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April 23, 2017

Beijing Winter Trip 2016 (With 2 Kids Under 5, No Kidding)

Ni gambar introduction. 

Tak mau ulangi kemalasan berbelog pasal Seoul trip, hakak akan cuba untuk berbelog dengan komprehensif trip ke Beijing kami baru-baru ni. Okay, it's not exactly baru-baru ini. It was 4 months ago *face palm*

Anyway, ceritanya begini.. 

Kitorang memang tak pernah terfikir atau teringin pon nak pi China. Mungkin sebab banyak cerita tak berapa best yg aku dengar pasal China kan. Plannya hujung tahun nak balik rumah PIL di Kuching. Tup tup MIL ajak pi berjalan ke Beijing. Ada kawan dia ajak.. Ikut tour katanya. Kitorang on je la asalkan dapat bersama keluarga. Gituh. *calon menantu terbaik please*

Usually when we travel, we prefer a DIY traveling. From air ticket to accommodation to transportation and food.. Semuanya plan sendiri lah. Bila semuanya DIY, memang aku control freak habis. Bukan apa, nak elak tak cukup duit, tersesat and segala macam ketidak-best-an berlaku. You are fully equipped.

Tapi bila ikut tour ni aku jadi cam tak senang duduk. Not much information were shared pre trip (mungkin sebab aku tak banyak tanya.. ye la semua MIL handle. Tanak jadi control freak plak) so banyak bende yang aku tau tak tau. Bila ikut tour ni, semua orang dah sediakan. Aku tak lah research and google apa-apa sangat. Ikut je la. Yang bestnye dah terjaga segala transportation (naik tour bus), makanan Halal and important tourist spots memang ko akan pergi. Kalau sendiri, segala harga tiket, train route, kedai halal ko selidik sendiri maka ko banyak la belajar tentang tempat tu. Gitu la sedikit sebanyak pros and cons DIY travel or tour-guided travel.

Our tour schedule looked something like this:

 Itenerary by our tour agent, Flyworld Travel & Tours

Though the itinerary looks like this, the actual order of program wasn't 100% as per the itinerary. It depended on what day of the week it was. For instance, we were suppose to go tho the Great Wall on a Sunday but the tour guide shifted it to Monday to avoid weekend crowd.

We reached Beijing at midnight. The next day, our tour started at 10am. Macam biasa, kitorang memang lambat lah. Dengan bebudak dan mak bapak tak cukup tidoqnya kan. i don't really remember our exact schedule so i'm gonna comment based on the placed we went to.

We are the back seaters of the bus.

Tiananmen Square

We went to Tiananmen Square on our first morning. It was so cold but sunny at the same time. Dhani cried for the first few minutes of walking towards the square because of the sun got in his eyes. Drama anak aku ni. Afif refused to sit in his stroller, instead he insisted to push the stroller all the way. Haha. Once we got into the square compound, we're a bit relaxed to let the kids roam free because there weren't that many people around. Seronok la diorang berlari.

Overall, Tiananmen Square visit with kids would not be too much hassle. Afif and Dhani enjoyed the space and they were in constant amazement looking at how huge things were (huge gates, huge statues, huge doors, lots of space to run freely..) but they wouldn't care much about history. i had to breastfeed Dhani but couldn't find any nursing room close to where we were at that time, so we sat down on a bench a bit hidden from people and do our business. Only down side is we had to walk a bit, about 15 minutes from our bus to enter the Tiananmen Square. It was a challenge because the kids got excited to walk (and run) along with all the people.

On the way to enter Tianmen Square. In an attempt to carry him instead of letting him run wild.

Marching of the guards and my husband and Dhani were in the middle of it all.

Entering one of the many doors

The kids went crazy here because of all the space.

Running wild

Dhani with his beloved Atok

Half-frozen river

Walking in the park.

Yours truly.

The Summer Palace

The Beijing Summer Palace comprises of a huge land with a big lake, gardens and palaces in it. We went to the Summer Palace on our second day. It was a bit hazy that day but it wasn't too bad. I'd say it's a good recreational place to go for a stroll on haze-free day. Afif and Dhani like the place because they can roam free. There's this long huge padestrian bridge which Afif loved and kept singing London Bridge is Falling Down when we walked on the bridge.

The main bridge at Summer Palace compound.

The Summer Palace.
We only viewed it from across the lake. Look how hazy it was.

Afif's 'London Bridge'

Girls and selfies :/

The Great Wall at Juyongguan

It took us around 2 hours to get to the Great Wall of China at Juyongguan Pass. Okay, honestly i'm not sure which Great Wall that we went to (was it Badaling or Juyongguan?) but based on my search on Google, our photos look like the one at Juyongguan.

There are ample of parking space for buses and private vehicle, two or three coffee shops just by the entrance and a mini photo studio where you can pose with traditional costumes. And of course, the Great Wall of China..

The Great Wall look as majestic as i imagined it would be.

It was a cold day. Temperature was around 3C. The kids were well behaved at first. They just had their lunch, so Afif was his usual jolly self and Dhani was half asleep in his stroller. Butttttt the Great Wall, being the Great Wall with steps and all, it is NOT suitable for stroller usage. We parked the stroller at the little photo studio but as we began our walk, Dhani cried and cried. He just wanted to breastfeed and nap. He demanded that we return to the bus. It was not an ideal situation for a hike up the Great Wall. My husband and i decided that i go back to the bus with Dhani and he went up the wall with Afif and the rest of our family. i admit i was so bummed to have missed hiking up the Great Wall but a crying baby will make the experience even worse.

When we got to the bus, our driver was nowhere to be found. Upon seeing the bus is locked (and a bit of explanation from me), Dhani suddenly forgot that he needs milk and a nap. He was suddenly okay again and wanted to walk (-_____-)

So i made my way up the Great Wall AGAIN, carrying a 12kg baby in my arms (i fully regretted that we left the baby carrier at home). So up we went.

At first i carried him..

..and then we walked.
The walk is the good part. The stairs is the hard part!

Half way through the wall, we finally saw Mr. Chenta and Afif climbing up the stairs.
Look how steep the steps are!

Afif and his Atok

Bertabahlah sayang mengangkut anak naik Tembok Besar Cina

Jendela istana konon.


Moh balik. Penat dah!

This is my review of our Great Wall visit in Tripadvisor.

Beijing Snow World Ski Resort (Caution: Scammers Alert!)

Before we went to the Great Wall, we went to Beijing Snow World Ski Resort (BSWSR). It was a bit of a joke, really, because 1) even though it's winter, it wasn't snowing. So instead of real snow, we have man-made snow at BSWSR, 2) there's no resort whatsoever. Just 2-3 buildings and 2 snowy slopes for skiing.

It's a good thing that we had our tour guides. We were informed that the workers at the resort will charge you for every little things they do for you. It is their way to earn a living as they can only work during the winter months because only in these months the ski resort is opened. If money is not a problem for me, i won't mind but i'm not a rich girl so yeah.

Scammer alert #1:
After you put on your rented ski boots, the ski resort workers will escort you to the 'travelator' that will bring you up the slope and  will offer to teach you to ski down. While they don't really speak English, they all looked so friendly and sincere but this won't be for free. They will charge you for the ski 'lesson'.

Instead, we straight away refused their offer to accompany us. We climbed a little bit up the slope (our first time skiing actually so we're nervoussss) and tried to ski down on our own with guidance from Ustaz Shahul, our tour guide. Even for first timers, none of us fell down. This built our confidence so we took the travelator to go higher up on the slope.Not to boast or anything but even for first timers, we didn't fall on our asses at all. i mean i'm so natural at skiing i should compete in the Winter Olympics *blows nails*

Scammer alert #2:
After you've done skiing, make sure you receive 3 cards upon returning your ski gears; one for the ski sticks, one for the ski, and one for the ski shoes. Only when ALL 3 cards are collected by the gate bouncer, they'll let you leave. USD25 will be charged if you miss a card and believe me, they'll make you miss a card. My husband didn't receive his ski card after returning the ski and after we really insisted on it, the old man finally gave him the card.

Baru sampai

Fefeeling jadi teenager balik.Excited laki bini.
Thanks Mama and Babah for entertaining Afif and Dhani while we ski!

Travelator that takes people up the beginner slope.


Keras di situ.
Ok belum cukup layak bertanding Olympics.

There's also this little hill for sledding at the ski resort. Unfortunately it has a separate entrance with the main ski area and you have to pay 10 Yuan for 2 rounds of sledding. Memandangkan kesian Afif excited nak main snow tapi tak dapat sentuh snow pon kat tempat ski tadi, kami bawak la dia pi main sledding ni.

The sledding area.

Preparing to sled down.


He asked me to build Olaf. But notice my ungloved hands there? i only managed a small snowman and Afif wasn't impressed at all (-___-)

Dia paling bahagia bila jumpa salji. Sampai skang ajak pi main salji.

Panda Visit at the Beijing Zoo

What's a trip to China without looking at the pandas right? We went to see only the panda at the Beijing Zoo. Dhani missed all the fun because he slept all through the visit. The panda center biasa je la nothing wow to shout about. But i guess visiting zoo in Beijing is much nicer than our KL zoo trip because it's so hot in KL. Kat Beijing nyaman ja. Gituh!

Pandas are so lazy they just sit around. i don't know how they came up with Kungfu Panda. Haha.

Tengok panda dari jauh.

Dhani tido don't care about no panda

Silly picture is a must.

All in All..
.. we had a blast during the Beijing trip! i think you'll have a blast anywhere as long as you're with family right? A few things to note tho:

- Beijing air is always polluted because of the limitless factories in Beijing and its surrounding area. Some days you'll get clear day, but most days are hazy. It's always a good idea to bring face masks to Beijing.
- Traveling in winter could be a challenge if like us, you're from a tropical country. During our trip, the temperature ranged from -7 Celcius to 7 Celcius. Naturally, the kids were our main concern. For each of them (for 6 days duration), we brought 3 sets of thermal inner and long johns, 2 winter outerwear (fleece and down jackets), 1 pair of fleece lined jeans, lotsa gloves, 1 pair of scarf and winter hat. Other than that, we brought their normal jeans/khakis and long sleeve t-shirts. The key to winter wear is LAYERING. Layer your usual outfit with thermal wear and jacket and you'll be fine.
- Also bring along lipbalm and moisturizer for the kids. And feed them lots of water. It can get pretty dry.
- Trips to Beijing memang tak sah kalau tak melawat kilang teh, kilang sutera kilang jade dan kilang bamboo charcoal. These are like a requirement for all the tour agents to bring the tourist to these places. Kitorang tanak pon, diorang kata kene jugak bawak. Dah la barang mahal kat tempat-tempat ni. Haih.
- I'd recommend our hotel especially if you're a Muslim looking for affordable accommodation in Beijing. They serve halal breakfast spread, a halal noodle restaurant and Tesco are next door.
- There are LOTS of Halal Chinese food in Beijing if you know where to look. Because we traveled with a travel agent, our meals are all taken care of. We went to various Halal restaurants but unfortunately i didn't really take note of the restaurants' names.

My Tripadvisor review of City Inn Beijing Hotel.

Beijing on hazy days.

That's all for now. Til next post!