when you drop your phone on your head.) This was the best meal of the tour – noodles with pork, chilli, tomato, chilli oil and I think some sesame oil too.
After the noodles we were taken to eat a donkey burger – layered filo pastry with donkey meat inside, which actually tasted like beef, then we were taken for some Chinese chicken wings. I really enjoyed the tour and eating some food I wouldn’t otherwise have eaten.
To finish off my time in Beijing, I went to the Great Wall, which I posted about earlier in the week. Overall, I wasn’t a fan of Beijing – it was far too crowded for me, and I felt as though I’d rather spend my money later on during the trip than to spend it in Beijing and not enjoy it because of the crowds. With that said, it is an easy city to navigate and the Great Wall was definitely worthwhile.