A Travellerspoint blog

May 2018

Gubei Water Town

Beijing Day Trips

storm 27 °C

As we are approaching the end of our time in China, our priorities have changed from trying to see as much as possible, to trying to save as much as possible. Our travel plans are coming together and with all the excitement, there are underlying nerves about whether or not we can *actually* afford to hit all of the amazing places on our bucket list. So recently we have been trying to strike the balance between still seeing new things without spending our (hard?)-earned salaries. Now that Will has visited Beijing a fair few times, we have more or less hit all of the sights, so when local travel agency CET advertised a day trip to the “nearby” water-town of Gubei, we were both keen to sign up.

The trip set of at the sociable hour of 10am. Unfortunately, we got caught in weekend traffic heading out of the city, meaning that the journey was slightly longer than we expected - around 3 and a half hours, if I remember correctly. It was a very hot day and unfortunately the pollution was relatively high, which meant some of the mountain views were a little on the fuzzy side. Gubei is a very interesting little place, it has a few large resort-style hotels, but aside from the workers, I think the village is basically uninhabited. It is completely pedestrianised and there are hundreds of tiny winding streets that you can get lost in. There are beautiful canals and the whole place is very quaint and picturesque.

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We were starving by the time we arrived so food was, of course, our first priority. We found a small canal-side courtyard selling reasonably priced noodle dishes and tucked in, before heading further into the town to explore. We tried to stay away from the main streets that were exceptionally busy. Sticking to the back streets we still came across the main attractions, such as the silk museum, opera stage and food streets, as we made our way towards Gubei’s section of the Great Wall.

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It’s a good few months since I last went to the Wall, and this is the third section I’ve visited. It was also possibly the steepest! Even with the pollution, we had great views of the wall winding into the distance and we were up there right towards the end of the day so it was quite quiet in places. I was surprised how rugged this section of the wall was. It is one of the restored sections (as are most of the ones you are *allowed* to visit) but - I don’t know if for effect - some parts were very definitely crumbling. The tumble-down effect is perhaps more striking, in terms of realising what a huge feat the building of it was, back in the day! (Even more striking having recently learned that the cement they used to hold it all together was made out of rice?!?!?! - shout out to Lou for that questionable piece of knowledge)

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It was getting dark as we arrived back at the bottom of the wall, and Gubei was starting to light up, it was beautiful with all the lights reflecting in the water. We stopped for a much needed drink at William Bar. There was a live band playing and it was a really pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. It was finally starting to cool down too. We didn’t have long left until we were due back at the coach, so we went in search of some more food, just as the first crashes of thunder happened. Most of the tourists started to panic and as a mass evacuation back to the coach park was underway, Will and I decided to take advantage of the diminishing queues for the Chinese hamburger stalls to get some grub.

When the rain finally started to pour, we too headed directly for the coach. I’m so pleased that I finally got to see Gubei, even with the high pollution levels. Our last view of the town saw it completely lit up with the Wall - also lit up - shining on the tops of the mountains in the distance. It is probably the last time I will see the Great Wall, and so it was fitting that it was so spectacular.

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Posted by amysblog 01:27 Archived in China Tagged china summer beijing sightseeing great_wall asia day_trip tefl gubei Comments (0)