As there is little to traveling right now, I’ll go over some of my recent travels. Please try Beijing. As you can tell from my crude map, it’s a very centralised type of old city, with a central ring road and road system; ideal for walking.
Of my trips to the far east, two were to China, with the second trip seeing Beijing for a second time. After the first time the year before, I couldn’t wait to get back. Unfortunately, I lost many of the photos from that year, owing to a disaster with my PC! Not deterred, after the second visit, I actually took my time to save my photos onto my hard drive properly.
Please, before you die, I’d recommend that you go here. It still has enough of its old charm (though you may disagree), that is mixed with its newfound wealth.
I’d recommend, and the next few blog posts will show, several things:
* The Hutongs
* The old European quarter / Tiananmen Square
* The zoo / Summer Palace, in the outer northwest of the city
* The Qianhai Lake area, a musical, hive of activity, particularly at night
* Just walk in the streets – Central Beijing is VERY easy to get about in.
We started by getting a cheaper, studenty / youth hostel – the 161 Hotel, at about £40 / night, that also did a reasonable breakfast, right in the central Hutong area. In addition, the Panda Bear beer was delicious!
A Hutong being a number of narrow alleyways / streets, that have been used for centuries, both as courtyard residences, as well as an area where some of the old royalty had lived. These are now both being preserved and also possess a variety of cafes, pubs, bike shops, hotels and millionaire flats – in certain areas. My favourite place, was the Ho Kitchen & Co. establishment, with a very nice draft beer. My friend told me, that some of the properties are worth well over a million dollars (or pounds, I can’t remember) nowadays. Mainly for the central location.
Whilst at times, there was a degree of, dare I say impoverishment, the overall level of safety and basic amenities were never in question. Though, I must warn you that it is an experience if you are desperate to use the public rest rooms! From what I had watched on the tv, and what our bartender / barista had confirmed, it is the intention of the Chinese government to launch a mammoth improvement of these much needed facilities, a total of about 100,000, if I understood correctly.
In addition, when I was talking to the said bartender, because I had noticed that in my previous trip (the year before), that there was a larger window in the pub that faced the Hutong street, he confirmed my recollection. But he also added, that this was due to a government edict, that he really had no desire to talk about – which was interesting.
All of the photos are from the Wudaoying Hutong area.