More Than Just an Internship – What We Do in Qingdao!
InternChina – More than just an internship!
But what does this really mean in Qingdao? It means weekly dinners, activities and 24/7 support!
I’ve been an office intern for about 3 months now, so I hope I can explain this for you!
During your programme, you’ll have the amazing opportunity to do an internship in China, but that’s not the only think you’ll experience during your time in Qingdao! The InternChina team will organise lots of dinners and activities for you. This is so we can get to know you better, make you feel comfortable in this new country, and give you a chance to meet amazing people! And if you love travelling, there are plenty of great destinations we can help you visit that aren’t too far from Qingdao!
As a Qingdao office intern, I have the opportunity to organise the dinners and trips for our participants. I’ll tell you more about it, so you’ll have an idea of the amazing things you may get the chance to do, and you can discover more about Qingdao.
If you have anything you want to do around Qingdao, just let a member of InternChina know and we can try our best to organise this for you!
Every week we organise one of our famous “Thursday Dinners.”
This is a social event, to share a group meal, discover new Asian cuisine and talk about our week! We understand that you are students, so don’t worry- we try to make these dinners affordable! Usually, we try to avoid expensive restaurants, but they are always tasty. We usually stick to a budget of 50RMB per person, and sometimes this is even less.
How do we organise these dinners? Usually we make a post on our official Qingdao InternChina WeChat account, or we post in our IC Qingdao group chat.
We’ll give you some more details about the restaurant, the cuisine, the food, the time and the location of the dinner. If you’re interested in coming along, then simply join the dinner group by scanning the QR code we’ll provide! This helps us know how many people want to come along, so we can book a table. During the summer, we can have more than 30 people for dinner!
But it’s our job to organise this- all you need to do is scan the QR code and join! How easy is that?
After a week of working hard during your internship, we’re sure you’ll look forward to exploring Qingdao at the weekend! There is so much to do and discover in Qingdao, and we understand that you want to get out there, so we organise lots of activities and trips for you!
We try to organise a new activity every weekend, and just like the dinners, we try to make sure these activities are all affordable so you can take part in as much as you can.
What can Qingdao offer you? There are lots of fun tourist activities,such as the Tsingtao Beer Museum, the TV Tower, the zoo, the aquarium, the Huadong Vineyard. However, we also want to make sure you see the natural beauty in Qingdao! Outdoor activities such as hiking Fushan or Laoshan with our guide Green Tea, bouldering, archery, go karting are always popular, especially during the summer.
We also want you to learn about the Chinese culture while you are here, so we organise cultural activities such as calligraphy classes, Chinese cooking lessons, tea ceremonies, or even Kung Fu lessons!
There are different things to do during different seasons, so you may also get to attend the German Christmas Market, or some opening ceremonies!
You will definitely never be bored, with plenty of activities available for you to explore the city, have fun, and network!
We also try to organise some weekend trips for you to discover other cities in China.
Recently, we organised a weekend trip to Beijing- after all, it would be a shame to come to China and not visit the Great Wall! In the past we have also organised trips to Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Qufu… the possibilities are endless!
For any weekend trips we organise, we will provide you with a detailed schedule so you can make the most of your time in each city! We will also let you know how much each trip will cost, and this will include your transport, accommodation and activities for the weekend. It will cost more than a regular Saturday Event, but it is definitely worth going and exploring more of China!
The InternChina team offer you 24/7 support while you are on place, and we are also here for you before and after your time in China!
When you arrive, we will pick you up from the airport and take you directly to your accommodation, whether is an apartment or a homestay. We’ll also give you an orientation to help you understand Chinese culture, and give you some advice about living in Qingdao.
You will receive a welcome pack, which includes a SIM card, travel card, map of the city, and address card and some InternChina goodies!
We are here for you whenever you need us!
Moreover, our team on place is also always here to support you! When you arrive we will give you an orientation, in order to make you understand Chinese culture, and give you lots of advice! If you feel sick, we will come with you to the hospital! If you have any other issues, we are here to help if we can!
InternChina’s Favourite Places
When you are new to Qingdao, and don’t know where to go or what to see, we’re here to tell you where to go! Below is a list of my favourite places- you can even impress your colleagues with your Qingdao knowledge and invite them along!
Magic Eggplant – or the best Chinese restaurant ever! 美达尔大尧三路店 – Dayao San Road
ChunChuan Iron Plate – best Korean restaurant! 青岛市崂山区苗岭路 瑞纳花园内 Miao Ling Road
Huadong Winery – a beautiful vineyard, where you can visit the museum,the caves and try some wine at the end! 南龙口崂山Nanlong Kou, Lao Shan
ZhongShan Park – an amazing park where you can easily walk around for hours! The zoo is right next to it if you want to see a panda! 市南区文登路28号 Wen Deng Road
I hope these details and pictures convinced you that InternChina has so much more than just an internship to offer you! You’ll never feel alone, and this experience will be unforgettable!
The easiest way to join us is to apply now!
Celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival with “Laowai” Mooncakes!
Hello, everyone! My name is Meredith, and I am one of the new interns here at the InternChina office in Qingdao. This past week, I celebrated my first ever Mid-Autumn Festival! The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival, is a national holiday that takes place every year on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Lunar Calendar. This date marks the full moon, when the moon is at its roundest and brightest. In Chinese culture, this is very significant as circular shapes symbolize reunion and wholeness.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time when friends and family gather together to celebrate and give thanks for the harvest. In honor of Chang E and in the spirit of togetherness/reunion, people often make and share mooncakes with friends and relatives.
Mooncakes consist of fillings, such as red bean, lotus bean, orange, duck egg yolks, and mixed nuts. These are just some of the fillings I have come across during my time here in Qingdao. There are certainly others!
After consuming many, many mooncakes in the week leading up to the festival, my colleagues and I decided to get into the holiday spirit and make some of our own “laowai” mooncakes! In addition to the traditional fillings of lotus and red bean paste, we decided to incorporate some flavors often used in sweets back home, such as strawberries, bananas, Nutella, and peanut butter.
Some mooncakes turned out better than others – mine ended up looking more like blobs than mooncakes, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?! 🙂
I thought the peanut butter filling would be the clear winner in the taste test, but I was very, very wrong! Although widely debated amongst my colleagues, I believe the mooncakes filled with the traditional fillings were actually much better than the ones made with our own special ingredients.
Even though the mooncakes did not turn out quite like we thought they would, it was still great being able to spend the holiday with friends!
If you are ever in China during the Mid-Autumn Festival, I would encourage you to give mooncake making a try!
Chinese New Year Travels: Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai
As you are probably aware last week was Chinese New Year, which meant a week off for all of us in China- and as amazing as Qingdao is we decided it was time to explore somewhere else in China. Which is how 5 interns ended up at Qingdao airport at 5.30 in the morning for the first stop in a week long trip to Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai. We were planning to spend 3 days in Nanjing (the most recent of China’s Four Great Ancient Capitals in Jiangsu Province), 1 day in Suzhou (home of the world famous Humble Administrator’s Garden) and 3 days in Shanghai (need I say more?) Despite being warned about travelling during the busy Chinese New Year period we were prepared- after all, crowds are an everyday part of Chinese life!
Landing in Nanjing we were immediately greeted with sunshine and warmth, a welcome break from the recent minus temperatures we’ve been experiencing here in Qingdao. We were lucky enough to book a hostel in the middle of the beautifully busy Fuzimiao area, and despite our early start we were eager to see what Nanjing had to offer us. Sunday was spent exploring the Confucius Temple area, the Pedestrian Street, the Wende Bridge and the QinHuai River, along with trying a lot of the local food on offer. That night we were lucky enough to be treated to a New Year’s Eve dinner provided by the hostel staff, which was a great way to try a lot of traditional Nanjing dishes.
Monday morning we set off bright and early (after eating a ridiculous amount of fried dumplings for breakfast) to visit the Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum and Nanjing’s Purple Mountains. After an interesting ride on what looked like a plus size golf cart to the Mausoleum, we were delayed by an eager group of Chinese tourists who wanted photographs with all of us- however their daughter was less eager, and cried every time her mother brought her near us.
The Mausoleum is an imposing, beautiful building based on top of 392 steps and through two grand entrance ways. Dr. Sun is interred there, and he is considered by many to be the “Father of Modern China”- he was involved in fighting against the Qing government, ending the monarchy after the 1911 revolution and helping to found the Republic of China. The scenic area surrounding the Mausoleum also leads to the Ming Xiaoling Tomb of the founder of the Ming Dynasty.
On Tuesday morning we visited the Nanjing Massacre Museum. This was definitely the most sombre point of our entire trip, as you are greeted with statues commemorating those who died, along with a very graphic account of what happened throughout the museum. However it was an interesting visit and definitely a must see for all of us. To lighten the mood after the museum, we spent the afternoon at XuanWu Lake (Xuánwǔhú 玄武湖) and the City Wall.
Wednesday morning was another early start for us to arrive in Suzhou by 11 am. We immediately sought out a late breakfast in the form of amazing jian bing (jiānbing 煎餅) and headed towards Shantang Canal to take one of the canal boats towards Tiger Hill. The canal boat was a relaxing break from all the activity of the past few days, and we soon arrived at the insanely busy Tiger Hill and Yunyan Pagoda (known as “The Leaning Tower of China”). We decided against visiting the Pagoda as we only had a few hours until we caught our train to Shanghai, so we visited the Humble Administrator’s Gardens (Zhou Zheng Yuan) instead.
The gardens as they are today were started in around 1510 by the poet Wang Xiancheng, and was changed and updated up until 1949 when the Chinese government bought the gardens and opened them to the public. It was obvious why the gardens have been granted World Heritage Site status, as they are amazingly beautiful and absolutely huge- every turn leads you to a pond, pagoda, tea house, bridge or collection of bonsai trees. Unfortunately we couldn’t spend long here, but it was still worth the visit.
Our train to Shanghai only took 20 minutes on Wednesday evening, however we still arrived quite late (mainly due to me holding everyone up in the train station after being issued a broken metro card). After finding our hostel tucked away into a side street we intended to go to bed early and catch up on sleep after the last few days however the bars of Shanghai proved too tempting for some of the interns.
We also visited Pudong to get an alternate view of the buildings you can see from the Bund, however the cloudy skies helped us decide against going inside the Shanghai World Financial Center, which at 492m tall gives one of the best views of the city on clear days. We then made our way across the river to the Bund after walking the Lujiazui Pedestrian Bridge (a huge circular walkway set above the traffic).
On Friday we visited People’s Park, a beautiful area filled with people playing mah-jong, cards and also the “Shanghai Marriage Market”. This was definitely something to see, as crowds of parents and grandparents lined the entrance to the park advertising their children to potential marriage partners. Despite the crowds surrounding the marriage market, the park wasn’t as busy as we expected it to be, and was definitely a lot quieter than the Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou. We spent a lot of the afternoon here exploring, and the park has a nice change of pace to the business of Shanghai’s streets.
On Saturday morning we visited the Shanghai Museum in People’s Square, which showcases a history of Chinese art (including pottery, jade, calligraphy and a history of the Buddha’s evolution in art). We also visited one of the fake markets near the Science and Technology Museum.
Despite all the warnings we received about travelling during Chinese New Year, and how we would regret visiting these places during such a busy time, we only had positive experiences with all the transport we took- except for a minor 20 minute delay for our flight from Shanghai to Qingdao. Two flights, two trains, a few buses and a lot of metro journeys later, my first trip out of Qingdao was an exciting one! The crowds didn’t affect our experience at all, and we saw some of the most beautiful places in China during one of the most interesting times of the year.
If you want to experience a trip like this for yourself, apply now!
My first days in Qingdao
I am from Germany and finished school last year. Now, I am between secondary school and looking forward to going to university next year. As part of my Gap Year I chose to go to Qingdao for five months to learn Mandarin.
I landed in Qingdao after 16 hours of flight and stopover. At ten in the morning I arrived in a freezing cold Qingdao. Having not slept the whole flight because I wanted to watch all the movies I was quite tired upon my arrival. But all my fatigue quickly fell away when I saw that my host family had sent their driver in a Jaguar to pick me up and excitement set in! An hour later we got to the house I was placed in, where I have my own room with a balcony. The house is in a beautiful neighbourhood and within a two-minute walk from the beach.
I met my DiDi (little brother) later that afternoon when he came back from school and the parents in the evening when they came back from work. The family made me feel most welcome and I managed to settle in quickly. Not knowing what to expect of the food in Qingdao I was relieved when the Ayi (housekeeper) – who helps me where she is able to – served some egg-fried rice alongside a good ol’ steak with some beans. The Ayi cooks heaps of food, does my laundry, cleans my room and tries to support me wherever possible, as does the rest of the family.
The food here is dangerously spicy for people who cannot eat spicy food and understandably consists of a lot of rice and dumplings but I personally like hot food and the Chinese cuisine so I was happy. However, my stomach was not and took a few days to get used to the food. The only thing I do not enjoy quite so much is the ZaoFan (breakfast). But this problem was resolved swiftly after I told the Ayi that I would be happy to eat toast. Now, the only remnant of Western cuisine in my diet is toast with Nutella in the morning along some scrambled eggs. At this point I got to warn any prospective interns that it is not easy to come by foreign groceries here. I have yet to find Nutella and for now I make do with some surrogate chocolate cream. Also all imported food is more expensive than it would be in the country of origin.
On Monday I had to drive to school for the first time which was a piece of cake given that the public transport is really efficient. But it can be very confusing because all maps are in HanZi and most people only speak Chinglish so I would advise you to get a good description of the buses you can take and at which stop you have to get out. Furthermore, Google Maps does not work in China unless you use a VPN, so getting around the city can be a challenge. Nonetheless, I arrived at school safe after an exciting bus ride – the traffic is wild and the bus drivers are mad. My school is great, I am a single student and my teacher is very able and we get along just fine. After school I usually go to lunch with my colleagues who are great fun which makes work so much more bearable. The work atmosphere is relaxed and my tasks do not bore me, so I am perfectly happy with my placement.
The weekends are really exciting, as we always have a group activity – last week for example we went hiking in the mountains and this weekend we will go paintballing – after which we go out in the city. Also on Thursdays all interns get together and have dinner at a different restaurant every week.
Having had little prior Mandarin skills I think I can say that even the mere two weeks I have been here so far have made a huge impact on my knowledge of HanYu, so I am looking forward to the next 16 weeks, during which I am hoping to travel around China with the other interns. For Chinese New Year we are probably travelling to NanJing, the ancient capital of China.
If you also want to experience the real China and live in a hostfamily during your internship, apply now!
Christmas Trip to Harbin
Written by Wiebke Schmütz
As Christmas is not really celebrated in Chinese families, we decided that a Christmas trip is a perfect way to experience some of the holiday spirit.
Originally we had planned to go to Beijing, but there were some stronger powers (too much hydrogen in the air which is a nice Chinese expression for smog). The upcoming Ice and Snow Festival was the main reason why we went to Harbin instead.
So we met on Christmas Eve at the airport and had a delicious Christmas Dinner at the Golden Arches (for those who don’t know: McDonalds). After the 1 1/2 hour flight we arrived in Harbin, where we were really surprised at the fact that they have changing cubicles at the airport on the way from the plane to the baggage claim. Be prepared: Harbin is famous for its bitterly cold winters. The Chinese people’s reaction when we Western people got changed without using that cubicles was priceless!
When we finally arrived at the hostel it was already quite late, so we just checked in and had a look around the housing. It was actually a nice place with many Chinese people talking to us during our stay. I really should have counted how many times we had to play pool – too many!
The next day we enjoyed a relaxed morning and a nice Chinese style brunch: Baozi and Guo Bao Rou – yummy.
After finishing the brunch we took the bus to the city centre. There we could already see some ice or snow sculptures, but the highlight for the children in our hearts was definitely the slide completely made of ice.
We also had to try the famous Harbin ice cream. It was impressive how many people had the same intention even though it was so cold that Amber’s iPhone wasn’t working anymore. Following the road we arrived at the frozen Songhua River. There was so much going on at the river: a kind of sleighs for 2 or 3 people, motor sleighs, ice skaters, people selling different items, quad bikes pulling tyre tubes, photographers… You also had a beautiful view at the city, the bridge and the other side of the river.
We enjoyed it very much, but it was finally time for a warmer place to drink some hot coffee or chocolate. In the evening we had a real Christmas Dinner at a fancy restaurant with “live” music. Trying to find a bar – not a KTV – to celebrate and conclude the evening, we failed or rather it was too cold to go on searching. Then another problem turned up: many taxis were already occupied or refused to stop for a group of four people, however we eventually found a taxi and when we came back to the hostel the evening ended in good atmosphere.
The next day we woke up earlier and had some sweet potatoes from a street vendor before going to the same restaurant as the first day. Then we went to the famous Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom of God or Saint Sophia Cathedral.
We refused to pay entrance fee, but one of us managed to enter. The inside has few to do with a church, it houses the Harbin Architectural Art Gallery. We then went on to see the old town. Minus 26 degrees forced us to make a long stop at a café with lots of vintage furniture and decoration. When we found the old town we discovered the next surprise: it was more like a shopping mall trying to look traditional. We liked it nevertheless and even bought some small things. In the end we changed our plan and did not go to see the famous Ice and Snow Festival as it was still under construction, but they already charged 300 RMB entrance fee and it was just way too cold – brr.
So we just ate dinner and went back to the hostel, and in the evening we managed to go to a cute bar in the same street of the hostel. As we had to get up really early the next day to catch our flight, we didn’t stay so long.
It was a nice trip full of new impressions, but we were happy to be at home in warmer Qingdao on Sunday early afternoon.
If you want to experience trips to cities like Harbin for yourself, apply now!
Fin de la primera etapa por Qingdao.
¡Hola a todos! Parece que llego el momento de irse, y me han dicho que escriba un blog para despedirme y contar mi experiencia pero, ¿ Cómo resumir 6 meses de tú vida en un blog? Pues no tengo ni idea, pero lo voy a intentar.
Antes de nada, he de dar las gracias a Internchina porque sin ellos no habría podido tener esta experiencia. En estos 6 meses he tenido la oportunidad de conocer a casi todo el equipo, de trabajar con todos ellos, ya que estuvo la mayoría en la oficina de Qingdao al mismo tiempo. Esa semana fue estresante por la cantidad de trabajo que había y que no cogía ni un alfiler, pero también la más divertida, y por suerte nos coincidió con Halloween. Trabajando con ellos he aprendido a moverme en campos y materias que jamás pensé que lo haría, como con el programa Photoshop, al pobre de Jack lo tenía estresado; o trabajar como Comercial con mi compañera Cecily (cosa que nunca he conseguido llevar a cabo, pero con ella todo se hizo más fácil o llevadero); o ir a reuniones con Clare donde poco a poco ella ha conseguido que fuese yo la que empezase las reuniones o trabajar con Frank, el fundador, que consiguió que dejase de hacer apuntes en mi libreta y lo pusiese todo en el programa. Pero lo que más he aprendido ha sido a lidiar con toda clase de acentos en inglés, desde el mío español, hasta con el del norte de Irlanda.
Creo que lo peor llevé al principio fue el tema de la comida. Yo esperaba que todo fuese como los restaurantes chinos europeos, con tu arroz a las tres delicias, pollo al limón, pero he de decir que ni por asomo lo vas a encontrar aquí. Es todo totalmente diferente. Muchas verduras semi-crudas, arroz para todo, nuddels de todo tipo, pero sobretodo picante, le echan picante a absolutamente todo… y lo de comer con cubiertos ve olvidándote, todo es con palillos. Pero he de decir que ahora soy aficionada a la comida de aquí y tengo mis platos preferidos como las berenjenas crujientes, el pollo con salsa dulce, las patatas que siempre siempre se pide Cecily, vayamos a donde vayamos, y el 肉夹馍. Dos logros que he conseguido en este tema son, comer comida picante aunque sigo diciendo “sin mucho picante, por favor” y comer nuddles con palillos! Que cuando los ves a ellos te parece algo sencillo, pero de eso nada, necesitas tres batallas con los fideos y los palillos, más tus camisetas manchadas de comida…consejo, si pensais pedir nuddles, no lleveis nada de color claro haha.
Llegué en pleno verano, que ní en Almería hace tanta calor, y coincidí con gente con la que me he reído muchísimo, hicieron que mi primer mes fuese más llevadero entre sus locuras y su caluroso recibimiento. Más tarde se fueron ellos y prácticamente se llevaron el verano pero con el invierno llegó más gente y nuevas experiencias.
Aquí dejo a personas que han llegado a convertirse en amigas, a gente con la que me he divertido, aprendido y con las que he crecido como persona. Pero me llevo recuerdos muy buenos, como cuando Amber intentaba enseñarme palabras en chino, o la cara de sorpresa de Yifan cuando dije que la comida estaba picante (sí, el primer día para mi lo estaba, pero a día de hoy…eso no es nada haha) o la conversación de Pirat-Parrot entre mi amigo de Manchester y mi compañera Rosey que es del Norte de Irlanda, con sus acentos y su forma de decir las palabras (que para mi casi que suenan igual pero no tienen nada que ver) o el haber conocido a gente española en la otra parte del mundo, que son muy pocos los que se atreven a venir. Pero el tiempo pasa y toca volver a casa, pero eso no quiere decir que no vaya a volver a Qingdao
Bueno ya sólo quedar decir, Gracias al equipo de Internchina por la oportunidad, gracias a la gente por sus buenos momentos, y por las que llegaron en el momento que menos lo esperaba, y por hacer que sea más llevadero las navidades fuera de casa. Hasta luego Qingdao!!!
If you’d also like to go on a 6 month journey and experience the real China, apply now!
10 Amazing Places to Visit in China
When you think of visiting China you immediately think of the famous destinations- The Bund in Shanghai, Beijing’s Forbidden City and the Terracotta Army of Xi’an among many, many others. But if you want to be able to go home and have people saying “tell me more” rather than “I already know that”, then you’ll want to visit some of the amazing destinations our interns have discovered over the years, all close enough to visit in a weekend (which isn’t nearly long enough of course.)
From Chengdu, Emei Shan can be easily reached by both bus and train so it is an ideal overnight trip.
Emei Shan is a well-known attraction to many because of the deep cultural and religious associations with Buddhism. The first Buddhist temple, Huazang, was built here in 1AD, and the largest Buddha in the world, LeShan’s Giant Buddha (which stands at an awe inspiring 71 metres tall) is also located here.
In addition to the cultural, religious and historical importance of Emei Shan, the area is a huge conservation effort. You can find over 3,000 diverse species of plants and trees over a millennium old all around the mountains, as well as over 2,000 kinds of animals.
Emei Shan will leave you speechless- its beauty, fascinating history and religious calm will make this a trip to remember. So stroll up the mountain, take in the view, and relax as the monks from over 30 temples remind you of the spiritual importance of this place.
Kangding, also known as the Land of the Snows, is a trip for those who don’t mind braving the cold in order to experience a fascinating combination of Chinese and Tibetan culture. While you will have to endure a 10 hour bus journey from Chengdu, the sights that will welcome you throughout Kangding will make you forget all about the journey.
You will get to experience true Tibetan cuisine and customs while here- one intern said they felt as if they’d travelled to Tibet without ever leaving China.
Highlights of the trip include the Tagong and Dordrak Monasteries, Guoda Mountain, Hailuogou Valley, the Taong grasslands and the Mugetso Scenic Area. Arguably the best time of year to visit is in Autumn, but whenever you decide to visit, make sure you pack warm clothes!
JiuZhaiGou National Park is yet another area of astonishing national beauty in China… blue lakes only seen in paintings, sprawling mountain ranges, waterfalls and forests to entertain you for hours. Similar to Kangding, JiuZhaiGou will give you the opportunity to experience some Tibetan culture. While you do need to pay admission into the park, you have acres to explore and hours to do so- you can even camp out if you’re feeling adventurous.
If you want to see the park in all its glory, visit in Autumn to be surrounded by every colour imaginable while the weather is still enjoyable.
Located close to Dalian is the capital of Liaoning province, Shenyang. Shenyang is an ancient city filled with great artistic, cultural and historical importance- namely due to the excellent preservation of the Shenyang Imperial Palace. Shenyang is also widely believed to be the birthplace of the Qing Dynasty (which lasted from 1644 to 1911!), so it is a city filled with more than 2000 years of history.
Other notable relics from the Qing Dynasty include the Fuling Tomb, in which the founder of the Qing Dynasty (Nurhachi) and his Empress are interred, and the Zhaoling Tomb, home of Nurhachi’s successor Huang Taji and his Empress.
And if you are interested in more than just the history of the city, there is a curious natural phenomenon for you to play with- Guaipo. The “Strange Slope”, as it is otherwise known, is a sloping piece of land approximately 80 metres long which doesn’t abide by the rules of gravity. Cars, bicycles and tourists alike all have to accelerate to go downhill, yet can enjoy a leisurely roll back up the hill… just a little confusing!
Of course, there is the usual abundance of bars, restaurants and KTV venues to keep you occupied at night.
While Beijing is far from being an “off the beaten track” destination, it’s a popular trip for the Qingdao interns. After all, it would be a little disappointing to go to China without seeing the Great Wall when it’s only a few hours away on the train! If you aren’t aware of what China’s capital city has to offer you, a quick summary would be the Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs, Tiananmen Square, the National Grand Theatre, the panda base, the Silk Market, the Lama Temple and the Forbidden City. Oh, and the Great Wall of China.
Beijing is a city with millions upon millions of people from all walks of life, and with a history spanning three thousand years it’s obvious why this is one of the most traveled to destinations in the world. You’ll have the opportunity to see ancient and modern China with your own eyes all in one place!
You can reach Beijing from Qingdao in around five hours via train, or even quicker by plane, however travelling by train is a whole other experience everyone should have in China!
Qingdao is famous for two mountains- Fushan and Laoshan. While FuShan has the attraction of being located in the middle of Qingdao, LaoShan provides a much more interesting challenge and experience… and who doesn’t love a challenge?
Located approximately a 30- 40 minute drive from Qingdao, visiting Laoshan will mean you can see rivers, waterfalls, ancient temples, beautiful forests and amazing scenery all from one place. The Laoshan National Park covers an area of around 450 square kilometres, so you will have plenty of sights to see on your climb to the top of Mount Lao. Or if the climb seems too daunting, take the cable car to the top, and relax with some local Tsingtao beer or Mount Lao green tea while you enjoy the view.
ZhouZhuang in the Jiangsu province, arguably the most beautiful water town in China, is located near Shanghai and is very easily travelled to from Qingdao by bus, train or plane in just a few hours.
If you want to be transported back to quieter times in China, then a day trip to Zhouzhang will be perfect for you. The opportunity to float along the waterways of this village on a traditional gondola and witness the locals go about their daily lives entirely on the water is not something you can see anywhere else- who wouldn’t want to witness someone doing their shopping from a boat? With the added bonus of being surrounded by ancient architecture almost a thousand years old, which has been virtually untouched by the recent developments in China, ZhouZhuang is the perfect relaxing day trip.
Macau, also known as the “Las Vegas of Asia”, is a fast paced, energetic city that you will struggle to fit into a weekend trip. Unfortunately this trip is only possible if your visa allows multiple entries, so if not it may be best to wait until you are leaving China to spend a weekend here. To visit Macau from Zhuhai, you can take a ferry across the bay or even walk!
Macau will offer you an interesting mix of Cantonese Chinese and Portuguese influences, and it is highly recommended to take time to walk around the city and take in the mix of architecture and cultures surrounding you. Make your way from Sendao Square around the streets, sampling traditional Macau food, visiting Golden Lotus Square and the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral. In the evening, spend some time around the famous casinos!
Foshan is both one of Guangdong province’s oldest cities (5,000 years old!) and one of the most modern. With a history heavily focused on the arts, including opera, martial arts and traditional ceramic crafts, there no shortage of cultural activities in the city for the art lovers among you.
If you want to try your hand at creating some traditional Chinese pottery, you can do so using the Nanfeng Kiln, otherwise known as the oldest kiln in China.
There is a much more recent connection to the martial arts as well- you can visit the house of Bruce Lee’s ancestors! If that isn’t to your interest, then the Zumiao Commercial Street filled with malls, plazas, restaurants and tea houses might be more to your taste.
To continue your cultural development, visit the Ancestral Temple, or the Qinghui Garden.
If you’ve ever held a 20RMB note, then you are already familiar with the mountain scenery that will greet you from the Li River in Yangshuo.
There are several reasons to visit Yangshou, including the incredible change of pace you’ll be thrown into (compared to Zhuhai’s easy going atmosphere). You can start the trip with a lazy rafting journey down the Li River, before visiting the incredible Silver Cave below:
There’s also the abundance of amazing local food, including Beer Fish, stuffed Li River snails, bite size Li River fried shrimp and of course, street barbecues.
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PRIMER VIAJE POR CHINA
Si, ya he hecho mi primer viaje por Asia, y la verdad que en este viaje hemos tenido de todo.
Hemos pasado por todas las fases posibles, desde ilusión, porque lo organizábamos mi compañera y yo, estrés porque salían imprevistos por todos sitios y queríamos que todo fuese perfecto, felicidad porque nos gusto a todos el viaje, y cansancio porque para algunos de nuestros compañeros la vuelta fue eterna.
Como ya he dicho, este viaje al haberlo organizado nosotras, he experimentado las tres fases de un viaje: pre-viaje, viaje y post viaje, pero si tuviera que calificarlo en una sola palabra sería, imprevisto. En todas las etapas hemos tenido alguno. El mayor de todos…los vuelos. Y el ser aún una novata en las aerolíneas chinas esta provocando que tenga a mi compañera Amber loquita perdida.
La verdad es que me llevé una grata sorpresa con Shanghai, porque pensé que ya no quedaría mucho de las antiguas casa chinas, esas que vemos en las películas o en los libros de historia, pero no. A pesar de ser una ciudad enorme, y una de las más visitadas…sigue manteniendo su raíz y lo mejor de todo es que tanto las casas antiguas como modernas conviven y se combinan entre sí, junto con su barrio Francés.
Uno de mis sitios favoritos fue el puente “The Bund” con unas vistas preciosas y prácticamente cantamos bajo la lluvia y nos quedaron unas fotos muy bonitas. El otro sitio que me gustó mucho fue el Bazar de los jardines Yuyuan, dentro de sus galerías estaba la casa del té y para quienes adoramos las tiendas de souvenires, es el paraíso, y más si sabes regatear precios. Y una de las nuevas experiencias adquiridas ha sido encontrar un taxi y coger un vuelo a su hora. Allí que estábamos nosotros, 16 europeos con ganas de conocer la noche en Shanghai e intentado encontrar un taxista disponible junto a “The Bund” haha ¡Sólo se nos ocurre a nosotros! Pero creo que parte de mis compañeros aprendieron a llevar las situaciones con más filosofía después de que le cancelaran el vuelo. Pero no perdieron la sonrisa porque se hicieron fotos con niños bajo el agua.
Tras este viaje, baidu maps app se ha convertido en mi guía, siempre que no quiera reírse de mí y me mande en dirección contraria. Y he aprendido que cuando vas a coger un avión en China, tienes que llevarte un libro para leer durante las horas de retraso o tomártelo con mucha filosofía.
Aquí puedes encontrar más experiencias.
So far I have been in Qingdao for a almost a month- crazy how quickly a month goes by!
I have really enjoyed getting to know the team here and all of the other interns who all make the experience fun even when it gets busy here in the Qingdao office! Not sure if my Chinese has improved a lot since I wrote a blog, but I hope my pronunciation has!
This past Saturday the InternChina office hosted a beach party along Shi Lao Ren Beach aka. the Old Man beach! We had unlimited beer (Tsingtao beer of course!) and music along the beach which was so much fun! We originally planned for the party to start at 5pm and end at 10pm, but somehow it finished at 2.30 am….
Here are a few pictures from Saturday night! I can’t wait till we start to do this more often when summer comes along!
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Ni hao!So far I have been in Qingdao for 3 weeks and I am loving getting to know to the city and all of the people here! My Chinese has even improved- from virtually nothing to learning some important words aka. Pijiu.
So far I have been Kayaking, rock climbing and this past Saturday we went to the famous Laoshan mountain to go swimming in the natural pool there. All 20-30 of us took the bus to Laoshan, it was a squeeze with all of us on the bus especially when we were all eyeing the seats trying to get a seat. I luckily managed to get a seat right next to the window which meant I could see the beautiful view on the way over with a bit of fresh air! Unlucky for the others who had to stand in the heat!
Leo the expert mountaineer led the way up the mountain in 35 degree heat- I have never sweated so much in my life! After all the hard word we were really looking forward to cooling down in the natural pool, unfortunately when we arrived there all the water had evaporated haha! What can you do?
Nevertheless the view was beautiful and afterwards we decided to go to Shi Lao Ren Beach which was packed! Despite the huge waves and amount of algae on the shore we all braved a swim which was so nice and refreshing! We had beer on the beach and played Clare’s favourite card game called Yannis till everyone on the beach started leaving. Apart from getting sunburnt, it was another great Saturday topped off with food at a Cantonese restaurant!
Looking forward to next Saturday!
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