I am a fan of anything related to royal things; princess, prince, and the palaces. This royal things always fascinated me. I always dream of visiting Palace of Versailles in France and Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. I get excited to know more about the story behind the palaces and imagining how it looked like when real royal family still lived there.
So as a student who live in Turkey, I have the chance to visit some of the palaces. Turkey was known of its Ottoman Empire. Two of the most famous palaces are Topkapi Palace and Dolmabahce Palace. I’ve been to Topkapi Palace when I visited Istanbul back in 2015. The Topkapi Palace is not as luxurious as other palace, but this palace gave me this emotional feelings. But this time, I am going to tell about the Dolmabahce Palace.
So, I’m writing this blog post from my dorm room in Istanbul, Turkey. I moved to this city, 3 weeks ago. Long story short, I got the Turkiye Burslari Scholarship from the Turkish Government. It was like a dream come true because I always wanted to study abroad. Turkey is not my first choice to study, but over all the scholarship I applied, I got accepted in here first, so I decided to take it.
I wanted to go on a new challenge, new life, and having a new perspective. I decided to left everything behind in Jakarta, my job, my friends, and my family. It was all so sudden. From the time I received my acceptance e-mail, I only have 2 months to be prepared. That 2 months I used it to met all my friends, my lecturer, and eat all my favorite Indonesian foods lol.
Singapore might be a relatively small country, but this country is my favorite. I always miss the Singapore ambiance, their clean air, and their really nice transportation system. I was so happy that I could visit the country, even just for 3 days. My last trip there was to watch FC Bayern Muenchen and FC Internazionale in their fascinating National Stadium.
But my another agenda to Singapore was to take a lot of Instagram-worthy pictures. Well, since I decided to sort out my Instagram feed, I always try to find nice and artsy places whenever I travel, for the sake of Instagram. Well, I am that person.
If you know me for a long time, you must know that I love football. My favorite football team is Arsenal, I bet you know that. But, not many people know that my second favorite football team is FC Bayern Munchen. My love for FC Bayern grow because the team is from Germany, which I always wanted to visit. I also support Germany National Football Team in particular, so since that FC Bayern players are mostly German, so yeah.
I was so excited when I know that FC Bayern will come to Asia for their pre-season tour. My first option wasn’t to watch FC Bayern, but Arsenal in Shanghai. But since I just come back from Beijing months before, I think it would be a waste to spend another money to go that far, also I don’t have so many work leave to use. I then decided to go to Singapore for FC Bayern.
When I went to Beijing few months ago, I didn’t really know about the tourist destination there. I did some browsing in the internet to find out what’s happening in Beijing and stumble upon Travel China Guide. The website and also my Beijing-living friend suggest to visit Summer Palace, so I put Summer Palace in my itinerary.
Summer Palace listed as UNESCO world heritage sites for being the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China. The park was built in 1750 as a retreat park for the royal families so they could rest and entertained. Then it became the main residence of royal members in the end of the Qing Dynasty.
I have visited four seasons countries before, yet I never experienced to ski. The reason are whether it is to cold or no one (means my family) wanted to accompanied me. So when I visited Beijing with my two other friends, we decided to go skiing. It was our first time ski experience!
I have research all over the internet on ski resort near Beijing. The result there were several ski resort names, Huaibei Ski Resort, Nanshan Ski Resort, Jundushan Ski Resort, and Badaling Ski Resort. From all the resort, I still did not understand how to get there. I even asked about which resort is nearest from downtown Beijing in several forums, from backpacker group in Facebook, Trip Advisor, Travel China Guide to Quora. All the answers did not well explained, so our plan to go skiing was quite blurry.
I remember when I was an elementary student, I used to see a poster of seven wonders of the world in my class every day. I also got to see the picture of it on my textbooks. Years later, I visited one of the place in the list, Great Wall of China. I never really want to visit Great Wall of China. Frankly speaking I want to visit Colosseum first, then complete my seven wonders of the worlds list. But unexpectedly I went to Beijing, so I could not missed the Great Wall!
Before I came to Beijing, I did some research about the Great Wall of China. From what I read in the internet, most people suggest to come to Mutianyu section, because it less crowded compare to Badaling section, even tough Mutianyu is farther and quite difficult to reach. But my friend who live in Beijing said that it is better to go to Badaling section, because it is the most preserved section and the view was also better. She also agree to accompanied me, so as I don’t want to get lost, I chose to go to the Badaling section.
My first impression on Beijing was, “Wow pollution in Beijing are real!” because I could see all the pollution fog even at 5 am in the morning. But then as I explore the city, I had my second impression which I don’t even expected, that Beijing is seriously neat. My expectation of Beijing is that the city is crowded and messy with traffic everywhere, just like Jakarta (well, I have to say this). The reality is, Beijing is unlike Jakarta!
I am impressed with the transportation system which are so integrated. Beijingers mostly use metro and bus as their main transportation. Metro station and bus stop are everywhere in Beijing. It is also connected with most of the main road and building. If you often use this two kinds of transportation when you are in Beijing, then I suggest you to buy Beijing Transportation Smart Card (Yikatong). With the card, you don’t have to buy single ticket everywhere you go on a trip and also it offers 50% fare discount!
When I decided to go to Beijing, I have some concern about the food. From what I read in the internet, they said that it is kind of tricky to find halal food in Beijing. So, to avoid that I opt to brought some food supplies. Since I went there with another 5 people, so each people need to brought different kind of food. I, myself brought instant cream soup and dried anchovies. My friend brought instant sausage, corned beef, and meatball. And of course, all of us brought our favorite instant noodle and sachet beverages. All of the food is supplies was intended for breakfast and dinner, so we still need to find restaurants for lunch.
Since I arrived in Beijing on Friday, so all of the men need to do Friday prayer. I already research about mosque in Beijing and found this famous Mosque in Beijing, Niujie Mosque. It is located in Niujie area. If you take the metro, you have to get out exit C1 at Changchun Jie station, then continue with bus no. 10 for four stops. The mosque was surrounded with some of halal restaurant and supermarket. So, I decided to have a stop at the supermarket first to buy some foods.
As I’m going to Beijing this March, so I need to immediately apply for the Chinese visa. As for Indonesian, we need to apply for the visa if you want to visit the mainland China. First thing first, I started to Google to find out about all the requirements. I stumbled upon their official visa application center website. I spent hour carefully read about the visa requirement.
So basically, Chinese visa doesn’t require as many documents as the other visa requirement. You just need this: