A few years ago, China introduced the so called 72 hours VISA to increase tourism. There are som limits within these VISA’s, for example that you can’t leave the province , but you don’t need or have time to in 72 hours anyway. China is a massive country and as you probably know the largest by population with 1,4 billion people (until India will pass them in about 10 years). They are also the 3rd largest country when it comes to area, so it’s pretty obvious that 3 days in this country is not enough at all. But, I rather have 3 % of something than 100 % of nothing.
China and Beijing is fun, different and interesting. For example, you can’t use services like Google, Facebook or Instagram – they are all blocked (if you don’t surf via a VPN server in another country). Which makes it even funnier to go here because you can’t just use Google Maps and find everything. You actually have to use your brain a lot more and also ask people – which don’t speak any English at all. When people say that Chinese can’t speak English, I always thought it was exaggerated – but it’s actually true. Most of them don’t know a single word of English, not even the young ones.
Besides that, it was surprisingly developed and civilized in many ways and I must say enjoyed walking around in Beijing. And if you like to walk, you can walk a lot. It’s big! So mostly you will probably go by metro, which is super easy and fast. It’s impressive how good infrastructure these mega-cities have, but I guess they would not function without them.
I went to the two major attractions in Beijing; the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. I mean, when in Beijing you MUST visit the Wall! Let’s start with the Forbidden city. An impressive architecture and small little “city” in the centre of Beijing. This was home to different Emperors way back, and the reason it’s called forbidden is because no one could enter without permission without the Emperor himself. A cool attraction in many ways, but Chinese tourists are noisy, take a lot of space and also point with their selfie-sticks EVERYWHERE!
So, to what’s probably more interesting for the most of you; the Great Wall – and trust me – it’s GREAT! 21 000 kilometers and in average 8 meters high. It’s massive and also very beautiful and impressive where it’s lying in the mountains. However, it took hundres of years to build, more than a million men died in the process and the wall didn’t really fill it’s planned function. The Chinese built it for defense against tribes from the north, Mongolia. But it didn’t work, so let’s all hope Trump will not build a wall against Mexico, because that’s ain’t gonna work.
If you look at the pictures you see no other people and I’ve unfortunately not skills enough to photoshop them away, so believe it or not, but there were almost NO people there! Sounds unbelievable, right? I agree and totally understand you. The thing is, there are different parts of the wall you can go for a visit. Most people go to a place called Badaling, said to be very scenic but extremely crowded as well. I went to a place which took 3 hour by car to get there, and then a 3 hour hike on the wall to get to the top and these views and it was worth it – breathtaking but pretty hard in the warm weather. I guess there were around 5-7 people there spread out on 6 kilometers, so even xenophobes can go there.
So, this was just a scratch on the surface of China. It’s the fastest growing economy in the world and it opens a new Starbucks every 23rd hour and Beijing is, I guess with Shanghai, probably the most modern cities. I would also like to go to the countryside and Tibet, but time will tell if I’ll ever get there. Anyways, the three days I spent in Beijing were awesome!