Saturday, 3 March 2012

Five Days in Beijing: Part 6 - Chairman Mao and Yonghegong Lama Temple

We got up pretty early on our last day in Beijing to try to fit as much as we could in before our evening flight. We started off the day with a long subway ride to the far flung reaches of outer Beijing as I wanted to do a little camera lens shopping. Electronic goods are seriously overpriced in Korea due to the extortionate import tax they slap on everything non Korean and even domestic goods are more expensive than they would be in the UK or America as there isn't so much competition due to the import tax. So buying camera equipment can be pricey here (unless you buy "grey market" goods) and prices in China looked pretty tempting. 

We travelled out to the outer ring of Beijing city to go to an electronics market there. I was still feeling rather sick from my food poisoning but that didn't manage to dampen my zeal or buying camera stuff. I ended up with a new macro lens at a much cheaper price than I could have got it for in South Korea so I was pretty pleased. One of the weird things we noticed in this part of Beijing well away from the tourist areas was the throat tickling smog. The pollution really was noticeably worse and we were very glad when we got back on the subway and escaped to the more tourist friendly cleaner air of the old city. 

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Five Days in Beijing: Part 5 - The Great Wall of China

We woke up pretty early on our third full day in Beijing ready for our tour to the Great Wall of China. We had heard that is was possible to visit the Wall yourself by taking public transport or by hiring a drive but that could be fiddly and confusing. As we only had a short amount of time in Beijing we opted for the tour so we could make the most of our 5 days. 

There are several different parts of the Walk that are accessible from Beijing. The most well visited part is Badaling, 50 miles northwest of Beijing City. We decided not to go there though as we had heard that it was a total tourist trap that would be heaving with tourists and people trying to sell tacky souvenirs and that the Wall there was so heavily restored it looked virtually brand new. Instead we went to the Wall at Mutianyu, 70km northeast of Beijing. This part of the Wall was older than the Badaling section and not s heavily visited for some reason.

The Great Wall at Mutianyu (care of Wikipedia - it was really misty when we went so none of my pictures were this clear!)