Exploring Asia Overview
Cathay Pacific B777-300ER Business Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge Review: The Cabin at HKG
Cathay Dragon A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Beijing
Lodging Review: Regent Beijing Hotel
Beijing: Dongcheng District
Beijing: The Great Wall
Beijing: Run-ze Jade Garden
Beijing: The Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs
Beijing: The Legend of Kung Fu
Beijing: Tiananmen Square
Beijing: The Forbidden City
Beijing: Hutong Tour via Rickshaw, Tea Tasting, Flying to Xi’an
Lodging Review: Hotel Shangri-La Xi’an
Xi’an: Qing Dynasty Terra Cotta Warriors
Xi’an: Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show
Xi’an Wrap-Up, Flying to Lhasa, Lhasa Home Visit
Lodging Review: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
Lhasa: Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Market
Lhasa: Canggu Nunnery and Sera Monastery
Lhasa: Potala Palace
Leaving Lhasa and Flying to Chongqing
Cruising the Three Gorges
Three Gorges Dam
Jingzhou City Walls Tour
Wuhan: Hubei Bells Performance and Provincial Museum
Shanghai: Shanghai Museum
Lodging Review: Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai
Shanghai: Old Shanghai and Yuyan Gardens
Lodging Review: The New Otani Tokyo Hotel
Tokyo: City Tour
Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour Returning by Shinkansen
ANA Suites Lounge Review, Tokyo Narita
All Nippon Airways B777-300ER First Class Tokyo Narita to Houston
The Regent Beijing is located in the Dongcheng District, a 16.16 square mile area which seems to cover the geographical city center. The Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square and Mao’s Tomb are all considered to be inside this district along with Jingshan Park, the National Museum of China and the Lama Temple. As of 2010 over 900,000 people live within this district.
But for the six of us who arrived a day early, all we knew was that just walking down the streets near our hotel provided some very interesting sightseeing. Just a few doors down were a couple of banks where we could use the ATM to get cash. Just beyond that we started to see familiar stores up ahead.
We decided to see if malls in China were different so we visited Xindon’an Square where we found lots of exotic store names like Apple, Omega, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Rolex along with plenty of other stores we didn’t recognize. This was a multi-story mall and even though it wasn’t lunch time we enjoyed cruising through the food floors just to see what was different.
As we started back to the hotel, we walked alongside the smaller shops, poking our heads in when we found something interesting.
I don’t recall seeing a supermarket of any large size in China but some of the food markets sold a lot of other goods too – they were just tucked down below street level in much smaller stores. Scenes from the supermarket:
We’d had a somewhat late breakfast and were still a little jet-lagged so we came back to the hotel in the early afternoon and napped for a little bit. It worked out well as the morning had been gray and a little misty but the rains really came back in the afternoon and we were snug inside.
The group who’d bought their air through Viking arrived that afternoon and we were able to dine together in the hotel’s Italian restaurant. We were a little surprised there was no welcome reception or dinner but we later learned that some of the folks who’d booked through Viking had travel delays and some didn’t arrive until 2 AM or so – and then had to get up the next morning for our first tour. I was so glad we’d decided to arrive a day early!