Beijing - Further Afield
The Great Wall
Not technically within Beijing, but, at the edges of Beijing, many sections of the wall are tantalisingly close. One of the least visited, at just 140 kilometers to the north-east of the city, lies Jinshanling Great Wall. So called because it rises from the Jinshan Mountains, Jinshanling Great Wall was initially built from 1368 to 1389 in the Ming Dynasty. Poems and tablet writings can be found along the Wall detailing its construction, and later renovation. The length of this section is just over 11 kilometers, and it rises to over eight meters - with fortified enemy towers along the way.
China’s southern province is on the same latitude as Goa or Hawaii, has year round temperatures that remain comfortably above 22 degrees Centigrade, and is lapped by the warm waters of the South China Seas. Its ‘tourism island’ of Hainan is a tropical playground of modern resorts, lush interiors, cool highlands and hot nightlife. The island capital, Haikuo, is a likeable town with a breezy waterfront, crumbling colonial remains and busy beach but, away from the urban sprawl, the rest of the island’s charms are very much geared the the huge influx of visitors (from the Chinese mainland, chiefly but, increasingly, from all points of the globe too).
Resorts are surprisingly western in feel, with five-star hotel complexes and all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants lining the spruced-up promenades. Sanya Bay and Yalong Bay - separated by about 15 kms at the south of the island - can be treated as one resort area, as they share much of the area’s chief attractions. Sanya Bay is more popular with families seeking a good value, active beach break while Yalong, with its international resort hotels and spas, is slightly more relaxed and upmarket.