one of the thing tat I didnt do during travel is to join travel Tour. No matter its a day tour or a full tour. I just hate being tied up with a group people and wasting time waiting each other and most of the time actually spent on visiting factory selling stuff that useless to me. But this is what I did on my travel to Beijing and after spending few days exploring beijing and the usual tourist attraction, I wanted to visit the great wall but since its away from the city, traveling alone will be expansive . I walked around WangfuJing Shopping street and I saw a tour package for 100RMB for a half day budget tour to Ming dynasty tomb and great wall. Budget tour means they won’t accept any tips and they also won’t force you to buy anything from the factory and they even include a Lunch. Sound like a good deal. I sign up for the tour and they ask me whether I am interested to see the Flag raising ceremony at Tiananmen. Since I was curious about it, I agree to see the ceremony and they inform me to get ready at 4 am in the morning the next day and the bus will come and pick me up. 4AM! apparently the flag raising ceremony time is different every day depends on when the Sun rises. Since I travel on June and the sun rise at 4.40 AM on the next day.
the bus come on time and we reached tiananmen around 4.20 am. Our bus parked beside the forbidden city and we walked toward Tiananmen area which is opposite of Forbidden city. I was shocked to see easily few hundreds of peoples already gather at the Tiananmen area behind the Flag pole. out tour guide ask us not to go to the Tiananmen side as it will be hard to get away after the ceremony finish
Many guard on duty to make sure we didn’t cross the line
after waiting for 15 minutes, a bunch of guard marching out from Forbidden city under the watchful eyes of Chairman Mao toward Tiananmen .
after some shouting, the National anthem of China start to play and the China flag is raise slowly . This ceremony is carry out everyday without fail no matter how bad the weather and condition is. IF you cannot wake up to see the ceremony, you can see the flag lowering ceremony before the sunset. There is nothing much to see actually but its more a patriotic gesture for the Chinese to express their love of country. after the ceremony ended , everyone rushing to their tour bus and start their journey.
after about 1 hour, we reach the Badaling section of great wall. there are few places you can visit the great wall near beijing and Badaling being the most touristy as its near to Beijing and its already been undergone heavy restoration.
everywhere you go in China is always crowded with peoples. no exception here and wejoin lots of peoples to start the climb up the higher section of the wall
According to the local Chinese, “If you haven’t climbed the Great Wall, you are not a real man; but which wall actually is the real one since the great wall is so long.
some section can be really steep.
Some section with ladder for easier climb.
some section far away which is in bad condition
the wall continue far into the mountain distance away. if you feeling adventurous and don’t want to stuck with too many tourist, its better to visit other section of the great wall such as Mutiayu or juyongguan which is more original and you won’t see busload of tourist there. Since Badaling already undergone massive restoration, the wall itself look too new for my liking.
after spending about 2 hour at the wall, we continue our tour to Ming Dynasty Tomb. The guide start talking on the microphone introducing the benefit of Jade and their use for the chinese. (since we are going to Jade factory) she keep talking about jade for the whole journey till we reach the factory which is about 1 and a half hour away . Since its a budget tour , nobody on our bus interested to buy anything and we had lunch there which is provided by the jade factory.
we visited Ming dynasty tomb or known as Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Emperors as thirteen emperor during the Ming dynasty was buried here. Nothing much to see around the area as only 1 of the tomb been excavated and Only the Changling and Dingling tombs are open to the public. I didn’t take any photos here as nothing interesting to capture.
Beijing and outer travel map
the tour come to and end at about 2 pm and they drop me off at Olympics stadium as I wanted to walk around the olympics stadium and take Subway back to my hotel. the tour is cheap but I won’t follow any tour as its I hate waiting for other peoples and I tend to spend more time at some of places for photos.