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TOWARDS THE RISING SUN

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I headed to Beijing from Ulaanbaatar. Again I decided to take a train and again I had to improvize to reach minimal expenses. First just to the border town of Zamiin-Uud. Then over the border by taxi. But this border crossing is a bit strange. Only offroad vehicles can cross it. I didn't understand why, but I couldn't ask eighter because of the language barrier :) Well, from the mongolian side it looks like on the photo blow left and on chinese like on the one right. Yeah, I couldn't believe myself. I had to check the map three times because I thought I ended up in Las Vegas :)
From chinese Erlian I took a train again. First to Jining and then further to Beijing. Direct train was sold out.

 

First shock was border crossing, but the second one was when I walked out of Beijing Railway Station at five in the morning and saw this:

Trash, people sleeping in the middle of the street, crowds everywhere. First impression wasn't nice. But it got a bit better later. In general the city is cleaner. At least in the centre where I spent next three days. It's true that streets are always crowded although. And with that I mean croooowdeeed.
All interesting things in China are payable. All except Mao Zedongs mausoleum. Ok, if it's free, let's go visit it. But when I saw a queue of thousands on the Square of Heavenly Peace pushing each other, I found out I'm not intersted in Mao that much afer all :) 

 

I was thinking whether is it worth to pay 60 yuans (something more than 8€) of entrance fee for Forbidden City. Hmm, well, if I'm here already I have to I guess :) But although it doesn't seem a lot of money I would say it's not worth. Someone who likes chinese history would pobably look at it with different eyes. But for me an hour and a half of following the crowd of chnese tourists was more tiresome than fun.

 

Architecture is a bit unusual in general. A mixture of chinese classic, socialist and modern buildings made out of metal and glass, which just don't fit together.

 

On the other hand you can find some nice parks.

But signs with the thousands of restrictions are somehow in the way. You can see them on every step. Even cellphones are prohibited during thunderstorms :)

 

Well, talking about Beijing we can not avoid bicycles. And to, let's call it, a bit more alternative traffic rules...

 

Less than 100 kilometres north of Beijing there is one of the most important world heritage sites - Great Wall. Built for protection of the country from mongolian invasions but main chinese tourist attraction today. Consequently you can expect a lot of tourists there. My first thought was: "If it's going to be the same as in Forbidden City, I'm out!" Luckily the wall is quite long. After some googling I found Jinshanling part, which should be less crowded on account of being a bit farther away. I took the first bus and at 7 in the morning already left Beijing. Bus needed almost two hours to get there. Jinshanling has two entrances - eastern and western. Western is connected with main bus stop with free shuttles, to the wall goes cable car. But to the eastern you have to walk 2 kilometres, and the same up the hill to the wall. This was my choice. But walking and early waking up turned out to be the right decision. When I stepped to the wall I was the only visitor. I headed towards west and after two hours or so I met first tired faces, which approached me from the other entrance :)

 

When you see some natural wonder like lake Baikal or Grand Canyon you're astonished and can not belive what power must nature have to create something like this. What is interesting is that I had the same feelings when I stepped on the wall. But here that creator is not the nature...

 

Towards the end of exploration I met a chinese couple that was stealing some for me unknown type of fruit. Not to tell them out they bribed me with a couple of berries :)

 



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About this journey
A Very Merry 2018