I never thought I’d go back to mainland China again after my last holiday in Shanghai 9 years ago left me less than impressed and with a cold but I suppose when the travel bug bites you, anywhere’s a go. Also, when you have a friend who’s adamant about going to Beijing and doesn’t want to go anywhere else, what are the other options right?
We flew Cathay Pacific because we booked our tickets quite late (about two weeks before the trip) so not very surprisingly AirAsia didn’t have the cheapest tickets anymore. I know a lot of people who pretty much only fly AirAsia because they have the perception that it must be the cheapest way since it’s a ‘budget’ airline but let me just say you can actually find better last minute deals from airlines that don’t have additional charges for a meal and luggage. You just have to be a bit more resourceful.
The only downside about flying Cathay Pacific was the transit in Hong Kong (instead of a direct flight) but that’s a small price to pay for complimentary hot food and free inflight entertainment!
When we got to Beijing it was already quite late so we just decided to have dinner at McDonald’s and call it a day because we’re old and boring like that. Haha. Plus, we were going to have a long day the next day based on the itinerary Yu Xiang planned for the three of us since no one else but him bothered to do any research and come up with an itinerary (such terrible travel buddies, I know).
So on Day Two we got up and ready and went to the Forbidden City because, well, Yu Xiang said so (and because it’s one of the main tourist attractions in Beijing if not the MAIN one).
Spring in Beijing is quite nice. The weather is cool and crisp but the blaring sun balances it out quite perfectly.
The Forbidden City is humongous! Unfortunately, Grace and I are not exactly history buffs so we kind of had that ‘seen one, seen it all’ feeling when we were navigating the different parts of the palace which had once housed over five centuries of royal families and the ancient Chinese government. Yu Xiang on the other hand was very interested in the whole history of the place and every building, especially the royal chambers because he’s perverted like that wth.
I reckon if you’re really interested in every little detail you could spend the entire day there because the place is just so huge. We spent about 3 hours or so, and that’s only because we didn’t go into every building or stop to read every description of every artefact and artwork exhibited there.