terracotta army

Video: Xi’an

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Pronounced “shii ann”, you only need a few days here but expect them to filled with cool activities. You could check out the ancient Terracotta Army, cycle the ancient city walls or dine in the Muslim quarter. Watch our travel video to get feel for this cultural city...

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In 6 Years, How Has China Changed?

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Every traveller has to start their experience somewhere and for us the traveller bug well and truly made its mark on our first trip to China in 2011. Our first big adventure was a life changing one; opening our eyes to a plethora of Chinese cultures, it’s rich history, unbelievable food and friendly people of this brave new world. China became elevated in our minds as the perfect place to travel. It inspired us to go to South East Asia and South America before quiting our jobs to turn our sights on the big trip we find ourselves on. Having put China on this pedestal, with monumental memories to back it up, we were really excited about returning in 2017. Coming fresh off the train from an already amazing 3 months of travel. China had a lot to live up too, did it deliver?

A friend we made on the way

A friend we made on the way

The People

This is a difficult starting point because China has so many sub cultures, languages and provincial heritage that is bound together by thousands of years of history, it’s incredibly complex. So one provinces custom differ greatly to the next. That said, we think the Chinese, as individuals, are one of the reasons to visit China. They are kind, helpful and joyous people; you will very often hear the laughter of a local before seeing them! On several occasions inquisitive young Chinese folk have approached us and bought us food, some we have connected with via WeChat and later have taken us out for dinner, teaching each other about our cultures from home. We certainly wouldn’t have tried frog broth had a Chinese friend not ordered it for us! The youth of China feel like global citizens, like Europeans, but the older generations seem to be moving in the other direction, a more right wing direction. It’s easy to see why, they live in a highly controlled country where there isn’t freedom of speech, where the media only promotes Chinese news and where only one political party exists and has ruled the country for 70 years! That said, In both 2011 and 2107 we have been thrown into many situations where we’ve met and bonded with locals. Some have been through spoken word, some via Google translate and some via charades, pointing and miming! All of them memorable and they, almost, always end in a smile.

Back in 2011, China was a lot more relaxed, and more modest. Currently, it’s as if China and it’s people have a much clearer and more confident view of who they are and where they are going as country. With this change a brashness has bored through some it’s older folk. Although fewer people spoke English in 2011, when we met locals there was a genuine interest in learning about our culture, as it was for us learning from theirs. That has all but disappeared now as the most of older Chinese we met only seem interested in hearing what we thought of their country; recounting the places we’d been and if we liked them. It’s quite one sided and seems to fall in line with the nationalist streak that has fallen across the world in recent years. It’s saddening, as the Chinese people are often generous and always want to help a traveller in need.

Busy crowds at the Forbidden city

Busy crowds at the Forbidden city

Tourism

If there’s one thing that has caused a huge shift in Chinese society it’s the ever growing middle classes and the influence of their disposable cash. When we visited tourist attractions in 2011 there were always some locals sharing the spots, but in 2017 tourism has gone crazy. It’s basically impossible to visit sights and expect any serenity. We have been to the Forbidden City, Terracotta Army, Huangshan mt, Haushan mt. and Zhangjiajie National Park and at every site we were packed in like sardines! Chinese tourists invariably, although were not sure why, pick to be part of a tour, so expect groups of 20 led by a guide shouting through a loud speaker, a common sight (and sound). We felt that many of the destinations were ruined by the sheer amount of people and the audible volume that comes from huge tours. It’s actually really difficult to concentrate on enjoying the sites from 8am to 5pm, even in huge national parks with multiple trekking routes.

We were simply not prepared for how different the Chinese tourist model is to what were used to in the West. Because of how ‘closed’ the country is the government has built an impressive tourist infrastructure that it keenly advertises on state media channels. The state runs all transport to the sites, tickets, cable cars etc creating a financial feedback loop of commerce. In short, the middle class Chinese use their spare cash to visit Chinese tourist sites, foreigners are an afterthought. Maps in national parks are neigh on useless, information boards list dull scientific information and rarely divulge anything bordering on interesting. English audio headsets in China are terrible; the Forbidden Cities one was so un-passionately robotic I couldn’t tell you one useful bit of information I heard from it in 2 hours. All these relatively small niggles add together to form quite an off putting experience making recommending China as a place to travel difficult.

Locals even use their phones whilst cycling, watch out buddy! 

Locals even use their phones whilst cycling, watch out buddy! 

Smartphones

As Westerners, we have been through the addictive,  slippery slope that are smartphones! Most people we know had a smart phone by 2010 with phones becoming pretty over saturated by time we left for this trip in 2017. Whereas smartphones in China have only just started to kick off and the masses are loving it. It’s not unusual to see everybody around you on a busy street clutching their piece of plastic as they walk past. It really is another level of addiction here and avoiding phombies when you have heavy backpacks can be difficult! Every Chinese person has also become a photographer and this makes visiting tourist attractions all the more frustrating. Western travellers have always got a lot of attention in China but now everyone can photograph you, any time and place, it’s a whole lot more time consuming. People pop up from behind rocks to take a snap of your pretty face, others take sneaky selfies with you in the background. Luckily, but mostly occasionally, some will ask your permission if they can take a photo, but that can be a can of worms for others waiting in line.

 

National Parks

We came to China to explore its vast and stunning natural beauty, to this end China is amazing. It truly offers some nature’s most diverse landscapes. But in a running theme, these natural Parks have been so overly controlled, gated and pre routed they often feel more like Disney land. Inside National Parks you should expect pre set routes which have been cast from concrete where only formal steps lead you on. You will never walk on rock, grass or soil. We found this incredibly frustrating because part of getting out into nature is conquering challenging natural paths. We longed for the challenge of a European peak in China!

Crowds on Huangshan Mountain

Crowds on Huangshan Mountain

The park authorities pay very little attention to the visitor experience, loud automated security megaphones play out message all day and they are loud enough to echo up the valleys. This was the case at Huangshan where we had to endure 5 hours of the same message whilst trekking up and down a gorge. Although the views are stunning the trees and bushes are so overgrown that it’s rarely possible to get a good photo! This seems crazy when there are so many people who have come to these parks to take photos. The occasional viewing platform can be found but you’ll need to visit early in the morning to have it for yourself, not considering the visitor at all. The worse part is how expensive they are, averaging around £25 per person. Although most are for just 1 days access, others are 4 days luckily. The National parks are geared to make money, for example they use zoomed in maps to confuse visitors, many don’t include walking routes but instead clearly highlight the more profitable cable cars. In 4 days at Huangshan we were unable to find one of the hiking routes out of the park. We figured this was done on purpose to force you on to the cable car. Even the coaches on the way into the park make the walking paths sound impossible ‘you must be physically fit for the 3 hour hike up, know your fitness’. It’s all big con, but totally lost on the locals as it’s all they know.

Crowds of diners in the Muslim quarter, Xi’an

Crowds of diners in the Muslim quarter, Xi’an

Global Consumerism

Perhaps the saddest change we’ve noticed during our 6 years away is China’s growing shopping culture. In most modern cities the ‘old towns’ and their culture have been destroyed to make way for new malls. Shopping is huge business here, comparing the Western Black Friday event to China’s equivalent, Singles Day, is like comparing David to Goliath, 17.8 billion was spent in just 24 hours, 5 billion more than in 2016. China has gone shopping crazy, where the influx of wealth is best represented through the objects that they own. A Shanghai based news website, Sixth Tone, said this on the impact of Singles Day, “It is by nature founded on a model of frenzied mass consumption that is unsustainable for global ecosystems — a crazed carousel of buying and selling that exploits some of China’s lowest earners while casting materialism as a salve for a lack of psychological fulfillment,”. We couldn’t have put it better.

 
Hard sleeper train carriage in 2011

Hard sleeper train carriage in 2011

 

Travelling

The world has changed a lot since 2011! We remember rolling up to a station an hour before the train left and being able to book hard sleepers, a 6 berth bedroom on a train. That memory is long gone and has been replaced by automated booking service Ctrips. Of course there are many transport methods to get around China but it’s main arteries are it’s train service and the track builders have been busy in the last 6 years! Every major city is now connected via high speed routes, travelling at around 300kph. some routes are even quicker, using magnets, and travel closer to 500kph. High speed trains are pricey compared to the rest of Asia but well priced compared to Europe. The explosion in train options has meant the trains are far busier, arriving on the day of departure without a train ticket is pure ignorance. Now, everything must be booked days in advanced, which often means making rigid plans or risk loosing 20% of the ticket to refund it, this has to be done 24 hrs before departure. Luckily cheap travel can be found and although the price has gone up £35 for 20 hours on a train with a bed seems like a good price. Travel in China is a catch-22, one hand it’s accessible and affordable to all but the trade off is needing a rigid plan, which most backpackers prefer not to have. It makes travelling around this vast country un-spontaneous.

 

Control

Maybe we’ve been reading too much 1984, but the Chinese people live a very controlled society. Luckily, the Chinese people seem happy, they are very social and community is inherently present on the streets, trains and attractions. But the Chinese are also very quick to follow, to queue and to fall in line. The authorities ask their citizens to queue for almost everything, tickets, getting the underground or a train. Every citizen is put through security checks, X-raying their bags, ID checks, cameras are widespread, every car is photographed at every junction! The amount of signage showing rules and explaining how citizen should act are widespread and laughable, ‘Don’t jump off mountain’ one read from a precipice!? (Thanks for that nugget of wisdom China!) Some sources say that that education is watered down, is pro Chinese and edited in favour of authoritarian politics. It really feels like a place where being an individual is ill advised, where ignorance is bliss. Perhaps we were too young to notice but the imposing governance of the state was barely noticeable in 2011. Right now, it casts a controlling shadow across it’s lands. This is becoming a place for the average person who won't rock the boat, and so we are finding it very difficult to recommend China as a place for those who lust for adventure. In 2017, adventure in China comes pre packaged and next to a megaphone.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan 

Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan 

Yunnan

Just when we were starting to lose our patience with China we boarded a train from Zhangjiajie to Kunming, returning to the place where our great adventure of 2011 started. There is something different about Yunnan; perhaps it’s because it’s a melting pot between Chinese people like the Naxi and Bai minorities and further influenced by it’s neighbouring countries; Laos, Myanmar, Tibet (actually part of China) and Vietnam. We found a more relaxed pace here, with fewer tourists and the most travellers we’d seen, and met, anywhere in China. We particularly enjoyed our escape to the mountain villages under the gaze of the Jade Snow Mountains where we relaxed in Baisha, marvelling at the locals world famous embroidery. It’s safe to say Yunnan had the vibe we wanted all along but we found it the hard way, searching the rest of China first! Who knew this province was so special and so hard to find in this huge beast of a country. Not forgetting Tiger Leaping Gorge, China’s most revered hike, is still stunning, raw and undisturbed by rest of China’s tourist driven machinations! For nature lovers it’s a must.

Yubeng on the border of Tibet

Yubeng on the border of Tibet

Yubeng

This time round we discovered the mountain sanctuary of Yubeng. A small village split into upper and lower that can only be found via a 15km walk up a valley. Part of it's wonder is that it requires trekking experience and stamina so few people make it there, especially in snowy November! This was our favourite place in China and has restored and elevated Yunnan, yet again, to the must visit province for tourists who want adventure. We stayed in a lodge with an outrageous mountain view and partook several day of trekking on some of the best routes we'd experience since our trip to Chile. Without the crowds and control of the rest of China these walks were stunning, challenging and sparsely populated, miss Yubeng at your peril!

mali in front of the mountain

To Finish....

In summary, China has changed an awful lot and those that are seeking experiences that are off the beaten track should seek those in rural areas. Get off the tourist trail, seek out the small villages where only one bus a day passes through, or hop on a bike and go explore the beautiful lands of Yunnan, our favourite place.

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China: Top Things To Do In Xi’an

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Once the end destination of the Silk Road, Xi’an was a land-mark Chinese city rich in history, culture and trade.  Today it stands as a busy modern city, with many tourists still flocking to see the world famous delights of the Terracotta Army and The Tomb of Emperor Jingdi.  If you look a little closer then it’s possible to get a glimpse of the old Xi’an, in the ancient Ming dynasty city walls that still surround the centre, or in the bustling Muslim quarter where street sellers offer exotic tasting foods that contrast greatly to the Asian cuisine.  Spend some time wondering the streets to get the best experience of this contrasting city.

 

Visit the Terracotta Army Of Warriors

A trip to Xi’an just isn’t complete without a visit to China’s most famous attraction, the Terracotta Army.  Discovered in the 1970's by local peasants digging for a well, the ancient army lay buried for thousands of years after the Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, had the warriors constructed to guard him from evil in the afterlife.  Thousands of life-sized figures of men and horses have been unearthed standing in battle formation in ginormous dug-out pits, that are now on show to the public in huge exhibition halls. 

It is advisable to start at the smaller of the 3 pits (pit 3) first and work your way up to the largest pit (pit 1) for the most impressive of the archeological findings. Several of the terracotta men are on show in glass cases, and it is possible to see the workmanship up close.  The detail on them is next-level extraordinary, the hair, the tread on the soles of the shoes, the hint of coloured paintwork that once brought them to life.  Each face is unique and no two are the same.  This is mastery and skill at its best, and the scale of the creation is at times overwhelming. 

As with all popular Chinese tourist attractions, the groups of crowds can be quite distracting and a lot of tat is being sold on route to the display halls.  It is probably better to visit earlier in the day for a slightly quieter experience, or to head into the halls at lunch time when most of the Chinese are eating.  Putting the annoyances aside, this is one of the rarest discoveries of its kind in the world, and is worth the effort of visiting.  Make sure you take a trip to the internal museum for a quieter view of one of the warriors up close. 

Entry is 150 yuan for access to the 3 pits, museum and cinema showing of how the figures would have been casted (this was closed when we visited). The 306 bus will take you there from outside Xi’an main train station and costs 7 yuan for a 1 hour journey.  Plan for a half day to visit the site.

The terracotta warriors guarding the Emperor

The terracotta warriors guarding the Emperor

 

Cycle The City Walls

Standing strong since 1370 are the old city walls of Xi’an.  Built during the Ming dynasty, the rectangular shaped wall stretches for a lengthy 14km around the oldest part of the city and can be enjoyed all year round by tourists alike.  The elevated walkway on the wall makes a welcome break from the hustle and bustle from the city below, and is surprisingly peaceful with lots of space to stretch your legs and view the contrasting skyline; old vs new sitting side by side.  It is possible to walk the entire circuit in a leisurely 4 hours, or for a funner experience opt for bike hire, either choosing from single bikes or a tandem.  We went for the tandem and had a great time cycling along the cobbled walkway, whizzing past temple-style buildings and up and down speed ramps! For a more magical experience, time your visit just before dusk to see the city by day and night.  Entry to the walls is 55 yuan and opening hours are 8am-10pm.  Tandem hire is a steep 90 yuan and single bikes are 45 yuan, both for 2 hours of rental.  Closest tube stop is YongNing Man station.

A fun couple of hours on a tamdem

A fun couple of hours on a tamdem

 

Soak Up The Muslim Quarter

One of the most exhilarating things to do in Xi’an is to visit the bustling Muslim quarter.  Once the end destination of the Silk Road, Xi’an became a multi-cultural hotpot and a strong Muslim community settled here many centuries ago, sharing their food, culture and religion with the people of China.  The area today is a network of busy market lanes and a hub for some of the best food we have ever tasted, a unique mix of Islamic and Chinese cuisines, creating a taste sensation for even the amateur food-lover. 

The streets are lined with women in decorative head scarfs selling their bites, rawly contrasted by the hanging carcasses of sheep which make the popular meat skewers.  There are hundreds of other interesting street foods to try including a sticky rice cake dipped in syrup, nut and seed brittle (which is being hammered into form right in front of you), slow cooked meat in a bap (which is a bit like the Jewish salt beef bagel), battered squid on a stick, fresh Islamic-style breads, fresh pomegranate juice and even battered banana!

Looking past the market stalls on the main strip, there are numerous restaurants where you can sit in and order a full meal.  If you find somewhere that offers milk soup then order a couple of bowls of the stuff because it’s honestly the most delicious thing you have ever tasted! Around the Muslim quarter is also a famous Mosque, one of the largest of its kind in China.  A trip into the mosque is 40 yuan and is one of the more peaceful places to visit in the city with Chinese style gardens out the front.  We would recommend visiting the Muslim quarter a couple of times during your stay to try a selection of foods, and we found it to be the most interesting place to visit in Xi'an.  Closest tube stop is 

The busy streets of the Muslim quarter

The busy streets of the Muslim quarter

 

Eat Zingy Noodles

Walk into this popular local Chinese noodle shop and you get asked one very important question, “large or small?”. That’s it, no extensive menu to choose from, no frills, no fuss.  Just one stand-out dish that they run all day long for hundreds of noodle-loving diners, for the bargain price of 15 yuan, and it’s even less for a small.  It’s a hearty hug in a bowl with a tiny punch in the mouth from the tongue-zinging Sichuan pepper sauce.  The noodles are home-made and come out varying in width, chunky to slightly less chunky, and are heavy fellas to pick up with chop sticks. Stir in the contents and you will find a secret stash of slow cooked meat, along with fried tofu and a number of tasty vegetables, with a sprinkling of peanuts for some crunchy texture.  On the table sits extra chilli sauce for those wanting an additional kick, and raw garlic cloves which locals munch down by the dozen.  This is a great place to come for a spot of lunch, local style, and this busy joint can be found on Jiqing Lane about half way down.

Those zingy noodles!

Those zingy noodles!

 

Climb One Of The 5 Sacred Taoist Mountains

A trip to the Huashan mountain was a love/hate relationship for us.  On one hand the jaggedly granite peaks covered in fauna are clearly spectacular but on the other there are few clear spots to view them from.  The mountain is known for being a religious Taoist one, but as far as we could tell there is no peace and quiet to be found.  The entrance fee for the day is nearly as steep as the climb up and you frequently get stuck in queues of hundreds of selfie-loving tourists, wondering up and down the steep staircases that run across the site.  When you stop to think about where you are, there’s no denying that the scenery is incredibly impressive and that the steep walking routes demand a sense of achievement after a few hours of struggling in the sun.  However, the authenticity that once was on Huashan mountain doesn’t exist any more, the world famous dangerous trekking routes have long since crumbled and have been concreted over with a network of safe and uninspiring stairs, and the subtle Taoist chants have been drowned out by the sound of sellers flogging tat. 

Perhaps a better way to enjoy the busy Huashan mountain would be to stay over in one of the lodges and to spend time trekking from peak to peak rather than climbing up and down.  Visiting on a weekday would be much more advisable than a weekend.  We will leave this one up to you to decide if you want to take up the challenge!  Entry is an expensive 180 yuan and a one way cable car to the North peak costs 80 yuan.  To get to Huashan, catch a bus from outside Xi’an train station which takes 2 hours and costs 36 yuan. You can get a bus back from the location it dropped you off at on the other side of the road.  A quicker route is to catch the train from Xi’an railway station which takes 35 minutes and costs only slightly more. It is advisable to book trains in advance otherwise you will be bussing it!

The view at the top of Huashan mountain

The view at the top of Huashan mountain

 

Need More Ideas?

There are many other recommended things to do in Xi’an which you will find in most guide books: The Bell and Drum Towers, a trip to the History Museum, The Big Goose Pagoda and Small Wild Goose Pagoda.  If you are looking for more options then why not try one of these first, or grab yourself a bike and explore the city.  There is also an interesting looking Antiques market just inside the East entrance to the wall which might be worth a visit.

 

Where To Stay

We would thoroughly recommend staying at Han Tang House Youth Hostel on Nanchang Xiang.  The rooms are well presented, the hostel has a great atmosphere where many travellers chat to one another and the staff are really helpful and friendly.  They offer a number of affordable day trip tours to attractions in the area and give a wealth of information on transport links and local eateries.  There is a beautiful leafy roof terrace on site where you can sit and relax, and downstairs is a cool woody hang-out bar that offers beer, cocktails, western food and coffee.  After 4 months of being on the road, this was our favourite hostel by far!

On the beautiful roof terrace at Han Tang Youth Hostel

On the beautiful roof terrace at Han Tang Youth Hostel

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See what Xi'an is like by watching our travel video...

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Do you have any other recommendations for Xi’an? If so let us know in the comments box below....

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6 Things You Might Not Know About China

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We’ve been travelling through China for just over three weeks now and we’ve discovered some interesting observations about the people, their culture and the wider customs of this huge and foreign place.  Read on to find out 6 things you might not know about China...

China has gone photograph crazy!

China has gone photograph crazy!

1. Snap, Snap, Snap!

The Chinese have gone photograph crazy! When we last visited in 2011 not a camera nor mobile phone could be found. Now, everybody has a smart phone and the locals are taking photos of everything. For some more professional snappers the smart phone isn’t enough, cue armies of tourists marching through attractions with gigantic DSLRs loaded with huge zoom lenses reaching to the floor. The rest steady their aim with selfie sticks, tripods, even iPad tripods (Tripads?). We must admit to watching many photo faux pars; Nikon’s shooting sunsets with the flashes going off! Family photos taken in dark tunnels and some where even professional cameras have been used to photograph drab fencing in the rain. Still, one must admire the enthusiasm.

 

The greatest lie

The greatest lie

2. The Great Wall Isn’t Visible From Space

When we first stepped foot on the Great Wall we were surprised at how nimble the top pass was. Just about wide enough for a horse to stride on. So how, we thought, could this path that is barely wider than a canal tow path be visible from space? Low and behold a Chinese astronaut observed in 2003 that the wall wasn’t visible from the international space station. Myth busted, a simple story based on a lie from the 1930s later used to sell the legendary experience to tourists, it was even in Chinese school books until the naughties. Although there is something from China that is visible from space.... the awful air pollution that covers huge swathes of the country!

You're so vain, i bet.....

You're so vain, i bet.....

3. The First Emperor Of China Was A Bit Vain

Discovered in a farmers field in the Xi’an countryside was perhaps the greatest tomb since the pyramids. The first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, prepared an almighty army to guard him in the afterlife. He demanded almost 9,000 fully armed soldiers, battle horses and chariots to be created and aligned in underground chambers to protect the Emperor when he passed away. You may know this force as the Terracotta Army. The strangest part is that upon his death the tomb was buried, hidden and erased from record, lying dormant until the 1970s. The greatest discovery that was almost never found. Silly old Emperor! He definitely thought himself a bit special. 

Ali getting into some slurping

Ali getting into some slurping

4. Interesting Chinese Habits

For those of you that have travelled in China you may be accustomed to the locals more interesting habits. Men and women fart at ease in busy tourist areas, it’s difficult not to laugh! Elbows, you might find yourself up a mountain but be careful as the biggest risks are not the precipice but swarms of tourists pushing past. Fighting with fire is the only way. Food is a huge part of the culture and many eat out for all their meals. Don’t expect the niceties of home. Diners order as they sit down, slurp, crunch, burp and devour their food at lightening speed and leave in unison only 30 mins later. It’s quite a thing to watch. No tipping, elbows on tables and many restaurants bring out the wrong food. The Chinese are a loud bunch too, not a day passes without the sound of locals hocking, spitting and spraying snot out of their noses as they wonder the streets, Ali’s least favourite Chinese habit. Public squat toilets are widespread and there very few doors, expect to head in to do your business and find a row of men and women taking a dump. Eye and nose opening indeed!

Busy mountain path at Huangshan

Busy mountain path at Huangshan

5. Internal Tourism

China has been a one nation party for 70 years and unlike western governments they have total autonomy to make things happen. China has built a culture of tourism that means residents will never need to leave China! Every attraction is ridiculously well organised so that thousands can attend safely, even on mountains that are 2k above sea level. The engineering that makes these huge tourist attractions tourist friendly are... incredible. What’s more, the state run media all exclusively advertise the attractions on the TV, internet, tube etc. You can’t miss it, even as a foreigner. What's more, the growing middle classes are passionate about visit China's delights! The real clever part is that the Chinese government own all the attractions, all local hotels and transport in and out of the sites.  Not sure it’s socialist but it’s very clever money making systems that keeps all the Chinese Yuan flowing through the country. If a local wanted to holiday abroad and leave China? They would need to have 20k in the bank, the average wage is 9k a year, so only the richest Chinese holiday abroad. Remember that when you see Chinese tour groups in Europe because that is a very special holiday for those families!

Everyone in China uses WeChat 

Everyone in China uses WeChat 

6. One App, One Nation

One of the strangest discoveries was finding that the Chinese use only one app to control all of the messaging, video calls, payments, banking etc. WeChat does everything we do in separate apps at home making mobile phones a huge business in China, with industry just a couple of years young. Every shop has a QR code near the till which are used for almost all payments. We thought wireless payments were kicking off at home but the Chinese are years ahead. Let’s not forget the Great Firewall of China; an electronic system that stops all external news and media. It doesn’t stop everything though, VPNs are widespread here with many young Chinese using them to connect with the outside world. We met a girl on a mountain who loved English culture. We asked what her favourite English TV show was.... “Black Mirror” she replied. Wow, the techie youth of China are getting progressive. 

 

Any other funny facts that you know about China? If so let us know in the below comments box!

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