The first ever solo plane flight that I took.
Touched down at PEK at around 7plus, and was received by Yx and her uncle. Had a starbucks sandwich on the way to her grandma's place. The apt was a very small one, with run-down facilities. We went to 八大处with her mum and climbed up the bloody hill. That was the first hill that we encountered and we were still joking that there were lots to go. Half way up the climb, we heard this guys saying to a girl in Chinese, " You are tired? I thought you said you want to lose weight?" It was so hilarious that we climbed and LOL non-stop. We also managed to took a horse ride down the hill for 30RMB. After spending close to 4 hrs on the hill, we went back to her grandma's place for dinner and her mum prepared a chauffeur to drive us to 北京西station. It was an overnight train to Hohhot and my first experience on a sleeper train. The train conductor checked our ticket before we got onto the train and apparently it was to prevent others from taking our bed space.
Reached Hohhot at around 6plus in the morning. There is this music playing in the train early in the morning to wake everyone up. The guesthouse person was supposed to come and pick us up but apparently, he was at some other station and we ended up cabbing to the guesthouse. The roads were super difficult to navigate around because of the road maintenance works and it was all dusty and dirty. We put down our bags and went to take a look at the guesthouse and managed to sign up for a camel riding tour package. 490yuan inclusive of 1 camel-riding. It was kinda expensive but they drove us to Baotou to experience the desert, so I guessed they need the extra money for transportation.
The lunch that was provided was good. The sand-sliding was still okay but the climb up the sand hill (where we slide down from) is not cool at all. I thought I wouldn't be able to make it back up the hill. I thought I would be stuck in the desert @@. Then, we went for the camel-riding, and then slack around until it was time to go back. The camel riding was interesting, but I think they are being neglected. I felt a bit sad for them as their hair were receding. They were damn smelly too.
We took around 3 hours to reach the desert area and it was a chartered min-bus experience.
We signed up for the one day grassland tour package, which was not inclusive of the night stay in the Mongolian yurt. Yx couldn't take the poor sanitation of the place. I guessed the hightlight of the tour is to horse-ride, which is 90 yuan per hour, with the tour being priced at 290yuan. In any case, I found the horse-riding to be fun, and not really anything else.
Because all the rest of the participants were going to stay the night, the tour guide helped us to flag a coach down and send us to Hohhot city, and from there, we had to take a cab back to our guesthouse. It was an interesting experience, and we spent half an hour trying to flag the stupid cab. The taxi drivers were horrendous, trying to charge us 50RMB to bring us to a place 7mins away by driving. Luckily there was this very nice uncle who charged us 15rmb.
Our free day! Finally, we went to 召君墓and 大召and the 5 pagodas temple. Zhaojunmu was quite hard to get to, but we managed to take a bus there. Price was 2yuan, since we had to make a bus transfer. The cab supposedly cost 40yuan, but we didn't try it. We stopped in front of the toll entrance with Bus No. 6 and walked in around 2km before we reached the place. Alternatively, we could have waited for Bus 44, but according to the locals, it only comes once an hour. That was when we were waiting for the bus 44 when we were going back and we waited half an hour before someone drove up to us, and asked us where we want to go. In the end, we paid 5yuan to him to send us to take bus 6.
Then, we took bus 6 to visit the other 2 places, and got lost while trying to find the 5 pagoda temple. It was located in some small street which was difficult to navigate to since there wasn't any landmarks to guide us at all. And our sense of direction wasn't exactly very strong.
Lastly, we went to Dazhao and see more temples.
Walked down the street city where they sell lots of souvenirs and I wanted to get a pair of riding boots. But apparently, they don't have the design that I want. sadded.
Waited for the bloody Bus 59 for 1 hr before deciding to take a cab back. We think that the bus route got rerouted because of the works that is going around.
Paid 30yuan to get to the train station. The inner mongolians are money suckers. I don't like the way how we have to pay for every single service that they try to promote to us. Took the train to Datong and reach around 2pm. The hotel that Yx's uncle chose was good. Business hotel with all the basic facilities.
The hotel also called a cab for us and bring us to yungang shiku for 120yuan.
More temples in holes and mountains.
The cab uncle offered to bring us to Wutaishan the next day for a fee of 600yuan. Managed to cut it down to 500yuan as well as visit two other attractions.
Woke up damn early. Went to Xuan Kong Si and some pagoda temple. Reached wutaishan at around 12 plus. The roads to there are scary with lots of curves and bends. I think Jay Chou would have fun there, with all his drifting skills.
Wutaishan is a....very touristy place. I wouldn't go back there again because of the high prices and all the money sucking things that are going around. Climbed more hills. And I was sick of all those temples by then.
More temples. Went to the train station at night which was all locked up and the security guard refused to let us in until he saw our tickets. I wonder what we would do if we lost ours....
It was another overnight train to Beijing, and this time round, there was this middle-aged uncle that snored so loudly that he managed to woke me up from my sleep. And to see the way he was climbing up to the bed is also very scary.
9th May and 10 May
Went back to Yx's grandma's place and collected all our stuff before heading to the hotel that Dss booked for me. Love the hotel =D It's called hotel G beijing and it isn't close to the subway but the service there is excellent. But with the price that Dss is paying for it (1527yuan for 2 nights), it better be good.
I must say that I got so pampered there that I don't even feel like going out. Haha. And the toiletries are from L'occitane. Went to Qianmen, Tian'anmen and Nan Luo Gu Xiang for 9th and Jinshanling great wall on the 10th. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinshanling
Jin Shan Ling - Great wall of china is a very isolated place where very few tourists venture to. We were the only ones there besides the few lone people who dedicated tour guides. The villagers there trudged up the wall everyday to sell drinks to the tourists, and they will pester you till you buy some.
Parts of the walls were not restored and they were difficult to walk, despite me wearing trek shoes. I am amazed at these villagers who trek up and down this place. I think it is a change from Ba Da Ling where you can only see the tourists' heads.
Checked out, went to Wangjingfu and back to singapore.