In the back of your lonely planet/rough guide/routard there is always a list of ‘must do’ things to tick off your list when visiting a country. I hate traveling by ticking things off a list, so I tend to ignore the list entirely and follow my nose! However, when you’re planning a trip or sitting on the plan and you need a bit of inspiration as to what’s in store for you, it can be a great way to get some ideas and build up even more excitement about the trip. China has a massive range of landscapes and cultures, from icy outposts near the Russian border in the north, desert in the west to tropical islands in the south. I have come up with a few highlights that I have experienced in China over the years and a few things which my awesome team have done that I haven’t. So here we go, in no particular order:
Food in Qingdao – 青岛菜 – Qingdao is famous for it’s beach, beer and barbecue. But the good food doesn’t stop at barbecue! Qingdao specialties such as clams in garlic and chili sauce or fried squid are particularly good, as well as huge portions of ‘home style food’ (家常菜) for very cheap prices in most local restaurants. Qingdao is also home to a large South Korean community, so I would speculate that Qingdao is also home to some of the best Korean food outside of Korea!
Tiger Leaping Gorge – 虎跳峡 – One of my favourite places in all of China. This beautiful valley trek in Yunnan province is a stunning experience. Look out for a blog about this place from our Chengdu office manager Paul very soon!
Yunnan & Sichuan Provinces – 云南省和四川省 – Some of China’s most stunning countryside can be found in these two south-western provinces. Check out the recent blogs about trips which our interns did from our Chengdu office: http://internchina.com/trip-to-jiuzhai-valley/ and http://internchina.com/trip-to-conch-gully-%E6%B5%B7%E8%9E%BA%E6%B2%9F/.
Yangshuo – 阳朔 – Floating down the river on a bamboo raft or mountain biking in between the hump-shaped hills are two of the coolest activities in this beautiful rural town, which is a perfect weekend trip from Zhuhai. Check out the blog about our interns’ last trip there: http://internchina.com/trip-to-yangshuo-2/.
Island trips around Zhuhai – 珠海附近的岛屿 – Whilst I was living in Zhuhai we went on several island trips, which are always lots of fun. Check out one of our interns’ blogs about her island trip here: http://internchina.com/island-trip-to-wailingding-island/.
Fujian ‘Tulou’ – 福建土楼 – A cool weekend trip from Zhuhai to see these ancient buildings and swim in the rivers alongside them.
Shopping – 买东西 – Bargaining your way to a suitcase full of random items to bring back home, my family were pretty sick of getting strange Chinese gifts for Christmas every year whilst I was living in China!
Beijing Tourism – 在北京旅游 – Beijing is simply incredible. It’s so vast that it’s impossible to see all the sights in a day, but a weekend trip from Qingdao will allow you to see the great wall, tiananmen square, the forbidden city, summer palace and temple of heaven. You’ll definitely want to try the duck whilst you’re there too!
Shanghai Nightlife – 上海的夜生活 – Shanghai may not be the best place to see traditional Chinese culture, but it’s a great place to party!
The giant pandas – 大熊猫 – A picture is worth a thousand words:
Xi’An – 西安 – One of the biggest tourist destinations outside of Beijing, and for good reason; Xi’An is a beautiful ancient city, full of history and home to the famous Terracotta Army, the scale of which has to be seen to be believed.
Chinese Hospitality – 中国招待 – I’ll never forget the welcomes I’ve received and amazing meals I’ve been cooked when introducing interns to their host families in Qingdao and Zhuhai. Chinese people are often shy, but once you break the ice they are some of the most welcoming and hospitable people in the world.
Hong Kong & Macau – 港澳 – Both are a stones throw from Zhuhai and are 2 of the most unique and fascinating cities I’ve ever been to. Hong Kong is one of my favourite places in the world. Tropical islands, pristine beaches and one of the largest mega-cities on earth, all rolled into a tiny area and it all somehow just works effortlessly.
Haerbin Ice Festival – 哈尔滨冰雕节 – I’ve never had a warm enough coat to brave this frozen spectacle, but many friends in Qingdao ventured up there and reported a brilliant experience, although so cold that the water in your eyes begins to freeze!!
Shanghai’s satellites – 上海的卫星城 – There are some great small-ish towns to visit within shouting distance of Shanghai: Hangzhou, Suzhou, Ningbo and Xiaoxing are all worth a visit in my book.
Tibet – 西藏自治区 – One place I have never managed to get to, but you might be able to if you intern in Chengdu. Beautiful landscapes, monasteries and mountains to explore.
Zhang Jia Jie – 张家界 – This epic piece of countryside was the backdrop to the film Avatar. I never made it there but am eager to make the journey up there from Zhuhai one day after reading our interns’ blog about their trip: http://internchina.com/internchina-trip-to-zhangjiajie-national-forest-park/.
Xinjiang province – 新疆维吾尔自治区 – My lovely colleague Sunny made me very jealous with her recent trip to Xinjiang. Her blog is here: http://internchina.com/my-trip-in-xinjiang-sinkiang/. Xinjiang is a great place to discover some of China’s cultural and ethnic diversity.
Inner Mongolia – 内蒙古 – I have really wanted to go here ever since reading this awesome blog by my amazing former colleague Philippe: http://internchina.com/inner-mongolia-trip-30th-of-september-to-the-6th-of-october-part-i/
Chinese public transport – 公共交通 – None of these trips would be possible without experiencing Chinese buses and trains, which are an experience in themselves!!
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