China 2008: Beijing/Hong Kong
Beijing and Hong Kong in January 2008, mostly because I'd never been to Beijing. Hong Kong again because Hong Kong is awesome (especially the food!).
Day 1 - arrival in Beijing, a frozen lake, and Bar Street.
Day 2 - Tianamen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, a random shopping street and an acrobatics show, plus a ridiculously expensive karaoke place.
Day 3 - the Great Wall and the conclusion of an awful tour...
Day 4 - Wangfujing Street and exploring Beijing.
Day 5 - Chairman Mao's Mausoleum, Temple of Heaven, Din Tai Fung, Yashow market, plus clubbing at Rock and Roll and late night food.
Day 6 - stuck in airports, going from PEK to HKG. Then some yummy food before exploring Mong Kok in Hong Kong.
Day 7 - north Kowloon, dim sum, and clubbing in Lan Kwai Fong.
Day 8 - shopping in Mong Kok.
Day 9 - Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong Island, The Peak, and more shopping.
Return - stuck in buses and airports-- HKG-PEK-LAX.
For its history, Beijing is quite an experience. We skipped the zoo (awwww, no pandas for us!) but not too much else that was hugely significant. Unfortunately, our tour of Beijing sucked. 90 minutes at the (touristy) Badaling section of the Great Wall and tons of wasted time otherwise. Regardless, five days in Beijing felt like a bit much; you could probably cover it all in three, or for the very comprehensive, four.
Hong Kong was an experience as usual. Staying on the waterfront, either on the Kowloon side or the Hong Kong side, would have been nice-- but we couldn't find any sweet deals like we had in Beijing. That meant the usual fallback, the Metropark Kowloon, which actually worked out fairly well, since it's right next to Mong Kok and hence, lots of cheap shopping. Not to mention the food everywhere... don't expect me back in Beijing (or China) anytime soon, but if I'm on vacation in Asia again and must have a layover somewhere, well, laying over in Hong Kong wouldn't be so bad. *grins*