Summer Palace in Winter

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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.

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Skiing in Beijing

Badaling Ski Resort

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.

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Crossed It Off From the Bucket List: Great Wall of China (Badaling Section)

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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.

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Explore Beijing: Jingshan Park, Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square

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!

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Gapyeong City Tour: Nami Island & Petite France

nami path

If you are in Seoul and about to have an escape to somewhere more quiet, then Gapyeong is the perfect place for you. The city is surrounded by beautiful landscape, mountains and river. In winter, the city will be more beautiful as the snow covers. Gapyeong is not really far from Seoul, just about an hour train ride from the downtown Seoul. I went to Gapyeong to visit the famous Nami Island and Petite France.

For you the K-Drama lovers, you must be familiar about Winter Sonata. As for me, I remember this drama back when I was in elementary school, but never a fan. But I must be have take a look at this drama, because I remember that the drama’s screenplay was beautiful. Taken somewhere in the wintery South Korea and the location was just really dreamy.

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Back to the Joseon Dynasty

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Rasanya ga lengkap kalau jalan-jalan ke suatu negara tapi ga mampir ke historical places. Saat saya ke Korea Selatan Februari kemarin, saya juga menyempatkan diri untuk mampir ke beberapa historical places di Seoul. Korea Selatan memang terkenal dengan sejarah kerajaannya dulu. Apalagi ditambah K-Drama yang banyak menceritakan sejarah Korea, saya jadi makin penasaran deh untuk wisata sejarah di Seoul.

Wisata sejarah saya di Seoul di mulai dari Gyeongbokgung Palace. Untuk mencapai Gyeongbokgung Palace, fellow traveler harus menaiki subway ke Gyeongbokgung Palace Station. Suasana stasiunnya sendiri sudah kental dengan nuansa dinasti Korea jaman dahulu. Ada banyak artefak, mural, dan installation art di dalam stasiun ini. Sambil menghangatkan tubuh, saya memutuskan untuk foto-foto dulu.

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The Lovely Neighborhood: Itaewon

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Yes as the title says, my stroll around Itaewon was lovely. Suasana di Itaewon ini menurut saya, ‘internasional’ banget. Bahkan di salah satu artikel yang saya baca, katanya sih emang Itaewon ini memang di desain sebagai destinasi turis, jadi ga heran banyak percampuran kultur disini. Di Itaewon, fellow traveler akan dimanjakan oleh banyaknya cafe dan toko-toko yang menawarkan berbagai barang lucu-lucu.

Tujuan utama saya dan keluarga ke Itaewon ini adalah untuk mampir ke masjid yang terkenal seantero Seoul, yaitu Seoul Central Mosque. Untuk mencapai Seoul Central Mosque, fellow traveler harus turun di Itaewon Station dan jalan kaki sekitar 300m ke Usadan-ro Road. Emang sih jalanannya cukup nanjak gitu, tapi tenang aja sepi kok jalannya jadi bebas aja kalo mau jalan pelan-pelan hehehe. Ga perlu takut nyasar juga karena pasti udah ada direction sign juga untuk mencapai Seoul Central Mosque kok.

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Mesmerizing Istanbul

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Perjalanan saya di Turki pun berlanjut ke Istanbul, kota dengan penduduk terbanyak di Turki. Bahkan karena saking terkenalnya Istanbul, kota ini sering disalah pahami sebagai ibukota Turki. Padahal ibukota Turki adalah Ankara.

Sebenarnya, saat pertama kali menjejakkan kaki di Turki, saya mendarat di Istanbul Ataturk Airport di kota Istanbul. Namun karena schedule tur, saya harus mengelilingi kota lain dulu dan kemudian mampir di Istanbul semalam sebelum kembali ke Jakarta lewat bandara yang sama.

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The Breathtaking Cappadocia

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Saya sudah lama bercita-cita pengen ke Cappadocia. Kenapa? Tentu saja karena pengen naik balon udara. Awalnya, saya cuma tau Cappadocia karena it is famous for its hot air balloon destination. But, Cappadocia is so much more than hot air balloon...

Perjalanan saya ke Cappadocia dimulai dari kota Pamukkale. Meskipun perjalanan yang cukup lama, yaitu sekitar 15 jam, tapi saya tidak merasakan lelah sama sekali. Mungkin karena excited dan juga mampir-mampir di destinasi wisata di sepanjang rute menuju Cappadocia. Saya sempat mampir ke kota Dinar dan nyicip opium seed yoghurt. Etsss, jangan salah paham dulu, katanya opium yang diolah jadi yoghurt itu legal karena belum diolah dan tidak mengandung zat-zat berbahaya. Rasanya? Asem.

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Ruins of Ephesus, the Greek Ancient City

Library of Celcus

Turki memang terkenal dengan wisata sejarahnya, terutama reruntuhan jaman Romawi kuno. Di hari ke empat saya di Turki, saya mengunjungi Ruins of Ephesus yang terletak di kota Selcuk. Ruins of Ephesus merupakan kota Romawi kuno yang berumur sekitar 2000 tahun. Saat masa kejayaannya dulu, Ephesus ini merupakan kota Romawi terbesar kedua setelah Roma.

Saya masuk dari area Selatan dan langsung disambut pemandangan reruntuhan kota yang dikelilingi oleh bukit-bukit. Ephesus sendiri cukup besar, karena itu saya tidak terlalu berlama-lama di satu spot karena waktu yang cukup terbatas. Salah satu spot yang bikin saya takjub adalah Odeon, indoor theater yang memiliki kapasitas lebih dari 1500 orang. Konon, Odeon ini digunakan untuk rapat pemerintah atau konser. Saya pun iseng naik sampai ke atas Odeon. Dari situ, kita bisa melihat bukit-bukit yang mengelilingi Ephesus. Satu kata, indah.

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