The Five Star Vagabond

Super travel tips, all road tested by David Herd. I'm an Australian guy who moved to Thailand in 2011 & still travel the world as often as possible.


Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing is so big so busy, even crossing the road is an experience not to be forgotten. Motor vehicle drivers and people on bicycles couldn’t care less about pedestrians or traffic lights; in fact they use them as target practice. To make matters worse the streets are so wide it can take an eternity to get across; everyone huddles into a little mass of humanity and shuffles slowly between the oncoming vehicles, oh what a relief it is each time you make it to the other side.

Apart from all that it is a fascinating city full of history and wonderful breathtaking palaces, parks and buildings, and the food, well the food, Peking or should I say Beijing duck is to die for. Not to mention all of the other wonderful cuisines available, even though half the time you dont know what you are eating. Having said that I must admit the best Peking duck I have ever eaten was the previous week in Shanghai, but that’s another story.

My friend “The General”

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing

I was only there for one week in 2002, not enough time so I will just have to go back again one day. I did have time enough though to see the Great wall, the Forbidden city, the beautiful Summer Palace, Tienanmen square and the bomb shelter built in 1969 to hold a mere 5 million people. Everything here is built on a grand scale, there are hundreds of new high-rise buildings under construction, on one site alone I counted 25 cranes working.

The Great wall of China certainly deserves to be the second most visited tourist attraction in the world, construction period was 770 to 256 BC and it is around 6300 kms long.

The size of the wall is amazing

Great Wall ChinaThe Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China in part to protect the Chinese Empire or its prototypical states against intrusions by various nomadic groups or military incursions by various warlike peoples or forces. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC; these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of ChinaQin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall are from the Ming Dynasty.

With my friend Mable in Beijing

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing Beijing was a little complicated for me because I had to juggle two lovely ladies. I met Mable on an internet chat site shortly before arriving in Beijing, and I met my other friend Sonia on the Gold Coast in Australia a couple of months prior to that. My big problem was they both wanted to take me to the main attractions, so I had to duck & weave a little to avoid doubling up. One day I went to the Great Wall with Sonia and the next day to The Summer Palace with Mable, etc etc. On a couple of occasions they missed bumping into each other at my hotel by only 15 minutes, it really was a little stressful. 🙂

You met Mable, now meet Sonia.

  Big Bold Bustling Boisterous BeijingAs it turned out when we returned to Australia Sonia moved interstate and got married and one year later I flew Mable to Thailand and we holidayed on Koh Chang. Soon after that we lost contact, both ladies obviously quickly came to the same conclusion (rightly so) that I was not a good prospect for a long term relationship.  

The Summer Palace

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing, China. The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres, three-quarters of which is water.

Beijing from The Summer Palace

Summer Palace BeijingThe Summer Palace is located northwest of Beijing’s center in Haidian District, between the Fourth and Fifth Ring Roads.

The Summer Palace

  Big Bold Bustling Boisterous BeijingThe Summer Palace started out life as the ‘Garden of Clear Ripples’  

The Forbidden City

Forbidden City Beijing The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. It is located in the centre of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.   Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 720,000 m.

Tiananmen Square in Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing

Tiananmen squareLocated at the center of Beijing City is Tiananmen Square, where you can visit Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Mao Zedong Memorial Hall and see the national flag raising ceremony. Please click on Google + to help my page ranking.  


Sidewalk cafe in Beijing

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing

No different to 50 other world cities.

Haoyuan Hotel Beijing

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing I loved my hotel, the Haoyuan, a traditional Chinese design walking distance from some excellent shopping malls and restaurants.

 Haoyuan Hotel

Big Bold Bustling Boisterous BeijingThe rooms are reasonably priced and the staff are very friendly and speak perfect English.

Thanks for visiting my Beijing post, please check out Shanghai.

  Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing

My apologies for the average quality of the photos, it was 2002 and digital cameras were in the early stages.

Thanks for visiting my Big Bold Bustling Boisterous Beijing photo blog.

To receive my latest posts please follow me on Twitter 

           Checkout some more of my terrific blogs on the links below.

             Lisbon                                 New York                       Airole Italy     

Lisbon restaurant            Wall St New York            Airole                         

             Menton                          Pattaya Storms                   Shibuya Tokyo

French Riviera            Pattaya Thailand            Shibuya Tokyo                 

        Hong Kong                        Florianopolos                         Dubrovnik

Kowloon Hong Kong           Joaquina Beach Florianopolis            Dubrovnik

              Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later. ?
                              Bangkok Hotels                    Pattaya Hotels
                         Amazing Bangkok busses               Amazing Bangkok busses
Pattaya webcam


That’s all folks

David Herd Thailand


Going Home by Kenny G.


Author: David Herd

My history, particularly over the last 30 years is dominated by overseas travel. I sold my home in Australia October 20th 2011 and have have been living in Thailand since then. I don’t know where the time has gone? It seems like you go to sleep one night, wake up the next morning, and 20 years have flashed by. Not sure how many years I have left, however I have enjoyed a wonderful charmed life, and if it all ended today I would leave this world with no regrets.

I was born in Sydney halfway through the last century, started my travels in the 60s with the usual U.K. Europe adventure at the age of 20, back to Australia and worked in Sydney, Melbourne & Adelaide in Sales & Marketing with multinational companies including Sanyo, Canon & Remington.

Engaged to be married 3 times and never quite made it to the alter, finally realized by the mid 90s I was not cut out for “long term relationships” so I moved to the Gold Coast in Queensland in January 1987, worked for a couple of banks as a Financial Planner, I took a year off work in 1998 to travel and never went back to full time work again, after 25 fun filled years on the Coast I packed up and moved to Thailand.

What is the purpose of this blog? Well I really want to use it to record my travel experiences & to display my photographs, give and receive travel tips, comment on places I visit, restaurants I eat in and use it to replace the autobiography I intended to write, apart from all that it helps me fill in my day. :)

I moved to Thailand mainly because I wanted to keep travelling while my health allowed me to, there are huge advantages being closer to all the places I want to visit.

Cost of living in Thailand is around 35% of the cost in Australia, plus flights are 50% cheaper because you are much closer to everywhere. ????

Consequently I am able to travel to many more places compared to living in Australia.

Having said all that, it is & has always been my intention to return to Australia when my travelling is finished, I predict this will happen around 2021.


  1. How much do those escort service sex workers(Sonia/Mable) charge for accompanying foreigners like bf/gf in the tourist attractions?

  2. Mable is a babe!