China Travels: Beijing (北京)

I have been quite missing for the last couple of weeks because I was in Beijing for a holiday and well, you know, everything is blocked in China.

Beijing (北京)
Beijing (北京)

I have always wanted to visit The Forbidden City and The Great Wall of China so we came across a super cheap and good deal for a group package tour to Beijing quite at the last minute so needless to say, we grabbed it. (ie, S$638 for a 8D7N, SQ, full board & accommodation + 1 Free & Easy Day from SA Tours. <– I believe this is a special year-end price so maybe you guys can keep a look out too?)

Beijing is AMAZING. I never thought I’d say this but if the Great Firewall of China ceased to exist, I’d migrate to live in Beijing in a heartbeat.

While Beijing is a city with a few hundred years of history, the city didn’t feel very old. It was very modern and the vibe in the air is very different from all the ancient architecture you see in Europe; especially in Roma, Italia.

Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 3 (北京首都国际机场)
Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 3 (北京首都国际机场)

Everything in Beijing is super-sized. It is an average of 10 minutes to walk past a building front from end to end in the business district. I am not kidding. Their major roads have 8 lanes in each direction. AND it is about 2.6Km around half the perimeter of the Forbidden City from the front to the back entrance.

Beijing (北京)
Beijing (北京)

Just imagine the amount of leg power I’ve vested in my 8 days there. I have a few blisters to show for it.

One particularly memorable trivia I remembered was how the street in front of the Forbidden City (紫禁城/故宫) called “长安街 (ChangAn Street)” is 43 Km in length; that’s like almost the entire length of Singapore!!

I have always known that as a Singaporean, my perspective on distance and travel duration is super warped and Beijing really opened my eyes.

Like many of you, I used to dislike China a lot for various reasons but I kept my mind opened and went to China for a holiday. I’m really glad I did. I’ve been to at least one country in every continent except South America and Antartica and no one is more amazing than China so far. The amount of mountains, rivers, nature, wildlife, history and culture; China really does have everything.

In the 10 years since the first time I have visited China in my holidays, I’ve seen China change so much and believe me, you’ll want to pay more attention to them. Whether you like it or not, you’ll need to look towards China in the future as a Singaporean be it to learn from their history and/or to keep an eye on their progress to stay ahead of the competition.

I’ve always found learning Chinese to be a chore but now, I often feel regret from how lacking my Mandarin is whenever I am in China. The amount of history and culture that I cannot full appreciate and understand because of my bad Chinese.

So yes, kids, please study hard for Chinese as well if you are still in school.

That said, I’ll post up some other photos from Beijing over the next few days before I get back to the music and concert/events stuff. Watch this space.

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