Travel Tales #4: Stuck in Beijing For 3 Days

What is the longest delay you have ever had? 4 hours? 8 hours? How about three full days without money, knowledge of where you are, means of communicating with the outside world, and no local around who can understand you? In retrospect, I took one of my first travel crises quite well for a newbie traveler!

Let me paint the picture for you. The events depicted in my post “Getting Scammed in Xian” had a lot more going on than I led on so let me continue the story. After finally seeing the Terracotta Army, I went on with my trip to Lijiang and then Chengdu. When vacation time was over, I had to return to Korea, as I had just started my first year teaching English in the tiny town of Daejeon. There was one little thing that stood in the way though, a 5 hour layover in Beijing, one of the worse worst airports in the world. (Edit of typo: courtesy of Grammar Nazi Dave Yuhas) Read more

Zhangjiajie: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in China

Today, we feature a guest post from fellow travel blogger Agness Walewinder. She takes us to Zhangjiajie, known to most as the world of Pandora from the movie Avatar. Pandora is a real place that you can visit now, and Agness will convince you why you should put it on the top of your China bucket list. Take it away Agness!

The Hidden Gem of Nature

I would probably not surprise anyone if I told you that China is one of the most diverse and stunning countries in the world in terms of scenery and landscape. Without a doubt, the ‘Land of Dragons’ has been favored by Mother Nature and Zhangjiajie, a city located in northern part of Hunan Province, proves it. Read more

The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China

Location: North Eastern China (Accessible Through: Beijing, China)

Visited: February, 2010

Background and Opinion:

“What is the Great Wall of China” you ask? No you don’t, no one asks this EVER because everyone knows right? Actually, you might not know as much as you think you do.

First, the Great Wall is not a single wall at all (excellent map here) and would be more appropriately called “The Great Set of Walls.” This name doesn’t sell as many tickets, as you may imagine, so lets just continue calling it the ‘Great Wall’ for now. Secondly, it is built horizontally. While city walls are built in a circular shape to protect from all sides, the great wall was built as a barrier separating the northern people of the steppes (modern day Mongolia) and the Chinese people in the south. Third, it was built by a number of different Dynasties. The wall was started by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China who, coincidentally, also ordered the construction of the Terracotta Army and was the founder of Unified China (busy guy). It was built from 200 BCE – 1400s CE to protect different parts of China from external threats. Over the centuries, the numerous parts linked up in many places, but to this day, more and more parts of the wall are being uncovered. Something else that you might not know is just how many sections are accessible. There are dozens of entry points from Beijing alone if you know what you are doing.
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The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

Terracotta ArmyLocation:
 Xi’an,Shaanxi Province, China
Visited: December 28, 2009

Opinion and Background:

This is more spectacular than the Great Wall of China. I thought I’d start this blog on a good note. Seeing thousands of clay soldiers with different expressions, clothes, hair styles and even different shoes leaves a person speechless. Some of the more amazing ones are in individual exhibits in the same complex. The terracotta army is as good as advertised, and definitely worth a look. The First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, thought that by building this army, he could be protected in the afterlife. The army was never meant to be displayed and was buried along with his body. It wasn’t discovered until 1974, even though they were buried in the 3rd century BC. Despite their dull color now, the Terracotta Warriors were originally painted by hand, evident in some of the more preserved soldiers. This particular emperor is the first to unify China as a whole, as well as the first to attempt to build parts of what is now known as The Great Wall of China.

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