Updated: Oct 16, 2021
Tiananmen Square is one of the most well know pieces of land in all of China and a great spot to start when hitting the pavement in Beijing. The large open plaza area located in the central area between the Forbidden City, Zhengyang Gate and Mausoleum of Mao Zendong. The Great Hall of the People and National Museum of China are located either side of Tiananmen Square and are quite large and intimidating buildings, along with the Monument to the Peoples Heros is located right in the centre of Tiananmen Square.
GREAT WALL OF CHINA
The most popular spot to see the Great Wall of China is located in an easily accessibly area approximately 2 hours outside Beijing called Badaling. As this is the most popular spot we opted for the less busy section of the wall at Mu Tiang Yu.
Bus was 80 RMB return and took 1.5 hours each way. It departed from Donghuashi Station at 8am and allows you to stay at the Great Wall for 4 and half hours. Entry is 45 RMB plus another 120 RMB for the cable cart and bus to the station at the start of the wall.
There are approximately 20 different gates along this section of the wall, plus a few unmaintained ones if you jump the wall at the end which is also cool to see!
The weather was horrendous, it was the middle of summer and was pouring rain, windy, foggy and cold but I find when seeing something like this in those conditions gives you a great appreciated of how hard it would have been like to live this 500 years ago, especially when under constant threat of attack from the Mongols. Although it would of been good to see the wall in full, the fog and mist added to the majestic nature of the site - plus there was barely anyone up on the wall!
With only 80,000 tickets available per day, it may be an idea to book in advance as the first day that we went to go there it was sold out!
The sheer size and architecture is amazing and the colours and attention to detail are second too none. The only bad thing is that it is absolutely packed with tourists so it take away a bit of the atmosphere. You can walk all the way through the Forbidden City from Tiananman Square then come out at the north gate and head straight to Jingshan Park. Overall the Palace could take you anywhere between 1-3 hours depending on how thoroughly you want to look through everything. There are also parks either side which are nice to walk around and explore, plus you can even hire a boat or pedal and cruise around for an hour.
When you get to the top, you can dress in traditional Chinese costume and get your photos taken. Photos range from 20-50 each and look pretty cool/funny! The view from the top is amazing, you can see the entire Forbidden Palace to the South and Qiongdao Islands. This park was really cool and definitely recommend strolling through after the FC. Qiongdao Islands entry is 5, another nice walk up to the temple at the top where you will take in nice views of the lake the surrounds the island. There is another entry fee up the top.
NANJING ROAD & THE BUND
Nanjing Road is a Pedestrian Street that is lit up like Hong Kong, offers various food vendors and restaurants, people selling lights, handbags and roller skate, it is actually really cool to have a stroll and people watch! Pretty much everyone of the worlds most famous fashion brands are located along this long and lengthy strip, some shops a lot more expensive than others. Wu Jiang Road could be described as a smaller and conservative continuation of Ninjang Road. There are mostly restaurants located along this bustling little strip, mostly Chinese food.
The Bund offers awesome view fo the Eastern River Skyline, including the famous Oriental Pearl! The first day we walked down to the Bund, the top half of the pearl was covered in cloud, so we walked back down the next night and it was perfect. Take a time-lapse photo and walk from end of Nanjung Road to the monument, continue down the walking along the river front and even take the boat across the river for a nice viewpoint, it only cost 2 RM and takes 5 minutes but its a circus to get on and get a good spot up top. Super Brand Mall - Top floor for a delicious soup from Mao and good photos of the Pearl fro the walkway out the front of the building.
We were looking around to try and find something cultural to do outside the city limits and come across a number of unique little water villages located on the outskirts of Shanghai. Some of the most well known are Suzhou, Tongli, Zhouzhuang, Xitang and Wuzhenzhen, which although are all located to the west of Shanghai, all vary in price, distance and convenience. We ended up heading out to Zhujiaojiao, which is connected to the Metro and the most convenient one for us. It is also known for being the most well preserved water village that is completely FREE to explore! The village was nice to see, with lots of traditional architecture and bridges. Food and souvenirs stores lined the streets, and boat rides were readily available for around 80-100 per trip.
YUYUAN OLD STREET, YIXIULOU & YU GARDEN
Nestled amungst the extravagant buildings and cosmopolitan archiecute if Shanghai, this place is a must if you are looking for something a little more cultural. This district hosts a labrenth of little markets, stalls and shops, which inhabit the traditional Chinese Architecture, the leads to the beautiful Yu Gardens and its lakes.
Another Mega City that is often overlooked! Just a stone throw from Hong Kong, this is the manufacturing hub for most of the Chinese products that are shipped worldwide. It is a great place to start exploring and get a fell for China, then you can take the bullet train straight up the coast to Shanghai and Beijing!
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