I’m never one to need much persuasion when it comes to travel, so when my Mum told me she was celebrating a milestone birthday in China and running the Great Wall of China half marathon, I definitely wanted to be there. Initially Mike and I were only going to support, though somehow we have also been convinced to sign up for the race!
I’ve spent a few hours researching and planning our holiday including reading travel blogs for suggestions and first hand experience of where to visit from other travelers. Simon’s Jam Jar has some comical tips in his 29 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting China – it’s certainly going to be a cultural and eye-opening trip. Can’t wait.
The more brochures and blogs I read, the longer I’ve realised you need to spend in China to do the country justice. There are so many beautiful and interesting places, so this two-week trip will have to be a taste for a longer visit in the future.
The trip starts with our arrival in Beijing – my first experience of China. There will certainly be some of the city’s signature dish, Peking Duck being eaten. No doubt we will get lost in the many hutongs while we try navigate the Chinese language.
As well as a lot of eating and shopping, sightseeing will include Tiananmen Square – one of the largest squares in the world, the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven.
The Great Wall and race time! After a pre-race route inspection a couple of days prior, we join in the Great Wall Of China Marathon – known to be one of the most challenging in the world – on the Huangyaguan section of the wall. Family are running in the full and half marathons while I’m running the 8.5km ‘fun run’. 2,582 steps, here I come.
I’ve always wanted to visit the Great Wall and never imagined I would be running a race on it. Will be pretty special running it with family as part of my Mum’s birthday. Certainly a memorable occasion to remember in the years to come.
One of China’s oldest cities, Xi’an has over 3,000 years of history. As well as exploring the city, we will be joining a day tour visiting the mind-blowing Terracotta Warriors Museum, Bell Tower, Great Mosque and the Muslim Quarter.
No trip to China would be complete without seeing the adorable Panda Bear. I would have loved to do some volunteer work with them, but time permitting, we will just be visiting the Chengdu Panda Base; a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals. I can’t wait to see these gorgeous animals in person.
Our time in China ends with a few days in the vibrant and bustling city of Shanghai. Days will be filled walking along The Bund, taking in the iconic skyline and soaking up the atmosphere as we end our two week trip in China’s most populated city.
The countdown is underway with less than three weeks to go. Better get in some last minute stair training. The stairs in the race are looking intimidatingly steep.
Have you been to China? Share your tips, or links to posts in the comments. Personal experience and word of mouth ‘must-dos’ from those you know are always the best recommendations.