We used to live in Hong Kong and have been to China previously (although not to Beijing in 30 years). So Beijing was a quick hit of the top attractions, done via a tour guide/car to make it time efficient. Hangzhao was a quick trip while my husband had meetings there and Shanghai was a half day of tour as I was not feeling well (and had been there a few years ago). Hong Kong was where we used to live so we revised old haunts and explored some new ones, but it wasn’t the classic ‘tourist’ visit.  We had beautiful weather everywhere we went (high 70’s/low 80s, low pollution, no rain, low humidity) which made the trip even more enjoyable!


Arrive Beijing evening

Hotel: Shangri-La 

Sunday: Beijing

– Picked up early by friend with a car and taken to Great Wall – Mutianyu entrance. Getting there early was key!

Cable Car up to Great Wall. Walked left as far as we were allowed to go. Be sure to bring a backpack, sunscreen and to wear comfortable walking shoes. We walked for 2 hours, climbed ’82 floors’ and 20,000 steps according to our phones. Lots of steps as you walk on history! We then walked the other direction past where we entered and to the second entrance/exit where you can exit via chairlift or a toboggan ride down. 

– Had great lunch en route back to the City (but only have the name in Chinese….)

– In the afternoon went to Nanluoguxiang (South Gong and Drum Lane) are of Beijing (there is metro stop there) and wandered through the old Hutong lanes and also took a Hutong tour via a pedicab. They took us into an old Hutong home and we had a calligraphy lesson and toured the home. Really enjoyed walking around this area and by the Bell Tower and the lake. 

– Dinner at Xiheyayuan which is under where the Shangri-la is and is known for their Peking Duck

Monday: Beijing

My husband went to work and I had a guide/driver for the day which made it really easy to navigate the city/sights

– Temple of Heaven. Definitely worth a visit and great to have someone with you to explain the history as not a lot of signs telling you details.

– Visit to Pearl Market. Bought pearls at Fanghua pearls (www.fanghua.com) and had earrings and pendant made at Beijing Jinhuayun Pearl Co (booth 83A, 139 jxiaohua83a@aliyun.com to make things). There are also the aggressive fake purse people downstairs but I just got a couple scarves from that area (bargain hard!).

– Great lunch at local noodle spot Fortune Long Beijing Bean Sauce Noodles.

– Summer Palace. I hadn’t been here before and was surprised at how big/diverse it and I really enjoyed it. Beautiful homes, artwork, lake, ‘corridor’ along the lake etc

– Passed by Olympic Bird’s Nest and Water Cube

– Dinner with friends of ours at Country Kitchen in the Rosewood Hotel

Tuesday: Beijing/Hangzhao

Guide/car picked me up for the day again

– Tianneman Square (definitely easier with a guide – go in a separate line that’s much faster)

– Walked across street from Tianneman Square to the Forbidden City. You can spend a lot of time here, especially if you have someone to explain the history to you as you go. Tickets cannot be bought on the spot – must be done ahead of time online! Be sure to include entrance to the Clock Museum and any other add ons (not expensive). It is huge and impressive.

– Local lunch (don’t have english name)

– One more quick Pearl Market visit to have a pendant made!

– To airport and fly to Hangzhao

Hotel: Shangri La Hangzhao

Wednesday: Hangzhao and Shanghai

Hangzhao is the home of AliBaba and has become a big city, but part of it is centered around a beautiful lake and feels very old fashioned and quaint. The hotel is right on the lake.

I walked/explored the lake area, took a boat to a few islands, had lunch by the lake and then later a Starbucks at the most beautifully located Starbucks EVER and then headed to the train station to meet up for the train to Shanghai. The train takes about 1.5 hours and is super easy.

I was on my own for dinner and went to the mall next door for an incredible Din Tai Fung dumplings meal (yum!) and had a wonderful, cheap foot massage for an hour as well! 

Hotel: Shangri La Pudong

Thursday: Shanghai

I wasn’t feeling well, and had been to Shanghai a few years before, so didn’t cram a lot into the day. Someone picked me up and we explored the Lu Gardens area of the city, which I hadn’t seen before. It’s a really old preserved part of town and was great to explore – it’s touristy but you feel what old Shanghai was like. The garden inside is amazing – you wander through rock gardens, pavilions/houses, gardens etc – it’s really worth seeing. Had wonderful lunch at Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant – has been there since 1900. Delicious!

Drove through old French Quarter, along the tree lined shopping street Huaihai Road, by the beautiful Shangai Art Museum (didn’t have time to go visit). 

Dinner: With friend at Hiya japanese restaurant in the Edition Hotel. Very trendy, delicious, high end restaurant with incredible view. Go one floor up for cocktails outside with the view as well and see the amazing Shanghai view!

Friday: Hong Kong

Leave on early 7:30 flight to Hong Kong. Arrive HK, take train to central and MTR to Causeway Bay and check into Mira Moon Hotel

Lunch with friend at Din Tai Fung – always good! 

Late afternoon wander through Central. Drinks at the Captains Bar in the Mandarin Hotel. Dinner at Yardbirds – delicious! 

Hotel: Mira Moon

Saturday: Hong Kong

Morning hike/run around Black’s Link (take take up to Wan Chai Gap Park and start from there). Hike gives views of both sides of the island and is one of my favorites. 

Taxi over to Stanley. Wandered/shopped (husband watched Warriors play off game!)

Back over to Causeway Bay (f you take bus be sure to sit up top for island views!)

Afternoon wander around Central ‘escalator/Sheun Wan’ area. 

Late lunch of the amazing pork buns and shrimp dumplings at Tin Ho Wan in building where airport train arrives – it’s a mall restaurant that is the lowest prices Michelin Star restaurant in the world. YUM

Visited new prison area that’s just been redeveloped/opened (which I used to live next door to when it was a prison) which is great, as well as PMQ. Drinks and dinner sitting outside at Chom Chom (Vietnamese Food) which was fun to watch the world going by in a great part of town. Then had cocktails after dinner at the Old Man, a block away but has no sign out front (you can Google it) and was just voted best Cocktail Bar in Asia the week before – tiny and wonderful. 

Sunday: travel home

Headed home! 

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