Today’s post is a throwback to my trip to Beijing- one I thought would actually never happen. I made the trip last May, and while it wasn’t one of my beautiful beach vacations, it’s near the top as one of my favorites. Visiting the Great Wall of China was always on my bucket list, but who in their lifetime actually gets the chance to go?
The preparation for the trip was quite a headache (and a bit more expensive than anticipated). For some reason when applying for my visa while living in Korea, it made the cost nearly double and I ended up paying a whopping $230 (more expensive than the flight itself). I also had a bit of an issue because my IDs didn’t say the “same name”… and by this I mean my passport says “Flynn, Megan R.” and my license says “Flynn, Megan R” …I mean, seriously? I bet you had to go back and look. The visa was submitted but I wasn’t going to find out if it was approved until a few days before my departure. Fingers crossed, it was approved and we left a few days later!
After a short 2 hour flight from Seoul, we made it through customs and hopped in a cab to take to our hotel. We stayed at the PentaHotel (highly recommended) in the most perfect location! We were in the heart of a large shopping district equidistant to everything we wanted to see- The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Silk Market, Pearl Market, Wangfujing Food Street, Temple of Heaven, etc. After checking in, we turned in for the night and quickly connected to our VPNs so we could use Google to plan out our next few days (Yes, it’s true. Google/Facebook/ Instagram are blocked in China).
SHOPPING & EATING: WANGFUJING FOOD STREET
Yes, I did eat scorpion on stick.
GREAT WALL OF CHINA
For more photos of the Great Wall, check out my Black and White Gallery
Our last day was a bit rushed so I focused more on getting gifts for my family instead of pulling my camera out. After checking out of our hotel, we walked to the Pearl Market and unfortunately got lost along the way (the whole no Google maps thing was a pain), so we didn’t have a much time there as we wanted. The market was dozens of floors filled with electronics, make-up, clothing, jewelry, toys, pretty much anything (and everything) that has ever had a “made in China” label on it. It was so overwhelming!
We bought our trinkets and headed off to the airport where it was much more difficult getting out of the country than in. I had to go through a few extra screenings as well as have my entire suitcase dumped on the metal counter at security. No hesitation- they unzipped it and dumped it. I wasn’t pleased to say the least. We made it through, bags in hand, and headed back to our lovely homes in Seoul.