Do I recommend you to travel as I do? Maybe. If you don’t mind last-minute changes and instead of fancy hotels, you want to get a taste of the real culture! That case, my China adventure is something for You!
I spent fourteen days trying to visite five cities. I did make it to four. Based on the planning I did beforehand, I consider this is as a great success.
After three airports and two and a half-day of traveling, seeing in Helsinky. I have made it to Beijing China International airport. My taxi driver was pre-arranged and already waiting for me. As we stepped out of the airport building, I remember the air was so heavy, and humid had some difficulty to adjust to it.
In the first few days, I have planned to explore Bejing. The city has a fascinating mix combining traditional and modern lifestyles. I did purchase a subway card, but I find it myself walking as much as I can. To see just everyday life in the city. I have rented an apartment in a more residential area in the newer build part of the town. After 6 pm by the local garden, peoples of all ages come together to dance or to chat up with each other. In one world for socializing. Something that, unfortunately, I don’t see in bigger cities around Europe. Even I was more than welcome to join them.
This was just before the 2018 Luna New year. I wish I could be there to see the celebration, but this had to wait until the other time.
It was a trendy urban coffee shop just on the ground floor of my building. Served one of the sweetest breakfast honey bread I have ever had.
I have been tried to visit the Forbidden City 2 times while I was there, but the US President visited at the same time. I haven’t got the chance to look around only to see the gates. ( This is an excellent reason to go back soon )
Then it was time to visit the Great Wall. I went by train. You can hire taxi services, but it’s almost triple the price, and the drivers are not the easiest ones to deal wit. To jump ahead a bit on the way back, I did end up going with a taxi to save some time. I got the worst of the rush hour and I agreed with the driver beforehand in the feed ( CNY300) when I got the station that I asked him to take me. He started to raise his voice and claiming we agreed in 400. So I ended up leaving the 300 in the car and run to the station!
Basic Facts about Badaling Great Wall Train S2
- Ticket Price: CNY7
- Duration: 1.5 hours
As much as I would love to spend more time in Bejing, it was time to pack up and hop on the train to my next destination.
My first train ride in China was surprisingly pleasant. I had no idea what the different ticket types are and the only available was hard sleep. ( This means I had spent 16 hours in a cabin with six bunk beds. I have slept so well. so no complains here )
I have arrived at 5 am and the only place was open to sit inside and kill some time before checking in to the next hostel was Macdonalds. After hours of doing absolutely, nothing was time to go back to the train station and purchase the next ticket as I have planned to stay in Xi’an for only one day. The only tickets were available to my next destination is for a train leaving at 1 am! The quick realization I have less than 24 hours to make the most of this town.
To visit the Terracotta Warriors is a good hour bus drive from the train station. As I was short on time, I had to run through the museum taking as many pictures I can and try to get back to my hostel to get at least an hour’s sleep before heading back to the train station. To spend the next 26 hours on HARD SEAT class.
One thing I have noticed more and more as I travel around the world is that most of the countries I have visited my best experiences are when I have met the locals who’re not necessarily the wealthiest just every day Joe’s.
The Most Memorable Train Ride
These 26 hours started weirdly when I sat down next to a group of 6, one with my big suitcase, had so many eyes on me that I felt uncomfortable. Most of the travelers were low class working peoples carrying their stuff in bags, and here I’m with my fancy suitcase and I even scared to sleep because who knows what’s going to happen… This was my first 18 hours.
Then things started to change when one guy tried to sell a bag of cherries to my Dad. ( he doesn’t eat any fruits… Yes I know )
Then somebody just both the container and shared with everyone in the carriage. After everyone started to offer us different delicacies and communicate somehow.
To try to overcome the communication difficulties and say thank you to my Husband, luckily downloaded a translating app that can translate as you speak.
What the guy said after we realized that it is possible to find a way to understand each other was just so touching and sweet that made us feel so fullish being afraid before.
Next Stop Is Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Wulingyuan, China
Zhangjiajie is a city in Hunan province of China. It is famous for its unique mountainous shapes and formations. It was recently elevated to worldwide prominence because these mountains were used as the mountains of the planet Pandora in the blockbuster movie “Avatar.” Zhang is the family name, Jia means “family” and the last character Jie means “area” or “world.”
If you love adventure, you won’t want to miss a hiking trip to Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon. There is a glass bridge over the canyon and you’ll love this if you crave fun and exciting experiences.
To get to the top of the mountains, I took the cable car ( was the longest and probably the most extreme hight that I have ever been on with the cable car) The roads under us just become tiny lines.
I love being high up and never had any issues before. But walking all day on the edge of the cliff and just working myself through the crowd was a bit challenging. Even in November, when it’s not the primary season, a lot of tourists visiting the park! It’s a bit chilly but so gorgeous as the clouds are slowly swimming in the mountain tops.
I actually ended up spending an extra day in here for two reasons. Number one was no train to the next city I have planned to visit number two is this just so many things to see here you can easily send a week just wondering around the national park and the city.
Last But Certainly Not Least Stop Is Shanghai
I did manage to grab a soft sleep ticket on my way to the city beautiful private cabin with soft beddings. ( it was almost too lovely based on my previous rides, however it was boring …) Just as so fare everything else on this trip, things haven’t really calmed down when I arrived in Shanghai.
To give you an idea was 5 pm pouring rain and walking on the streets to find a place with free wifi.
The booking provider had managed to find me a property in the same price range and was available but was a bit far from the location I have booked before. In the end, I not just got a much better apartment but was right next to Nanjing Road. China No. 1 commercial center. It was the earliest commercial street in Shanghai since the city opened to the outside world.
It was my last two days in China, and it felt like I have just bearly scratched the surface of it by rushing through many cities and trying to see everything. Overall my suggestion if you don’t have a month to spend traveling around and want to see as much as possible. Look up some organized holiday packages or make sure to do your research beforehand (not like I did). You don’t have to worry about to make it to all of your destinations, train tickets and such.
But if you are looking for some adventure so far, this trip was one of my most spontaneous and memorable holidays and if I had a chance to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I hope you made it to the end. I know it was a long one. If you did, I really hope you liked it. Would love to hear your thoughts or chat in the comments section. You can sign up for My new letter just down below! Get notified when I have a new adventure published.