Meeting Big Buddha on Lantau Island

I’d never been in a glass-bottomed cable car before, but we decided to splash out on an upgrade from normal cable car to glass-bottomed one! It was a fun experience, floating across the sea and over a lush green island.  It was also fun to watch my boyfriend squirm as he refused to sit on the glass floor. Payback for when he got to watch me squirm as I handed over 170 HKD each – approx. £13 each for a cable car ride (!).

Cable Car to Lantau IslandYou have to be careful to find out what time the last cable car back is as the cable cars were pretty busy. Continue reading

Mr East meets Mrs West in Hong Kong

It’s crazy to think that in my lifetime (ie. not long ago!) Hong Kong was owned by Britain! The British influence was evident and it certainly felt more western than Beijing. Most things were written in English as well as Chinese, particularly in the shopping malls and business districts, and there seemed to be lots of western business people about. Some of the buses even looked familiar (same make!). But this created a pleasing mix with the sights and sounds of China! (Although this is technically not China proper, but the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR for short, which is unfortunate as it makes me think of SARS- sorry!)).

We dutifully visited the giant cigar that is the monument to the British rule, and the Golden Bauhinia statue (a flower), which are situated in front of the Convention Centre on the waterfront. However we were soon torn away by the excitement of crossing the harbour on the ferry and marvelling in the famous skyline.

Hong Kong Skyline (night)The buildings are fairly creative, with bizarre geometric shapes. They celebrate the awesome skyline with a laser light display, called the Symphony of Lights, Continue reading

How to Travel in Countries with Different Alphabets

A colleague once told me that I could not, would not, should not travel in China without being part of a guided tour group. I wasn’t sure if this was correct or not, but he had been there, after all, so I was inclined to semi-believe him.

Well, I am happy to say that I laugh in the face of this advice now, as I have travelled in many countries where I cannot read the “A, B, C”, let alone speak.

Hong Kong streetThis blog is not about travelling anywhere abroad Continue reading

Best and Worst of Beijing

As Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”. I don’t think he was talking about a trip to Beijing at the time, but if the glove fits…

The Best

Food

We had some lovely meals in China. Provided we chose wisely, food was inexpensive and delicious. (See my blog on Food in Beijing).

Shopping street, Beijing

Shopping

China has the usual high street shops, but also a plethora of markets: from the designer market selling designer knock-offs to the pearl market where you can buy real pearls relatively cheaply. Continue reading

Delicious Food (and Duck Blood) in Beijing

I wasn’t prepared for the food on menus in Beijing. Sauteed bullfrogs legs. Braised duck blood with pork intestines. It does sounds suspiciously like something out of Macbeth (“Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog”).

Starfish etcSome of the street food looked so intimidating I’d be scared to touch it – like starfish, scorpions, a bat, and something with spikes. The scorpions were still alive and wriggling, despite being impaled on a skewer. Continue reading

How to get to the Great Wall of China on the Public Bus

I realise that this is a very niche blog post. If you’re not going there, don’t read it. But if you are, it could change your life (well, it could make your day a lot better anyway).

We attempted to get a public bus from Beijing to the Great Wall of China and I found it difficult to find information on this topic from guidebooks or tourist information. The internet was the best source. We managed it, but as I described in my last blog, it was a total nightmare.  So here are my tips, in case you want to attempt it:- Continue reading

Filmstars at the Great Wall of China

Ahhh the Great Wall of China. You probably think of how it can be seen from space. I think of queue jumping in epic proportions. Humph. The day started well. In fact it was all quite funny – just before we climbed onto The Wall, a Chinese girl came up and asked to have a photo with me and my boyfriend. Of course we happily obliged. Then another person wanted a photo with us. Then a queue started to form….  We were happy to do photos at first, but after a while I realised we weren’t actually going to see the wall but would spend all day being an “alternative” tourist attraction next to the Great Wall. (And if you’re wondering why anyone would want photos with me and my BF… well, quite!)

Great Wall of China - BadalingAfter we extracted ourselves from that situation, I waited for my BF as he popped to the toilet. While I waited, a lady tried to sell me something. I politely said no. She offered me something else. I said no. Continue reading

Beijing: Old, New and Olympic

Beijing was truly a mixture of the traditional, the modern, and the strange. From the beautiful old architecture of the forbidden city to the sleek glass shopping centres. It also had a tinge of the strange – scorpions to eat but no access to Facebook. A topsy-turvy world as we know it (although some would say that eating scorpions is preferable to being on FB 😉 ).

Tiananmen Square, BeijingOur first port of call was Tiananmen Square. You can’t help but be somber here, remembering the history of the place. In 1989 (which is not very long ago – I was alive then!) there was a student protest in the Square on 4 June. Continue reading