A fascinating country bursting with over a billion people, China, is a country I need to explore further having only spent a handful of days in Beijing after hopping off the Trans-Siberian Railway.


Three to five days in the capital is needed to include a trip out to the Great Wall.

China is vast and there is much to see but I cannot give honest information until I return to explore further.

Flight times:
Beijing to Xian: approx. two hours
Beijing to Shanghai: approx. two hours


 This iconic square sits at the entrance of the Imperial City. The Tiananmen, ‘Gate of Heavenly Peace’, is actually the tower monument that sits on the northern side of the square adorned by Chairman Mao’s portrait.

This city square was built in 1417 for the ceremonies in honour of the Emperor and Empress. Today it is known for its infamous history, the massacre in 1989 and the world famous ‘Tank Man’ photograph.

A must-see in the capital, this complex of 980 buildings was the Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty of 1420 to the Qing dynasty in 1912.

This UNESCO Heritage site is a masterpiece of Chinese history and architecture, the entrance numbers have been recently limited to 80,000 daily visitors.  You will need to spend at least half a day here and it is naturally busier on weekends.

I visited with a tour connected to my Trans-Siberian Railway trip and therefore didn’t have to navigate the system online. After some research, it seems you must purchase tickets to the Forbidden City complex and Palace Museum online. However the website is in Chinese and the English version is not ready, so the only feasible option is to purchase through a tour company.

It also seems that you can only purchase individual tickets with a Chinese bank account and phone number, although this may change once the English website is launched.

I would recommend buying an audio guide, if a guide is not provided on the tour you purchase.

The entrance is via the Meridian Gate on the southern side and the exit is the Gate of Divine Prowess in the North.

Don’t miss the Palace Museum, this world renowned museum boasts priceless paintings, timepieces, an extensive jade collection and many artefacts from the Imperial Dynasties.

Click here to visit the official website of the Palace Museum.

 Many argue the Great Wall of China is the greatest of the 7 Wonders of the New World, and after standing on this 2000-year-old wall I understand why.

Snaking 13,170 miles (21,196 kilometres) across China’s deserts, mountains and sweeping plateaus, the current wall was built during the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century, although sections of the walls were built as early as 7th century BC.

Click here for more information on visiting the Great Wall of China.

I haven’t had a chance to travel to Xian to see this ancient site but it is high on my bucket list!
Have you been? Leave a comment if you have any advice on visiting this clay army.


 The smog warning is not a myth!
Somehow my days in China aligned with the highest pollution levels the country had seen in years! The government shut down many factories across the city and a direct glance at the sun felt like I was looking at a lamp post, the air was so thick with pollution. It is not a bad idea to buy and wear a face mask.

The show I saw was created for tourists but it was incredible and the tricks and choreography had my heart racing!

There is now a cap on the number of daily visitors allowed to the Forbidden City and Palace Museum.
Bookings must be made online prior to arriving but this seems to be near impossible as an individual non-chinese speaking tourist, as the website does not have an English version. I have read the on-site ticket windows were closing in 2017 and the only way to purchase tickets is through a tourist agency.

Click here to read this article about the new daily limit of 80,000 allowed in the Palace Museum and how to purchase tickets.

If you need a public bathroom, try to find a hotel and ask to use their amenities.
When I used a public bathroom I was not fazed by the squat toilets but by the lack of cubicle door.



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Visiting the Great Wall of China?
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