Conquering the Great Wall

PauTravels Standing on the Great Wall of China

As part of my side trip to Beijing in August of 2005, I had the memorable opportunity of hiking up one of the most important and recognizable landmarks in the world, which is the Great Wall of China.  And this happened the day after I had the chance to walk into the Forbidden City which once have been exclusive to people of royal blood.

I had the opportunity to visit China through the Xiamen where I supported SIT testing for Dell for 2 weeks.  And with my colleague Lucy, we booked a trip to Beijing where we spent additional 2 days.  I’ve detailed our first day in Beijing in my earlier blog.

We came in to Beijing with only hotel booking in one of the hutong areas in the city.  When we concluded our first day of roaming around the city, we had the opportunity to purchase a packaged tour to the Great Wall at the Grand Beijing Hotel near Wangfujing Street.  If I remember it right, we got a $50 worth package to the Ming Tombs, The Great Wall, to a jade factory, and for lunch.

It was the day after my birthday and we made ourselves to the the Grand Beijing Hotel lobby at 8am to catch our tour.  We boarded a coaster van where we join other tourists for the tour.  We were around 9 that day including some Aussies, Americans, Japanese, and Europeans.

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Continuing to Macau

PauTravels and Family at the foot of the St. Paul Ruins in Macau

After spending 6 nights in Hong Kong, we continue our long vacation to the neighboring Chinese Special Administrative Region of Macau.  Macau has gained popularity for rivaling Las Vegas for its booming casino industry.  And aside from big time casinos, this former Portuguese colony is also known for having a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Ruins of St. Paul.

And so from our hostel in Kowloon, we took a cab to get to the China Ferry Terminal.  We took the 1pm ferry trip on board a New World First Ferry vessel.  The ferry ride cost us HKD128 each and took about 1 hour. On our arrival at the Macau Ferry terminal, we had to pass through immigration.  And from the terminal, we hired a van which cost us 200 Macau Patacas to take us to Hotel Sun Sun which is at the western side of the Macau Peninsula.  The hotel did not have free shuttle service unlike many of the hotels in town. In front of the ferry terminal many hotels have their spots where they provide free shuttle service to their guests.  The Venetian, Sands, Wynn, MGM Grand, and StarWorld hotels are some of those who have buses waiting in front.

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A Family Trip to Hong Kong and Macau

PauTravels and My Family in Hong Kong

It was early this year when Jen and myself thought of taking a vacation to Hong Kong.  And as the weeks and months passed, that plan came to fruition last month.  It started with just having the both of us and Janine on the plan, then Jen’s sister and her family joined us.  So from the three, we became a group of seven.  And from the original plan of 3 nights in Hong Kong, the plan evolved into a 6-day/5-night stay in Hong Kong and another 2 nights in the neighboring city of Macau.

Family Trip to Hong Kong

Ninoy Aquino’s bust inside NAIA3

Being the most experienced in travelling among the group, I arranged our whole itinerary.  We bought our plane tickets online with Cebu Pacific Air flying out of Manila on-board flight 5J108 departing 5:40AM on October 23 to Hong Kong and flying back home from Macau on-board flight 5J363 departing 10:15PM on October 30.  It was fortunate that since August this year, the long mothballed NAIA Terminal 3 has been opened and we will be able to use the terminal for both flights.

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Hello Chinese Mickey!

PauTravels and Family with Winnie The Pooh

As part of our 6-day trip to the business capital of Asia, which is Hong Kong, we took the opportunity of visiting Walt Disney‘s theme park at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.  On October 24, a Friday, after having breakfast, we left early our hostel at the Chungking Mansions in Kowloon, around 8:20am.

The nearest MTR station is the Tsim Sha Tsui station of the Tsuen Wan line which has an exit right across Chungking.  We took the train to the Lai King station where we transferred to the Tung Chung line at Sunny Bay station.  The station in turn serves as the interchange for the Disneyland Resort line.

Hong Kong Disneyland Visit

Mickey Mouse Handle Bars in the Disney MTR Line

Hong Kong Disneyland Visit

Mickey MTR Trains

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Xiamen, Old Amoy

PauTravels with Friends in Xiamen with a giant hippo statue

Back in August of 2005, I was opportuned to be given a chance to step foot into the land of one of the oldest civilizations.  Through my client, Dell Inc., I was assigned for three weeks for official business to their factory in Xiamen, China.

Xiamen is in the Fujian province, nearest to Taiwan. It is an island connected to the mainland by bridges.  Later did I learned that this once used to be called Amoy.  Amoy has been known to be where many Filipino-Chinese families hailed from, including both of my grandparents.  This made me more excited as it was like a heritage walk for me.

Initially, I’ve had a picture of Chinese cities to be very crowded, busy, polluted, and filled with bicycles.  But when I arrived in Xiamen, it was very different.  Xiamen is very clean and orderly, not too crowded, not traffic-congested, and is a modern city.  Later I learned that Xiamen is considered a garden city of China.

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Walking Through the Forbidden City

PauTravels looking at the Forbidden City from above

I had a rare opportunity of entering a city that was once limited for people of royal blood, known to be the Forbidden City.  On August of 2005, along with a colleague, we flew to the capital city of the sleeping dragon, Beijing, China.

With a business trip to the industrial port city of Xiamen, we have decided to take this once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Beijing.  This is one of the best side trips that I’ve took though it lasted only 2 days.  With the help Travellerspoint, we were able to find a cheap hotel located in one of Beijing’s hutong areas called the Jingshan Hotel.  And from our hotel in Xiamen, Sofitel, we were able to purchase our round trip plane tickets to Beijing and back to Xiamen to catch our flight back to Manila.

On my birthday, we fly to Beijing early in the morning and was picked up by our hotel.  The hotel is situated near the Jingshan Park and arrived there before noon.  To save our stay in Beijing, we decided to take a walk as soon as we’ve settled our things.

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Where Have I Been?

Here I will be logging all the different places that I have been outside the Philippines.  I’ll be linking my other travel blogs to the places I’ll list below.

October 8 – November 9, 2003Hanoi, Vietnam

Through my work, I was sent by my company to Hanoi to provide technical support for our client situated in Thang Long Industrial Park just outside Hanoi.  I was here for 4 whole weeks.  I connected through Hong Kong to get to Hanoi.

November 1 – 2, 2003Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

With some Filipino friends, we visited this UNESCO World Heritage site which is east of Hanoi.  We took a cruise on a traditional Chinese junk.

May 25 – 27, 2004Singapore

With my brother and his then girlfriend (now wife), we took a packaged tour to Singapore via Singapore Airlines.  We were booked at Grand Central Hotel.

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