For us, China was kind of a culture shock, but we all know the country is worth to visit. We traveled last summer to Beijing and we would like to list the must visit places in Beijing that we did!
1. First of all, the most famous are of Beijing: The Forbidden City.It's basically a palace complex and it served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for almost 500 years. It was very impressive to see! Only remark (but also to warn you in advance): there are millions of people (read: Chinese people). It's a very touristy place. We also didn't see any 'non-Chinese' people there, strange...
2. Next one: Beihai Park. We had to pay an entrance fee of 10 CNY, this is €1,2. For this price, you should definitely visit this beautiful park! There were bridges, little green areas, a lake with boats, beautiful Chinese gates... A typical little China garden!
3. A next little area that is definitely worth visiting in Beijing is Houhai Lake. It is situated near the Hutongs, a type of narrow streets commonly associated with northern Chinese cities, especially Beijing. In these streets, we saw the typical houses of the Chinese people, the typical bike rides (yes, we did one) and the little Chinese shops.
4. Next worth to visit in Beijing, are ALL the little tempels you pass on your way. It seems that Beijing is full of hidden gems and beautiful tempels, just right next to the street! Go in and discover the beautiful Chinese Culture!
5. Next: the city center of Beijing! This includes big shopping streets, loads of Chinese people (again) and typical Chinese food markets. You can compare the shopping streets of Beijing with the ones we know here in Belgium. We saw Prada, Calvin Klein, Victoria Secrets but also H&M, Zara... So, a very good place do to some shopping.
(The following information is not suited for the sensitive reader).
We entered a typical Chinese food market street. This means: a small street, stuffed with Chinese people and the local food. The majority of this local food (beware) were insects. Snails, caterpillars, scorpions ... Some of them were still moving (I think I just puked in my mouth).
6. The Great Wall of China, ofcourse! More information about that in our previous 'Trip-tip' !
The overall Chinese experience? The culture in China is different than the Belgian/European culture. Things like slurping, sniffing, spitting on the street are normal in China.
Maybe an important detail: the toilets are different. There are not much 'potty toilets', only 'squat toilets'. Also, the toilet paper can't go into the toilet, so it lays there in a bucket next to the toilet (Tip: take your own toilet paper with you, because the Chinese people do not seem to be economical on the paper).
Besides that, the Chinese food is DELICIOUS! Noodles, rice, meat dishes, fish sauces... everything tasted amazing.
The traffic in China is... ehm.. let's say: chaotic but organized. All the cars are riding from the left side to the right, the car horn was used multiple times in one minute... But hey, all the taxis brought us safe to our destination (Little tip again: make sure you have the adresses you want to visit in Chinese signs, because not every - read almost no - driver can understand English).
One more tip if you're planning to visit Beijing: don't go in July or August. It's 38°C, very humid, not a lot of oxygen in the air and not pleasant to visit something. It's better to go in in an other period.
Thank for reading and see you in the next tip!
Globe Watchers 🌎
Save hours researching attractions and navigating public transport by having a driver to take you to Shanghai's best sites. Highlights include The Yuyuan Garden, taking part in a tea ceremony, a dim sum lunch, visiting the French Concession, and The Bund.
Shop till you drop in Shanghai local market. Get unforgettable shopping experience in most popular local markets: Fabric market, Tea market, off brand market, antique market, etc. Taste 3 different kind of tea and recognize what it is. Seek out a bargain or pick up some unique souvenirs in off brand, antique market.