So for the first time ever, I decided to skip town for my birthday voluntarily..
It was supposed to be a shopping trip to Bangkok but flight timing was ridiculous and I didn’t see a point. So my first thoughts on Beijing / the reason I chose to go Beijing:
1) I haven’t been to China before
2) Shopping should be cheap
3) Great Wall of China! (Bucketlist) 🙂
I didn’t bother to make any research as I had no time and the trip was quite last minute. And boy was I taken for a ride over there..
Exchange rate: SGD1 = CNY4.8
I took a late afternoon 6 hour flight so I arrived there close to 11pm.. It is still GMT+8 so there is no time difference. I got out of the plane into the almost deserted airport and walked towards the immigration checkpoint. Oh the horror… The snaking queue was freaking long! Full of tourists! The Chinese had an easier time of course.. So I thought it can’t be that bad and that it shouldn’t take too long.. Damn I was wrong! It took us more than an hour to clear the immigration and about 2 hours just to get out of the airport because apparently you’ll have to take a train to another terminal, T3C to collect your luggage.
Then you can proceed to 1F for bus or B1 for taxi. There were no express city trains left and I was stuck with the cab option.
It was supposed to be meter but I guess the taxi driver just wanted to hit the jackpot with us. The meter was supposed to be around CNY120 but guess what price he opened the moment we got comfortable in the cab? CNY480! That is seriously outrageous! We asked him to turn on his meter but he claimed that his meter is spoilt. So we told him we are willing to pay CNY150 and he said no. We were about to leave the cab when he said he’ll take CNY180. I decided to just pay cause I just don’t want to argue anymore and spoil my mood any further. It was a 25mins ride to reach our first hotel, Crystal Orange Jianguomen, which is located in the Chaoyang District. I booked 4 nights there thinking that we should move to another area for a different experience should we feel like it. It was a deluxe queen room for CNY2946 for 4 nights and I extended one more night later on which brought up the total to CNY3645 for 5 nights. Overall, I do not really recommend this hotel. You can know more about the hotel here.
CNY180 + CNY729 = CNY909
S$37.50 + S$151.90 = S$189.40
So we woke up very late but we had a mission today. Not gonna let a day go to waste. We are going to find the halal supermarket to stock up the supplies for our stay there. So we took the subway and drop at Niujie Station. From there, we had to walk over to Niujie Street. Niujie is famous for halal eateries. So if you are looking for halal food, this is the street to be.. Their oldest mosque, Niujie Mosque is also located there but I didn’t get to see it. As you walk down the street, you can see their halal sign or arabic words. They typically have 4 types of cuisine from what I’ve noticed. Uyghur which is a whole lot of meat, Chinese, Mediterranean or Indian. In Niujie, so far I only saw Uyghur and Chinese. Shops close as early as 9pm or maybe latest 9.30pm. So we went to the supermarket first. Bought some cup noodles and drinks to stock up then proceeded to a Chinese restaurant for dinner.
We ordered 2 plates of white rice, stewed beef with black sauce, sweet sour prawn, kailan with shitake mushroom and a small bowl of abalone just to try it out and also Sprite and Hami melon juice. They gave us 2 glasses, a big bottle of Sprite and a jug of Hami melon juice to drink. All for CNY 290 but I think they forgot to charge me for the vegetables so it should cost more. Something here that is being practised which is so much different from Singapore is that drinks at restaurants are never served with ice unless you go to McDonald’s or KFC kind.
My review? The shrimp portion is huge. It’s big enough for about 4 pax and they taste good. The kailan is just stems with no leaves with a generous amount of huge shitake mushrooms. Abalone was too fishy for my taste buds so I didn’t like it.
I’d suggest you order with care or even better, check quantity before u order or you’ll end up with a lot of food waste. If you do have leftovers and would like to take them away, you will be charged extra for packing and they will pack it on your table there and then right in front of your face so what you see is what you’ll get. ;P
CNY290 + CNY729 = CNY1019
S$60.40 + S$151.90 = S$212.30 (excluding groceries)