Being the place where one of the earliest civilizations emerged, China is full of many historical and cultural insights. We followed Eka Wijono, a legal officer and minimal aesthetic enthusiast on his journey to the great land of China. Read below as he explored the country often dubbed as The Red Dragon.
Text and Photographs by Eka Wijono
So, why did you go to China?
Search for knowledge to the highest level that is! (then I went to China), that’s what they said :p
China (Beijing-Shijiazhuang) was my destination at that time. The culture, the nature, the beautiful cities, the skyscrapers, the temple just amazed me. It also felt like homecoming, as I’m a mix of Chinese-Sulawesi, my great grandparents were from this country.
What was the weather like when you were there?
It was winter, so it was freezing. As a person who just experienced his first winter, I was a bit shocked with the drastic changes of temperature, in Beijing it could change from 26°C to 6°C in a short span of time.
Tell us about the cities you visited there?
Beijing; think skyscrapers, huge office buildings, sport center, even big factories in the middle of the city. I also went to Shijiazhuang, (6 hours from Beijing by bus, 2 hours by train). The region is a cultural hub, where a lot of international students studied local languages and culture.
How were the locals?
Not everyone there spoke English, and I can’t speak Chinese, so communicating can be a bit difficult. But, they really are nice people, some of them made an effort to explain directions with gestures. They were trying to help the best they could.
Where are the awesome places people should go?
Forbidden City: A palace complex in Central Beijing and former Chinese Imperial Palace. It’s a beautiful area where you can learn the history of Chinese Empire + they’re an awesome place to take pictures. If you can, visit it during winter, seeing the snow covers the ground and the roof is a sublime view!
Any unforgettable moments during your trip?
This was a crazy one. I wanted to take pictures of police officers, I wasn’t aware that this was forbidden to do. So, a police officer chased me, tried to catch me and my camera, I was running as fast as I can to get the hell out of the area haha. Some even said that if people got caught, they’ll take your camera and break it in front of you. So yeah, that was thrilling.
How was the culinary experience?
My favorites are Peking Roasted Duck, Kung Pao Chicken and the street food in Wangfujing Street, a food paradise with such unique snacks, the perfect place if you have an adventurous palate.
What was your favorite moment during your trip?
I went there for a cross cultural exchange program. So I met students from Hebei Normal University, we were blending in, learning many things from each other. Being exposed to new perspectives was such a precious experience.
Any tips for fellow travelers out there?
- Download VPN! They will help you lots, since Google and other websites are banned.
- Be familiar with local rules and policy..
- Bring your own toilet paper, because not every public area has it.
- When in need of help, ask their local students, they’ll most likely speak English.
Read more #Wanderlust at 247 COTTONINK Magazine.