Small journey in big China
About the journey
I found a very good offer of return flights to Beijing, so i moved the planned journey to China by one month ahead. Circuit in the northern part of the country was on the plan, starting in Beijing and visiting places in Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan and Shandong provinces.

Countries visited: China
Travelperiod: 3/2007

Photoblog
Beijing Railway Station
Beijing Railway Station
my room in Beijing Leo Hostel
my room in Beijing Leo Hostel

After over 20 hours of travelling i finally landed in Beijing. Foggy and cold morning. Took a bus to downtown, made a stroll around Wangfujing and Tian An Men Square and then anchored in Leo Hostel, placed in hutong south of Qian Men Square.

Chinese Parliament and the Tiananmen Square
Chinese Parliament and the Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Gate
Tiananmen Gate

Woke up at 2AM. Jetlag like hell. Past 5AM i forced myself to go out into the morning Beijing streets and walked to Tian An Men Square to see the flag ceremony. Later in the day I visited the Temple of Heaven, one of the main sights in BJ.

Taichi training in park next to Temple of Heaven
Taichi training in park next to Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven is simply a stunning piece of architecture. Reportedly, no single nail was used during the construction and it's a purely wooden structure. In the afternoon i headed to Beijing West Railway Station to grab a ticket for my onward journey - Datong in Shanxi province.

Military museum in Beijing
Military museum in Beijing
inside of the Forbidden City
inside of the Forbidden City

Following day i headed to explore another top sight of Beijing - the Forbidden City. Althought i arrived really early in the morning, already quite some crowds of tourists were on the spot. Despite that, i can highly recommend to pay it a visit. In the evening i'm leaving by train to Datong - one of the most polluted cities in China, but couple of UNESCO sites are nearby.

Beijing routine
Beijing routine
welcome to Datong
welcome to Datong

After maybe only 3 hours of sleep on the train, i reached Datong next day early morning. Awful, smoggy morning. Placed my backpack in a left luggage at the train station and headed to get something for breakfast. And to find a bus to the famous Yungang Grottoes.

Yungang Grottoes
Yungang Grottoes
me and one of the big statues
me and one of the big statues

Short but insane bus ride moved me to the caves. Whole area has around 50 000 Buddha statues and few of them are above 20 metres tall. A must see. Unfortunately, coal mining industry around gives the statues quite a toll.

lunch in a restaurant in Datong
lunch in a restaurant in Datong
chinese girl in Pingyao
chinese girl in Pingyao

Following night was another "on a train" night - i moved southwards to Pingyao. The old town in Pingyao is tranquil, narrow lanes, nice old houses, bit touristy, but bearable. I spent 2 days here and then moved to Xian.

ancient walls around Pingyao Old Town
ancient walls around Pingyao Old Town
Pingyao alleys
Pingyao alleys

Xian is another hustling bustling giant of China. I arrived in the evening, but managed to walk around the major sights - Bell Tower, Drum Tower, ancient city walls and ended the day in a restaurant in Moslem quarter.

welcome to Xian
welcome to Xian
Drum Tower
Drum Tower

Be in Xian and skip the Terracotta Army would be a crime. Half day organized tours are offered for around 150 kuai, but there is a public bus leaving from the square in front of the railway station, which takes you to the site as well. Ride for 8 kuai.

visiting the Terracota Army
visiting the Terracota Army
Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army
street fast-food in the Moslem Quarter in Xian
street fast-food in the Moslem Quarter in Xian
in the streets of Xian
in the streets of Xian

Third day in Xian was my last day there and at 6 PM i departed by train to Beijing. A journey 1250km and 12 hours long. Fortunately i found a good company in my compartment. Whole next day was dedicated to visit of the Great Wall. I picked the Mutianyu section, which is far less touristy than Badaling and in the same time not very far from the city.

the Great Chinese Wall - Mutianyu section
the Great Chinese Wall - Mutianyu section
Tiananmen Square by dusk
Tiananmen Square by dusk

The Mutianyu section is partially restored and no crowds were present, so i did enjoy the walk on the Wall.
During last few days i made a half day trip to Tianjin, but otherwise i stayed in Beijing. Last day in the evening taking bus to the airport and without any issues en route getting back home.

navigate;
back
page top
side lane;
travelstats
trains in europe
elsewhere;
trekearth
share;
twitter
delicious
digg
© 2005 - 2017 david smrkovsky