Shanghai has been my final destination in China – the prior three cities I’ve visited because there were places that I’d wanted to visit, but I chose Shanghai as I just needed to fly out.

At the ripe old age of 24, what I was most excited coming here to do was to get my back sorted out. Getting here via a 14 hour train ride here obviously didn’t help me much, and I’ve been having pain for my whole stay here which I think/hope is just my back settling down. As a result, I’ve tried to rest – each day here I’ve tried to do something, but my back is my main priority.

My first full morning I spent in the Museum of Urban Planning. There’s a to-scale replica of the city, updated on a monthly basis. There’s also a photography exhibition in the building which was worth a visit too.


During the evening I went on a food tour which was pretty interesting. Our first stop served various kinds of pork belly, as well as a plate of noodles there having picked up some Chinese burgers prior. Everything tasted good, but I have eaten a lot of similar things before. Then we went to a seafood place and I was the first to volunteer to try some jellyfish – it tops the list of the worst things I’ve ever tried. There were a few more dishes, but I wasn’t really too fond of them.

Afterwards, we visited a Szechuan place where we had a selection of noodles, dumplings, some veggies and rabbits head, and then went off to go get some dumplings. Overall, I think my favourite stop would’ve been the dumpling place, though I was pretty full and trying to forget about the jellyfish.

Since that, I’ve not done a lot. Yesterday I went to a propaganda museum which displayed China’s political history from around World War II to the 1970s. I’m not very well informed about Chinese history, but a fair few things did start to make sense. Today, I went to the Yu Garden which was nice for a walk, but I just want to rest my back.

Tomorrow I’m off to Korea. It would’ve been nice to be able to explore Shanghai a bit more, but I’m not going to lose any sleep about it as I have to look after myself.


It was a six hour train ride from Xi’an to arrive in Chengdu. Like both Beijing and Xi’an, I’d come here specifically to see something, with a full day or two to explore the city.

My first full day here I wanted to sleep in. After leaving the hostel at midday, I went to Wen Shu Monastery, which is one of the more peaceful places that I’ve visited in China so far. There’s not a lot to do there besides have a look around, but still took an hour and a half or so to get around.


After leaving the monastery I popped into somewhere for a quick lunch and had a great portion of wontons for under £2, then went to the Tibetan Quarter. There’s a temple/shrine there but I wasn’t overly fascinated with it.

All of the research centres for Pandas are in Chengdu, so this morning I went to the one that specialises in breeding them. I had booked a tour as I didn’t really know how to get there, and accidentally ended up booking a private tour. It was quite handy having the private tour as my guide knew exactly where to go and how to beat the crowds – her guess as to how many people were there was 30,000+.





They eventually release the pandas back into the wild, however, they are so used to depending on humans that they have been known to not want to feed themselves. As a result have they to go back into care. The reason why they’re inside is because they are not a fan of the heat, and are instead in an air conditioned room. I enjoyed the tour, though I feel as though if there was no queue I could’ve gone around the centre in 45 minutes, rather than two and a half hours.

Today, I’m just being a grown up. The wifi in the hostel is surprisingly decent so I booked up a tour to go to India at the start of October, as well as my travels up until then. The visa for India was a right pain in the arse to apply for, taking around three hours as the website is just crap, but in between now and then I’ll be in Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Tomorrow, I’m getting the train to Shanghai. I didn’t think it through properly and as a result am spending over 14 hours on a train. I’ll be taking it as an opportunity to catch up on the reading that I haven’t kept up with as I have several books on my kindle that need a read.


After visiting the Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City in Beijing, I’d decided that for the time that I’m in China I’d prioritise visiting the places that I visit cities for. I don’t want to feel obliged to visit absolutely everywhere and have the back condition that I’ve had to flare up again as a result.



The main reason I visited Xi’an was to see the Terracotta Warriors which I posted about yesterday, and they were great to see. They’re expected to be fully restored in around 60 years time, so it’s good to be able to see the work in progress to get an understanding of the work the archaeologists are putting in.

After having spent more or less the past two and a half years living in a hostel-like setting, I thought I’d seen it all, and if I hadn’t seen it then it wouldn’t surprise me. Well, I got into my room, unpacked, and heard a knock on the door. For two nights I ended up sharing a dorm with four ten-year-olds, and after complaining about getting kept/woken up I ended up changing dorms and getting a free beer, though the beer wasn’t exactly worth it.

The day after I visited the Warriors I tried to wing it but I didn’t see too much, so I went off to the market in the Muslim Quarter, which is overpriced but you can find most of the food that this famous from this area. This includes the Chinese Beef Burger, Pork pastries (rolled with garlic, spring onion and lard) like a cinnamon bun and pressed which are pretty tasty, cold noodles with sesame and meat on a skewer seasoned with cumin seeds.




Yesterday I wanted to visit the wall of the city and cycle around it but my back flared up – turns out that going to a nightclub with a bouncing floor the night before was not my finest idea. I went out for a walk and chilled in the hostel, then went out during the evening to see the wall lit up.

Overall, I thought Xi’an was worth a bit of extra time after visiting the Terracotta Warriors. There’s a couple of things that I wanted to do, but I have to think of my back in the long-term so I can save myself for places like India, Jordan and Egypt.

Terracotta Warriors

On Tuesday, I went on a tour organised by the hostel that I’m staying at to see the Terracotta Warriors around an hour and a halfs drive from Xi’an – included with an English speaking tour guide.

The site was discovered when a farmer was digging to make a well for water in the 1970s and the warriors have since been dug up by archaeologists, pieced back together with glue and put on display. It is thought that the collection dates back around 2200 years ago, storing more than 8000 soldiers as well as horses.

As it’s the middle of summer it was forecast to be 38 degrees, unsurprisingly it was very hot and extremely sweaty, but luckily it was not as packed as anticipated.








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.

The Great Wall of China

On Sunday I went on a hiking trip to the Great Wall, or as Karl Pilkington once said “it’s not a great wall, it’s an alright wall. It’s the Alright Wall of China.” It was better than alright.

The visibility wasn’t great, though it meant that it wasn’t sunny as it was quite a difficult walk. Some of it was sloped steep enough to warrant me climbing up on my hands and feet – unfortunately, no photographic evidence as that would be quite amusing. Some of the wall is original and actually quite dangerous to climb on, so it’s surprising that tourists are let loose on there.