Day 7: We took the bullet train from Hangzhou to Beijing. I highly recommend this journey for 3 reasons: 1. Trains are more often than not, on time. 2. There is more leg room. 3. You can see more countryside views by train.
Once we arrived to Beijing we took the metro to our hotel, The Great Wall Marriott. I also highly recommend staying here for excellent customer service, comfort, and convenience.
Then we took a walking tour courtesy of TimeOut Beijing through hutongs and side streets to Tian’amen Square to view the flag lowering ceremony (check here for times). The Dashilan area has excellent local cuisine and we ordered lots of veggies, noodles, and rice dishes for super cheap.
Crashed out early tonight for our super early drive to the Great Wall.
Day 8: We hired a driver (through multiple connections on my wechat app I hired him and have used his service on both drives to the Great Wall. if you have wechat I can connect you with him!) to take us to the Great Wall, it’s definitely easier this way. I originally scheduled our trip to the section called Simatai, which ended up being this fake water town tourist trap and you must buy tickets in advance. Our driver was awesome and led us to the area about 15 minutes up the road called Gubeikou or Panlongshan. If you want an “off the beaten path” experience, go here. It’s absolutely beautiful, with less crowds, in fact, we were the only ones on the trail. It’s a bit of a hike, but it’s an easy path. Just as we saw the Wall, took some awesome photos, and stunned in the grandeur of just how Great the Wall was, hiked down and got in the car it down poured. Great luck.
For dinner we ate Peking Duck. Just as your hotel’s staff for recommendations. There are plenty of choices. Peking Duck is a must eat Beijing specialty. Delicious.
We went back to the hotel for drinks and sleep.
Day 9: Before leaving Beijing we did one last walk to the Temple of Heaven, the entrance fee is reasonable, but make sure to get all the add-ons for the ultimate experience. We just bought the regular pass and wandered through the gardens before making our way to the train station to go back to Shanghai.
I took my parents to my Shanghai street noodle lady, I think she was thrilled that I had company with me. Dad and I ordered fried noodles and Mom ordered fried rice. They pretty much mastered their chopsticks skills on this trip.