China has always been on the bucket list! I mean, the Great Wall… nuff said!
We decided to include a 9 day trip to China in our holiday schedule. We resigned our contracts with our schools where we taught in South Korea, so in between contracts we got an extra ‘bonus’ 2 weeks to ‘visit our home countries’. We did this, for two weeks, and then decided to take a trip to China en route back to South Korea. My mother joined us and she also stayed with us for a while in SoKo, to experience a little bit of the lifestyle we’ve been upholding here over the waters…
The Chinese adventure kicked-off in Beijing. Overwhelming. Hazy. Crazy. Just to mention a few words that describes the capital for me. But, like, so exciting, because everything’s new to you! You’ve heard many stories about it, you’ve read about it, you’ve seen pictures and so forth, and now YOU’RE here!
Highlights of Beijing includes: The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace.
Highlights of Xian: The Terracotta Warriors, Dumpling Banquet.
Highlights of Shanghai: Nanjing road, Shanghai EXPO 2010, exploring the city…
The entrance to The Forbidden City.
Moat surrounding Forbidden City.
The Great Wall of China!
You see the pictures, read about it and see it on TV, but until you stand there on the wall (with some knowledge of the history behind it) and take in the sheer immensity of it, you are left with a mixture of feelings: somewhat disbelief that a colossal undertaking such as this could’ve been accomplished, complete and utter awe and a feeling of great joy of having had the experience of seeing it and being there!
The Summer Palace in Beijing.
Terracotta Warriors in Xian.
We had an amazing Dumpling Banquet in Xian. We got seated on the gallery with a beautiful view of the stage where Chinese dancing performances took place.
Dancing performance in Xian.
Beautiful architecture in Shanghai.
Yu Yuan Gardens in Shanghai.
The famous Nanjing Road, where the hard-core shoppers go (apparently). We did no shopping though, we’re seemingly not hard-core enough… oh well.
After an already long day, my wife and I took on the Shanghai-China Expo 2010. It was an amazing experience, with every country having a pavilion, and trying to portray to the visitors everything that their country has to offer. It gives you a good opportunity to have a look around at what some countries (that you might never (probably) go to) have to offer and what makes them unique. The pavilions are basically this: a creative and ‘out-of-the-box’ visual representation of the most famous sights and landmarks, food and culture of a country.
Doing a package tour of 9 days in China was a good decision. Having to navigate and organize things by ourselves in China would’ve resulted in multiple headaches, no doubt about it. Did I have a great time and many memorable moments, for sure. Not even the smog and pollution of Beijing could keep us from having a good time. No regrets!