China has been on my bucket list for a long time ever since I heard that the Great Wall of China can be seen from space. We arranged a tour (chinatour.net) which enabled us to have an invitation letter that we needed for our visa (although a hotel can also provide this).
We started in Beijing and went to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. We took the cable up and the toboggan down which was really fun. We got to the wall quite early (830am) so it was quiet but eventually, more and more people turned up. We walked along the wall which was sometimes very tough with steep steps but the views were amazing.
We went to Tiananmen Square, the Palace Museum and Forbidden City, even though there were many people the architecture was beautiful to see. In Jingshan Park, there were really good views of the Forbidden City. During the Temple of Heaven, it was raining really heavily but it was worth seeing.
The Summer Palace was very beautiful and there was even a marble boat. We went to the Old Hutongs to make dumplings at a local home, and the vegan version was filled with vegetables. We also took a rickshaw ride.
For dinner, we went to the Buddhist temple restaurant Fuhuiciyuan Vegetarian Restaurant. The level of English was very good and the menu was extensive. We went there three times and tried many dishes, are favourites were the coconut soup, spinach pie, Chinese yam (had butterfly and mushroom decorations that you could eat), dumplings, charcoal sweet potato, mock duck pancakes, kung pao mock chicken. When we walked to this restaurant in the streets we always saw street dancers.
After Beijing, Xi’an was next. The first and most anticipated sight was the terracotta army. There were three pits, with the largest number of soldiers in pit one. Every one of the 8,000 soldiers has a different face based on the Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, armies.
In the evening in Xi’an we had a dance show and dumpling dinner and they provided vegan dumplings which were amazing.
Also in Xi’an we saw the small wild pagoda and rode on bikes around the city wall.
The last city was Shanghai where we started at the Shanghai museum, and then went to the Yu Garden, which is very beautiful.
We took a river cruise was a great way to see the Bund.
In Shanghai we went to BMS Organics, on the menu it has vegan labels, although on some items it said vegan but contained honey. We tried the burger (amazing), smoothie bowl and overnight oat bowls (mango and dragon fruit).
During most of the tour, we had lunch provided and are options were normally dishes of tofu, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and vegetable soup. The food was good and definitely filling.
We flew with Swiss Airlines and the vegan food was average. Although on the shorter flight (Zurich to Gothenburg) we could not preorder a vegan dish because it is considered a snack, however, the air hostess was very kind and gave us a quinoa salad from business class instead.