On Saturday it started- the awesome InternChina trip to Guangzhou. Meeting at 8.30 am and taking the new Zhuhai-Guangzhou High speed train. That was the plan so far.
But how boring would it be if everything would work as it should. No tickets anymore, no chance to go to Guangzhou by train before lunchtime. But instead of getting nervous we just decided to have a little breakfast and take the bus. Buying tickets for that is just a lot more relaxing and easy. Just go to a bus, with some people standing in front of it (there was nothing like ‘Guangzhou’ written on it), go into the bus, wait half of the way and give a little money to a guy that is walking around then to collect it. Easy.
About two hours later we arrived in Guangdong’s capital. Sunshine, good mood, great start to a great weekend.
After checking in into our hotel, right in front of the river we enjoyed the traditional Guangzhou food like wu liu jia dan (fried egg and onions in sweet sour sauce).
We crossed the river with one of the ferries and went to one of the biggest fish markets in Guangdong. After visiting the Cheng Clan Academy we all went to Beijing Lu to do some shopping, to have some awesome Thai food and just to enjoy all the lights and the city life.
Like most of the great days in China that one ended with some beers at the Street BBQ.
Sunday: Skydrop on the Guangzhou tower! And that was definitely the best seconds of the weekend!
Eating Guangzhou noodles, seeing the famous five goats, the Guangzhou museum, Yue Xiu Shan, the oldest stadium in Guangzhou, built in 1950, going to IKEA- there’s a lot of great opportunities to spend your time in Guangzhou.
And our way back home we finally could take the new Guangzhou-Zhuhai train.
Tai’an, a small city in Shandong at 2:30 in the morning: My alarm is ringing and I feel like I want to turn around again and keep on snoozing. But we decided about two weeks earlier that we want to see the sunrise at Mount Taishan (Shandong). Accredited as one of the 5 Holy (Daoist) Mountains in China, Taishan can be climbed by stepping up 7000 stairs – the sunrise is said to appear astonishingly beautiful. Together with 3 other interns from InternChina (Qingdao) and my boyfriend we took the High-speed train from Qingdao to Tai’an. We were all looking forward to a peaceful mountain experience with little rests here and there, the will to take the challenge and mastering 7000 steps within 4 hours is driving us.
I turn off my alarm and get up: Our Chinese hotel room doesn’t supply hot water at that time of the day, so a cold splash hits my body and brings me up to my feet.
Awake looks differently, but finally we are all ready to climb up the Holy Mountain, which is said to be so beautiful.
From our hotel to the bottom of Taishan it takes a 30 minutes walk, on our way we meet more and more Chinese people, who are on their way to the top, they are all eating, chatting, laughing…. We still try not to fall asleep whilst walking, though.
As we enter the gate which indicates the entrance to the Holy Mountain (entrance fee 130 RMB, students discount 65 RMB), the steps are starting… we realise too late, that it would have been fun to count the steps. However, we are sure someone double checked on the 7000 before… We get out our torches to enlighten the path, Chinese people passing by, everyone taking his own pace. Old grandma’s overtake without any lights: They seem to know the way.
Meanwhile it is 4 o’clock a.m. We make the first break as not everyone in our group is experienced with mountain climbing. A rest is always good to make your backpack feel lighter, we munch all the little snacks we took from home (or got packed by our worried Chinese host-families). The walk to the top is supposed to take 4-5 hours, we think we can make it easily to see the sunrise whilst we are walking up. However, after not even half of the way, twilight turns into sunshine. Seems, we missed the actual sunrise.
However, the closer we get to the top, the more people are crossing our way. We knew it before: Golden Week in China is going to be crazily crowded.
We are making our way up, with little tea breaks in between…eating more snacks: cookies, nuts, dried fruits, mini-sausages, Chinese mantou (a kind of steamed bread), drinking Green Tea… Chinese mountains are very interesting – because contrary to the belief in the West to protect valuable nature, Chinese mountains are exploited to the last: Rubbish covering the whole way up, sealed floor, shops with souvenirs and people, people, people (wearing fancy dresses as High-heels and suits)… Somehow, we thought Daoism had something to do with Harmony between Nature and Humans?
It becomes more and more difficult to take pictures without other people in it and at a certain point we have to give up: As thousands (or even millions?) of Chinese people stream downwards after fullfilling their mission of watching the sunrise, there’s no space anymore to go up. For about half an hour we are stuck on the path: No back, no forth. It is a good chance to listen to Chinese people saying things like: “Zhong guo ren Tai duo le!” (There are too many Chinese people!)… Ironic it is, we think, and try to focus on the beautiful landscape.
After 5 hours, walking upstairs, we are still not there. The group split up, we just want to run to the top (as fast as you can run after a 6hrs walk up a mountain), but Chinese grandparents are blocking the way – I wonder, will we be able to climb up 7000 steps when we are their age? Parents carry their tired kids… the steps are too high for them to climb. The only thing I can hear is my heartbeat and my breath, we stopped talking a while ago…
Suddenly… didn’t even think about reaching the top at one point anymore… it looks like we took the last step. A big platform, people taking pictures over pictures. this must be it: Mount Taishan! We finally made it and deserve to take a rest! 1545m above the sea level we can feel the fresh breeze and even though it was not enough to feel enlightened we are still surprised about ourselves how we could get up so early and spend the whole night hiking up a mountain.
After exploring all temples on the top, finishing our snacks and an intense photo-session with a Chinese people from all ages, we decide to save our knee joints and let the cable car carry us down to the bottom. Tired and exhausted we hang out in a little park next to the KFC where we restore our energies. Finally, we took the fast train back to Qingdao and fell into a deep sleep dreaming of 7000 Holy steps.
Note: If you are interested in applying for an internship in China, our team will assist you during your whole application process and stay. We believe, that exploring the Chinese Culture is crucial for understanding your life in China and creates a balance to your hard studies and internship – that’s why we organise regular Cultural and Sports Activities.
Hey there, this is Jamie, the general manager of InternChina and I’m currently visiting Xi’an! Xi’an, formerly ‘chang an’ used to be the capital city of China and is arguably still the middle kingdom’s cultural capital. Xi’an is most famous for the terracotta army which was created and buried to defend the city and tomb of the former qin emperor Qin Shi Huang. The army is spectacular and its baffling to believe that only a small part of the entire archeological site has been discovered since local farmers discovered it in 1974 when sinking a well.
Xi’an has a more weathered feel to it than other more modernized Chinese cities. Plenty of cultural sites remain, such as the big goose pagoda and ancient city walls. Xi’an is also particularly cheap in terms of food and transport. Buses cost as little as half a yuan (about 5 euro cents) and taxis cost 6 yuan (about 70 euro cents) for the first few kilometres. Food is both cheap and delicious here, for example; xi’an is home to the ro jia mo (肉夹馍), the Chinese hamburger, which in my opinion tastes awesome and usually costs about 5 yuan. Another great local dish is liang pi (凉皮), cold noodles with vegetables and peanut sauce and chili sauce.
There is also some beautiful countryside close to the city which is great to explore. This will give you a welcome break from the chaotic and overcrowded city centre, where the traffic is a complete nightmare!
This is Philippe, an Intern at InternChina, and last weekend I went travelling to the DanXia Mountains in the North of Guangdong Province.
We took a 1hour bullet train from Zhuhai to Guangzhou were we took another bullet train from there to Shaoguan. The ride was very smooth and the trains are very modern, comfortable and convenient. The Station in Guangzhou is very impressive! From a geeky/architecture perspective, I highly enjoy going to the new train stations being built everywhere, as they all have different design which can be described as “grand, shiny and humongous”
We stayed one night in Shaoguan , which has a nice river flowing in the center of it with a lot of ambiance lights. Saturday morning we took a bus and travelled for 1h30 to the DanXia Mountains Geological Park, which is famous for its mountain/rock formations and natural beauty. There is even a rock which is 28m long and 7m large, and looks exactly like a male sexual organ, and another one which looks likes the sexual organ of a woman. Yes a penis and a vagina. The Chinese were all having a great time taking poses for pictures with those rocks in the background, and it was quite funny.
We had a great two days of hiking and walking around looking at the different formations which are all very impressive and quite cool. We found some small trails and wondered off the beaten path, but mostly the “hiking” routes are all well managed and shown, they can be quite steep but aren’t that tough.
We wanted to go up in the morning to see the sunrise, however missed it 🙁 due to being asleep. 😀 That night we stayed in a hotel which was next to the mountains. There were many rooms being offered by the locals, but we decided to stay at a hotel and we actually ended up saving money! As the hotel was placed within the park, when morning came we just walked to the mountain trails without having to pay for a second ticket!
This was a great trip with really nice scenery and also some which is quite funny, only regret is not seeing the sunrise, but I guess that means I will have to go back!!
Hello, this is Philippe!
I went travelling last weekend to an area called ZhangJiaJie (张家界) in Hunan Province (湖南) which was Beautiful and Legendary!
I was with several friends who are having internships in a company in Zhuhai. We started the trip by taking a 2h30 bus ride to Guangzhou (广州), where we caught a 13h Sleeper Train to ZhangJiaJie! The train ride itself was an adventure due to us sampling all the different kind of snacks and foods passing by our sleeper beds in the little trolleys, then having a “couple” of beers, ending with most people of the group going to bed, whilst me and another friend went to the Food Wagon, where we ended up drinking with the train Chief and the train Police Chief!!
ZhangJiaJie is a city surrounded by enigmatic and impressive mountains, with several attractions.
We first went to the TianZiShan (天子山) mountain ranges, for which you catch a cable car (longest in the world!) in the city centre to the top of the mountain, there are many magnificent views, apparently, as when we went up there when it was quite cloudy and so couldn’t see much of the views 😀 . I am actually quite happy that it was cloudy, as I have a slight phobia of heights and several of the walkways follow the precipices!
The cable car stops halfway, so that you can get off, jump on a minivan and go off to see a great hole in the mountain, in the past years the Russian Air force made a show and flew 3 jets through the hole, and a guy jump out of a helicopter with a wing suit and flew thought it!!!
In the Evening we went to eat in a restaurant with traditional architecture and discovered a room where they held live animals for cooking! There were boars, pheasants, pigs, geese, chicken, snakes, turtles and other animals which I cannot name. Spicy but very tasty food!!
The second day we went to WuLingYuan (武陵源), the national forest park, and this was truly incredible. This national park is humongous, and one could take a couple of days to hike through it, we unfortunately only had 1 day. Early Chinese breakfast, bus, and arrival at 9am, we were ready to hike our socks off. We took one of the longer/ less used path (main path= hordes of Chinese tourists with umbrella’s/flags/multi-coloured raincoats and speakerphones). We entered a world of calm, and forest sounds with ancient architecture popping up and enticing path alternatives (see pic), we saw and marvelled at wild monkeys. But most of all, we were astounded and mesmerised when the fog let up and in front of us appeared a vista of mountain spires with trees growing on them. We had never seen anything like this, it looked wonderful on the pictures from the internet, but being at the foot of these spires, was incredible and a feeling of aw at the sheer energy of nature. (I am no hippie, but this was really cool!). LEGENDARY.
I have travelled quite a lot in China, and there are few places I would go back to only due to the scenery, but ZhangJiaJie was definitely the trip of a lifetime and I am certain I will be back to keep exploring it!
See you all next time and hopefully soon in China!
This weekend I decided with a friend to go and have an Island trip in the South China sea Archipelago (104 islands), on the Zhuhai coast.
We took a 50 minute ferry from Zhuhai to Dong’Ao Island where we rented a tent on the Beach (Sa’Tan). The beach is clear, salty and soooo nice and warm to swim in. After our initial dip we decide to go island exploring and so packed a waterproof bag and left our stuff in the tent, and proceeded with our Robinso Crusoe adventure. We found another smaller beach with some fisherman huts, but decided to keep going, and ended up doing some sea rock climbing for 40 min until we reached a secluded beach with white sand where we decided to make camp.
This being the Chinese sea, there is a bit of plastic and debris on the coastline, but the water was clear and clean. The debris provided us with rope, a hook and a big stick of which we created a fishing rod, we then tried out our fishing skills on the jumping fish we kept seeing…which aren’t that great as we lost the hook! 😀
So we resorted to our pre-prepared picnic and lying on the beach for hours. We then decided to head back, as we didn’t really feel like rock climbing in the dark, but found a path higher up which led us to the initial beach with the fisherman, with whom we had some tea!
We had a barbeque on the beach for dinner and fell asleep to the waves crashing down on the sand…Sweet.
I am highly looking forwards to my next weekend Beach trip, Viva my internship with Internchina and living in the tropics!
Hope to see you all in China,
Teachers and language students have lunch together while spending time in the Lao shan mountains. They have to speak as much Chinese as possible but at the same time they are sight seeing, eating great food, and walking the beaches. See our website for more information on our teachers!