Beijing is a bustling city which grew on me slowly over the course of my seven-day stay. Following the first two days, I was ready to leave after growing tired of the pushy and rude locals who thought they were clearly above the rest of us who were lining up for various attractions, but after an amazing day at The Great Wall in Jinshanling and another great day biking around the city, Beijing was a city that I was starting to really enjoy.
The highlight of Beijing for me was riding around the city, which I’ve already written about, but no trip to the Chinese capital is complete without a trip to The Great Wall of China. I chose to head to the Jinshanling area of the wall and hiked along it for about 6km to Simatai which was an unbelievable experience with sweeping views of the wall and surrounding mountains without any other tourists!
The five senses of Beijing
Beijing looks like people. With over a billion people in China, Beijing is swarming with locals and tourists alike and there aren’t too many places you can go without being shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of others!
Beijing smells like urine. Not everywhere you go smells like number 1s, but this was by far the most distinct smell during my stay. The city is littered with public toilets because most of the local houses don’t have them and these are the Chinese style ‘squat’ toilets. Although cleaned regularly, the smell is piercing!
Beijing feels like cold. After leaving Perth’s 37-degree temperatures just days before arriving in Beijing, the -4 degree minimums and 10-degree maximums were a shock to the system!
Beijing tastes like chilli. Chilli goes on everything. I found a great restaurant and ended up eating there seven times during my stay and chilli was a staple with their dumplings, chicken and rice and noodle soup!
Beijing sounds like horns. Horns are essential in Beijing with traffic merging from all directions and road rules thrown out the window in this bustling city. Cars and bikes share the road with rickshaws and pedestrians and you can’t go anywhere without the sound of horns or bike bells being rung.
Beijing was a great experience and a city that I could definitely visit again in the future, but for now it’s onto the Trans-Siberian Railway and Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia!
Country number 32 – China… Check!