Hello! It has been one whole month since I last updated this blog. I made my way to Singapore, across China and have now returned home to Melbourne, Australia via Singapore. My bank account is now a lot poorer, but have come back richer in experiences. (This is really the least of my problems!)
It has been one epic journey with so many stories to tell. I contemplated beginning my story at the end, just because all my memories are so much fresher towards the end of the journey. I didn’t get much of a chance to journal or keep notes on my tablet, just because I spent most of my energy concentrating on getting from point A to point B and resting as much as I could in between.
It was definitely a good break from social media. However to be completely honest, it wasn’t a clean break. I purchased a prepaid sim card with data at the start of the trip, so I could still Instagram 😀 The main reason for this was that my family wanted to keep in touch with me throughout the journey, as I was traveling solo and did not have any friends with me on this trip. It was great making new friends!
Facebook and Twitter were the two social media platforms that were completely blocked. However if you had a VPN (virtual private network) you could get around “China Big Brother” and get some juicy updates on what exactly has been going on in the outside world.
So I’ve decided that I should start the journey from the start. Here’s a quick run down of my travel, arriving in Singapore for my Cousin’s Wedding, which was such a beautiful occasion and memorable experience.
My ‘solo’ tour travel tour with Gadventures then started soon after in Beijing, where we visited The Great Wall of China followed by free time for a couple of days, which I spent with my Cousin and the Art District 798 because I loved it so much. I also had my wallet stolen on Day 3, which was a great inconvenience. However I wasn’t too worried as I discovered my wallet was missing soon after it happened and was able to cancel my credit card right away.
It was then some epic 16 hour train ride to Shanghai. Riding on the slow sleeper trains for the first time was such a crazy experience. However we were really over sleeper trains by the end of the trip. Shanghai at least had a decent hotel and we didn’t have that much time to spend here. We just admired the unique city skyline, which includes the famous Bund Tower and went out for a night clubbing.
Next Stop – Xi’An. One of the most beautiful cities I have been to in China. Here I visited the Terracotta Warriors, the famous Bell and Drum towers and the Great Goose Pagoda. I also managed to make friends with some locals who took me out for a night at one of the popular clubs in Xi’an called Muse. Epic time. I loved Xi’An.
Xi’an also has a well established Muslim community. We happened to be in town for the Muslim festival called Eid Al-Fitr. I visited Muslim quarter on the day of Eid Al-Fitr and was confronted by the slaughtering of Cows and Goats Halal style to celebrate the end of Ramadan. This was one eye opening experience!
After Xi’an came the Three Gorges River Cruise. We had a terrible journey getting to the boat, which included a coach ride with another Chinese tour group. The good thing was we got to stop in Chong Qing – Hotpot capital, which was great for food experiences.
Onto Yang Shuo, which is a town near by to Guilin. By this point, I was coming down with a case of viral gastro. I was also really poor and out of funds. I made an emergency withdrawal of 1000 yuan, which was just enough to see me through to the end of Mainland China. If there’s anywhere you want to be sick, it would be in Yang Shuo. It’s a beautiful city in China.
After Yang Shuo, we spent 18 hours on the train to get ourselves into Hong Kong. The feeling of civilized people was most welcomed. People don’t push you, they line up, the city is clean and kids don’t shit in the street, people don’t spit everywhere. FREEDOM.
Hong Kong was full of adventure, including getting kicked out of a Pub Crawl, meeting awesome people at the Yes Inn Causeway Bay, partying down in Central and Wan Chai and a beautiful day trip to Lamma Island for some beach action.
From Hong Kong, I traveled to Singapore and ended up spending one extra night there due to mechanical problems with the aircraft. This was one of the best things that could have happened, as I was already running late for my flight (or so I thought because I never received the updates about the cancellation)
In the end I was put up for the night in the Riverview Hotel with buffet Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch included. It was so good to relax because by this time I had come down with a very bad Flu. I also went shopping crazy and was seriously overweight. However Jetstar was able to check in excess luggage and provide meals and entertainment for my flight home for no extra costs. Jetstar, you rock!
So, that’s the summary. More updates to come! Stay tuned. Have a great weekend everyone! 4am – I’m ready for bed!!!