InternChina are proud to be the provider of internships in China with an ethical and transparent approach to arranging top quality internships, across a wide variety of sectors.
The most unique factor of our application process, is that you are able to discuss and confirm your internship with the host company of your choice before committing to the programme or making any payment whatsoever.
We have put together a short explanation below that explains each step and how InternChina guides you through the process as quickly and efficiently as possible.
1. Register your interest in the programmes by submitting your details via the application form below.
2. A member of InternChina’s European team will get back to you as soon as possible with some suitable internship suggestions for you to look over and consider applying for, based on the application you submitted.
3. You would then let the member of the InternChina team know which companies and internships you would like to apply for, your preference in start date, duration of time in China, accommodation and general programme preferences.
4. Your application will then be passed to one of the members of staff based in China, who would provide more details on the positions you have shown an interest in, destination and get you introduced to the internship supervisor at the host companies, you are wanting to be consider for.
5. A Skype interview is usually conducted between yourself and host company, for you to find out more about the company, internship duties and project you will be working on. The host company will also use this opportunity to decide if they would like to accept you for the position.
6. The member of staff from InternChina who is overseeing the application would then seek confirmation from you and the host company that both sides are happy to take part and provide the internship.
7. If the company is not the right fit, InternChina has hundreds of companies and interesting positions to choose from and can simply suggest alternatives internships to apply for. If the host company is happy to accept you and you are happy to accept their offer, InternChina will get you all booked in!
8. A member of the InternChina team based in the city where you are heading to, or from one of our European teams will then be able to go through all the required pre-departure steps and get you ready for an unforgettable and life changing time in China.
Gibst du auch immer zu viel Geld für Souvenirs, Schmuck und Kleidung auf chinesischen Märkten aus?
Du bist frustriert und weißt einfach nicht mehr weiter? Dann bist du hier genau richtig! In der heutigen Ausgabe von Surviving Tipps von Bea Grylls erfährst du, wie auch DU in nur 4 einfachen Schritten zum Verhandlungsprofi wirst!
Schritt 1: Chinesisch lernen
Aus eigener Erfahrung kann ich sagen, dass es hilfreich ist, in China einige Sätze chinesisch zu sprechen. Die wichtigsten Phrasen und Sätze, die ihr zum verhandeln benötigt, sind folgende:
- Nǐhǎo (你好)!
Hallo! (Wir wollen ja nicht unhöflich sein)
- (Zhè gè) duōshao qián? (这个多少钱?)
Wie viel kostet (das da)? (Profi-Tipp: hierbei ist es hilfreich, auf das Objekt eurer Begierde zu zeigen)
- Tài guì le! (太贵了)
Vieeel zu teuer! (Wenn ihr das sagt, solltet ihr ungefähr so schauen, als hätte der Verkäufer gerade eure Mutter beleidigt)
- Piányi diǎn? (便宜 点)
Geht es auch etwas günstiger?
- die Zahlen von 1-1000
- Zàijiàn! (再见!)
Schritt 2: Vorausschauende Planung
Überlegt euch, welchen Preis ihr maximal zahlen wollt. Nennt nicht zuerst euren Maximalpreis -fangt klein an und steigert euch dann langsam. Habt ihr euch dann schließlich mit den Verkäufern auf einen Preis geeinigt, solltet ihr nicht versuchen, den Preis noch weiter zu senken!
Schritt 3: Drama, baby!
Wenn die chinesischen Verkäufer eins können, dann Schauspielern. 350 RMB sind euch zu teuer für ein traumhaftes Teeset aus „echtem“ Porzellan? Bitte was?! Aber keine Sorge: es ist nur Show. In China ist es nicht unüblich, zu verhandeln. Daher lautet die Devise: Drama! 350 RMB? FRECHHEIT! Ich zahle maximal 30! Wie bitte? 300 RMB?! Ich glaub mein Schwein pfeift!
Schritt 4: DRAMA!!
Der Verkäufer ist stur und lässt sich nicht auf euren Preis ein? Verlasst den Laden, im besten Fall mit einem dramatischen Abgang. In 99% der Fälle ist der Verkäufer dann bereit, auf euren Preis einzugehen. Für das ultimative Schnäppchen verlasst den Laden einfach 2 mal. Erfolgschance (fast) garantiert!
Wenn ihr alle Schritte befolgt, kann gar nicht mehr so viel schiefgehen. Viel Spaß beim Verhandeln und Zàijiàn!
Goodbye Deutschland, Folge 1: Shanghai
Juli 2016, 17:15 Uhr, Frankfurt: Jetzt heißt es erst einmal tschüss Deutschland – und ni hao China! Gemeinsam, teilweise noch im Halbschlaf, erreichten wir 10 Stunden später den Flughafen in Shanghai. Für Jetlag oder Schlaf war keine Zeit – nachdem wir unser Gepäck im Hotel abgeladen hatten, ging es direkt los zum Pearl Tower. Von hier aus hat man eine super Aussicht über die gesamte Stadt – aber auch auf ziemlich viel Smog. Schon am ersten Tag stellten wir fest, dass unsere Gruppe ein sehr beliebtes Fotomotiv der chinesischen Touristen war. Während der Großteil von uns anfangs noch etwas bescheiden mit der Aufmerksamkeit unserer chinesischen Fans umging, hatten andere wiederum viel Freude daran, näheren Kontakt zu den Groupies herzustellen.
Die zweite Erkenntnisse des ersten Tages: es ist verdammt heiß in China! Falls ihr also vorhabt im Sommer nach China zu kommen, braucht ihr wirklich keine lange Hose. „Aber was, wenn es abends abkühlt?“ Es kühlt nicht ab. Niemals. Zwar haben zwei Mutige unter uns am ersten Tag noch versucht, eine lange Hose zu tragen, nach zwei Minuten bei gefühlten 40° wurden die dann allerdings ganz schnell in die letzte Ecke des Kleiderschranks verbannt.
Unsere Wegbegleiter für die nächsten 2 Wochen (liebe Grüße an dieser Stelle an Amber, Jack und Dave) brachten ein abwechslungsreiches Programm für uns mit. Dabei war der Kulturschock in Shanghai gar nicht so groß wie erwartet. Abgesehen von ziemlich vielen Chinesen ist die Stadt (zumindest auf den ersten Blick) gar nicht so „typisch chinesisch“, wie man es sich vielleicht vorstellt. Es gibt viele Hochhäuser, die Innenstadt ist sehr modernund beherbergt eine Shopping Mall nach der anderen. Besonders die Nanjing Road ließ das Herz des ein oder anderen Shopaholics höher schlagen. Perfekt zur „Abkühlung“ nach einem langen, anstrengenden Shopping Tag ist übrigens die Captain’s Bar. Hier hat man von einer gemütlichen Dachterrasse eine unschlagbare Aussicht auf den Bund (Adresse: 37 Fuzhou Lu, in der Nähe der Sichuan Zhong Lu). Neben Shoppingcentern und Hochhäusern gibt es aber auch in Shanghai und Umgebung Orte und Sehenswürdigkeiten, die etwas mehr von China und der alten Tradition preisgeben.
Unter anderem Zhou Zhuang: Liebevoll auch als das kleine Venedig Chinas bezeichnet. Die Wasserstadt ist nur gute zwei Stunden von Shanghai entfernt. Einen Tagesausflug ist der Ort auf jeden Fall wert, hier gibt es viele kunsthandwerkliche Stände, Häuser, Tempel und sogar ein kleines Theater.. und viele Mücken, das Mückenspray ist ein guter, wenn nicht sogar dein bester Freund und Begleiter in China!
Für Kunstliebhaber und Bummler aus Leidenschaft ist Tianzifang der perfekte place to be. In den labyrinthartigen Gassen gibt es Boutiquen, Bars, Restaurants, Kunstgalerien und Souvenirs überall. Wer jetzt auch noch gerne verhandelt, sollte am besten sofort einen Flug nach Shanghai buchen und sich auf den Weg zur Taikang Road Lane 210 ((平原坊) 泰康路274弄) machen!
Schneller als erwartet war unsere erste Woche in Shanghai dann auch schon vorbei und es ging weiter nach Beijing. Was wir dort erlebt haben, erfahrt ihr in der nächsten Folge von Goodbye Deutschland..
When it comes to public transport in China, you have so many options! But for those of you who want to travel long distances in comfort and for a budget, the Hard Sleeper Train offers you the best of both.
You can buy tickets for these trains two ways: firstly going to any train station (not tube station) and buying them over the counter. If you are a foreigner in China you will need to bring your passport along with you, and find the ticket office. If your Chinese isn’t too great though, I would suggest booking your tickets through CTrip, allowing you to pre book tickets for trains, flights and even hotels! CTrip is perfect for foreigners buying train tickets in China, as it makes both booking and picking up tickets super easy! Once you have paid for your tickets, CTrip will email you both a booking reference and a ticket pick up number. You can give the ticket pick up number to the pick up desk in the train station, along with your passport, no need to speak any Chinese atfor those of you who want to practice your Chinese, simply say 我要取票 (Wo Yao Qu Piao).
Depending on which train station you go to, you will want to arrive about 1 hour early, to ensure you can find the ticket office and platform waiting area. Some train stations will be massive and have very long queues, so allowing yourself this extra time is essential to avoid missing your train. However, if you have bought your tickets in advance (and collected them) then about half an hour should be enough time.
Remember: Tickets for traiens come out two months before they leave, so if you are planning a long journey, or including several people you will want to book in advance in order to ensure there are enough tickets.
Once you’ve picked up your tickets you will need to find your boarding gate. Chinese train stations work more like airports than western stations, so you will not be able to wait on the platform for your train. On your ticket will be a few letters and numbers, for example K564. Throughout the train station you will see electronic notice boards which give all train information. You must match up your train number to the Boarding Gate, last time mine was A1/2, B1/2, and there you can wait until it is time for your train to board.
After this, you will know when your train is boarding because everyone will get up and crowd around the platform entrance- you must use your ticket to get through these gates. On your ticket, both your carriage number and seat number/position will be printed. The first number will be for your carriage and look similar to this: 7车, with your seat number and position as follows: 3下 (Bottom bed, no.3) 3中 (Middle bed, no.3) and 3上 (Top bed no.3).
Each carriage consists of about 10 compartments, each including 6 beds. Passengers can also sit on small seats with tables at the end of each compartment, if you are not ready to climb into bed yet. By far the Bottom beds are the most desirable, giving both extra head room, and the use of a table. For both Middle and Top beds, there will be a ladder at the end of each set of beds which you can use to climb up. The Middle bed is the second best option, as it is less effort to reach than the Top bed, provides slightly more head room and allows you to look out of the window.
Once you have boarded the train, an attendant will come around and check your tickets, making sure you are in the right bed. They will swap your ticket for a boarding pass, and then swap it back at the end. This process both adds security to your journey and ensures you will be awake for your stop, as attendants will swap your ticket back to you about half an hour before your train arrives.
The beds themselves are small, but large enough to fit an average person inside them comfortably, for all the tall people out there, you may not be able to fit your feet on the bed. Each bed comes with a pillow, bag hook and duvet. Each mattress is no comfier than your standard Chinese mattress, but for one journey is perfectly acceptable. All carriages are air conned.
- air con
- ‘smoking area’ -actually just a small ash tray stuck on the wall in between carriages
- toilets- no toilet roll
- hot water facilities
- food/drink cart- including noodle pots, and soft drinks then a variety of strange Chinese snacks
- no wifi
- plugs- there are about 4 plugs in each carriage, which passengers are free to use as they wish, most of these are very poor quality though and my adaptor didn’t work in them (i tried all 4)
- music- each train has a train attendant which will play random music through a loudspeaker on the train, although this is not played at a loud volume it will continue throughout the night
The toilets on the train are all traditional squatter ones, which would be fine if they were cleaned regularly. As they aren’t cleaned at all, you will notice the smell gradually grows and starts to spread throughout the carriages.
On one of our trains, at about 9/10 o’clock a man came round trying to sell overly expensive sweats to passengers, he continued to shout about his product for about half an hour.
There is no toilet roll on the train, and i didn’t see anywhere to buy it once i was one, so make sure you’re prepared.
Unlike normal trains in China, these ones didn’t sell coffee pots.
Overall i would say the Hard Sleeper Train is about a 6/10, whilst it is not the most comfortable journey of your life, for the average traveller trying to not spend too much it is the perfect way to get around.
So I’ve been roped into writing another blog. Last time I was writing about wacky shrimp-charmers and typical Chinese benevolence but I’m toning it all down a bit in an attempt to brandish my questionable cooking talent. However, do not fear these recipes, for they have earned critical acclaim from seasoned pundits such as my ex-flatmate and anosmic sausage-dog. What’s more is that I present an opportunity to make friends with your local veg-stall owner. Just visit every day and say ‘shēng yì xīng lóng’ after you’ve paid and you’ll be friends for life.
Perhaps I should stop flaunting my credentials get on with what you came here for.
Dish One – Egg Fried Rice
‘It sounds boring!’ I hear you cry. “It’s too easy!” you moan. Pfft. Don’t you remember the social sec from that questionable university rugby club telling you not to knock something until you’ve tried it?
- Egg, obviously. You’re going to need 2-5 of these, depending on how much you hit the gym.
- Rice. Try to scale this with the number of eggs you’ve used.
- Some kind of oil to grease your wok. I use peanut oil because it’s the cheapest.
- Vegetables. Normally I go with a solitary carrot because I’m boring, but you should try adding broccoli, pak choi or cauliflower. If you’re feeling really adventurous then add all four.
- Soy sauce, obviously. This is China after all.
- Sesame oil. This is the secret ingredient that sets apart the Jamie Olivers from the normal Olivers.
Start by getting your rice cooker on the go. While she’s doing the hard work for you, chop up your vegetables into little chunks and crack open your eggs into a small bowl. Then, fry the veg in your wok on a medium/high heat in some oil.
Once those seedless fruits are looking nice and cooked turn down the heat to low/medium and throw in the eggs. Be sure to give them a good whacking with a wooden spoon. Beat them until it looks like that scene from Team America when the hero-guy comes out of the pub.
Now you need to add in the rice. Make sure that it isn’t all mushy with water then throw it into the wok. Pour some soy sauce over it and stir it in. Usually you’ll need about 10-20mL of soy sauce, but you’ll soon work out how strong you like your flavours. Finally, pour some sesame oil into the wok and mix that in too. About 3-5mL is all you need.
And voila! That took about 15 minutes.
Dish Two – Chicken Stir Fry
This is my signature dish in China. My old housemates back home in England know how proud I was of my first bhuna and others find my bolognese irresistible. However, China isn’t fond of curry and you’ll pay a lot of money to cook yourself a proper bolognese so I’ll try to keep on topic.
- Chicken. Cluck cluck.
- Rice or noodles. This is a great opportunity because you can disguise this single recipe as two by using either carbohydrate base.
- Carrots. Feel free to add other vegetables but the carrots are the best thing about this dish.
- Ginger. You’ll need about 5cm of this, maybe more. Who knows? You’ll find out how much you like soon enough.
- Garlic. While we’re on the subject, anyone reading who hasn’t been to China might be interested to know that the Chinese like to munch on whole garlic cloves. You’ll need about three for this dish.
- Soy sauce. You’ll work out how much you need.
- Oil. Again, I use peanut oil because it’s the cheapest.
- Honey (not essential).
- Peanut butter (not essential).
- Peanuts (not essential).
Choose if you want rice or noodles. Prepare them but wait until later to cook.
Slice and dice your chicken and slap it into a moderately oiled wok. You don’t want to turn on the heat yet unless you like your chicken black. Wash your chopping board if you don’t have access to another and use it to chop your carrots. Slice them into 1cm thick batons, wash them and leave them aside. Turn on the chicken to a medium heat. Then start chopping up the ginger and garlic into tiny pieces. A big meaty cleaver helps with this. The smaller the better. You’ll see what I mean.
Somewhere in the middle of chopping up the ginger and garlic you’ll hear a mysterious voice whisper in your ear: ‘don’t forget to turn on the rice’. This will only occur if you chose to cook rice. Obey the voice.
When the chicken is almost cooked, which is usually when you’ve just peeled the garlic and ginger, put your carrots in the wok. If you’re cooking noodles, boil the water now.
When you feel like you can’t be bothered to chop ginger and garlic anymore, put them in the wok and turn the flame up high. I try to make some room in the middle of the wok and put them there, adding the soy sauce at the same time. I find that the flavours come out better when it’s been blasted with heat. Leave it for about 15 seconds and then stir it all in. After a few minutes I like to pick the wok up and toss the ingredients up into the air and catch them again in the wok. (I actually do this with the lid on but it’s still good practice). Finally, add a squirty of honey and a spoony of peanut butter. Stir it like that rumour you spread about Tom and Lucy back in ‘08.
If your choice was noodles, start cooking them now. They need about one or two minutes. If you chose rice, it should be cooked by now. Put it in a bowl and add a little bit of soy sauce. I like to add the noodles to the wok and stir fry them with some extra soy sauce.
About now everything should be ready. Just serve it up. Garnish with peanuts to add extra protein and a new crunchy texture.
And that’s it! Another just-satisfactory blog that has slipped through the editor’s occasionally slippery net.
Since China decided to open up their market to the world, known as 改革开放，Gaige Kaifang in 1978 major trade opportunities have developed from having access to such a large number of clients.
China is a country that loves technology and is developing faster than anyone could have predicted. As the country becomes richer, so does it’s people and thus their desire for modern products and fashionable items grows. The picture above highlights the level of development in only 20 years.
Major brands such as Apple, Intel, and Gillette and taken the country by storm, offering high quality products. Furthering this, there is a growing sense of consumerism here with locals opting to spend more on luxury items, such as coffee. Thus whilst China is still a developing country, even those who don’t earn a lot are willing to pay for high end, luxury products.
The fashion industry has also become highly popular among the richer population, with designer brands being displayed in every shopping centre. These brands often use western models and designs, which attract customers who want to show off their wealth. Beauty products, especially for women have taken off as some of the most popular foreign items for women,often being seen as better quality than their Chinese counterparts.
If you are looking to expand your business, the Chinese market is probably the best way to go. Locals are willing to pay top dollar for products which they believe are trustworthy and valuable. This creates a market for expensive goods in China, as it provides locals with an outlet to demonstrate their wealth and success.
By cleverly marketing your products as high end, expensive and with a modern feel, you’re business is likely to boom in the Chinese market. And remember, for many Chinese , when buying luxury items, west comes out best.
For more Chinese business insights, check out one of our interns blogs at http://chinesebusinessblogblog.wordpress.com
Before moving to live in China for two months, I was excited to embrace many of the cultural differences I would face. I had heard about the hole-in-the-ground style squat toilets and slurping of noodles. However, it was not until I actually came here that I understood slurping is actually a sign that you are enjoying the food rather than a rude noise frowned upon in western cultures.
My experience in China
I have now been living in Zhuhai for just over 4 weeks and throughout my time have noticed a variety of differences between Chinese culture and my own back in the UK. Many Chinese traditions are beautiful to witness and I have really enjoyed gaining a better understanding of life here.
For example, the central role of elderly people in the family and raising of grandchildren is a lovely tradition that gives the adults more time to themselves. Seemingly, it keeps gramps feeling young and develops a community respect for, and connection to, the elderly. It is not uncommon to see old people taking their younger relatives to school on the bus, or playing with them outside, which always makes you smile on your way to work.
I have also learned to enjoy Chinese drinking culture. Including constant toasting throughout a meal, as well as lowering your glass to a friend to demonstrate your respect. And, as an avid tea drinker, I have loved the use of tea to show friendship and hospitality, admiring the delicacy of some tea ceremonies.
Nevertheless, a few cultural differences I have noticed are a little bit harder to get used to. And you’ll just have to learn to live with them when living in China.
Cultural Difference Number 1: The whole animal served on a plate
The first cultural difference I discovered was on a business trip on my second day of my internship. For lunch, we stopped at a restaurant by a river and my boss ordered chicken and duck along with other dishes.
To my surprise, a whole duck and chicken were placed on the table, including the heads. They had been prepared by being cut into equal sizes, regardless of whether bones were in the way.
This presents a further challenge; if you are a meat eater, be prepared to try and master the Chinese way of picking bones from your mouth as you eat. It’s something that seems so effortless to the locals! Even the tiniest piece of meat is likely to have a bone in.
Cultural difference Number 2: Wild driving
This is another I found out about early on, while taking my first taxi ride. I was shocked at how rude the taxi driver was being, swerving in and out of lanes, cutting in front of people and even driving in between lanes.
However, after living here for a month I have realised this is completely normal driving in China. In fact, because of all the unpredictable swerving, it seems drivers are more observant, with quicker reactions than most in the UK. Not to mention they get you from A to B super quick and so cheaply! Upon that realisation, and having taken many more taxi journeys, I have become increasingly trusting of the local drivers. However, I will welcome the orderly and comparatively peaceful roads with open arms when I return home.
Cultural difference Number 3: Non-existent queuing
Being British, I have had queuing drilled into me at an early age and can’t help but be overwhelmed with annoyance if someone queue jumps. In China, however, queuing seems to be more along the lines of a polite suggestion rather than a strict social norm.
Many times I have been queuing for the cash desk in a supermarket and, as it reaches my turn, someone walks in front of me and places their items on the desk. You soon learn to become more pushy and assertive, as well as perhaps a little more impatient. Although it can become a bit of fun, I still can’t quite overwrite my innate desire to respect a queue.
Cultural difference Number 4: Eat very fast
I’m sure I was once told that one of the reasons Chinese people are thin and live so long is because using chopsticks means they eat slower. What a misconception that was.
During lunch at work, my colleagues shovel down their food so quickly I sometimes wonder when they get a chance to breath. Often, after less than 10 minutes, I am left alone with the other InternChina intern whom works here, as everyone else has cleaned their plate and do not tend to wait for everyone before leaving the table.
Cultural difference Number 5: Spitting
This one is probably the worst Chinese habit I’ve put up with during my stay here, fortunately in big cities it is not too common. However once in a while, when having a peaceful walk along the streets of Zhuhai, you may be startled by a very loud snorting sound, followed by someone spitting. Although it truly is a disgusting sound, it is not considered rude here and so locals don’t even bat an eyelid. So, unfortunately you will have to learn to live with it and, unlike them, swallow your distaste.
Throughout my time in Zhuhai, I have attempted to fully immerse myself in the Chinese culture and have really enjoyed my time here because of it. Even these cultural differences that may be a little out of my comfort zone made my experience more enriched and interesting and, aside from maybe number 5, I wouldn’t want them to change.
Want to learn more about our destinations? Check the five majors cultural differences between the UK and Vietnam!
When you are visiting China, going to Xi´An is almost a must! The famous Terracotta Army has often been regarded as the 8th wonder of the world and it is absolutely breathtaking. Even if it takes a twelve hour train ride to get there it is totally worth it and I promise you´ll learn a lot about China on your journey.
How to get there
When you are in Chengdu there are several options you can take. You can go by plane, which is of course much faster (but also a lot more expensive) or you can take a train from Chengdu´s main railway station (take Subway 1 towards Shengxian Lake, get off at North Railway Station) which takes about 10-16 hours. Make sure you book your tickets at least two days before you leave since trains are often sold out on the actual day. A good website to book cheap tickets is Ctrip.com. They usually have very cheap offers and if you are a poor recent grad like me and want to save as much money as you possibly can booking a hard seat is as cheap as it gets. If you like a little more comfort and feel you´d like to get some sleep during the train ride you can also book a bed (soft or hard sleeper). How long the journey takes mainly depends on at what time of the day you leave and what railway station in Xi´An you go to. Trains going to Xi´An South Railway station (西安南)are usually the fastest, however, be aware that it is not the main railway station and therefore it is a bit hard to get to since it is further out of the city. You can take a taxi from Xi´An South Railway Station to the city centre which takes about 40 minutes and costs 70-80 RMB. If you choose to arrive at the main railway station (西安) you´ll have plenty of public buses that take you to all parts of the city.
Take your passport with you when you pick up the tickets at the ticket office in Chengdu (it has a building to itself which is to the right of the main building) and make sure you arrive at least half an hour before the train leaves since Chinese train stations can be really busy and it might take a while until you are through the security check.
On the train
Be prepared that if you are a laowei (non-Chinese), people will definitely stare at you which might first feel a bit awkward. But don´t worry, you´ll soon realize that they are merely curious and wonder where you might be from. Being bored on a train is, after all, probably the same in every country and people like to distract themselves in any way they can. After a while they´ll lose interest and turn to playing games on their mobile phones or cooking meals. This is another curiosity I have encountered during my experience on a Chinese train: many Chinese bring their travel size cookery pots with them and prepare meals in them such as soups or instant noodles with different spices and sausages which they cut on a trencher and boil with hot water from a source I did not manage to discover (though this might have be for the lack of trying since I neither had the overwhelming desire nor the equipment necessary to prepare a meal myself).
Drowning the impressively loud snoring of the rather well-fed Chinese gentlemen next to me required setting my iPod to full volume and let´s just say I did not necessarily get a lot of sleep that night, but watching the sun rise over the mountains shortly before we arrived at Xi´An definitely made up for it! There are also lots of people on the train who´ll try to sell you really random stuff, like fish on a fishing-rod that blink in LED lighting and start to dance and sing when you put them on the ground. Or toe clippers, cheap plastic covers for business cards and many more, shall we say, rather uncommon items I myself would not even purchase outside of a train.
Best time to go
This is always hard to tell and it depends on what kind of weather you are prepared to deal with. I went to Xi´An in winter and before I decided to go on this trip people warned me that it would be very cold and wouldn´t I prefer to go to a place that has warmer weather? But I had always wanted to see the terracotta warriors and so it was either put up with the cold or miss out on the entire experience, which I was definitely not prepared to do! In the end the cold was not that bad at all and three layers of clothes helped me to enjoy sightseeing without shivering.
Where to stay
Again this highly depends on your budget. If you are prepared to spend a bit more there are several nice hotels in Xi´An which can be booked on the website Ctrip. A nice place to stay that is neither too expensive nor very low budget is the Atour Hotel which is close to many of the city´s top attractions such as the Small Goose Pagoda, the Ancient City Wall or the Bell Tower. From there you can also easily catch buses into every part of town, including the main train station from which you´ll eventually catch a train to the Terracotta Army.
If you prefer to save some money and opt to stay in a more basic accommodation I can highly recommend to you the Han Tang hostel which is located in a residential area of town but can be easily reached from the airport and the main train station. They also offer free pick up at the main railway station if you let them know in advance when you´ll be arriving.
Make sure to check popular travel sites such as hostelworld.com or hostelbookers.com for the cheapest offers. Ratings can always be found at tripadvisor,a brilliant travel site always worth checking out.
What to do
Obviously one of the main reasons for people to travel to Xi´An is almost always the visit of the Terracotta Army so I´ll devote an entire section to it in this blog. But there is indeed a lot more to Xi´An than just the warriors. As one of China´s four ancient great capitals, the UNESCO historic city has a great deal to offer and many interesting places to visit. Make sure to take enough ime to explore the cultural heritage, visit local craft markets and try the delicious food.
A very nice place to go for a walk is the ancient city wall. For just 29 RMB (don´t forget to bring your student ID to get discount) you can walk on the wall for as long as you like (and it´s a long wall!). If you enjoy cycling you may also wish to rent a bike from one of the countless bike rentals on the city wall. It´s a great way to enjoy a fantastic view of the city and see many different places in a short time. There are also various museums on the city wall which you can access for free when you have your entrance ticket.
Another place well worth exploring is the Muslim quarter where you can buy local souvenirs and try the delicious food for very little money so make sure you go there hungry. Other interesting sights are the Bell Tower (especially at night when the lights are on), the Little Wild Goose Pagoda, the Big Wilde Goose Pagoda and the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi.
The Terracotta Army
As usual the best part comes last: China´s famous terracotta warriors, which are thousands of years old but have only been discovered in 1974 by local farmers who were digging for water when building a well. The army, which was commissioned by China´s first Emperor Qin, comprises more than 6000 life-size terracotta figures of soldiers and horses ready for battle. Not two soldiers look alike; all of them have different facial features and expression, clothing, hairstyle, and gestures. The museum first opened to visitors in 1979, though the term “museum” might be slightly misleading since the warriors are displayed in an underground hall which reminds more of a vault. The first pit is the largest with a number of about 2000 warriors on display. Almost all of the soldiers in Pit Two are destroyed and there are countless piles of broken fragments.Warriors and horses in the third Pit, which is considerably smaller than the first two, are remarkably well-preserved; many of them still have their original face paintings and they look like they might come alive at any moment.
Now, how to get there? This is actually very easy if you know what railway station to go to and do not end up in the wrong place like me (instead of arriving at the museum at 11 a.m. I got there at 2 p.m.- this is about as much as you need to know). Simply catch bus number 5 (306) from the main railway station. It seems to have a stop all to itself with a big yellow sign next to it. If you are not sure if you are in the right place just ask around, almost everybody will be able to help you. Just bear in mind that people won´t necessarily know the English word for terracotta army so to be on the safe side ask for bīngmǎyǒng(兵马俑). Once you have found the bus just sit down, eventually someone will come up and sell you a ticket for 8RMB one way. There is no schedule, the bus just leaves when it is full. The ride takes about 40-60 minutes; you´ll be dropped off at the last stop which is a big car park with many the tour buses so it is really hard to miss. Don´t be confused if the bus stops a few times on the way there, this is usually just to drop some locals off.
The museum is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. every day but I would highly recommend going there in the early afternoon after most school classes and pensioners have left. You´ll find it´s much less busy and you´ll be able to enjoy walking around without having to queue all the time. Sadly they won´t give you student discount so you´ll have to pay the full entrance fee of 120 RMB but it is a good investment! I found that two hours are plenty of time to get around and have a look at all three pits as well as the history museum and various souvenir shops. Do not, under any circumstances, buy a souvenir at the museum grounds but wait until you get out and pass the approx. one thousand tourist shops that´ll all want to sell you the same thing: mini terracotta statues! As always in China make sure to haggle to get a better price. I hope you are well prepared now for your trip and have a wonderful time!
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“Welcome to Chengdu home of pandas, land of abundance” so let the journey begin…
There is no better way to start the day with a nice coffee or smoothie, right? So check out the Bookworm, grab a nice book and plan your day!
• Take metro line 1 to go to Tianfu Square
• Walk from Tianfu Square to People´s park
Tianfu Square is in the center of Chengdu and is filled with high class shopping malls, nice restaurants and overlooked by an enormous Chairman Mao statue. If you walk to the West, you will get to People’s Park after about 15 minutes.
- Enjoy a walk through People´s park
- Have a tea at one of the traditional tea houses
After you had a little rest, walk over to Kuanzhai Alleys to buy some nice souvenirs for family and friends. You should try out dumplings for lunch at Zhong Shui Jiao at the beautiful Wenshu Monestry. To see more of the cultural sight of Chengdu, go to Du Fu’s Cottage and Jinli Ancient Street which is about 550m long and the buildings are in the Qing Dynasty style.
Tai Koo Li offers a lot of different restaurants, so just walk around and make your decision on a whim. If you haven’t gotten enough of cultural activities yet, enjoy a play at the Opera which could be followed with a beer or two at one of Chengdu’s best bars, the Beernest I.
- Book a room in the heart of Chengdu
The Mrs. Panda Hostel is a 2 star hostel and offers rooms from $5 a night and is very close to Tianfu Square. It offers free Wi-Fi and has a shuttle bus to the airport.
Chengdu is known for their research base of giant pandas and they are too cute to miss out on. I hope you didn’t get too wild last night, so that getting out of bed is easy!
- Make sure to be there at 8 a.m. so you can watch the pandas having breakfast
- Take a taxi to Wuhuo Shrine
- After walking around at the panda base, seeing both white and red pandas, go get some lunch in the park next to Wuhuo Shrine which is the free part of the Monastery.
- Visit Wuhuo Shrine
- Go to the Tibetan area and buy some snacks
- Take metro line one and go to Chunxi Road
Chunxi Road is known as the major shopping area in Chengdu. It is magical and gives you the feeling of being at the Times Square in New York City. The area has plenty of different stores to offer, so make sure you bring enough cash.
After a long shopping haul, sit down and enjoy some delicious dinner and maybe try out some HotPot or other Sichuan food Chengdu is known for.
- Go clubbing at Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong looks beautiful at night, especially if you cross Anshun Bridge and it offers plenty of good clubs and bars to dance the night away.
- Book a room in the heart of Chengdu
If you want to try out a different hostel for the night, the two star Flipflop Lounge Hostel is very popular among young people and is located next to Chenxi Road. You can book a room from $5 per night and is also offers free Wi-Fi.
Are you interested in coming to Chengdu, experiencing the city with your own eyes? Then apply here!