CHINA Part 1: Beijing

Our trip to China got off to a bad start when our flight was cancelled due to fog. However the airline put us up in a hotel and we left the next morning. This was our first long haul flight and we had no idea what to expect or how the kids would manage. But it was fine and the airline staff just couldn’t do enough for us (Air China Southern).

We landed in Beijing airport and were met by my sister and her husband who were living in China at the time. We felt like proper travellers with our rucksacks and we checked into a guesthouse that my sister had stayed at before.

Unfortunately due to our cancelled flight our time in Beijing was cut short as we had an onward flight to Kunming to catch the following day. But we managed to visit The Forbidden City which was absolutely massive and beautiful. You can’t appreciate the size and grandeur from photographs!

We spent a few hours walking around the night time Donghuamen Food Market which was just incredible! Here we saw various insects, sea horses and starfish on sticks. None of us were brave enough or even slightly tempted to try anything but well worth seeing! We instead went to a restaurant and had our first real Chinese meal, roasted duck pancakes!

We also had a wander around The Silk Market in Chaoyang District which is an indoor shopping centre with around 1700 vendors selling literally everything you can think of. Beware of the fake designer goods but even this was part of the experience, the vendors are absolutely convinced that you can’t spot the fakes, even with the terrible spelling errors! And they love to haggle…it’s a part of their culture and not at all offensive to them. Top tip…usually their starting price is around 10 times what they will eventually accept. Being very British this was dreadfully uncomfortable for us but we soon got into the swing of it!

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