Philippe Touzin office manager in Zhuhai here!
Last week was the Chinese National Week (1st of October – 7th of October) which is the anniversary of China’s Liberation and Revolution.
It is more commonly known in China as Golden Week, and in Tourist Language “Hell Week”
Some facts from Wikipidia regarding Golden Week:
In 2012, the PRC government announced that national highways would be toll free for Golden Week, and as a result 86 million people travelled by road (13% increase compared to the previous year). The same year, the Forbidden City in Beijing had a new record of 182,000 visitors within one day on October 2, the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen had 215,000 visitors on October 4 (10 times the number of visitors on a normal busy day), 7.6 million people travelled via domestic airlines, 60.9 million people travelled via railway, and revenues from tourism totalled at 1.77 billion renminbi.
That is about 154.9 million people that travelled in the space of 7 days!! Now I know that China holds a population 1.4 billion, but how many people live in your country? If you are from France, Germany, UK…that’s double the population that went travelling…If your from the US, that’s half your population then went on a Wonder.
The movement of people is incredible, and thus comes the term of “hell week”, because if you are travelling within the Chinese borders, you can be sure that the buses, airports, train stations will be fully packed and then the hotels get booked out 2 weeks in advance. Now lets say you managed to be organised and booked in advance your hotel and train tickets, you may think you are now on your way to a nice peaceful holiday in the serene beauty that is China’s nature. No.no. and no. Bet that 10 million other people had the same idea than you to visit the “traditional village” during that exact same week.
That is what happened to me last year when I went to yangshuo in the Guanxi province. (my friend didn’t book in advance and ended sleeping on a mattrass, on the roof of the hotel . giggles.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love travelling in China, it is AMAZING and the infrastructure for travelling is great. Except during Golden Week. J
So this year I decided to travel to the Philippines for the Golden Week. Flying from Zhuhai to The Philippines, with a domestic flight in addition (flying between islands), cost me in total 160 GBP/198EUR/ 256USD. Basically the cost of a return Ryannair/ Easy Jet ticket. Great start!
I booked my flight leaving from Macau. Thus at the end of work 5h30pm, I left the office, took a tax and was at the border within 5 minutes, then it was 30 minutes of queues and shuffling about with my two friends, and we were in Macau! Our flight was at 9h30pm so we decided to go and have a beer in the old Portuguese colony and get to the aiport.
My friends who work for two Exporting companies here in Zhuhai and myself were looking forwards to a vacation with no computers, phone or internet.
We flew to Clarck who was and still is a heavily active US Airforce Base ( I didn’t know this) so it was abit suprising to arrive and be transported to the US form the street signs/roads and military personel. However we were there only shortly and then took our next flight to go to the Western island Palawan.
We landed on the East Coast, Puerto Princessa, where we had rented a doorless Japanese military jeep to do a 3 day road trip up north to El Nido.
No license needed, just a signature and off you go. I drove for 30 min (great fun, but slightly wonky) until I noticed my feet were wet with oil and saw that the pedals were leaking oil…not good. Drive back to rental place and get a nice Pajero instead to go road tripping..only issue no radio, so we each went on jingles duty…devastating experience.
Palawan is very much under developed with the bggest technological success being a road which goes ¾ of the way up North, this may be painstaking for tech junkies, but this was perfect and you don’t go to the Philippines (over 7’000 Islands) for development, but more Beaches, the water and sea life. To quote a hippie who was travelling to “find himself” I met. “This place has a raw and kind off elemental nature”
We drove to and stayed for one night in Conception, the to Roxas, TayTay and finally the dirt tracks to El Nido (I drove very safely on those roads 😉 ) The road crosses mountains, hills, rice fields, Rainforest. Beautiful
El Nido Was amazing, , touristy, but amazing, the sea, the renting of boats for day trips of snorkelling and fishing (2kg yellow fin tuna and some yellow/white fish). A good book, the beach and days of doing nothing except for eating, sleeping and swimming were great.
I could keep writing a give you a full detailed trip on Palawan, but the best to do here is go and discover yourselves, come to Zhuhai were you have easy access to all over S.E.A and go discovering. InternChina is of course there to help give advice and tips on where to go during Golden Week, including the Chinese hotspots if that’s what you are out for 😉
I will continue the description with the pictures below:
Thank you for reading and until next time!!
Golden week trips part 3 – XiaoQingDao
So, my trip is a bit less exotic than those of other InternChina members but it is based in Qingdao and consisted of three interns, a long walk and a forbidden giant swan…It all started in May 4th Square where I awaited the interns ‘fashionably’ late arrival.
For some reason I can wander around the main streets of Qingdao with no more than just curious stares coming my way, but as soon as I set foot in the vicinity of this landmark its like no one has seen a westerner before. In the 15 minutes I was waiting I got given a free Chinese flag and been persuaded into posing with at least 8 families, or just their children, for photos. If I had a marker pen I swear I would have given out autographs too!
Meeting with the interns we proceeded to take in the delights of fine Chinese cuisine.. KFC. Whilst sitting in the sun and admiring the dozens of kites littering the sky.
From here we took a short taxi to Badaguan scenic sight (old streets which make you feel like you are in a villa from Captain Corellis Mandolin… just with more Asian people). Then walked down to beach number 2.
This is one of several beaches in Qingdao, and my personal favourite. It is not tooo crowded (by that I mean you can actually see some sand) and is enclosed by lush green trees and overlooked by Huashi Tower (see distance).
After nearly showing off my new fake calvins and running into the warm water for a swim I found a jianbing stand (a much recommended snack in China) where we stopped and ate some more.
Moving along the coast we found a small pavilion overlooking the beach and a woman who looked as if she’d misunderstood the notion of swimwear..
We also noticed people here were walking on water, so we came to the conclusion that they are either wizards, or that there is some sort of underwater walkway… either way we wanted a closer look!
Sadly I didn’t get to meet Gandalf, but I did get to wade out and take these pics.
Not thinking about the sand in my shoes, we followed the villas and walkways in hope of finding another beach..
This is the discovery of ‘Lover’ beach. Aptly named for its attraction to wedded couples.
Without mentioning of how I tried to mount the giant swans back to get a great internchina photo but then being confronted by an angry giant swan owner who only knew the phrases ‘get off a my swan!’ and ‘do you want to buy a giant swan?’, we moved round the coast further round to meet up with the view of Number one beach and the sense that we were not alone in this idea of a trip to the beach….
We found Wally (Waldo for our American cousins or Walter for the Germans) then moved on for a coconut treat.
From here I suggest you carry on walking round the coast past endless stalls of seafood and tat to finally get to XiaoQingDao (‘Little QingDao’, which is an island).
The entrance fee is 10 RMB but if you pay a bit more you can go into the Navy museum and go in a submarine… or you can do as I did and pay the 10 RMB then watch people go in a submarine.
Educational stuff – The Germans built a lighthouse on Little Qingdao Island during their occupation in 1900. It was a restricted military area until 1987. Now it is open for visitors and has a tour around the lighthouse.
The island also has a nice café and a small shop which sells gifts, beer and ice cream (the essentials).
But what makes this island really worth the money is the great panoramic views which are on offer…
This was my little trip during golden week, thanks for reading! I thoroughly recommend anyone in Qingdao or who is coming to walk along this beautiful coast as I did and see what special places you can find.
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.
Mid-Autumn Festival, the “Zhongqiu” festival is the one of the traditional family-gathering-days for China. Every 15th, August of the Moon Calendar, Chinese people will gather around and have moon-cakes with their families while enjoying the glorious full moon. Already in 《Rites of Chou》, a chefdoeuvre of Confucianism in Chou Dynasty, has “Zhongqiu” been mentioned.Like other Chinese traditional festival, the mid-autumn festival also has some beautiful tales, among which is the most famous one: Chang e Gone to the moon.
So get ready and have your tissues on standby, I am going to tell you the swooping love story of how the mysterious moon cakes came about!
It is said that in ancient times, there were ten suns hanging in the sky which never set. People got scorched and all crops died because of drought. When only factor 60 could save them, Humanity’s survival hung in the balance. One day a man named Houyi appeared, a great archer and hero. Legend says that he had the power, accuracy and strength only god could give. He climbed to the Mount Kunlun and shot down 9 suns one by one, then he shouted at the last one calling it a naughty sun, making it swear that it would follow the rules set by Houyi to rise at dawn and go down at dusk. After then people finally could live a normal and happy life.
Because of his heroic undertaking, Houyi earned the respect of people and also love. He married a beautiful woman named Chang’e. Loads of people, mostly hunters, came to his house, to learn archery from this legend. Among them was a villain called Pengmeng.
One day, Houyi went out to pay a visit to Mount Kunlun to learn some new techniques from a friend, he met a goddess of the high heaven halfway, who had already heard of his legendary feat. The Goddess gave him an Elixir of Life, which could grant immortality and make one ascend to god, as a reward for his magnificent deeds; however there was only one potion. Houyi didn’t want leave his wife alone in earth and become god alone, so he let Chang’e lock the elixir in his cupboard, and tried his best to earn another one for his wife.
Some days later, Houyi and his apprentices went out to hunt, Pengmeng pretended being sick and stayed at Yi’s house. When they were all gone, Pengmeng threatened Chang’e to make her give up the elixir. Chang’e knew she could not beat Pengmeng, so she ran to the cupboard and drank the potion. Suddenly, Chang’e felt lighter, and rose from ground to float in the air. Slowly, she flew to high Heaven.
When Houyi came home, the maid told him what happened. He felt so sad and cried under the moonlight, suddenly he discovered there was a shadow of his wife in the moon. Since Chang’e also didn’t want to live far from her husband, she chose the moon as her goddess-palace, so she could gaze upon Houyi every night.
So in order to remember his wife, every 15th August , Houyi would set up an alter and put cakes and fruits of Chang’e’s favorites, and crooned of her name. And those people he saved also did so, to give praise and sympathy to this couple.
Gradually, this festival became a family gathering day. And for those who are less fortunate, those who are unable to have reunion, they can still eat the moon-cakes and enjoy watching the full-moon. We believe, since we are watching the same moon, the feelings will be delivered by the moon. Awwwwwwwwww.
Ok, so much for the old book. For our students, Mid-Autumn Festival is a good chance to improve relationships with your host-families. Just have dinner with them and enjoy the feast of moon-cakes (sometimes a little too sweet) under the moonlight. It’s what family-members do. Maybe even think of loved ones back home as you gaze at the sky remembering all the while that we are all under the same moon..