Thursday, 1 November 2012

Beijing & Tianjin, China - 25 Oct 2012 to 03 Nov 2012

Day 1 - 25 Oct 2013

On 25 Oct 2013, I arrived at the airport to catch our 6.50pm flight from Singapore to Beijing.  I am flying via Jetstar.  The flight cost about $677 per pax.  I bought the Groupon offer with CS Travel at $48 per pax.  This package include almost all the meals and hotel stay as well.  It is so cheap...

Day 2 - 26 Oct 2013

However, my landing was not so smooth as the weather was bad.  Instead of landing at Beijing Capital airport, we were asked to land at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and I was trapped in the plane for 6 hours as the airport do not allow passengers to leave the aircraft.  

It was the first time i have encountered this.  I got down the flight and was given 2 options by Jetstar.  They mentioned we can either wait till tomorrow morning 6am, there will be a flight to Beijing but it is not confirmed.  Another option was to make our way to Beijing on our own.  I was like 'WHAT".  

My boyfriend and I stood at the place and start thinking.  Suddenly was saw a glimpse of hope.  There was an uncle holding onto to a paper and waving the groupon voucher.  Our eyes lit with hope and went over to him.  " Are you from the same tour group as us? " He repiled, "Yes".  We gathered the people from the same tour group and decided to take a private van to Shanghai train station.  The private van with about 10 people cost RMB 600.  The private van can be found in the airport.  It took us almost 1 hour 45 mins to reach the train station 上海火车站.  

Shanghai Train Station 

385 Mei Yuan Lu, HuoCheZhan, Zha Bei Qu, Shanghai, China, 200000 

The train from Shanghai to Beijing cost us RMB 555 and took 5 hours to reach.  You will need to produce your passport to purchase the ticket.  Shanghai train station is big and packed with people.  

When I arrive in Beijing, I have missed part of the itinerary.  I manage to catch up with the group and got a little time to visit 王府井大街 (Wang Fu Jing Market).  I got to try some local delicacies.  Below is some of them.  This is kinda of disgusting but it is an experience.  Trying it once will be enough.

王府井大街 (Wang Fu Jing Market) is a busy night market with many people & tourist browsing around and food can be found almost everywhere.  However, the oil that they use is not clean as I suggest not to eat anything there.  

Day 3 - 27 Oct 2012

Our tour guide brought us to the 國家大劇院 (Theatre).  It is only for photo taking.  There is nothing much other than this look alike metal ball.  However, it is really beautiful in the night.  Too bad I did not get a chance to catch that.

Visiting Beijing means going back in time of the palace life.  That's right.  We will be visiting the imperial palace.  Although it's kinda of boring listening to the long history of China, I am still interested to know more about it since we are visiting this ancient palace.  

Our tour guide bought us to Tiananmen Area  (天安門廣場)for photo taking.  The weather is so good that we took some nice photos there.  This is like the symbol of Beijing.  It's a must to take photo.

After which, We were on our way to the imperial palace.  The imperial palace is so huge.  The areas allowed for tourist is only a small part of the palace.  I am imagine why the emperor needs someone to carry him from one location to another.  In the past, there was no baggy.

The tour guide told us.  Every statue standing and every pillars in this palace tell us a story.  Example for our tap, why is it in mandarin we call it 水龍頭.  It is because in ancient history, the emperor build it in case of flood.  I will need to read up to know more about it.

The location is really crowed and packed by people from other parts of China.  Some of the venues are blocked as they do not want people to destroy the displays.  These areas are packed like sardines.  

The tour include the visit of where 慈禧太后 ( Empress CIXI) stayed.  She was one of the empress in ancient china to be known as ruthless.

After dinner, we were brought to watch the martial art art performance.  The show was ok only.  However, if it is not included in the itinerary, I would choose to skip this.

After the martial art performance,  we waked around this area called 南樓鼓巷胡同.  This kind of houses in China is really expensive.  I can't really describe it here.  But it is like 4 sided house displayed in a square facing each other.

Day 4 - 28 Oct 2012

It's exercise time. We were brought to climb the "Great Wall Of China".  The steps are really steep and high.  It is a must to see the Great Wall when I visit Beijing.  As told, there is a little red house on the top.  I am determined to reach to the top.  Tourists are only allowed to climb to certain level as the tiles after the red house is not stable and might collapsed.  

As we made our way up, we took the opportunity to take beautiful pictures.  

Here we are !!!  
We are the 1st in the tour group to reach to the top !

In the evening, we visited 前門大街商業街. The things are not cheap so I decided to look around, take some photos and find some local food to snack while walking.  There is the famous Beijing Peking Duck named 全聚德.  I tried it and it's oily but taste good.

That's the duck place !

That's the duck place !

During the night, we sneak out together with a few of the tour group members to see the night lights of the Beijing Olympics 鳥巢 & 水立方.  The tour guide brought us there the next morning but the night scenery was much beautiful.  

Day 5 - 29 Oct 2012

This is the place where the emperor offer his prayers to god.  The place is called 天壇. There is a small museum that display the history and some antique for browsing.

Interesting facts : This building was built without a single nail and it can stand... So interesting !

After dinner, we visited this shopping place named 世贸天阶. It is to see a panel of LCD screen on the ceilings.  There is nothing much and the shopping mall seems like sell high-end products.

Day 6 - 30 Oct 2012

The last day of the tour, we visited the museum named 首都博物館.  There are so many antique inside but I manage to only took a few.  However, my boyfriend, Larry was completed not interested and he sat outside and drank his coke.  

Lastly, we visited the panda zoo.  They are kinda of lazy.  Almost all the panda were sleeping when I visited them.  I think it's their hibernation period.

This marks the end of our tour with CS Travel.  However, I extended my trip to visit other parts of China. 

Day 7 - 31 Oct 2012
Within our tour group, there were 4 person who decided to visit 承德 (Cheng De) so we join in the group. Through our tour guide, we hired a private van and it took about 2-3 hours to get to the location.  Our tour guide helped us to book holiday inn express on 30 Oct 2013.  This hotel is cheap and good.  It was near 唐人街.  We stayed there for one nights.

We reached the location around late morning.  The sky in 承德 (Cheng De) is really blue with minimal clouds and the weather is very cold during that period.  It was like 2 degrees.  We visited the mini version Lhasa Apso in 承德 (Cheng De) and the venue that they used from 還珠格格.

Blue sky with minimal clouds

Mini Lhasa Apso

Mini Lhasa Apso

Mini Lhasa Apso

Stairs to the top

This is what you see when you reach the top

This is what you see when you reach the top

This is what you see when you reach the top

In addition, we visited the 避暑山莊 where the emperor stay during the hot weather.  The weather here is really good.

This place is where 還珠格格 (My Fair Princess) was filmed.  This filming location is in 避暑山莊.

Does this look familiar?  It's 小燕子 漱芳

This location was also used for filming

Due to the lack of time, we only manage to visit the mini Lhasa Apso & 避暑山莊 but it is worth your time.
After arriving to Beijing, we took the train from Beijing to Tianjin.  It cost like RMB 33 and took about 30 mins to arrive in Tianjin.  Thanks to Larry's dad, we manage to stay at his place for the next few days. 

Day 8 - 01 Nov 2012
Morning breakfast in Tianjin is easy to find, we ate porridge.  Tianjin is a rather boring place as it is a industrial state.  Therefore, we decided to go back to Beijing.  This time I decided that we visited the fourth prince  四爺 stayed before he became the emperor.  This place is called 雍和宮 (Yonghe Lama Temple).  

We got down at this station and followed the sign.  We got the tickets at RMB 25 at the entrance and took the map of the place before entering.  It is a temple for praying.  I heard that it really makes your wish comes true but if your wish really comes true, you will need to buy offering to thank the gods.

That's the famous lama 

Day 9 - 02 Nov 2012
Today, we decided to stay in Tianjin to explore the place a little.  We stayed near the Tianjin station.  The shopping area are centralized in Heping Station so it was rather convenient for us to travel.

We visited this cultural place called 鼓樓 so we took a train and got down at 鼓樓z站 (Gu Lou Zhan station).

Based on my opinion, there was nothing much in Tianjin other than shopping.  

Day 10 - 03 Nov 2012
During our last day, we slept late and traveled by train from Tianjin to Beijing to catch our flight back to Singapore.

Home Sweet Home - Singapore


  1. Hi, alicia, came across ur blog. It is indeed very useful. Can you tell me more whether cs travel charged any extra costs besides $48 u paid for the groupon vouher. Do they forced to ask u all buy jade or tea or any souvenirs at the shops, if not cannot leave? Do they ask everyone to join for mask sHows and zoo with extra costs? Your help is very much appreaciated. Waoting for your reply. Thank you. :)

  2. Angeefenfen - so Sorry for the delay... Yes they do force you to buy but you can always reject... they will ask you to buy optional tour but it depends on whether you want it or not...

  3. Angeefenfen - if the tour is very cheap like I saw $8 for 5 days 4 nights, I suggest that you don't take it up as I heard that they close the door and let you leave unless you buy something...

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