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We fell asleep watching the monotonous, inhospitable landscape of the Gobi desert, broken only by the sighting of some camel’s caravan or a nomad family. When we woke up we were surprised to see a landscape full of life, rivers, green mountains, vast fields of corn, people getting on with the daily grind.
Once we got to Beijing our first thought, as we left the train station, was the amount of Chinese there are in China! (Joan meant Chinese man, not Chinese girls, at that point Joan wouldn’t have minded going back to Mongolia).

Beijing

Although our hostel was 5 minutes from the Plaza de Tian-Men in a popular tourist area, we were fortunate to be able to experience living in typical Huton where  our hostel was located. It was very lively, what you imagine China to be before you get there: very busy narrow streets, bikes everywhere,  food stalls on the streets. But three minutes walk away was a completely different story, streets jammed with traffic, shops and western restaurants

What did we do?

  • Tianamen Square
    Wide square, surrounded by many security regulations, checking bags and random frisking, and , also in the subway entrance.









  • Forbidden City
    Ciudad ProhibidaHuge with a lot temples but seen one, seen all of them. Probably the best part is situated at the rear garden









  • Jingshan Park
    Mirador There is a viewing  point on top of the hill where you can see the roofs of the Forbidden City and a 360 degree view of Beijing.








  • Great Wall
    Gran MurallaThere are four parts of the wall that can be visited. All sites have cable cars to reach the Great wall, of course you have to pay extra. (65 元). The other option is to go up by the steps, which takes about 30 minutes, being adventurous and to save money we went up by feet.
    To visit to The Great Wall on your own is a bit complicated because you have to take various public transport combinations (metro-bus-taxi). There are hundreds of agencies that will organize the trip. You have to be careful because as there are  many agencies there are many scams such as arranging several stops to "Museums", and places to buy silk, jade, tea, before you see the Great Wall. The travel agencies profit from the commissions.

    • Badaling 70km northwest of Beijing. This part is the most touristic, avoid going on weekends or any holiday, if you don’t  want to be dragged down by a tsunami of Chinese.
    • Juyongguan 50 km northwest of Beijing on the way to Badaling.Mutianyu to 90km northeast of Beijing. We went to this site. It wasn’t  very crowded, the view is beautiful. On the way there are lots of souvenir shops, but once up there it is pretty quiet.
    • Mutianyu to 90km northeast of Beijing. We went to this site. It wasn’t  very crowded, the view is beautiful. On the way there are lots of souvenir shops, but once up there it is pretty quiet.
    • Simatai 110Km. We believe that is the best part of the wall to visit , being further away from Beijing it is less visited. When we went there it was closed because it was being restored.

  • Drum and bell towers
    Torre Campana Hourly drumming. The last show is at 5:30.















  • Lakes Area Shi Cha Hai 
    Shi Cha Hai

    Full of restaurants and bars (we ate delicious chestnuts) There is a churreria , serving churros  with ice cream and chocolate syrup.. Yummy!!

     

     

     

     

  • Olímpic Stadium (the nest and cube).
    Estadio del Nido

    During the night it is lighted up and it looks very nice.









  • Summer Palace
    Palacio Be prepared for walking, it’s very large. There are palaces, temples, pagodas and a big lake with an island joined to the main land by a bridge with nine arches.







  • Beihai Park
    BeiharThere is a tower that looks like a white bell.











Where did we stay?

Quiaman hostel. Very central, clean enough, with good communal facilities, bar / restaurant with cheap beer to 5 元. Some employees are not very friendly.
200 元 double room with bath

Leo's Courtyard hostel. Centrally located. Fairly clean, employees very nice. The bar / restaurant a little expensive.
60 元 Dorm 6 with Bath


Hong Kong

Our starting point for exploring South China.Hong Kong is multicultural city, muggy  with endless shops, restaurants with neon signs.
We liked most the view from Kowloon Bay, which overlooks the skyscrapers of Hong Kong Island. We didn’t really like it much. Hong Kong is a city to go shopping, and we weren’t  planning to buy any wonderful gem or a suit or the latest electronic gadgets.

Where did we stay?

  • Nathan RNathan Roadoad
    Shopping, shopping and more shopping. Bright and brighter.











  • Avenue of stars

Bruce LeeThere are plates on the floor, dedicated to film artists from Hong Kong like the Hollywood boulevard . Here, Joan had a fight against  Bruce Lee. The best thing was that they were playing salsa on the speakers all the way along the whole walk .

 

 

 

1881 Heritage. There is a clock tower, it is the only building that looks old in Hong Kong.

Temple Street Night Market. Street market, nice cheap food.

Symphony of lights.
Hong Kong Night Each night  the skyscrapers of Hong Kong Island light up and lights change to the rhythm of the music. We expected more lights  in more buildings








Where did we stay?

USA hostel. Centrally located hostel in the tenth floor of a huge building. Taking the elevator reminded us of the Tokyo subway at rush hour. The double room was spacious with two double beds but the bathroom was ridiculous, shit and shower could be done at once. The worst thing was the musty smell on the floor.

Embassy hostel.Small central hostel, very easy to find, near the Jordan MTR station. Small clean rooms decorated in different consulates. Our room represented the Disney consulate.(nothing more to say…he,he…)

Yangshuo

After 8-hour overnight journey by bed bus, We got to Yangshuo.
The landscape of Yangshuo is like a postcard landscape, hundreds of green limestone mountains, rice fields and the meandering Li River. But touristic as Torremolinos  Torrevieja in the Chinese way


What did we do?

Bamboo raft trip down the river Yangshuo
Bamboo We rented a bike (元10) and went along the river to Yangshuo full bridge, from there to the dragon bridge. After  bargaining hard for an hour or so from 元180 to120. We only saved 6 Euros.
The trip was worth it. We enjoyed the sunset from the tranquillity of the river, broken by the passage of artificial ramps, one of which we got stuck due to low flow of the river. Joan kindly helped push the raft. Night fell, and arriving at a ramp considerably larger than the others, the rower couldn’t  find where to download it. So he didn’t risk it, brought us to the banks of the river and showed us the way to Yangshuo. We crossed rice fields, guided by the moonlight and at the end we found the road to Yangshuo.


Xinping organized trip (120元)

XinpingWhere we met Marta and Pablo a lovely couple from  Galicia. We took a walk through the village and then a motorboat ride down the Li River, to the take the typical picture that appear on  20元 notes.. When we returned to Yangshuo  we discovered that public bus trip to  Xinping  only costs 元7.


 

Moon View.

Moon ViewHalf an hour by bike from Yangshuo. It is a mountain with a hole in the middle. Like everything in China, they ask for money to see it, not worth paying a single yuan since you can see it from the main road







Show de luces

Show LucesThis show is directed by the person who designed and directed the Olympic games opening ceremony
In the play there are more than 300 actors. The scenery is the Li River and mountain. The show is a musical about the love between a fisherman and a village girl who is being wooed by a nobleman.






Where did we stay?

Bamboo house hotel. Located in a narrow street beside the local street market and near Li river. Nice and clean room but no views. Wifi works properly.
Double room with bath for 元80

Hotel Xin He. It is beside the bamboo house hotel and behind the Hotel Imperial and managed by the same people. This hotel is much quieter than the Imperial which overlooks the main street.
Rooms large and clean. Our room (402) had a terrace overlooking the River.
The best hotel so far.
Double room with bath. They asked 元120 but got it for 元80

Longj rice terraces (Dazhai Village)

LongjiIt's what we love about China, spectacular. We arrived at harvest time, although the landscape may not be as spectacular as in spring, when it’s filled with water and the mountains look like mirrors with the sun’s reflection, or in summer covered by a large green wave or in autumn: a sea of gold.
 It was very interesting to see how the rice was harvested and carried down to the village to be dried - how hard it is. We went up to several view points to see the terraces from different views
.

Where did we stay?

Galaxi Guess house.The room was small and the bathroom smelly. The hotel was quite noisy as there were children. Grandma was a pain in the arse, trying to sell stuff all the time. The great-grandmother was the best, she chatted with us and although  we didn’t understand , she seemed nice.
Double room with bath and “RAT” included 元60. We have to say that the rat was very clean and polite. When it saw us, it ran away very fast and disappeared the same way it came from. I never thought that rats could climb walls.

Da yao zhai Tavern. It was cleaner than Galaxi and the rooms more spacious, even had internet.
Double room with bathroom without rat. 元50 (asked 元60)

Cost

    €1 ≈ 11元
    1 bottle of water ≈ 25RUB
    1 beer ≈ 50RUB
    Bread ≈ 60RUB
    1 local bus ticket ≈ 7元

 

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