2016 has already been off to a pretty incredible start with my first trip to Beijing! I had a blast exploring the hutongs in Dashilar district, being awed by the beauty of the Forbidden City, and getting an amazing (and slightly painful) Chinese deep tissue massage.
Thursday night was spent on an 8 hour train ride from Weifang to Beijing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to book any hard sleepers, so my roommate and I spent the whole time sitting in these awkward booth-like seats, face to face and playing footsies with our Chinese neighbors. Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep. When we arrived at 6:30 Friday morning, we headed straight out to our hostel and dropped off our bags. Despite our sleep deprivation, we decided to knock out the sightseeing stuff early because heaven knows I wouldn’t be able to get my roommate up that early ever again. So, we ventured off to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City where we spent the better part of the day.
On Saturday morning, my roommate decided to go see Mao’s Mausoleum while I explored the various hutongs around the hostel. Hutongs are back alley neighborhoods where many Beijing locals still live. They are made up of several winding alleyways and courtyards. It’s definitely worth it to spend an afternoon getting lost because you never know what you may find. Eventually we met back up and went for a 90 minute Chinese massage (which only cost $50 USD).
Later that night, we decided to go “clubbing” in downtown Sanlitun district. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t really clubbing. It was more like we went to one club and stayed there for about an hour and then left. It really isn’t my scene, but at least I can say that I did it. Finally, on Sunday morning we went and did some last-minute souvenir shopping before we caught our train. I actually stumbled upon this great Tibetan art-deco shop that sells some incredible turquoise jewellery. I bought a ring and some other jewellery for some of the women in my family.
The only thing we didn’t do was go to the Great Wall. I thought it would be a bit too cold to go during this trip, but it will give me an opportunity and an excuse to visit Beijing again. As far as my budget went, this trip was a little spendy in comparison to the other trips I have taken. I spent about 2000 RMB, which is about $300 USD. I figured since it was the holiday and close to my trip back home, I would splurge a bit. The trip was definitely worth it.