Beijing (They have a wall that’s pretty great). Layover in Hong Kong & Seoul

After my amazing two week trip through parts of Australia, it was time to head to Beijing. On my way there, I had a 13 hour layover in Hong Kong. I explored Hong Kong as much as time would allow, but did not want to risk missing my flight to Beijing. Hong Kong has quite the party scene at night. Grabbed some food, got a couple drinks at a bar, and eventually made my way back to the airport. Off to two days in Beijing.

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Quite the view across the harbor in Hong Kong.

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Clearly, I had found where the party was in HK.

For transportation from the airport in Beijing to a hotel, I would suggest to book a pick up service beforehand. I had a driver waiting for me, already knowing which hotel I was going to. Oh yeah, it was my first time ever having a driver holding up a sign with my name on it. It felt really cool! 🙂 For the first day, I booked a room a at DoubleTree by Hilton. The hotel was great, but the location was kind of far from the area surrounding The Forbidden City. I found this out while trying to walk from the hotel to the Forbidden City. By the time I got there, entry was forbidden. See what I did there? I’m sorry. Still, I walked around and explored Beijing a bit. Unfortunately, it was pretty cold, and also started raining. That made the walk back interesting. Add to that the fact that I grew unsure as to if I was going the right way and was finally, finally, finally able to hail a taxi. Luckily, my room key card had the hotel’s address and a small map, so I didn’t have to do any talking. Oh well, at least I found a good restaurant and had a great dinner. I was really happy to get back to the hotel.

My second day in Beijing was the day I was really waiting for. I booked a tour to the Great Wall of China, along with some stops before and after the tour. What can I say, except, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few thousand words then. Enjoy:

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Riding the “extremely safe looking” gondola. It’s even more interesting because it was snowing. Still, loved it!!

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An almost surreal feeling with this scenery at the Great Wall. Eerily beautiful, and immensely captivating.

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That’s me with my travel buddy from Australia, Roodolph. Get it? He’s a kangaroo, so his name starts with….never mind. 🙂

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Another look at such an amazing sight. Such a privilege to have checked it off the list. What list? I don’t know. I’ll start one.

And some other pics from my stay at Beijing, including staying at a Ritz-Carlton. Man, that was a fancy hotel.

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Monkey jade figurine that I bought at a jade shop. One of the stops on the way to the Great Wall.

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Chinese tourist visa and the passport stamps. So cool!!

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A stop after the Great Wall included a demonstration at a tea shop. Bought some tea and a cup. Great souvenirs.

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Felt fancy staying at a Ritz-Carlton. I can get used to this.

My trip ended with a 24 hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. Got some sleep, explored a bit, and got some food! So awesome being there. Definitely have to plan a longer stay in South Korea.

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Had to visit the Gangnam District. No crazy music though.

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Bought these bottles of Soju at the Incheon Airport for my roommates.

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Souvenir that I bought for myself. A “bottle” for me to add Soju for pouring and a couple shot glasses. Soju shots!!

Lastly, a couple photos that basically summarize my trip. Quite an amazing vacation.

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My boarding passes from the trip. About 14 or 15 different flights in a three week period. Thinking about framing them.

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A map of my itinerary in a nutshell. Starts at Auckland, New Zealand.

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