China was a lot of things, while it was one of the hardest countries I’ve ever lived in, it was also one of the most “exotic” that I’ve visited, meaning I was discovering something new every day. Life was a constant adventure in Beijing, (check out this post for just a few of them), and I loved seeing interesting things like people sleeping in public, the fact that staring at strangers was just part of life, and the weird and wonderful food:
China can be one of the more challenging places to travel, which is why you may want to take China tour holidays instead of travelling by yourself. This means that you’ll have a knowledgeable guide, your accommodation and itinerary will be sorted, and you’ll be shown the best of what China has to offer.
China is a huge country, and you’ll find that since not many people speak English, it’s worth learning a few phrases before you arrive. Plenty of people are willing to give you Chinese lessons via Skype, and a good guidebook and Google translate will also be handy while you’re on the ground.
If you do happen to head to more touristy areas like Sanlitun in Beijing (or Starbucks anywhere in the country), you’ll be more likely to meet a local who speaks good English so you can have a conversation.
One thing I found very interesting was the cultural difference when it came to getting married relatively young. At 26, I was seen as an “old maid” and constantly asked where my husband was. And yet Chinese women are continuing to focus on their careers throwing off the expectations that they stay at home, and getting married later.
China is a country that has changed immensely in a short period of time. When you’re travelling through the country, it’s easy to see examples of the long and interesting history of the country, like the Forbidden City, Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors, along with the incredible technology- China is where the iPhone is made, and the big cities like Shanghai and Beijing have excellent subway systems, huge malls, and many other examples of how far the country has come in a short amount of time.
While in China, be sure to try the food. Chinese food is very different to Chinese-American or the Chinese food found in the UK, and my favourite dish was made of spicy sliced potatoes and my friends would often eat duck- a favourite amongst the Chinese.
Another reason to visit China? Value for money. Once you’re on the ground, you’ll also find that your money goes far here. A night out with friends won’t have you too scared to check your bank account the next day, and drinks are well priced, with 4 Yuan beers (check out Mojito Man in Sanlitun in Beijing) and delicious street food available at all hours of the night, so you can get something delicious early on before you go out, and something yum to end the night with before you go back to your hotel.