|China mainland bucket list: checked!|
who can honestly raise their hand and say that they've heard of this place before?
(unless, of course, you're an avid historian and have heard of the famous Nanjing Massacre before).
would you ever consider this as a place to visit in your bucket list? usually when you mention China, Beijing or Shanghai comes to mind. but Nanjing? no way. what can you find here anyway?
this month i got the opportunity to visit Nanjing, because for the first time the husband was rostered a 2-day trip to Nanjing (he usually gets Xiamen or Canton if you talk about China). dapat pergi sekali untuk merasa pun da cukup, alhamdulillah.
this month dia memang murah rezeki; he's got day offs in Jakarta, Nanjing, and even Taipei for this month's roster. if i had all the free time in the world, i'd follow for each and every one of his trips, unfortunately that's not the case =(.
but the thing with China is, you need a visa to enter the country; only Hong Kong and Macau are excluded. so i was lucky there was this blogger who just recently wrote about what you need to do to apply for a Chinese visa; his blog helped me tremendously, thank you so much!
for a quick recap, you'll need:
- your flight ticket
- 2 passport photos
- your passport, still valid for at least 6 months (the usual requirement)
- a photocopy of the passport’s info page
the visa processing centre is located at Hampshire Place, situated smack in the middle of KL T_____T.
application submission is open from 9-3pm weekdays; i headed there at around 1pm-ish after purchasing my flight ticket, last-minute style. (to go? no go? should i? hee~ going would mean me applying 3 days off from work :\) the Grab driver was a very chatty young fellow, who didn't mind doing most of the talking while i listened throughout the ride.
once at the building, you go to level 5 for visa applications, or you go to level 6 for pickups. that day as i stepped onto level 5, there was barely even a queue, means i didn't have to wait long for my turn, yasssssssssssssssss. you could even take your photo here, penat je i drop by midvalley tadi just to take my photo; the visa requires your photo to have a white background. my photo turned out ugly, btw. i only realized that i'm slowly going bald bahahahhahahaha. i seriously need to change my current hair parting to mask it.
the normal duration for your visa to be processed is 4 working days. any earlier than that and you'd have to pay a little (no, ALOT) extra for your visa. i already filled up my visa application form online and had it printed out so i just needed to submit everything and come back after four days.
oh, there are also a few types of visa to choose from, the price will differ depending on what type of visa you choose and how soon you need it. i chose the single entry visa, because i wasn't sure if the husband would get another China day off within the next three months. (update: May roster is out and no China for him, Mumbai ade la. haha).
you only make payment when you come to collect your passport. collections are from 9-4pm weekdays. this time i drove because when i asked the guard downstairs, he said basement parking was available payable by the hour; which was much cheaper than having to pay Grab to get you there to and fro. when i arrived there in the morning, collecting my passport was also a quick process because there weren't that many people either, must be my lucky day perhaps? or perhaps it's low season to visit China at the moment. hee~
so yes, i collected my passport on the day of my flight, which was taking off the same day at 5.05pm. i also went to exchange RMB currency after i collected my passport, talk about everything last minute. i hadn't even finished packing for myself; i seriously didn't know what to bring to China =D~
so. another milestone checked: visiting mainland China!
well anyway, i made the flight, watched 27 Dresses (for a light laugh) and He's Just Not That Into You (just because i wanted to layan Alex and Gigi, hahahah). the duration of the flight was an average of 5 hours 30 minutes. Nanjing shared the same timezone as Malaysia, so i didn't have to worry about synchronizing any clocks for the trip.
|business class menu|
even though i was the first one off the plane (for attempting to skip the long immigration queue and also because i wanted to go to toilet), i still ended up being one of the slowest to clear immigration anyway; China immigration opened only ONE lane for foreigners, as opposed to the locals who had about 4-5 lanes to choose from, tak aci sungguh.
|Nanjing Lukou International Airport|
|customs. y. u. so. slow.|
|the locals queue|
fortunately for me i was lucky that one of the crew members was waiting for her check-in bag to emerge from cargo (like i mentioned before, since my bag went in last, it was one of the first to come out wahahahahaah) so i didn't feel so guilty for making the crew wait for me and my bag. untong kan jadi crew? they have their own customs clearance lane, they can saunter into the airport at the last minute and they get to travel like a bawse. sighs.
|with the crew. ifs tunggu bag x kluar2 lg|
anyway, once outside, the night air was cool! best gila! and whoops i only checked Nanjing temperature during the day and totally forgot to check for the temperature at night, which was a whopping belas belas degrees celcius, ahahahhahahah shit. and i didn't even pack any sweaters, confident je weather panas macam Malaysia, kah kah.
the hotel the crew was staying at took almost 50 minutes to get there by shuttle (similar distance from the airport to their hotel in Taipei); i was glad the Captain was nice, he reminded me alot of Arif, only in tall size. hahahahahahah.
the hotel room was so cantik btw; for only one-person to occupy, it was huge! it even had a sort of walk-in closet hidden in the back. our room did not have a balcony, since the view from our room was some sort of abandoned-looking water park, but we did have a bathtub (which i did not utilize during this trip, phooey). rooms facing the riverside had balconies, but didn't have bathtubs. the hotel came with an indoor swimming pool and a gym. aaaaand the only tv channels that were in English were BBC and HBO =P.
|the spacious room|
|the bathroom sink|
|the bathtub, toilet and shower compartments|
|walk-in closet haha|
the only downside to Nanjing is that practically everyone do not speak England, so you will have a problem if you want to ask them even a simple inquiry T___T. makes you wish you had spent all your available time learning Mandarin, eh?
oh well til the next morning, people!