Across the Pacific Ocean I traveled and explored a new country & culture! The experience was amazing and like nothing I expected. Come on this journey with me as I share my highlights from traveling to #China for a week.
Hangzhou is the primary city I stayed. It is a top rated business city and my accommodations were wonderful. I highly recommend staying at the Zhejiang International Hotel. The rooms were gorgeous, clean and had great aesthetics. I had a comfy king bed, two TVs (room & bathroom) and a stellar view. The best part was that the hotel had two facets, one with tap water and the other with filtered water to drink and brush your teeth with.
The water in China was a major concern because they have limited filtration and it may not be safe to digest their pure water. The hotel also provided complimentary bottled water, slippers and robes!
Westlake is a popular tourist attraction in Hangzhou filled with malls, shopping centers, restaurants and entertainment. We saw the beautiful water music show, explored the Broken Bridge and took a boat ride. The natives were the sweetest and very intrigued by our presence. They kept taking photos and videos of us, with no shame - while many approached asking to take selfies with us. We def felt like American celebrities!
I was surprised that very little people spoke English there, even at our hotel and restaurants, maybe one person could communicate with us. Thank God for the translator apps we could easily download. They definitely helped out a lot. While we are talking about apps, I highly recommend setting up a VPN app before traveling. The Virtual Private Network (VPN) helped me access all the websites China's government blocks (like Facebook, Twitter etc).
Beijing was the next city we visited and had quite the excursion. We hiked the Great Wall of China, we visited the Jade Museum and toured the Ming Dynasty’s Palace. The Great Wall of China is GORGEOUS and the view from the top was quite breathtaking. Luckily the day we went was bright, yet cloudy. So the sun wasn't harsh and there was often a breeze. In total the hike is like 3-4 hours, we didn’t have time for that, so we took a car lift that flew us up the mountain. That ride was fun and scenic! Then we hiked the rest of the way up to the very top of the Great Wall.
The Ming Palace is one of the most preserved buildings with its original gates and walls. The Ming Dynasty presided there in the 14th century when Nanjing was the capital of China. Learning about the history, the royal dynasties and the colonization of Mongolia was fascinating. We closed our trip by traveling back to #Hangzhou and visiting the Linyiun Temple. This place was like a euphoric botanical garden filled with greenery, waterfalls and stone walls.
What to Bring - A Backpack! My purse style backpack made my life so easy. At first I was going to wear a stylish leather fanny-pack (you must indicate stylish when referring to a fanny pack lol), but I’m glad I didn’t! In addition to simple things like my passport, money and phone - I was able to carry a water bottle, protein bar, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, lotion and my sweater with me at all times while walking and touring all day. Which came in handy because the nights unexpectedly turned breezy.
I also highly recommend traveling with a Passport Wallet. I got mine from Style and Travel Girl Passport, and I love it because it’s the perfect pink and allowed me to keep my passport, credit cards and cash all in one place and secure. They also have 6 other colors.
I'm also in love with my marble luggage set from Juicy Couture; perfect for local or international travel. The plastic cover was sturdy and easily washable, the multi sections inside was a life saver for packing and quickly accessing my things, and the white color made my luggage instantly easy to find at airport.
The International Flight - Air China was great! However the flight was a long 16 hours in total. 14 hours to Beijing with a layover, then 2 hours to Hangzhou. If you are like me and not a fan of airplane food (because it’s microwaved mush), I recommend eating before your flight and then purchasing a sandwich from the airport that you can have as backup. One down side is that this airline doesn't have in-air Wi-Fi, which I guess I’m spoiled with from domestic travel; however on a positive note they did have TV screens in every seat, free movies and complimentary wine, which was nice. Cheers to China!
See more photos & commentary from my trip on Instagram! #ChinaWithJess