From my last post, did you manage to guess my next destination?
It’s Beijing, China!
I had a very enjoyable time in Beijing last week. Sorry, couldn’t post anything while I was there: a) WordPress is blocked in China and b) Wifi was unpredictable.
My trip to Beijing with my mum was both for business and leisure. The business part being my mum wanted to introduce me to her friend that works in the media industry in special effects and animation, and leisure part being since I haven’t been back since I was 13, it was a good opportunity to check out all the touristy spots again!
The journey from Brunei to Beijing took about almost full day, since there wasn’t a direct flight I had to stop over in Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific, which wasn’t bad, the food was great and the shopping at the airport was to die for! And plus, I spent most of my time at the airport lounge.
Day 1: Shangri-La Hotel, Tian an men Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Hutong, Bian Yi Restaurant and Red Theatre.
Beijing is a pretty big city, so you can only imagine what the traffic must be like! It was pretty late when we landed so we rushed straight to the hotel. We stayed in a 5 star hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, not too far from the central of Beijing, but with the traffic on weekdays it almost seemed impossible to get anywhere on time! I really enjoyed staying at Shangri-La Hotel, the service was excellent, the staff were very polite and everything seemed clean and crisp, and just the way I like it!
Now, you can’t go to Beijing without visiting Tian an men Square and the Forbidden City, which is all connected together. Wish I could say the same for the Great Wall of City, to be fair, I went 11 years ago when I was 13, it’s still going to be the same.
Tian an men Square is a large city square in the centre of Beijing and it is known for the gate of heavenly peace separating from the Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty – the years 1420 to 1912. Around this time of month, it’s good to visit the most busiest places around the world as it’s not quite school holidays yet, so this is considered quite ’empty’ – but check out the crowd! Omg.
For lunch we went to try some local food like pork wrapped with tofu skin, noodle soup and my fav eggplant!
Last stop of the day, we went to visit the Temple of Heaven.
For dinner we went to one of Beijing’s most famous peking duck restaurants called Bian Yi Fang Restaurant. This peking duck is as well known as the other restaurant, Quan Ju De, because of the lychee wood used to cook with the duck, which is what makes it more unique. It’s so fragrant and really does have a hint of lychee. It wasn’t dry or oily like many other ducks that I have tried, this one was juicy and crispy and definitely super moist! After dinner, we went to catch a late night kung fu show at the Red Theatre (sorry no photography allowed inside) but it was excellent. I really enjoy shows at the theatre that really has a good story line rather than just people on stage breaking bricks and sticks with their faces.
Day 2: Beijing Zoo, Calligraphy class and rickshaw ride in Hutong, Tea drinking at Bell Tower and Xidan Joy City.
This day was filled with more activities and with less sight seeing, considering we arrived the day before and we wouldn’t be up to doing anything that involved too much energy. The day had arrived when I was reunited with pandas! My all time fav type of bear! I mean who wouldn’t want something that was black, white and Asian combined into one? We arrived at the Beijing Zoo super super early to catch a glimpse of sleepy pandas. And it’s great to be in China around this time of year to avoid large groups of tourists. It’s like I get to have front row seats to the pandas all to myself. And it’s sad to think that these gorgeous pandas are so rare nowadays and they are slowly becoming extinct 😦
I haven’t done much calligraphy writing in such a long long time so as you can imagine my writing looks more like a painting…
At the calligraphy class, the teacher owns the cutest littlest 11 year old pomeranian by the name of Niu Niu, and a chinchilla as well, I don’t even know where you can find one nowadays. And there’s more, this guy owns birds as well. His house is a zoo filled with creatures.
Hutong is a very narrow and quiet neighborhood where the locals live and not very many tourists come to this area, but we had an opportunity to come see and take a rickshaw ride around the area.
Tea drinking at the Bell Tower was very refreshing, and it was a good activity to avoid the cold for a bit! The Bell Tower was used in the olden days where to tell time would be by burning a match or wax would take about an hour and once that was done, the bell would be hit to announce the hour had gone by.
More local food for lunch! And we had more of the pork with tofu, pork with cashews, turnip with almond, soup and noodles with meat sauce.
That was pretty much the end of our 2 day tour and mum and I just wanted a little down time for shopping! So Xidan area in Beijing is known for its non-up scale shopping and we stumbled across this restaurant for dinner that serves fusion food.
Pork bone soup with radish, mayonnaise prawn and noodles with meat sauce. For dessert, frozen mango sorbet.
Day 3: More Visuals Productions, Wispark Productions and Xidan.
Again I have no photographs for both productions, so I will just describe them. The third day was more towards the business side of this trip, where my mum’s friend would take us to his production studios of where he works with other partners at More Visual and Wispark to show us how they use special effects and animation in films. I had the greatest opportunity to meet the team behind one of the most highly anticipated films that involved a lot of special effects in China and it was a very good experience to see how everything fits together. Especially films such as Mr. Nian, which was produced by Wispark productions.
Pork soup, cold raw beef, cold noodles, sweet glutinous rice balls and Chinese meat pancake.
For dinner we went around Xidan area once again because it’s so big and we couldn’t possibly finish it in one day! These dishes of eggplant and pork are really sticky and sweet and I guess that’s how China people like their meals to be.
Day 4: San Li Tun
The last full day in Beijing was bliss. Lots of eating and more shopping! Me, mum and her friend went around San Li Tun area, which is where most of the ex patriots go. I definitely saw a lot more tourists and multicultural people at San Li Tun. I quite like this area of up scale shops, its new and clean and is just a really big and open area to just hang out basically, and it almost looks like a university.
And we found this cute Hong Kong street food eatery on the bottom floor: pork knuckle, fried yams, mochi, sweet yam soup, noodles, minced pork with rice and preserved turnip omelette.
For our last night, mum’s friend wanted to treat us to a really fancy dinner, we went to this restaurant that performed shows that included traditional dancing and magic, while we eat. This place was called the Great Mansion, and you know a place is fancy when they have tons of chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and the place was quite dim. It was interesting, except there was a clown there, so… no comment to that part.
Tofu stew, raw cold meat, pork ribs, braised pork belly, cucumber pork and cold yam mochi.
I’ll be back soon, Beijing! But let me master my Mandarin first!