Sunday, December 29, 2019

Beijing December 2019 - PART TWO

On Day 2, our private tour guide Jerry brought us to the Great Wall (Mutianyu section), which is about 1.5hr - 2hr drive away from Beijing city.

Did you know? 
The total length of the Great Wall of China is 21,196.18km.
It took more than 2000 years to build the Great Wall, between 770BC - 1633AD, completed over many stages and several dynasties and leaderships, with most work done during the Ming Dynasty.
There are about 10 most popular sections of the Great Wall of China.
1) the best-restored, Mutianyu, 2) the most beautiful, Jinshanling, 3) the wildest, Jiankou, 4) Simatai, 5) Huanghuacheng, 6) Gubeikou, 7) Juyongguan, 8) Huangyaguan, 9) Shanhai Pass, and by far the most crowded 10) Badaling.
Picture courtesy from

Mutianyu Section is the most restored part of the Great Wall and most child-friendly.
There are toilet stops along the way, there are drink stalls where you can buy overpriced drinks and souvenirs.
You can also toboggan down at the end which our kids enjoyed thoroughly.

Please ignore my unruly children in the foreground, I would really like to highlight that this Lily's Souvenir shop is a rip-off and there are other stalls as you walk further down that allows you to haggle prices if you are nice & buy a few items.

November and December is a great time to visit as it is not crowded and you don't get photobombers or queue very long to get on the Ski lifts and toboggan rides.

Ashton was a real trooper who was the only kid that walked the most of the section, while the rest gave up and went to the starting point to hide from the cold. Looks like he's the worthy one who can go to Nepal with us some day LOL

We ended the Great Wall tour with some piping hot steamboat using copper pots when we finally got back into Beijing city.
Dong Lai Shun is Halal so it is suitable for Muslim travellers.

With our guide Jerry. 
He's highly rated on Trip Adviser and was a really friendly and accommodating chap, putting in mind our kids' endless needs and not compromising our itinerary. 

Thank you for the 2 days of fun and carefully planned itinerary Jerry!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Beijing December 2019 - PART ONE

Shortly after we came back from Bangkok and Khao Yai (I haven't got the time to even upload those photos yet), I packed furiously and scurried around to buy all the winter stuff for the kids and myself.
Off to Beijing we go!
This trip is the first ever we are doing with another family - Our good friends the Ho family and their boys Ryan (12) and Kenneth (8).
Good thing is Karen planned and helped us book everything so all we had to do was pay up, pack up and show up!

PART ONE - Checking in, visiting Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City.

Checked in to Le Zai boutique hotel at Nan Luo Gu Xiang.
The service is very good. Surprisingly in Beijing I find their citizens very friendly and helpful.
They try their best to accommodate whatever requests you may have.

There are different room types available to suit your family size needs. Overall clean and very convenient as it's located just next to the Nan Luo Gu alley which has many shops and street food at night.

Le Zai's affiliated café for breakfast, everyday from 8am - 10am.
They serve Western food and café food.

After filling our tummies we set off with our private guide to the city's sightseeing before heading  to Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City. 

Trishaw rides for everyone!

People ice-skating on the frozen lake!

Visit to a 四合院 (Siheyuan), which is a traditional courtyard house with 4 directions (Si) north, south, east, west facing one another to form a mouth (口) which is believed to be good fengshui.   

天坛 Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven)

The hall of offerings where the Emperor paid respects to the Gods and his Ancestors.
Paying respects and prayer rituals to ancestors have long been viewed as an important part of Chinese culture as it is believed that when you go to pray to Gods at a temple, it is alike a hospital with doctors treating many different types of sick people.
However, ancestors are your direct family line connected by blood so it is believed that in times of need, your Ancestors will render you help & protection, the same way a family will love & protect their own offspring first instead of other families.

The Han (Chinese) characters from the Ming Dynasty and then subsequently Manchu words were added when Qing Dynasty took over the reign. 

Over-seeing the Summer Palace 頤和園 Yiheyuan. In the Summer the emperor brings his family to the Summer Palace for leisure.

Wendi Deng (Rupert Murdoch's exwife) reportedly bought a Siheyuan facing the Imperial Palace. 

Ended the tours of the day with a piping hot soup bun where you have to sip the soup from the straw. Something like a giant Xiaolongbao.