Summary: A father son trip with some business days in between. We will start off from Amsterdam through Shanghai to Xian to stay there 4 full days. We will then continue to Chengdu where we have 2 full days. Then we continue onwards to Vietnam, Hanoi where we will have 4 full days (of which 2 will be at Halong Bay). After this side trip we continue onwards through Beijing to Qinhuangdao where we will stay full day and the day after we return to Beijing to have 2 more full days there. Last day we fly back to Amsterdam from Beijing.
We arrived in afternoon to our hotel Holiday Inn in Qinhuangdao. At the train station in Qinhuangdao we got in contact with a great taxi driver (didn’t speak English but we managed with our Chinese to tell him we needed a driver for the next two days). A very friendly man and we later learned he was a retired special forces military.
Day 15 & 16 – Qinhuangdao
We started at 11 AM with our driver to drive about an hour into the mountains area to see the great wall. The wall is about 8800 KM long and goes over 17 different provinces in China. This place at Shanhaiguan is one of the three places best to visit the wall. Here you can see it winding through he mountains, the city of Shanhaiguan with the first pass under heaven, and the old dragon head where the wall enters and stops at the see. The wall was build in several dynasties starting at around 500 B.C. until the 16th century. Most famous are the walls from the Qin dynasty of which not much is left and the Ming dynasty. Do not forget to check out the Buddhist temple just a few hundred meters further away.
From the wall we went to the Shanhaiguan village which is the first pass under heaven. The east gate is still original while all others are rebuild recently (20-30 years). During the Ming dynasty it became one of the most fortified passes in China. The pass is about 4 by 4 KM and the wall are up to 14 meters high and 7 meters thick. It takes about 3 hours to explore the wall and fortifications and the museums and temples inside.
Actually the next day (due to late start at the day before) we visited the Old Dragon Head. It’s the eastern starting point of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall call Laolongtou. Laolongtou Great Wall comprises the Chenghai Pavilion, the Nereus Temple, the Estuary Stone City, the Jinglu Beacon Tower, the Nanhaokou (Southern Estuary) Pass and the Ninghai City. In 1900, the Eight Power Allied Force invaded Shanhaiguan Pass and destroyed the Laolongtou. In 1984, it was rebuilt by the people of Shanhaiguan City.
Day 16 – Depart to Beijing
After exploring dragons head in the morning we took the 3PM train back to Beijing.
We made a small error by starting the day before at 11AM, it’s possible to see the three points above in one day if you would start at 9AM or maybe even 8AM.