3 days in Beijing to experience Traditional Chinese Medicine!
Hey, my name is Jackson Dorsey, I am a 27-year-old Tasmanian living in the southwest of England! I have been on the road now for close to 5 years, and I’ve lived in the United States, England, and Cambodia. Last week I was lucky enough to participate on a 3-day press trip to Beijing to experience Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the 2 Monkeys travel, wow!
What an opportunity this was! everything was so last minute, like picking up my passport from VisaHQ in London just 4 hours before I was due to fly from Heathrow to Beijing! After a very smooth and pleasant flight with AirChina, I finally made it to Beijing!
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I was greeted at the airport by our very funny and full-of-life travel guide, Tang and one of the lovely and shy trip organizers from Ctrip Ivy Lee. They welcomed me to China and Tang filled me in on a brief history of China whilst Ivy Lee discussed everything Ctrip does in China and what they hope to be doing in the future with the western world (I found out that Ctrip has just merged with Skyscanner! Big news.) Ivy showed me how the Ctrip app works and that the idea at Ctrip is that you can use the app as your travel agent – so you can book anything travel-related through them! Pretty cool!!
We arrived at the massive Beijing Jinyu Fengshan Spa Resort (amazing rooms!) where I relaxed for a few hours and took a siesta and waited for the other bloggers to arrive from around the world! That night we had a big dinner at the hotel where I finally met everyone else including David and Hash from Juicertrip as well as Ivy and Tang who were also in attendance! It was 10 of us on the trip all together from such diverse countries as Denmark, Croatia, Canada, the United States and me from Australia! It soon became apparent that this trip was going to be a great laugh with all the different characters and personalities! David gave us a quick briefing about the trip and what we would be experiencing in the coming days! It was very exciting and new to me and I was enjoying every moment!
We started the first full day in Beijing by attending the opening ceremony for TCM at the TCM training hospital in the Yangshen Valley – we had a very moving performance from a Tai Chi elder and a fantastic welcoming speech from the Deputy Chairman of Beijing tourism committee. We then had the opportunity to go on stage and introduce ourselves and touch lightly on our interest in learning about TCM and what we hope to gain from this experience, for me personally it was very interesting as I haven’t taken any pharmaceutical drugs in over 10 years, so to learn and understand other ways of healing and preventing sickness was fascinating.
After the speeches, we had the opportunity to take part in a live Tai Chi lesson. What an experience!
After the opening ceremony, we made our way over to the massage area of the complex for a lesson and demonstration of Tui Na (pressure point massage). I was looking forward to this the most as I had been feeling very tense and uptight in the past few weeks! We had a doctor explain to us the basics of Tui Na before leading us into the massage rooms where we each had around a 30-minute massage! My masseuse did a great job relaxing me and loosening up my body back! I think it’s safe to say I left the building feeling much better than when I had entered! After walking around and seeing everyone else’s reactions to the pressure point massages we all had a good laugh!
The next stop of the day was the Forbidden City! This is a definite must-see attraction when visiting Beijing; the history, the architecture, the importance to the Chinese people and the sheer size of the palace make it an overload to process! The Forbidden City also has the number 1 most visited museum in the world (The palace museum)! We had a chance to walk through the Forbidden City, exploring its many different areas from its massive courtyards to its gardens and the throne that had once been used by past emperors! Looking at the perfectly symmetrical architecture and the attention to detail in all the woodwork around the windows and the little statues on the roofs it is difficult to comprehend the work hours that were put into building such an impressive city!
That night we were lucky enough to go to the famous Quanjude Roast duck restaurant! Wow, what an experience: the chef rolls his workbench into the dining room and carves the duck right next to the table! Then you get some steamed taco like wraps with some soy and spicy sauces to fill it and there you have it! A duck wrap! So delicious! I highly recommend it if you are in China to try this!
The hotel we stayed at had a hot spring spa facility that we had been booked in to use! This was a massive complex that had numerous different spas throughout, including outside! We choose to go outside (i think it was around 0 degrees!) to try first. Most spas were around the 38-42 degree mark! After a while, we decided to go inside and try the submerged sunbeds that had pressure point jets coming from them! So nice!!
The next morning I got to fulfill a childhood dream and climb the Great Wall of China, which did not disappoint! It is like when you see any man-made marvel for the first time, for me it compares to seeing Angkor Wat or The Coliseum for the first time; it is hard to put into words when exactly takes your breath away. All you can do is just try to think and comprehend how we as humans built such things so many moons ago! After a few hours of exploring and photographing the Great Wall, we left for lunch at the Golden Palace Courtyard Restaurant (my favorite meal of the trip) in a stunning traditional Chinese courtyard setting!
That afternoon we made our way to the Beijing TCM University where we had a small lecture and introduction to TCM in the medicinal world, while we were being treated to some delicious herbal tea for the duration of the talks. We then got a guided tour throughout the two museums they have on campus, one being the Chinese Medical history and the other being Chinese Materia Medica.
Both exhibitions were as interesting as the one before. At the end of the tour of the museums we had some acupuncture done and pressure point massages (again! I know, life is tough! 2 massages in 2 days!). The trip to the university was very interesting with the huge selection of everything from herbs and spices to preserved plants and taxidermy tigers!
To end this fantastic trip we attended Yu Xiandu Millenium Taste – a live production that plays out on a stage that is at one end of the hall then runs straight down the middle cutting the dining room in half like a runway! It is the story of the Tang, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. The show was full of energy and colors and noise! The costumes were fantastic and entertaining to watch even if I didn’t understand the language! And the food that came out was just as interesting with delicacies like a turtle being served (I had to try it! Very odd taste and texture!). It was a great way to finish such a memorable trip!
The guys at Juicertrip (David and Hash) and Ivy Lee from Ctrip did an incredible job putting this trip together and have made me want to return to China and spend more time exploring the country and reading deeper into TCM and the benefits it can have on our lives!
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About the Writer
Jackson is a Tasmanian native living in the South West of England that has been writing for the Two Monkeys Travel Blog since 2013. He loves to be in and around the ocean as much as possible or behind the lens of a camera capturing his many adventures around this globe of ours. Jackson is currently working on a photography book documenting the different cities, countries and especially the people he has met along the way. Jackson is taking 2017 off from his daily occupation (head chef at the Green Rocket, Bath, England) to concentrate on traveling and immersing himself in other cultures and countries, he believes this can only be accomplished by going and living like a local.