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Jo's Tour of Southern China - Day 4

Jo's Tour of Southern China - Day 4

story by: Jo Wedlock

Beijing
Day four actually starts at midnight on day three with a check in at the Legendale Hotel in Beijing.  The Legendale is amazing to look at.  Constructed in the image of a French castle, it has a massive lobby with vaulted ceiling and is one of the most impressive hotel entranceways I have ever seen.  Classified as a 5 star, of the three hotels we’ve stayed at this one is the most visually impressive.  Unfortunately the service didn’t live up to the decor and be warned, if you are checking in whether pre-paid or not, the hotel insists on taking a $1000 per person per day bond as a deposit for incidentals!  So make sure you have a large limit on their credit card or you could get stuck if staying at the Legendale. The rooms were lovely and breakfast was great but not up to the massive selection I had come to expect after the Westin and Sofitel!  It’s another early start today as we are off to two separate areas of the great wall. 

We meet our Beijing Guide, Nancy, in the lobby.  It’s about a 2 hour drive from the hotel to BaDaLing which is reputed to be the most restored area of the wall.  There is much debate in the bus about BaDaLing.  Half of our group really want to go there as it’s the most famous and is typically where most Kiwis would go if they wanted to walk the wall.  The other half want to go to a lessor visited part of the wall and avoid the crowds.  Finally we get some agreement that we will go to BaDaLing and then when we are done there, if we have time we will go to a less busy/popular section of the wall.

As there isn’t anywhere to get a meal by the wall I’ve pre-arranged with the hotel to prepare a picnic which we’ll take up by gondola and will lay out at the highest point of the wall – over 800 metres – and then we’ll interview tourists when they are up the wall. This section of the wall gets around 10,000 visitors PER DAY.  Most of these are Chinese nationals and it’s really busy with some parts of the wall so narrow that only single file can progress so it is a long and slow journey, but the view is indescribable and the experience is one not to be missed.

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