A dream come true

This reader vis­ited the fi­nal des­ti­na­tion on his Seven Won­ders of The World travel list.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Travel - By TOOFAN MAJUMDER

IN June 2018, I re­alised that I had seen six of the Seven Won­ders of The World – ex­cept for the Great Wall of China. That’s when I de­cided to visit China, not just for the wall, but its beau­ti­ful tem­ples too.

When I ar­rived in Bei­jing, I rented a car from the air­port and im­me­di­ately went to the Great Wall of China. I vis­ited the Badal­ing sec­tion of the wall, which is one of the more pop­u­lar tourist sec­tions and the near­est to Bei­jing city.

The Great Wall of China mea­sures over 20,000km, mak­ing it the long­est man-made struc­ture in the world. The north sec­tion of Badal­ing was very crowded so I walked fur­ther down to the south sec­tion, where it was qui­eter. At some parts of the area, I was the only per­son around, which made me feel like the whole wall was mine to pro­tect!

But while the wall it­self is an ar­chi­tec­tural and engi­neer­ing mar­vel, the view of the sur­round­ing moun­tains was even more mag­i­cal.

As I walked back to where I en­tered, I for­got that the wall was ac­tu­ally built on hills, un­til I started feel­ing the bod­ily aches and pains. I re­alised that I was no longer in my youth and my stamina was not what it used to be.

Af­ter lunch I con­tin­ued my

ad­ven­ture at the For­bid­den City. I knew that the For­bid­den City was the largest palace in the world but that did not pre­pare me for the ac­tual mag­nif­i­cent struc­ture. I vis­ited var­i­ous quar­ters of the Im­pe­rial Palace, imag­in­ing just how pow­er­ful and rich the em­per­ors of the Yuan dy­nasty – who resided there – were. It must have been an amaz­ing sight to be­hold dur­ing its glory days.

The next day, I boarded a train for Shang­hai for a day trip. I only had four days to ex­plore China, which I knew was not nearly enough time. I had re­ally wanted to see Shang­hai though, es­pe­cially the Shang­hai Bund area.

The Bund runs along the river and faces mod­ern sky­scrapers in the Pudong dis­trict, in­clud­ing the Shang­hai tower (the world’s sec­ond tallest build­ing), Jin Mao Tower and the fa­mous Ori­en­tal Pearl Tower.

Af­ter a few hours, I headed to the train sta­tion to take a bul­let train back to Bei­jing. The sta­tion was very in­ter­est­ing as ev­ery­thing looked so fu­tur­is­tic.

There was a ro­bot sweep­ing the area, and it ac­tu­ally asked peo­ple to move aside if they were block­ing its way!

The bul­let train was the fastest I had ever taken; I ar­rived in Bei­jing in just un­der four-and-a-half hours.

I con­tin­ued my dis­cov­ery of the city by go­ing to the Tem­ple of Heaven. When I was young, my fa­ther gave me the Book Of Knowl­edge on my 10th birth­day, which had a beau­ti­ful pic­ture of the Tem­ple of Heaven, so I was very happy to see it in real life.

The tem­ple was sur­rounded by a beau­ti­ful park. It is an ar­chi­tec­tural mas­ter­piece and the land­scape de­signs were in­tri­cate and gor­geous. The com­plex was once vis­ited by the em­per­ors of the Ming and Qing dy­nas­ties for an­nual re­li­gious cer­e­monies.

Through­out my trip, I had des­per­ately wanted to share pic­tures of my trip on my so­cial me­dia page but as Face­book is blocked in China, I had to pa­tiently wait un­til I got back to Malaysia to do it. But as I stood in front of the tem­ple that day, none of that both­ered me. I just felt over­whelm­ingly grate­ful to have been to so many amaz­ing places in my life.

The views ex­pressed are en­tirely the reader’s own.

The south­ern part of the Badal­ing sec­tion of the Great Wall of China has fewer tourists.


China’s bul­let trains are awe­some.

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