Sunday, December 29, 2013

Itinerary: Beijing, China

Travel Date: Nov 19-24 2013

Accommodation: Where to stay in Beijing?
Ibis Beijing Capital Airport Hotel 
No.2 Tianzhu Middle Street, Airport &
New Int´l Exhibition Center, Beijing,

Spring Time Hostel
South West Corner of Dongsi Subway Station (Exit. D)
Building AB, Gongjian Dayuan, Dong Si Xi Da Jie, Dongcheng district, Beijing, 100010

Temperature
Mean Temperature: 19-Nov: 1.9, 20-Nov: 3.7, 21-Nov: 4, 22-Nov: 4.8, 23-Nov: 7.2, 24-Nov: 6.9
Max Temperature: 23-Nov: 16

Minimum Temperature: 19-Nov: -5

Itinerary: Places to go, Things to see, What to do in Beijing?
Wed:
-Diaoyutai Gingko Avenue 
-Tianamen Square
-Forbidden City
-At night: Wangfujing, The Egg

Thu:
-Muntianyu Tour
-At Night: Olympic Village (Bird’s Nest, Water Cube outside)

Fri:
-Omiyage Shopping
-Jingshan Park
-Qianmen Street

Sat:
-Temple of Heaven
-Antique Shop
-Free Time/Preparation to the Airport

2013 Nov: China: Beijing: Going Back to the Airport

We are undecided if we can take a cab or train. 

There are sections when we can’t help but take stairs and its hard for us to carry luggage on it, so we decided to take a cab.  Looks like taxis are not stopping, there were about 3 drivers who declined us, for the reason that they don’t want to carry heavy luggage.

So we went back to Entrance G, take Line 6 to Chongyangmen.  Transfer to Line 2 for Dongzhimen.  Just to prevent us from being away from each other, we decided to always take the car behind the train driver, so he can see that we are difficulty on getting in or off the train. 

Even if you are having difficulty in carrying your bags on the stairs, make sure not to leave them.. I have a heavier bag and we carried it halfway the stairs.  As we are to return to the lower area to get back the second bag, there is a sudden rush of people that get off from the train, so I told her to return to secure the first bag.  I went up carrying the second bag, after the flow of people.  She told me that she can’t leave the first bag since she saw two men in black that is starring at my bag. 

Next, we headed to transfer to Airport Express station.  After the exit, we bought another single journey ticket going to Terminal 2 for 25 cyn (150php, 2013).  There is only 1 coffee shop at 1F Departure. We roam around VIP lounge and restaurant area at the 3F and decided to grab our dinner at Pizza Hut on B1 (on the same level are KFC and Starbucks). 

Check-in counter for 5J673 opened late at 9:30pm.  Seems that they no longer allow group check-in for bags even if you bought it at the same confirmation number.  Next, find your way to the Gates, there is a Health Check counter. Prepare your departure card, passport and boarding pass for the Immigration counter.  Next, consume your mineral water and surrender the bottle before the film security check (x-ray).  With a tray, you'll be requested to remove your camera and computer from your bag and individual should not be wearing his jacket.  Prepare for a long body security check.

On the way, only 2 duty free shops are working (souvenirs, jade, tea, and perfumes). 

Finally, another waiting game but at least there are seats now.  Look for the yellow sign in between seats and you can find the power sockets for you to use.



Here is my list of comments:
1.  Not sure if T2 is a budget terminal, but there are only few selection of restaurants.
2. Airport taxis are scam.
3. Warm water for toilet use are still cold during cold season (unlike Japan).
4. Designated power sockets along the waiting area is much appreciated. 

2013 Nov: China: Beijing: In My Eyes

China popular for its high population even there if is one-child policy, it also known to have bigger landmass that other countries (and still wanting more).

Anywhere you go offers long and wide areas for walking.  Yes, parks only offer few seats, or probably most are already occupied.


Environment
Since it is higher latitude, compared to Osaka and Seoul, the weather there is much colder.  In preparation for the upcoming snow weather, they are covering their plans to protect. (Snow is present even on month of February – Chico & Gino’s experience)


In news, there were reports of citys problem regarding air pollution, and youll notice it once youre there.  I saw some buses are operated by electricity, which is a good move. 


But after crossing the pedestrian lane on our last day, there is loud bump sound and saw that an electric bus happened to be included in the incident.  I told my sister, to immediately run, because we don’t know if the electric lines will be pulled down on the streets.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Nov: China: Beijing: After Taste

I used to like Chinese food, but possibly not on this trip.  It may have been not the best experience, but hope to see and taste better in the future.

Restaurant inside Temple of Heaven
Food: 5 out of 10
Value: Affordable
Atmosphere: 6 out of 10
Orders: egg and tomato soup, unlimited dumplings



rbt Tea Cafe (Asian Restaurant)
Location: 180 Xidan N St Xicheng, Beijing (http://en.rbt.com.cn/index.php)
Food: 6 out of 10
Value: Affordable (52cyn =320php)
Atmosphere: 8 out of 10
Orders: beef and fish cakes

We're not able to enjoy the beef because it is too raw and we're not able to chew it.  Thus, we ended up loving the fish cakes, but that is tasty.


2013 Nov: China: Beijing: Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven
Subway: Line 5, Tiantandongmen Station, Exit A1

From some of my search, the entrance is 2cyn.  But we paid 30 rm, it’s an all-in ticket to get inside the secured areas.  We get in Temple of Heaven and Echo Wall, but when we wanted to return on the Temple of Heaven, they still needed another ticket, good thing that we did not go the third building so we still have spare ticket.  There are unending visitors on these places. 

Exit A1 from Tiantandongmen Station, these park is superb greenery even at early winter weather.  Seems that the area is not just visited by foreign visitors but most locals enjoy the area as well.  There are those exercising and practicing different types of recreation.  Most stuff their selling are souvenirs for visitors and for kid’s entertainment, like selling fan and ball, thing used in kick games and big ribbons for gymnastics.

empty branches under the sun 
Temple of Heaven inside is a hollow temple from the inside but has intricate design and paintings.


Moving towards the Echo Wall, they have already set ropes to give distance on the visitors from the wall.  Thus, echoing is no longer obvious - which should not be the case if they still want visitors to come by for its true purpose.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Nov: China: Beijing: Jingshan Park

From Dongsi we took a bus going to Jingshan Park, make sure to study the routes before taking a bus so you'll not get lost.


The focal point is the artificial hill Jingshan, literally "Prospect Hill".  [Reference]


2013 Nov: China: Beijing: City Lights - Night 02

Subway Line 8 (Olympic Special Line): get off at Olympic Green Station Exit D, to visit Xin'ao Shopping Centre for dinner.

Take upstairs going to road area, walk towards south direction, look for Nest or Ling Long Pagoda (which is hard to miss).

These area are inside guarded village.  No need for entrance fee but they are requiring the visitors to pass x-ray scanners.

National Stadium (Bird's Nest)


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 Nov: China: Beijing: Conquering the Wall

We left the hotel by 7:30, and pick-up other tourists along the way.  We left the city at around 8:00.  It's a long two hour ride without traffic passing the tree plantation and mountainous area of Beijing.  Finally, we arrived at Mutianyu section on Great Wall of China. 

Tour buses stayed at Park #4, then we walked passing Park #3, #2, #1.  We were given our entrance tickets and paid an extra 80yuan (480php) each for open cable car going up and tobonggan going down.  The last portion of the cable car is a bit scary because the cliff is to deep and dark that I was not able to see the ground clearly. 

It is around 8 km (Mutianyu) walk from the cable exit/tobonggan (Tower 6) to Tower 11.  If you want to see the old walls go towards right direction for Tower 1.
Tobongan (Left), Open Cable Car (Right)



2013 Nov: China: Beijing: City Lights - Night 01

After an hour of rest in the base camp, we headed out to have dinner.  We walked from Dongsi Station to Wangfujing Station, we skipped Donghuamen (Food) Street since we are not eating from the stalls.

St. Joseph's Cathedral, Wangfujing Dajie 74, Beijing
Schedule: Mon-Saturday 6:15 AM Chinese (Simplified)


After which, we headed from Tiananmen East station to West station to see The Giant Egg.

2013 Nov: China: Beijing: Gingko and Tiananmen

It is not the day one that I expected.  It was too off track to what I have planned due our misadventures. 

DIAOYUTAI GINGKO AVENUE
Just outside Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, it is more popular to visit during first two weeks of November, because the leaves have already fallen when we arived.

Location: Fucheng Road Side, Haidian, Beijing, China
Subway: Line 09, Baiduizi Station, Exit C



2013 Nov: China: Beijing: Spring Time Hostel

Where to set your base camp in Beijing?  I initially wanted to stay near Wangfujing area, but I can’t find affordable but still livable hostel in the area.  When you find your hotel make sure that you get location near station that has less transfer from the airport.  From airport to city it is easier to get a taxi but it is hard to get a cab going back to the airport, most of them complain about heavy luggage.

I enlisted Day’s Inn Forbidden City Hotel and Citytel Inn as other options, but it would take more than 5-10 minutes from the nearest train exit.  Since the days we have visited would have a minimum of -.05 to -5 Celsius, I wanted to stay somewhere very close to train exit/entrance.

I did the reservation from booking.com for Spring Time Hostel and paid 900 cyn upon our arrival.  They also required us with 100 cyn deposit for the keys, which will be returned upon check-out.

Location: Good - It is a stone-throw away from Dongsi Station, Exit G from Subway Line 6 or Exit D from Subway Line 5.  There is Holiland bakeshop and café on the same corner of the hotel.  Across there is a supermarket, McDonalds, banks and post office.  It is 3 stations away from Wangfujing and will take around 15 minutes walking to reach the Street Food Market in Donghuamen St.



Check-in Experience: Not the Best – There is main person behind the desk talking to his colleague sitting outside the desk, they were guessing where we came from and bit talking about us being from Philippines.  I’m the one talking to them so that made me uncomfortable (going back to the thought, that it is not yet time for us to visit their country).  Once the payment was settled, we were escorted to our room.  There is a 2-step staircase that we passed by and he never offered assistance to us.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

2013 Nov: Ibis Beijing Capital Airport

"We have just landed Beijing International Airport. Ground temperature is 0 degrees Celsius" these were the words of the captain on our 5J672 flight on third Tuesday of November 2013.  [Read]

Try to study your way out to avoid tourist traps.  Upon exiting the Arrival Gates, we are already asked by more than 3 people offering taxi transportation.. We found the official taxi lane, but there are fixers who took our bag and led us to a different van compared to normal taxis.


We are already seated inside the van and offered 200yuan (1200php) transfer to a nearby hotel, where I have studied that it is just 11yuan (66php).  Luckily that he still allowed us to step-out. Some other men are saying that ordinary taxis will not take us since it is just short distance.  Another man offered same price, but we tried to haggle and try to get back in the official lane, he started to give a fare of 200, then 150, then 100. I said fine for 100 since its nearly getting a negative temperature (but try to haggle down if you can do so).

Ibis Beijing Capital Airport

Address: No.2 Tianzhu Middle Street, Tianzhu Town, Shunyi District, Beijing 101312, China (Beijing Capital International Airport)
http://www.accorhotels.com
http://www.tripadvisor.com

Since airport express’ last trip to city from T2 is at 23:10 and since we prefer not to sleep in Terminal 2, we have then booked at Ibis Beijing Capital Airport since it is very close to the airport. 

We arrived at around 1:30 am and the reception officer assigned on that morning is very cold in welcoming us (just like the weather). Obviously showing actions that are not so helpful, has very limited answers and she is very sleepy.


Hotel has an elevator and we immediately went to our room.  It is spacious more than to what I expected.  It has window glass, good lighting, clean and soft beddings.  They also offer two bottled water, electric thermos, slippers, basic toiletries, hangers, cabinet, television (no English channel).



If you will avail their free transport service, make sure that you book a  reservation two hours prior to your departure schedule and please be reminded that this is for free.

2013 Nov: It is not yet time…

After almost three years, the tragic shooting incident in a travel bus of Hong Kong tourists in Manila is still fresh in the minds of Beijing people. [Manila Hostage Crisis] As this said, if you can delay your visit please try to do so - now is not yet the season for a Filipino to visit Chinese countries.

This is our trip that I'd considered politically intense and not peaceful at heart. 


In Jinshang Park, my sister is inquiring about postcards when an old man talked to her.  When he learned that we came from Philippines, "He said that our government is not people oriented, with what happened to the Yolanda victims."

While reading a map in Wanfujing, a lady approached us and escorted us to the Dengshikou station, it was a nice conversation at first, until she introduced the incident of Manila hostage crisis and ended with words like "I'll visit when the time comes that China and Philippines become friends again, because I don't want to die there."

Earlier I generalized Chinese countries, for obvious reason that we also have a gap with Taiwan due to a fisherman shot by Coast Guard near Batan group of islands. [Read] 

Just within the October, a Chinese local crashed his car in pedestrian lane of Tiananmen Square, a Filipino doctor who is traveling that time was one of the two fatalities. [Read]


Incidents and accidents have happened for a reason that we will never understand and might not able to moved on.  As feelings and emotions will always be attached and being nationalistic to your very own country will always remain, a tourist for tourist should never be the case.  As we are once travelers in this world, let us respect each other for we do not represent the negative behaviors of the people who have done it in the past.  We are not the men and women behind the guns or the wheels who cost lives.  As we know, time heal all wounds but not yet at this time nor at this moment.

We travel to escape from the everyday stressful life at work, so make sure that you go to place you can find peace and safety.  Maybe not in their country, nor in our country - to which destination it may be, never forget to travel with discipline, respect and dignity.

Come in peace.