Today we reached the 200 day milestone of being away from the UK. We left icy cold England at the end of January 2013 with the aim of seeing a small slice of the world.
We headed to Malaysia first, to spend Chinese New Year with Cristabel's family and explore the city of Kuala Lumpur. At the end of February we flew from Kuala Lumpur to Shanghai, where we travelled south by coach to Ningbo, which is where we joined our Mandarin language course. After 4 months of studying at Ningbo University we finished the course and left Ningbo to backpack around the rest of China. We have been fortunate as we came into the country with a 180 day visa, affording us more time than the majority of people get to travel China on their tourist visas.
It's been a whirlwind of a tour and we have seen some of the biggest attractions China has to offer. We went to Hangzhou first and saw the famous West Lake, visited Nanjing ‘Southern Capital of China' and visited Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum and stood near the top of the world at the Zifeng Tower. We sped down to Shanghai where we spent a week enjoying the sights of The Bund and trekking around half the city. We zoomed up to Beijing in under 5 hours on the bullet train to be greeted with rare crystal clear blue skies for the best part of our visit. We took in the grandness of The Great Wall, experienced what it was like being Emperor of China and living within the confines of The Forbidden City and Summer Palace. I even got to say hello to Mao Zedong for a split second. We then slept our way to Xi'an on a sleeper train, where we just about got to see the Terracotta Warriors (crowds limited the view somewhat) and saw the oldest intact City Wall in the world. We then flew into Chengdu where Cristabel got a rare chance to cuddle up to a baby Panda and we got to relax at the beach (even though Chengdu is 1,000's of miles away from the coast). We then took an 18 hour sleeper train into Kunming where we got some time off to relax and unwind until we hitched up to our 22 hour sleeper to Guilin where we spend the last 5 nights in China, just before our visa runs out!
There has been a severe lack of posts whilst travelling China and that is due to the internet access not affording us sufficient bandwidth to post images. But over the next few months we hope to cram this website full of helpful advice about China and what to see and do.
So what does the next 200 days hold for us? Well we have Guilin still to explore, a Li River Cruise to Yangshuo and getting to stay up in Dazhai Village to enjoy sunrise over Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces. We then travel to Shenzhen where we say goodbye to China and hello to Hong Kong. After Hong Kong we fly into Hanoi, Vietnam and will spend the month travelling down to Ho Chi Minh to fly into Bangkok, Thailand. After then, who knows what we will be doing!
Anyway, below are some collages of our favourite sights in China so far – we hope you enjoy!