Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Grand Epoch City

Within the first month of my arrival of China, I needed to apply for my permanent residency visa which meant surrendering my passport for ten days. Normally, that sounds like no big deal, but here in China you need your passport to do almost everything related to travel when you're a foreigner. You can't take the trains or check into hotels without your passport. Before I surrendered my passport, I took a three day weekend trip to Beijing and had an amazing time. Then I settled in for two weeks without going anywhere. At first, it wasn't so bad. Then I started getting cabin fever. I mean, I came to China to explore and I didn't want to waste a minute!

So one of the other foreign teachers (my neighbor) and I decided to take a bus trip. Fortunately, foreigners don't need their passport to travel by bus. My neighbor had heard of Grand Epoch City, which is only an hour away from LangFang by bus. Since we couldn't check into a hotel, we needed a place we could travel there and back in the same day.

I knew absolutely nothing about the place, but I was eager to get out of my apartment for awhile. It turns out Grand Epoch City was created more for tourists than anything else. If I had my choice of going anywhere, this wouldn't even come close to my list. But it was a lovely day trip and we enjoyed seeing the beautiful Chinese style architecture, temples and gardens. The site is next to a large complex with hotels (for all those tourists) and a golf course. 

The place had a strange feeling to it, like maybe it was under renovation or something. Most of the shops along the shopping street were boarded up. The one shop that was open looked like sort of a make shift shop to sell drinks, ice cream bars and a few trinkets. We had a hard time even finding our way inside and ended up sneaking in the back way, completely by accident, while trying to locate the entrance. The ticket price for admission is typically 20 yuan (about $3.35 US). This isn't a place I would make a return trip, but it was worth it and served its purpose of getting me out and absorbing some Chinese culture for the day.          

Where do you go when you just need to get out for awhile?


  1. It looks really beautiful, but eerie at the same time, especially if you were one of the only people there. I love the photo with you in it-the colors are so vibrant.

    1. Thanks! It was a bit strange walking around. I still can't figure out why it was so empty. Off season maybe?