Holiday

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Cultural, Internship Experience, Travel, Weekend Trips

Rainy season – rain drops keep falling on my head

Hello everybody –  It would be okay for me if you call me “travel-Jenny”.Today, I want to report a bit about my experience in Hainan last weekend. I have been to three different cities in just three travel days. But for now, I will tell you a bit about Haikou and what I explored on my first day there.

Internchina - relaxing with a mango juice Baisahmen park

I am currently travelling a lot through China; so I flew last weekend to Haikou at Hainan. It was the long weekend, where Chinese people celebrated Labour Day. When I first arrived at Haikou airport, it was already after 01:00 a.m. and I was not sure if there is still someone available in my Hostel (Banana Hostel J). I contacted them via email before, but as you might realize after some months in China, sometimes Chinese people ignore or just forget what you have told them. Finally, as I feared, the door to enter the hostel was closed when I arrived there late at night. After I frantically knocked on their door, I tried to gently shout. Fortunately, some minutes later two drunken but friendly boys came across and entered the hostel door so that I could step in. After entering, I tried to tell them my problem and another few minutes later (probably when they decided that they could trust me), I followed them to the second floor where a single room was open. Lucky for me, I did all the necessary things before, so immediately I fell dead-tired into the bed and got a good night’s sleep.

I didn’t really have an idea of what to do in Haikou when I woke up the next day; I just knew that I had a time frame until around 09:30 p.m as I needed to head out to the train station.

InternChina - map of volcano park

In almost every hostel in Banana-hostel they have a lot of information posted on the wall at the reception. After chatting a bit with the staff member there, I decided to drive to the volcano park. This was a very good decision. This Geo-park provides a number of volcanic culture information, garden area, special hand crafts and a bunch of locally flavored food. It is really interesting and a good place to visit. On the way with the bus to the area, you also pass the famous evergreen park in Haikou city.
InternChina - view to downtown Haikou Volcano Tourist Park 火山口公园 - Huǒshān kǒu gōngyuán

While I went back on the last bus 04:00 p.m, it suddenly started to rain heavily. It was unbelievable – aquaplaning even in the main streets and while we drove over the Century Bridge, I saw a lot of cars stopping or vehicles close to leave the carriageway.

InternChina - special crafts

As I had no further ideas of what I could do, I have been not quite flexible in my sightseeing schedule, but also saved the time for doing something either inside or just enjoy a good dinner. When I got off the bus, a Chinese women gave me shelter under the sunshade of her stall.

InternChina - heavy rain in Haikou

After, the rain had stopped in the streets and the pedestrian paths looked like little lakes; my sandals where already totally wet. That’s why I didn’t care about walking around. The atmosphere was suddenly like everything was awakening after this doomsday mood. I really enjoyed the different hustle and bustle of the city and explored an open air fish market. The market itself was roofed, but has been flooded by the rain as well. The fish sellers escaped to the street at the river to sell big and delicious looking pieces of fish.

After my first nice day in Haikou at Hainan, I took the train to Sanya, without a booked hostel/hotel yet. But more about this story and the continuation of my trip. You can read it in my next blog …

Travelling in China can be so easy but also adventurous: Just ask me or other members of our InternChina-team for advise! It is inexpensive and easy to get around here!

Apply now for your internship in China and become part of the InternChina community!

Cultural, Internship Experience, Travel, Weekend Trips

It’s Easy To Travel Within China!

Before coming to China, I remember thinking that when my six month internship in China is finished, I want to be able to say I’ve really seen China. During my initial emails with current Office Manager Morgan Dolan before I arrived, I told her this, and she replied with “I don’t think you realize how big China really is!” Six months later, I can actually say that I have seen a lot of China!

Hong Kong Skyline

The truth is, China is really big! It’s very easy for me to get overly ambitious with my travelling ideas, so when I initially got here I aimed for the closer places – Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Macau, etc and finally got over the idea of ‘seeing’ China. Then one day when I was sitting at the park with a bunch of my friends (fellow interns), a few of us came upon the topic of all the places in China we’d like to go. Pretty soon we had all agreed on the great places we’d all want to go. A few of us girls ended up making plans to go see these places before our internships are over; Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an. These were our goals.

Bamboo rafting in Yangshou

Planning trips can tend to be very overwhelming, so we decided to tackle one destination at a time, and planned one trip per month. After doing a lot of research and talking to some of our Chinese friends, we found that the best websites to use for traveling within China are: www.skyskanner.com, www.ctrip.com, https://flight.qunar.com/. These websites offer a wide variety of frequent flights from all of the nearby airports (from Zhuhai, the easiest airports to depart from are either Zhuhai or Guangzhou). There are also many buses that go from Zhuhai to either the Zhuhai airport or the Guangzhou airport directly, and they run really frequently so it is really easy to just hop on the bus after work on a Friday and go straight to the airport. Prices for flying within China also are not too expensive; for example my flight to Shanghai was 1000rmb (125€), to Chengdu  and Xi’an were both 1300rmb (163€), and the flight to Beijing was 2000rmb (250€). From what our Customer Relations Manager Sunny tells me, flights within China can be a lot cheaper, however this all depends on when you buy the tickets and the time of year that you decide to go – we however didn’t have that much time and simply wanted to ensure that we would go there, so we were happy with these prices.

Beijing - Great Wall of China

There are arrays of cheap, and great, hostels to choose from in each city.  By visiting www.hostelworld.com  you can check out all the local hostels and pick the best one for you. Most hostels also help you plan your trips, and can usually cater them around for you. For example, in Xi’an the hostel arranged for a private bus to take us to and from the Music and Dance Show and arranged our tickets and everything for us, so all we had to do was show up at the door. In Beijing, our hostel arranged our trip to the Great Wall, so we did not have to worry about anything when we arrived, but instead just got to relax and enjoy our trip and know that we were being taken care of.

Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors

Even if you are unable to get any days off or holiday time from your internship, it is still very possible to travel. Because we all intern in different companies and weren’t able to get the same days off, we decided it would be easier if we focused our trips to be on the weekends, meaning for every trip we’d choose the latest flight on the Friday night, and the latest flight on the Sunday night to ensure that we got the full weekend. So on the Friday, we’d leave straight from work to the airport and usually only arrive at our destination really early in the morning, but at least it meant that we had the whole Saturday and Sunday and that we were not wasting any time. Monday was always a little difficult, as we were all tired from our hectic weekend and arriving back really early in the morning, but it’s totally worth it!

Phoenix Ancient Town

Another great way to see China is through InternChina itself – we plan many cultural trips around China, some of our most recent trips were to Zhangjiajie (the scenic spot where the Avatar Mountains were filmed), Yangshou, Phoenix Town, Xiamen and Fujian. These trips are a lot of fun as all the interns join on these trips, and we all get to experience them together. InternChina also plans out everything from transportation, accommodation, trip details/itinerary and food, so the interns never have to worry about anything and just get to enjoy the amazing trips! InternChina usually plans a trip every 5 weeks, so whenever you arrive you will have the opportunity to go on a trip within China and have a great weekend away with all the other interns! You can see some of the Zhuhai teams’ blogs from our trips here: Zhangjiajie, Phoenix town, Yangshou, Xiamen.

All the places I've had the opportunity to visit during my 6 months internship

If you have dreams of seeing more of China during your stay, don’t let the distance throw you off! It’s so easy to travel within China, and it’s so worth it! My stay here would not have been the same without all my weekend travel trips – it also gives you such a better understanding of China as a whole, and the area you are living in. It allows you to experience all of the different Chinese dialects, styles, cultures, and types of food.

Are you interested in coming to China for experience and cultural awareness? Come to China and travel to all the great sites! Apply now for an internship or send us an email for more information.

Travel, Weekend Trips

InternChina trip to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Last week, during the May holiday, the InternChina Zhuhai office, the Zhuhai interns and some of our friends, made a trip to the city of Zhangjiajie, in Hunan province. The main purpose of the trip was to visit the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, recognized as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. This park is famous for its pillar-like mountains, which are the result of many years of erosion. This unique landscape was the inspiration for the floating “Hallelujah Mountains” seen in the movie Avatar.

We decided to take a coach bus to Zhangjiajie to make it affordable to everyone, so it took us 16 hours to get there. It might seem like a very long time to sit inside a bus, but actually it’s part of the adventure! We left on Sunday night and arrived Monday morning, ready to start exploring. We went inside the park and walked from one end to another, in between the mountains. It was foggy and rainy, so we all had to buy ponchos and umbrellas to stay dry. Most of the ponchos were blue, which actually went great with the Avatar theme.

Inside the park you really felt like you were in a jungle. Trees, bushes, creeks, hills, everything green and untouched by man except for the narrow stone pathway and wooden bridges. When you looked up you could see the mountains rising up into the sky but you couldn’t actually see the tops because of the fog. It was almost like they went all the way into the clouds!

One of the best parts of the park was seeing all the monkeys. They were very friendly and loved all the attention, it even seemed as if they were posing for the cameras. I’d seen monkeys before, but never so near that I could take close-up photos without having to zoom-in.

After leaving the park we were all wet and tired so we were taken to our hotel. We changed clothes, went donwstairs for dinner and then hung around for a couple more hours drinking beer, eating street barbecue and chatting.

The next day it was time to climb the mountain, so we got up at 6 am, went for breakfast and headed back into the park. We had 2 options: either climb the mountain on foot and ride back down on the elevator, or viceversa. Some of the girls decided to go up in the elevator but the bigger part of the group (including me) chose the braver option and set right off into the mountain.

The first part of the journey was a not-so-unpleasant walk up a stone pathway. But then we arrived at the steps. The guide told us it was 6000 steps to the top – at that moment I didn’t know if it was a lot or not. But it didn’t take long for me to realize what I had gotten myself into. After the first 200-ish steps, I was out of breath, sweating and ready to give up. Some of our group (especially the girls, how embarrasing!) were also in the same situation, but seeing the others keep on going made me “man up” and keep on climbing.

I have to admit: it was not an easy climb. But then we turned around, looked at the unbelievable views, and told each other how it was all worth it. And it definitely was. After a few hours, lots of panting and cursing the steps, we finally made it to the top. It was an amazing moment, not only because we felt literally on top of the world, but because we had taken on this challenge and rose up to it.

After catching our breaths and the hard-earned photo session, it was time to take the elevator back down. It would take a little bit more walking, a lunch stop at the McDonald’s on the top and a few more bus rides (it’s a huge mountain!), before we arrived at the Bailong Elevator – or “Hundred Dragons Elevator” – said to be the highest outdoor elevator in the world. Just a few minutes ride and just like that, we were back at the bottom of the mountain. Time to do it all over again? Maybe in a couple of years…

Want to experience the natural wonders ofZhangjiajie and other amazing places in China? Apply now for an internship or send us an email for more information!

Travel

Spring Holiday in Sri Lanka

Having an expat dad living in the same country as you has its perks: you get to tag along on his travels! I must admit, after witnessing all the preparations in the weeks before Chinese New Year, I was a little bummed out that I wouldn’t get to see the actual celebrations. But when the opportunity arises to travel to an exotic island in Southeast Asia, you just can’t say no!

InternChina – Sri Lanka

I spent all of 8 days in Sri Lanka, and I have to say, it’s nothing like any country I’d been to before. For instance, around 70% of the population is Buddhist, meaning: lots and lots of temples! My dad is sort of a Buddhism aficionado, and it seems to be his personal mission to visit as many temples and shrines as possible. Sri Lanka definitely gave him a lot of material, including the stupas in the ancient city of Anuradhapura (where the oldest tree in recorded history has remained guarded for over 2000 years), the tiny temple where Buddha’s teachings were put in writing for the very first time, and of course, the Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple in Kandy, which houses Buddha’s Sacred Tooth Relic.

InternChina – People meditating at the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree Temple

One consequence of visiting all these temples is you have to do a lot of climbing, since monks have the tendency to choose high grounds for their meditation duties. I am not a very sporty person and at the beginning I was a little mortified to have to climb all those steps, but I have to say the outcome is very much worth it. Especially at Sigiriya, the ancient fortress built on a flat rock nearly 400 metres high, where I literally felt like I was on top of the world.

InternChina – Sigiriya Rock

Other awesome highlights of my trip were the visit to a spice garden, where I learned all about Sri Lankan medicinal herbs and got to buy a whole bag of goodies, the tea factory where I found out how my favourite cuppa (English Breakfast) gets made, and the gem factory, where I had to beg my dad for an elephant pendant with a tiny incrusted topaz. And let’s not forget about the food: with so many practising Buddhists, Sri Lankan cuisine relies a lot on vegetarian dishes, and most of the meat dishes are either chicken or seafood. But their amazing variety of spices and tropical ingredients all come together to create some of the most fresh, flavourful and – on top of it all – healthiest food I’ve ever had.

InternChina – Sri Lankan Traditional Cooking

But my personal favourite was the chance to be in close contact with animals: as an animal lover, Sri Lanka is as close as paradise as I’ve ever been. Buddhism teaches to be kind to all living creatures, and you can really see that here. There are dogs and monkeys everywhere, and as dirty or skinny as they can be, people don’t mistreat them and they happily coexist. I also got to go on a safari at Yala National Park, and see all kind of birds, buffalos and even a short glimpse of a leopard. The cherry on top of the cake was the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Being mere metres away from dozens of elephants, watching them bathe and play and feed their babies – plus touching them and feeding them myself – was an experience I’ll never forget.

InternChina – Elephants Bathing in the River

Coming to the other side of the world for an internship wasn’t just about work experience or even learning Chinese – it’s about having the opportunity to visit places you’ve only ever read about and never in your wildest dreams thought you’d see.

InternChina – Beach Sunset in Galle

Want to explore Southeast Asia like Daniela? Come to Zhuhai for an internship and go on lots of adventures! Apply now via email or directly on our website!

Weekend Trips

Trip to Guilin- part one

Hi it’s Miriam again- just arrived from an awesome Trip to Yangshuo-Guilin at the weekend. So many things happened and we visited so many great places- there is too much stuff to write it down in one single blog. So here it is: Guilin Part one!

InternChina – Guilin Mountains

We started Friday night. The bus took us directly to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Guilin is a city in North Guangxi and one of the best known tourist destinations in China.

InternChina – Jack, Sunny and I

After arriving in the early morning and eating a famous Guilin Rice Noodles breakfast we started a great boat trip on the Li River, passing the Mountains printed on every 20 RMB bank note.

InternChina – Group Picture

How many things you can do and see in one day? A lot: Having Lunch right next to the famous Moon Mountain,

InternChina – Moon Mountain

Visiting the one of the many caves in Guilin, the Silver Cave,

InternChina – The Silvercave

Walking around in the streets, enjoy the relaxed feeling of all the locals, sitting in front of their houses, playing cards and selling handmade jewellery,

InternChina – Streets in Guilin

And then finally going to Yangshuo! After walking around and buying some warmer clothes, because nobody in Zhuhai knows cold weather anymore we went out for Dinner to enjoy the famous Beer fish.

InternChina – Daria, Dmitry and Deepak

Rest of the night: baijiu, beer, wet duvets, icecream, 5D movies and ganbei.

InternChina – Iiiiiiicecream!!!

That was an awesome Saturday!