The Chinese government is slowly opening up for free visa stop-overs. This is great because I love to come back to Beijing for a few days, say hello to friends, enjoy some noodles and then move on to my next destination. Now, it is possible for foreigners to stay in Beijing up to 72 hours without a visa. This almost sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s not. I’ve done it twice now and it’s super convenient.
When you arrive in the airport and are going through immigration, you just prepare proof that you’re moving on to another destination in between the next 72 hours. E.g. I came from Taiwan and when I arrived in Beijing, I showed the immigration officer that I had a ticket to Russia 52 hours later. Because of this ticket, they stamped my passport and I was free to move around Beijing. Remember, it only works in Beijing, so you cannot visit friends in Hubei when you’re on the 72-hour free visa transfer.
As mentioned earlier, I came from Taiwan and landed in Beijing after a lot of mess in Taipei airport. Why? The thing is that when you transfer like this without a visa, you cannot stop over in another Chinese town. I was supposed to fly to Shanghai, stay in the airport for three hours and get on to the next plane to Beijing. Even if I wasn’t supposed to go through immigration or anything, according to the Taiwanese check-in lady, they could not let me check in. Too bad, had to buy another and more expensive ticket straight to Beijing. So please remember this, when you’re booking.
My friend picked me up in the airport and we took the bus to town. It’s only 25 RMB for both train and bus from the airport to Beijing center which is super convenient. We checked in at an old hostel inside the Beijing hutongs. I love this place because of the local feeling to it.
Is it smart or just super-smart? 😀
The next day, I went to see my other friends. We found this convenient jacket for really cold weather. We talked one of my friends into putting it on and we were laughing our lungs out. It looked hilarious. Chinese fashion is just on another level.
While waiting for my new glasses to be done, I had a calorie-party
I had also planned to get my glasses done in Beijing because it’s super cheap and extremely fast and well-made. So my friend and I went to Panjiayuan 潘家园 (Line 10), walked into the first shop asked for a price and 15 minutes later I was wearing my new glasses. I was thrilled. Besides the market for glasses, we found a big and glorious restaurant where we met with more friends to eat my last Chinese meal this time. Obviously, I ordered a Peking duck and my favorite Yams/Jam/Sprinkles-thing. Check out the picture, would you like to try??
My friend thought it looked like a birthday cake, what do you think?
My friend is ready to dig in
Before going to the airport, we went to the Tiantan Park (天坛公园) which was beautifully decorated with yellow leaves and happy senior citizens dancing and chatting with each other. This is one of my favorite places, so I was really happy to see it once again even if the pollution was pretty heavy that day. Who cares, when you’re in great company, right?
We finished the afternoon with a cup of hot coffee at Weidomé (味多美, the cheaper version of Starbucks) just besides the subway station, the pearl market (红桥) and the Tiantan Eastern Gate (天坛东门). After saying goodbye, I left for the airport.
A beautiful woman dancing in the park
After way too many hours of standing in line, waiting for check-in, immigration check, security check etc. I found a place to lay down until boarding. During that time, I realized I’d caught a cold, my body was aching and I couldn’t concentrate about much but luckily, I had my Hello Kitty cookies to help me get through the waiting.
Aren’t they cute??
20 hours later, I’m now in Denmark, looking back at my three months of backpacking in Asia with a happy smile.
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