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Old 15-07-2018, 10:06 PM   #61
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Trans Siberian and Beijing inter city rail has some difference. I didnt find both types to be unbearable though. I actually like the top coz can sit upright and also have your privacy.
what do you mean by Beijing intercity? Intercity means between cities. Between cities in Beijing? Or you mean the Beijing metro (which I doubt)?
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Old 15-07-2018, 10:09 PM   #62
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There are no Trans Siberian trains. The train between Beijing to Moscow (via UB) is the Chinese train. The train between China and Mongolia could be a Chinese or Mongolian train, depending on schedule. The train between Mongolia and Russia could be a Chinese, Mongolian and/or Russian (not sure about this) train, depending on schedule.
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Old 15-07-2018, 11:13 PM   #63
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what do you mean by Beijing intercity? Intercity means between cities. Between cities in Beijing? Or you mean the Beijing metro (which I doubt)?
I mean the china intercity railway but I can't say for all cities as I only shuttle between guilin and Beijing for the intercity rail. My apologies for confusion.
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Old 15-07-2018, 11:15 PM   #64
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There are no Trans Siberian trains. The train between Beijing to Moscow (via UB) is the Chinese train. The train between China and Mongolia could be a Chinese or Mongolian train, depending on schedule. The train between Mongolia and Russia could be a Chinese, Mongolian and/or Russian (not sure about this) train, depending on schedule.
Thanks for correction. I mean russian intercity, Mongolia Russia intercity and china intercity. I'll prefer russian, then Chinese then Mongolian.
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Old 16-07-2018, 03:19 AM   #65
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Beijing D1 - 16/6/18

I woke up around 7a.m and it was already very much daylight. I looked through the landscape which was gradually replaced with man-made structures. I was not in Beijing yet but along one of the cities close to Beijing. That's when I took this photo. It was just rows and rows of empty condos/flats and not a single window was opened. However, development of the place looked very much complete. News articles about parts of cities in China being a ghost town came back into memory. It was also at this stop that vendor shops are opening up to sell food and necessities on the train to passengers.




At about 8a.m, I walked to the restaurant car for breakfast. It was reasonably priced from the menu but the food was average and sufficient to fill the stomach.



I had century egg porridge with sausage, salted vegetable, hard egg and 5 mantou with funny tasting milk. I didn't drink the milk though, it was too hideous I am sure I will puke drinking the odd concoction.



I reached Beijing West railway station in the morning at 10.30a.m.



As Beijing caters to a population of 20million citizens, the station was humongous but I was bewildered by the sheer enormity of it. I had difficulty navigating both the railway and the subway and the many exits in order to retrieve back my swiss knife. The swiss army knife was located 300m away from the main station and took me about 1 hour of navigation to retrieve it and another hour of getting lost in the railway/subway; they are divided into 2 sections but intertwined where they meet. That is Beijing railway station with the south entrance. Just 1 exit and imagine the scale with 6 different exits.



I chanced upon a Yoshinoya and little do I know that we will be fated to meet a few days later at the Beijing South railway outlet. This was taken at Beijing West railway outlet and you will see one in 5 days time at the South outlet, coincidental?
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Old 16-07-2018, 03:28 AM   #66
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Beijing D1 - 16/6/18

I bought the Yitongka which works like a stored value CEPAS card in Singapore. About 30mins onboard the train, I finally reached BaJiao YouLeYuan subway station and walked to what will be the best accommodation of my whole backpack: Mercure Wanshang Beijing.


Booking a room is incredibly expensive in Beijing and it cost S$330 for 5 nights in a private room hostel in central Beijing. Since Beijing's public train/bus is efficient and cheap, I opted for a 5 night stay in suburban Beijing at Mercure for 5 nights at S$380 and it's total luxurious when coupled with my silver Accorhotels member card.
Complimentary welcome drink, late checkout, welcome gift, what's not to love? Moreover, the GM included a complimentary room upgrade so that I have my 5 nights in a room with bigger size!






After settling down in the hotel, the first thing was to book our bus tickets from Beijing to Erlian. Unfortunately, the Muxiyuan Long Distance bus station was closed permanently. I had to try another but the working day was about to end. Deciding to postpone the bus ticket purchase to tomorrow, I proceeded to KFC which was mediocre sadly. I have never had a worst KFC in my life. The burger was average, the chicken wings did not have the secret recipe taste, it may as well be another fried chicken fast food outlet.


Ending the day, I went to a mall near my hotel and spent abit of time window shopping and grocery shopping.
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Old 16-07-2018, 03:41 AM   #67
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Beijing D2- 17/6/18

The next day was my most awaited visit to the Forbidden City. The visit to Badaling Great Wall of China was also my next highlight the day after. Upon reaching the Forbidden City entrance, I bought the entrance tickets with audio guide. This is the audio guide in the 2nd picture below, which comes with an electronic map.




Unfortunately, the GPS on the audio guide was not as accurate and only 80% of the guide was vocalised. It was a Sunday and the Forbidden Palace was crawling with people when we reached 30mins after opening hour.
Alot of people braved the light rain with umbrellas and raincoats. This was not an attraction to be missed. With the audio guide, we visited each of the palace, each with its own functions and significance. It was just so majestic and details were down to the finest such as the lives of the people within the palace, architecture, stories. It took us about 5 hours to traverse most of the palaces and rooms. However, I did not pay for further paid exibits as I will only remember the core: Forbidden City. I have taken many many pictures of the Forbidden City but allow me to display the best looking ones here.







There were also museums within the Forbidden City that I visited. I believe that if I went along in a guided tour group for the Forbidden City, it will be pretty much a touch-and-go affair and I will not be able to appreciate the beauty in depth, much less exploring the museum.
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Old 16-07-2018, 03:48 AM   #68
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Beijing D2- 17/6/18

After a satisfying and tiring trip in the city, I headed to a nearby McDonalds. The menu was more interesting and I tried the burger with 2 german sausages; the sausages felt like they were generic pork sausages from NTUC, Singapore's biggest generic supermarket. With the set meal costing only S$5.70, I am not complaining.



So far, I have tried Macs from Thailand, Vietnam, China. In terms of tastiness, I will rate Thailand first, followed by Vietnam and finally China.

I had to purchase my long distance bus tickets and hence went to Beijiao Long Distance Bus station. Unfortunately, the bus was permanently closed since last year too.
Feeling dejected, I made a last ditch attempt and called customer service of Yongdingmen Long Distance Bus station. Miraculously, a Customer Service Officer picked up and they have bus tickets to Erlian and the station closes at 1930hrs. I made a beeline there and felt a great wave of relief that my next trip destination was not to be broken. 3 trips around Beijing to buy 1 long distance bus ticket....

I had dinner at the mall nearby my hotel, Wanda Plaza, at this casual Chinese restuarant.


I had red oil beef noodles, vegetables and dumplings and chili vinegratte. My partner had mala beef noodles. Decent, tasty and filling meal at 14SGD. From the picture, I am sure you will agree as well!
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Old 16-07-2018, 04:06 AM   #69
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Beijing D3- 18/6/18

The effects of a bad sleep on the sleeper train 2 nights before as well as the late night world cup took a toll on me today. Feeling low energy, I decided to wake up late today. I was woken up at 10a.m by hotel staff and were presented with rice dumplings to celebrate Dumpling festival. Though there was only a red date in the rice dumpling, it was a very sweet gesture by the hotel and I greatly appreciate for that.


I decided that the Summer Palace, the retreat for the royal family was probably a good place to visit. By the time we were there, it was around 1pm. Not as many people came here and we could enjoy the visit better. But little did we know that the summer palace covered an even bigger area and was opulent and extravagant during those times.




The walk around the lake was 7-8km long and I did not have enough time to cover it, nonetheless I walked for 1km before heading back to have a feel of the lake. It was indeed a good place for a retreat with lots of scenic pictures to be taken around the lake. We got to know that alot of exhibits/buildings were burned down by the Anglo-French forces in 1880 and were restored thereafter.



After visiting so many palaces/room at the Forbidden City yesterday, I soon felt numbed to each room that I visited here. The opulence manifested in the pebbles that laid across long stretches of road for walking on, the delicate gardening and the many ponds that beautify the place within the palace.

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Old 16-07-2018, 04:21 AM   #70
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Beijing D3- 18/6/18

It began to rain closer to closing time and our experience from the rain at Forbidden City yesterday was that the rain was horrendously dirty. The grime/polluted rain could be felt in the hair after the rain stopped and hair dried. When I washed my clothes, the water was a dark grey. Eeeks!



I headed back to Wanda Plaza for dinner. This time round, I had grilled fish, which is fish on a soup broth and you can add dishes such as luncheon meat, mushroom, vegetables, seaweed to make the dish tastier. However, I feel that it can be had at a cheaper price in Singapore. The meal came up to SGD35.
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Old 16-07-2018, 08:51 AM   #71
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Tried this long distance train from Yangji to Beijing 10 years ago. 23 hours trip that I consider one of the worse experience ever.

Got the upper berth and cant sit up straight on the bed. Most comfortable place will be the bottom berth where people can sit and chat.
You mean Yanji in Jilin province?
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Old 16-07-2018, 09:25 AM   #72
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There are Yoshinoyas almost everywhere in Beijing. KFC in China is more known for their breakfast.

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Old 16-07-2018, 10:46 AM   #73
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There are Yoshinoyas almost everywhere in Beijing. KFC in China is more known for their breakfast.
I've not tried the yoshinoya in Japan but the ones in Beijing are many times better than Singapore! I saw how they prepared it and knew I'll be in for the treat. They scoop a giant ladle of beef from the pot onto the rice and with the beef broth sauce that came from the pot. A mound full of beef. No need for soy sauce to be added in rice like Singapore.

Well, breakfast or not, KFC is about fried chicken and in that regard, it was disappointing.
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Old 16-07-2018, 11:25 AM   #74
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You mean Yanji in Jilin province?
Yup.

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Old 16-07-2018, 07:02 PM   #75
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Beijing D4 - 19/6/18

Today is the day to visit the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China (GWOC). I headed from the subway station to JiShuiTan subway station and made a 600m walk eastwards to Deshengmen Arrow Tower, which is a special bus terminal for people to go to GWOC.



There are signboards in English and Mandarin along the way so fret not, it's very hard to get lost.
Upon reaching Deshengmeng Arrow Tower, take bus 877 which is about an hour's ride to GWOC. Finally reached Badaling section of GWOC.




Though I wanted to pay only 40yuan for the entrance fee, I was told to purchase the 140 yuan package which includes the sleigh car ride up to the GWOC direct. There does not seem to be much of a choice but it may not have been a bad decision after all. It means most of our energy is spent crossing the GWOC instead.



It was a majestic sight and felt like an intertwining play of nature versus mankind's stamp on the landscape when we saw the sights. Fortunately, it was not too crowded even though we travelled within the school holidays and Badaling is the most popular section of the wall.



However, the most crowded section of the Badaling GWOC was at the peak. This was the peak section and definitely so since you can take alot of nice shots here. Just look at the crowd behind when I was at the peak.
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