Just a month after solo
backpacking flashpacking to Singapore, I packed my bag and my yellow minion Lojel luggage heading to Beijing. Why so impulsive? It’s not. I had missed my best friends who currently reside there. And I thought, early summer was the best time to go. So, I checked my travel app and booked return tickets from China Southern Airlines. For I stayed in my friends’ apartment, I did not prepare to book any hotels.
The one I did not think through was that in between my 10 days visit, there were 3 days celebration of Dragon Boat Festival. It was long holiday in China, not a smart move to visit several popular sites. And so, in those 3 days, I practically went nowhere, except nearby mall and park. Ahahahaa…
- Day 1 – Jakarta-Guangzhou-Beijing
- Day 2 – Forbidden City, Wangfujing Street
- Day 3 – Tsinghua University
- Day 4 – Olympic Park
- Day 5 – Confucius Temple, Hutong
- Day 6 – Dragon Boat Festival
- Day 7 – Temple of Heaven, Pearl Market, Silk Market
- Day 8 – Mutianyu Greatwall
- Day 9 – Summer Palace
- Day 10 – Beijing-Guangzhou-Jakarta
Eight effective days to explore but only several places to visit. Ahahaa.. I was such a panda traveler. But, I enjoyed it very much. That’s the point of holidays, isn’t it? I did not want to be exhausted after holidays. I wanted to relax and happy.
Transportation in Beijing was quit easy and cheap. This huge (super huge) city was provided with Subway, buses, taxis, rent-bikes, tuk-tuk (kind of bemo in Indonesia) and even an uber-like app cars.
I bought Transportation Smart Card (blue card) in first station after airport, Dongzhimen. I used this card for Airport Express, Subway and bus. No worries.
My friend’s apartment was located in Shangdi area, the Silicon Valley of Beijing, not in downtown and so, when travel alone I mostly used Subway. Highest rate I paid for a trip using Subway was only 5 yuan for maybe 20 km, other than 25 yuan for Airport Express. There were around 20 lines in Beijing, each journey in one line was 2 yuan. All subway stations and trains information was in English, so the chance to be lost was zero.
Bus was a bit different, though only cost 1 yuan per line (using smart card), sometimes the information was not so clear. I got a bit confused with the pronunciation, so I just remembered the street alright.
Bicycle rental in Beijing amazed me. It was such a brilliant idea. There were around 40,000 public bikes around town which could be easily activated and paid using an app. They were literally everywhere. I enjoyed cycling so much in Beijing.
I only used taxis when I was with K and Z. It’s because taxi drivers rarely speak English. I had no chance. Ahahaha..
Walk. Walk. Walk. Beijing was all about walking. Serously, because as I told you, this city was huge. The Chinese people sure knew how to built massive buildings and parks.
Thank you, Z and K!
My lovey-dovey couple friends had been angels during my stay. Thank you, K and Z! Love you so much, buds. For the apartment, 24-hours access to fridge (LOL!), night clubs, most hip expats cafe, Chinese sushi, best burger in town and all those delightful Persian dinner. I wish you both happiness for the rest of your life!
Also for K’s beloved brother, P. Who invited me to your hometown, Tehran. It was such a wonderful time to meet you again. Thank you for the saffron cotton candy! I love it. Hope to see you again.