Back on the Road: Visiting Where The Great Wall Meets the Ocean

on the road in China

Just another construction site on the road in China

It has been a while since my last long distance trip in the Chinese countryside (the daily commute to work doesn’t count). But now the weather is starting to warm up, the Beijing spring time sandstorm winds are clearing out the pollution, and it’s just about time to hit the road again.

It’s a national holiday in China this upcoming week, Qing Ming Jie or Tomb Sweeping Holiday, which gives us the opportunity for Amy and I now to not just sweep some tombs but also have a few days off to go on a trip. So what better way to spend the time heading to the coast!

Our tentative itinerary at the moment goes something like this:

The Route to The Head of The Dragon

  1. Tang Shan Village or 唐山市

    This is really an intermediate stop to help break up the trip a bit. It’s always hard to get an early start on the first day of a trip as you deal with all the last minute packing, so we’ll end the first day only 170km out of Beijing in Tang Shan. I also wanted to avoid the problem of over-exhaustion that I encountered on the last trip to Qingdao when I got a major case of the flu. We won’t be spending much time here except I’ve heard there’s a snack worth trying called 麻糖, or “Sesame Candy”. I’m assuming that it’s got to be worth a try given that the towns name means “Sweet Mountain”!

  2. Changli 昌黎 (Lunch)

    One of my co-workers is originally from Changli, a county nearby our final destinations, and she’s going to be home for the holiday. So Amy and I have decided to stop in for lunch and say hi. Cindy will be taking us out to a local dumpling restaurant that is supposed to have amazing food and the restaurant itself is over 100 years old.

  3. Beidaihe 北戴河

    This is our first major destination. Beidaihe is supposed to be beautiful and equivalent to the Hamptons of Beijing with many of the rich, famous, and powerful of Beijing having their vacation homes here, where the wind of the ocean blows away all the pollution and the beaches are relatively clean. There is also a Russian concession in the area (along with British, Belgian, and other European concessions), and so the old style European architecture should make for some enjoyable sightseeing. Apparently it attracts a lot of Russian tourists too.

  4. The Head of The Dragon 老龙头, Near Qinhuangdao 秦皇岛

    The very end of The Great Wall, also known as The Head of the Dragon. I’ve heard that it’s actually not that impressive as it hasn’t been renovated in the way that the sections around Beijing have. However, there are supposed to be some nice old style villages nearby that still have their city walls standing. These walls also happen to be connected to The Great Wall.

  5. Back to Beijing

    300km ride back home to Beijing!

And that’s the trip! I hope you follow along as I’ll be updating from the road, hopefully daily. If you’re interested in hearing about how the trip goes, you can sign up by entering your email below. And of course if you have any questions about going on trips like this in China or are interested in telling us about your stories, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!