Visiting the Great Wall of China was always in my bucket list. So finally making the trip happen was an awesome experience!
I booked this family trip with Aboex travel agency and was in a group of 60 people. It was a bit of a production number at the immigration given this large headcount but we made it to Beijing just fine. We booked at the City Inn hotel which was conveniently located near fastfood restos and a supermart.
Most of Day 1 was for the travel so tours started on Day 2. The tours started out at Tiananmen Square followed by the fascinating Forbidden City (now called the Palace Museum).
There are interesting stories about the Forbidden City. It was closed to the public until the last Emperor was gone. No one sleeps inside the City now since there are quite a number of ghostly sightings of the Emperor’s dead wives after dark so people only do museum work there up to about 4 or 5 pm.
Afterwards, we visited Wangfujing street which reminded me of High Street in BGC. This was followed by a trip to see the Acrobatic show.
For Day 3, the first stop was what we all came there for – the Great Wall!
After the Great Wall, we had some rest at a herbal shop before going to the Bird’s Nest and Watercube buildings for photo taking.
The next day, we visited another tea shop and jade store before visiting the Summer Palace and a Giant Panda place.
We went there during Holy Week (April) so the weather was still rather cold. Best to bring a jacket or wear long sleeves.
In Beijing, people use bicycles and scooters, no motorcycles. One will see people in business attire on bicycles all day. In fact many sidewalks have bicycles that can be borrowed for a fee.
A word of caution: As much as I enjoyed drinking the tea in Beijing shops (tasted pretty good!), be wary of them, plus the jade gemstone stores. We could not opt out of visiting them as it was part of the tour package but you can always choose not to spend any hard-earned money there.
Aside from that, my only other disappointment was that the tour did not include the Temple of Heaven. All in all- I was pretty happy with this trip!
Sharing the itinerary and expenses:
• Day 1: Manila to Beijing travel
• Day 2: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, tea shop, jade store#1, Wangfujing Street, Olympic Green, acrobatic show
• Day 3: Great Wall, Herbal shop, jade store #2, Olympic green, Bird’s Nest, Watercube, souvenir shopping
• Day 4: Tea shop, jade store, Summer Palace, Giant Panda place, souvenir shopping at mall, straight to airport
• Day 5: Travel from Beijing to Manila
• Aboex package (airfare, hotel, tour): P15,888
• Travel tax: P1620 per person
• Group Visa: P2,800 per person
• Tipping: P600 per person
• Out of pocket expenses: approximately P4,000 per person
TOTAL: P24,908 per person