Say Ni Hao to China!
China is one of our “catch up” countries: Katie’s been a few times, but Geoff has yet to crack the mainland (although we’ve both visited Hong Kong separately).
When people ask Katie what her favorite countries to visit are, China is always on the list. She first visited in 2004 after a year spent living in Japan. Together with two friends, she boarded a boat from Kyoto to Tianjin (a port city outside of Beijing), and then spent 3 months backpacking across the country, getting as far west as Kashgar, in the the Uighur region of Xianjiang, heading south into Tibet on a 24-hour bus ride across the roof of the world, and then heading east and south again to cross the border into Vietnam from Yunnan province. She later returned for another month, basing herself in Jinan (Shandong Province) as part of her masters degree.
So why does China persistently show up on Katie’s favorite countries list? Traveling through China (see also: Mexico) was a constant surprise. Along the eastern seaboard, you pretty much get what you expect when you think of China: Forbidden City, Great Wall, big cities….
But China is so much more than the eastern seaboard. In the very west, you’re on the border of the ‘Stans, and the food, people, and culture is completely different to the Han Chinese culture of the east. In the south, hill tribe cultures that have more similarities with those in SE Asia than Han Chinese shape the cities and towns. And then, of course, there’s lovely Tibet, which once again is completely different. The sheer diversity is surprising and delightful, and a reminder that – while we think we may know what a country is all about – we can always be surprised.
Posts About China
- Where to Stay in Shanghai — We hired Lindsey Horton, an expat with 7 years experience in Shanghai, to share the city’s coolest neighborhoods and tips, and help you decide where to stay in Shanghai.
- Where to Stay in Beijing Guide –In this guide, Sophie Williams, a journalist and travel blogger who focuses on China, outlined the coolest and most convenient areas to stay in China’s capital city, sharing tips for the best places and hidden gems explore in each area.
- Fall in Love With Western China — An old travelogue-style post about Katie’s time in China’s wild west, Xinjiang.