I made my virgin trip to Beijing earlier this month and it completely exceeded my underwhelmed expectations. Definitely planning to return in the near future. I was taken aback to how developed, clean and well-maintained the city is right now and I’m excited to share some of the highlights of my trip. Read till the end to know some tips I garnered if you want to visit China too!
A good meal to a good start. I went to this “apparently-popular” breakfast place at Sanlitun (三里屯) and they really do have very good rice rolls and youtiao sandwich (油条烧饼). They are actually famous for their youtiao & salted soy milk but I’m not quite digging it. It’s just weird for my palate to have onions, chilli oil, and seaweed in it. I think I’d stick to the basic plain sweet soy milk but I guess it’s worth a try.
有茶一丁 @ 三里屯
AhHHH if you’re not screaming for this, I think we can’t be friends!! Ok kidding, but it was for sure an exhilarating moment for me. Even though I hate to say that it tasted pretty meh, I did not regret a cent. All this 大白兔 was truly a hook for me! I think is defo worth a try for the thrill if you’re a fan like me!
Dover Street Market @ 三里屯
Sanlitun is Beijing’s very own Soho, and so there’s full of shopping and hippie cafes around there (aforementioned above are all in this place too). I suppose we can relate it to Orchard in Singapore, just that they have so many more brands (local, designer, street, mediocre..) and “cool stuff”. In fact, it’s quite a big area to cover, very spread out and I noticed the crowd was mostly youngsters too. Absolutely a place I’d visit again when I return the next time!
Oh when I was heading towards Dover Street Market, I also saw a lot of photographers taking pictures of passersby, which I assume were taking street fashion. Kind of reminded of scenes when I was in New York’s Soho.
Selfie with Mr. Mao @ Tian An Square
Certainly cannot miss out the spotlight of Beijing, the Tian An Square, and Forbidden City. Not gonna lie, I was very excited and overwhelmed! Huge fan of Chinese “gu zhuang” dramas and the history of China!!! Very very intrigued when I made my visit there.
Tip: Purchase your tickets online because it’s sold out very quickly. It’s limited to 80,000 visitors each day and I know it sounds A LOT but apparently, it attracts 140,000 visitors daily before they started to limit the entrance!
Hall of Supreme Harmony
(I was gon’ write a chunk of backstory but I didn’t want to bore u, so just know google’s right with u)
This is as majestic as I could capture with my iPhone. Wasn’t easy taking a picture with the massive (no manners) crowd. So I was pretty much off my phone throughout my journey inside the palace. IT’S ONE OF THE BIGGEST PALACE IN THE WORLD, so I assume you can imagine how occupied I was just trying to figure my way around whilst listening to the audio guide.
全聚德 @ 王府井
I had one of the BEST Peking duck of my life here!!! If you’re planning to visit the Forbidden City, you should definitely come to this restaurant (10 mins car ride away). I’m not a critic but as a foodie, I’ll tell you this duck is not fooling around! Please come and try, they have a lot of outlets around Beijing, so find one that suits your plan.
We visited another fancier restaurant in a 5-star hotel that is also known for their Peking Duck. It was pretty far out but we had high hopes…
I wish I had a higher rating for this because the meal was so expensive. It was a pretty decent duck but after trying 全聚德 (mentioned above), it was merely comparable. But points to them for having a special “lost recipe” menu which consists of dishes that was apparently from the Qin Dynasty. Even though it wasn’t that good, I would say it’s an experience.
Pretty overpriced and normal, probably can skip but worth a mention.
The Great Wall of China, now now, how can I leave Beijing without climbing the greatest wonder of the world? Even though they now have cable cars that takes us half-way (or more idk) up but I’d say I’m very contented with my “achievement”. How the fk do people from back then build and climb that? Olden people really amaze me sometimes. Anyway, there are still so many more places that I wish I can cover here but it’s getting pretty lengthy. If you’re interested to see more, you can head over to my Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/tinglinz/) and check out the highlight for my Beijing trip. So before I end, here are some VERY USEFUL tips:
- Google is probably not the best option. There are so many local-favorites and hidden sites that you can’t find on Google. I found most of the places on 小红书 APP, you just have to type in keywords like “北京必去”， “北京美食”, or type the location/area you are planning to visit to uncover more insights.
- Likewise, Google map is not efficient at all. In China they use 高德, I downloaded the APP on my phone. It is very user-friendly and in fact in my honest opinion better than Google map. Their road directory and guide was super clear too!
- Most of the time I travel around in DI DI, China’s grab/uber. The best thing is, IT’S HELLAA CHEAP! My rides were never more than $8, except for the ride we took to and fro the airport and hotel. Their public transports are also superb, so if you want to avoid traffic, don’t hesitate to take their MRT.
- You will also need to download a VPN APP because China blocks all social media platforms other their own creation. Or you can also use the Changi Router that comes with wifi and VPN.
Okay, that’s it! Hope this will be useful as a reference when you travel to China, Beijing. DM me or comment to tell me what you’d like to read in the future.
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