Early on Saturday morning our interns from the Chengdu branch headed out on the train for Leshan. The forecast suggested it would snow; a rare sight in Sichuan Province, but that didn’t dampen our spirits.
After getting off the train at Leshan, we took a short taxi ride to the Leshan Buddha and surrounding area. After paying our admission fee and entering through the gates, the beauty and the attraction on show stunned us!
Whilst it may be expected that it is just the Buddha on show at Leshan, there is in fact a whole array of statues and monuments to be admired. We started by ascending the mountain up to a look out point over the rivers beneath, where there was a fantastic view over the valley below.
After a short walk through a forested area we ended up at a pagoda standing tall at the top of a wide staircase. When we reached the foot of the pagoda we could see a few Buddhists walking around the square base reciting prayers.
We then headed towards the Giant Buddha taking in the sights as we walked through beautiful lily ponds full of Koi fish gracefully gliding through the water. At the head of the Buddha there was a giant bell being rung by a monk to ward off evil.
After briefly pausing at the top of the Buddha we headed towards the temple at the top of the mountain. Inside the temple were lots of people paying their respect to Buddhist figures, burning incense and leaving offerings.
Then it was time for the main event.
The Leshan Giant Buddha
The Leshan Giant Buddha stands a giant 71m tall and looks over the confluence of the rivers Dadu and Min. Which eventually flow in the giant Yangtze river. The Dadu starts its journey in the Tibetan plateau before winding its way through Kanding. Then onto Leshan eventually ending up in the East China Sea. This towering structure was built between 700-803 AD and contains an elaborate drainage system in order to prevent weathering.
After a short fact file by myself to prepare the interns for what was ahead, we made our way to the top of the stairs, which descend down the cliff face beside the Buddha. This allowed us to get a true feeling for the scale of the massive structure. Descending our way down was the perfect opportunity to capture some fantastic pictures before reaching the bottom. We took our time, and stood at the feet of the world’s largest pre-modern statue, capturing some images and enjoying the roars from the rivers below.
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InternChina – More than just an internship!
But what does this really mean in Qingdao? It means weekly dinners, activities and 24/7 support!
I’ve been an office intern for about 3 months now, so I hope I can explain this for you!
During your programme, you’ll have the amazing opportunity to do an internship in China, but that’s not the only think you’ll experience during your time in Qingdao! The InternChina team will organise lots of dinners and activities for you. This is so we can get to know you better, make you feel comfortable in this new country, and give you a chance to meet amazing people! And if you love travelling, there are plenty of great destinations we can help you visit that aren’t too far from Qingdao!
As a Qingdao office intern, I have the opportunity to organise the dinners and trips for our participants. I’ll tell you more about it, so you’ll have an idea of the amazing things you may get the chance to do, and you can discover more about Qingdao.
If you have anything you want to do around Qingdao, just let a member of InternChina know and we can try our best to organise this for you!
Every week we organise one of our famous “Thursday Dinners.”
This is a social event, to share a group meal, discover new Asian cuisine and talk about our week! We understand that you are students, so don’t worry- we try to make these dinners affordable! Usually, we try to avoid expensive restaurants, but they are always tasty. We usually stick to a budget of 50RMB per person, and sometimes this is even less.
How do we organise these dinners? Usually we make a post on our official Qingdao InternChina WeChat account, or we post in our IC Qingdao group chat.
We’ll give you some more details about the restaurant, the cuisine, the food, the time and the location of the dinner. If you’re interested in coming along, then simply join the dinner group by scanning the QR code we’ll provide! This helps us know how many people want to come along, so we can book a table. During the summer, we can have more than 30 people for dinner!
But it’s our job to organise this- all you need to do is scan the QR code and join! How easy is that?
After a week of working hard during your internship, we’re sure you’ll look forward to exploring Qingdao at the weekend! There is so much to do and discover in Qingdao, and we understand that you want to get out there, so we organise lots of activities and trips for you!
We try to organise a new activity every weekend, and just like the dinners, we try to make sure these activities are all affordable so you can take part in as much as you can.
What can Qingdao offer you? There are lots of fun tourist activities,such as the Tsingtao Beer Museum, the TV Tower, the zoo, the aquarium, the Huadong Vineyard. However, we also want to make sure you see the natural beauty in Qingdao! Outdoor activities such as hiking Fushan or Laoshan with our guide Green Tea, bouldering, archery, go karting are always popular, especially during the summer.
We also want you to learn about the Chinese culture while you are here, so we organise cultural activities such as calligraphy classes, Chinese cooking lessons, tea ceremonies, or even Kung Fu lessons!
There are different things to do during different seasons, so you may also get to attend the German Christmas Market, or some opening ceremonies!
You will definitely never be bored, with plenty of activities available for you to explore the city, have fun, and network!
We also try to organise some weekend trips for you to discover other cities in China.
Recently, we organised a weekend trip to Beijing- after all, it would be a shame to come to China and not visit the Great Wall! In the past we have also organised trips to Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Qufu… the possibilities are endless!
For any weekend trips we organise, we will provide you with a detailed schedule so you can make the most of your time in each city! We will also let you know how much each trip will cost, and this will include your transport, accommodation and activities for the weekend. It will cost more than a regular Saturday Event, but it is definitely worth going and exploring more of China!
The InternChina team offer you 24/7 support while you are on place, and we are also here for you before and after your time in China!
When you arrive, we will pick you up from the airport and take you directly to your accommodation, whether is an apartment or a homestay. We’ll also give you an orientation to help you understand Chinese culture, and give you some advice about living in Qingdao.
You will receive a welcome pack, which includes a SIM card, travel card, map of the city, and address card and some InternChina goodies!
We are here for you whenever you need us!
Moreover, our team on place is also always here to support you! When you arrive we will give you an orientation, in order to make you understand Chinese culture, and give you lots of advice! If you feel sick, we will come with you to the hospital! If you have any other issues, we are here to help if we can!
InternChina’s Favourite Places
When you are new to Qingdao, and don’t know where to go or what to see, we’re here to tell you where to go! Below is a list of my favourite places- you can even impress your colleagues with your Qingdao knowledge and invite them along!
Magic Eggplant – or the best Chinese restaurant ever! 美达尔大尧三路店 – Dayao San Road
ChunChuan Iron Plate – best Korean restaurant! 青岛市崂山区苗岭路 瑞纳花园内 Miao Ling Road
Huadong Winery – a beautiful vineyard, where you can visit the museum,the caves and try some wine at the end! 南龙口崂山Nanlong Kou, Lao Shan
ZhongShan Park – an amazing park where you can easily walk around for hours! The zoo is right next to it if you want to see a panda! 市南区文登路28号 Wen Deng Road
I hope these details and pictures convinced you that InternChina has so much more than just an internship to offer you! You’ll never feel alone, and this experience will be unforgettable!
The easiest way to join us is to apply now!
by Kim Whitwell
For the first weekend in December, 19 InternChina staff and interns travelled overland to the rural area of Kaiping, China to experience the rural offerings of historic diaolou country.
Setting off from Zhuhai, we all made our introductions and settled into getting to know each other. It was the first group trip the PMSA Kiwi students were involved in since landing a week earlier, so friendships were formed pretty early on.
Met by our tour guide Peter, and newly opened hostel owner Rocky in Tangkou, the group arrived just in time for a cooked lunch made with local produce from the area. Bellies full, and smiles on our faces for the blue skies and green scenery Kaiping was providing for us, we jumped on our bikes and followed Peter for the first of our diaolou tours.
Diaolous are fortified watchtowers built by the overseas Chinese in order to protect their rural home towns. To ensure their families were safe during mass emigration in the 20th century, overseas Chinese sent money back from afar to build them.
Displayed to the public, the presence of dialous are a marker of Chinese history and heritage. It reflects the rich culture and influences from both immigration (styles of décor in the diaolous show western influence) and emigration.
We wove in and out of rice fields all at the many different stages of cropping. Peter provided the knowledge and the various rural communities provided the photo opportunities. We all soaked in the authentic appearance and operations of the locals who went about their daily business with little more than a “ni hao!” in response to ours. We saw drying bok choy, rice husking, traditional instrument playing and oxen all within an hour.
On return to the hostel, we settled into the night on the roof top area watching the last of the sunlight fade. The hostel kitchen provided another extremely delicious meal, which some interns helped prepare. After, Peter captivated us with more of his extensive and passionate knowledge of diaolou country.
More chat, more beers and more laughter followed well into the night with a great time had by all . The immaculate hostel providing the most comfortable place to lay our heads for the night.
Day two arose with breakfast (a personal highlight) of both Chinese and Western cuisine (peanut butter on toast)! Then onto the bus we hopped to travel to some unique UNESCO sites in the local areas.
Bamboo forests and a local wedding greeted us at our first stop. Peter continued his extensive commentary on the history and significance of diaolous, mansions and operations in the local villages. Stop number two provided the Instagram opportunities! Lunch back at the hostel concluded our weekend in Kaiping. Bellies full once more, smiles a plenty and memories made, we filed back onto the bus and travelled a fairly sleepy and quiet journey home.
Kaiping is an authentic display of Chinese rural life that draws you into a time machine back 30 years. The attractions aren’t crowded or over commercialised so the experiences you have are very much genuine. Peter’s knowledge of the area and history behind it was captivating. He helped bring to life a part of the world not well known or considered in the tourism industry. Rocky has created an accommodation space that also feels genuine and homely. Utilising the infrastructure provided by history within the area the place is quirky and unique. If you are looking for a relaxing, yet interesting, time out from city life, this trip is for you.
This is a blog for all you rock climbers out there! If you are heading to Qingdao, then you are in luck! The Shandong province has some of the best boulders in China. The rock in and around Qingdao is a type of granite similar to Yosemite, which means you don’t need to travel far to find good boulders with interesting features. Fushan ‘Qingdao’s back garden’ has many different rocks to climb, from boulders to trad routes.
For those who haven’t get tried bouldering, when in Qingdao you should give it a go! It is a very unique, interesting, and social sport which attracts all sorts of characters! It is also one of those rare sports where men and women have an equal ability! Don’t be afraid if you have never climbed before, unlike the GYM, no one judges! No matter the grade you climb, it is your sweat and determination that is celebrated. Indoor bouldering is a great introduction to the world of climbing as it is the safer way to enjoy this very fun and dynamic sport!
Indoor Bouldering and Climbing
There is a great indoor bouldering in the center of Qingdao. The climber who runs the place is very friendly and takes delight in showing you new moves and positions to improve your balance and strength. When you go, check out his wall of fame, he has even met Shauna Coxey!
Address: 菁英攀岩俱乐部 Jīngyīng pānyán jùlèbù
山东路 136号 壹叁陆城二楼 Shāndōng Lù 136 hào Yīsān Lùchéng Èr Lóu (2F)
Price: 30 Yuan (student) for the whole day and includes shoe rental.
If you fancy higher walls then head to Chengyang, which is north of Qingdao and takes around 45-60mins to get there by public transport. Here you can use a harness and belay.
Price: 100 Yuan for the day and includes shoes and harness.
The official (also the best) time to climb outside is from March to November. Bamboo is a rock climbing legend who can speak a little English, he runs the rock climbing official accounts on WeChat. He and a local group of climber’s head to the rocks most weekend. WeChat ID: QingdaoClimbing
Qingdao Laoshan Mountain 青岛崂山
Laoshan Mountain climbing site has been popular among rock climbers in recent years. There are around 150 climbing routes to meet your needs, Monkey Crag is a popular site.
If you visit Laoshan Mountain in winter, you can try an ice climbing. It is really an interesting and unforgettable journey in the Laoshan Mountain Scenic Area in winter.
Location: Liuqinghe, Laoshan District, Qingdao, Shandong Province
Rock climbing: Pānyán 攀岩
Muscle fever: Jīròu suāntòng 肌肉酸痛
Hey travel addicts! Let me show you the Great wall as you would have never have imagined it!
You might think you know quite a lot about China, but this massive country has plenty of secrets. If you’ve already been, you’ve probably visited the Forbidden City in Beijing, and the Bund in Shanghai. I bet you’ve seen the Terracotta Army in Xi’an, the lovely pandas in Chengdu, and the “Avatar Mountains” in Zhangjiajie…
If you have managed to see all these things, it seems like you might be half Chinese now- congratulations! But what if I told you there is way more to China than these popular tourist spots? The Great Wall of China is probably one of the most famous tourist spots in the world, but I’m sure you’ve not seen all yet!
The Great Wall: Tourist Destination
If you’re in Beijing, well of course you should go to the Great Wall, otherwise you’ll never be a brave man – 不到长城非好汉, as the Chinese proverb said.
For a first experience in China, Badaling 八达岭 and Mutianyu 慕田峪 are nice spots of the Wall, and are very well renovated- this therefore means they are the most visited parts of the Great wall, so don’t expect to be the only tourist there!
But if like me you’re not really into tourist traps, and crowded places, let me show you another piece of the Great Wall called HuangHuacheng 黄花城. This is the only lakeside piece of the Great Wall, and some parts of it are not renovated, which means there is the perfect balance of tranquility and adventure- you definitely should try it!
If you feel ready for a hike, I have another piece of the Great Wall for you! Zhuangdaokou is one of the unrestored sections of the Great wall in Beijing, and you should definitely visit here if you feel like an adventure. Don’t be scared if you see some signs which won’t allow you to climb there, they are most likely like the “no smoking” signs all over China … not really significant.
Did you know that the Great Wall isn’t the same everywhere in China? For example, in Inner Mongolia the Great wall is totally different, and it’s of course way harder to imagine how they could defend their country with this kind of wall, made of soil and sand. In every hostel in Hohhot you can book a tour to see those amazing landscapes, and since Inner Mongolia isn’t that far from Beijing, you definitely should go and take a look there!
Do you feel like exploring the Great Wall of China? Then you should apply now!
If you are in the east of China it’s easier and cheaper to travel to Suzhou or 苏州. Best bet is to take the train to the Suzhou Railway station. Above all, it’s at the center of the city, so it’s easier to move around.
So what is Suzhou known for? It’s referred to as Heaven on Earth because of its garden landscapes. Back in time, it was widely known for attracting high society, artists, and scholars. Although it doesn’t have all its historical sites anymore, it’s still worth a two to three-day trip.
Where to go
In particular, Suzhou is home to nine gardens that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Such as, the Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden, Master of the Nets Garden, Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, Couple’s Retreat Garden, Garden of Cultivation, Great Wave Pavilion, Lion Grove Garden, and Retreat & Reflection Garden.
Another nickname for Suzhou is the Venice of China. There are three notable water towns to visit, and one in particular, Zhou Zhuang Water Town, is a must to see. Especially at night!
Furthermore, there is Old town, located near Pinjiang Road, is also a great place to visit for a more cultural shopping, cute little tea houses and canals. For the most part, Momi Cafe, an Instagram-like cafe that also sells postcards, is my personal favorite place. You can enjoy a cup of Joe while writing to your friends and family back home.
A more modern feel?
Then head over to Harmony Times Square or 圆融时代广场 this is where you will find everything you need for your shopping and some fun! Instead of your regular souvenir place, here you will find western brands, luxury brands, a movie theater, cafes, restaurants and more! Not to mention it’s located next to Jinji lake and a few minutes’ walk from a local amusement park, it’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon.
Getting Around in Suzhou
For the most part of the city, there are two metro lines that covers most hot spots. However, I recommend taking the bus since they have more routes if you want to discover the city.
In any event, bring a student card for great money-saving deals on some attractions!
Nĭ hăo! Wo shì Shona and I’m the Design and Marketing intern at the Chengdu office, although my journey started further east, in Qingdao. I was lucky enough to begin my programme with IC working in the Qingdao office, which I was very happy about, as Qingdao is a beautiful city and right on the sea so there’s always a nice breeze to help with the heat.
Getting to Qingdao
What I loved most about Qingdao is that it’s a great introduction to real-life China, and as the IC offices are based in cities most tourists don’t think of, it’s an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the culture. Due to Qingdao’s history, there’s a real European feel to the city; however don’t let that fool you- the mass of markets and restaurants remind you that it still is, very much Chinese.
Settling in to China life was pretty easy for me, and while the first week was a bit of a shock- such as getting used to the commute to work (I’m still amazed how many people can fit on a bus here), the culture shock passed quickly. It’s incredibly easy to get used to the lifestyle and turn into a true Zhōngguó rén.
Life in Qingdao
I really enjoyed the lifestyle in Qingdao; there’s always something interesting happening, and despite how fast paced it seems initially, it also feels as equally laid back.
The work/life balance in Qingdao is just right and my favourite post work treat is winding down at the local BBQ spot with some Shao Kao and Tsingtao in hand- now that’s the life!
While in Qingdao I had the chance to help organise fun events each week, my first one being sailing! What better way to experience a Chinese seaside city than by boat? It was my first time running an official event, so I was a little nervous but the event ran without a hitch and everyone had a blast.
One of the best nights I’ve had in China was camping on the beach, at the foot of Mount Làoshān; the real highlight was floating around in the sea, surrounded by friends and all watching the fireworks light up the night, and moments like that are why I love China.
The first big Summer trip was a joint excursion to Beijing with the Chengdu, Qingdao and Dalian IC offices, and being my first trip in mainland China, I was so excited to see the China I’d seen in movies growing up as a kid.
We saw iconic landmarks such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the icing on the cake, the Great Wall. It’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed as Beijing has so much to offer, but the pinnacle of our trip was visiting the Great Wall at Mu Tian Yu.
The Big Move: Swapping Cities
Three weeks into my internship I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Sichuan to help support my colleagues in the Chengdu office. I had always wanted to visit Chengdu and love to travel so when the chance arrived, I jumped at it!
Travelling to Chengdu was exciting; even the legendary Chinese flight delays, which gave me the opportunity to make friends with the locals using my broken Mandarin, couldn’t dampen my mood as I headed to panda city.
First Days in Chengdu
Arriving in the Sichuan capital, I was lucky to have a few days off before starting work. So what’s the first thing you HAVE to see in Chengdu? Pandas! The panda base, or Xióngmāo jīdì as its known here, is hugely popular with tourist groups so it’s important to get there bright and early.
After waking up at the crack of dawn, I jumped in a cab that took me straight from my apartment to the base for 60 kuai, which was worth it just to beat the queue.
July in Chengdu is the peak of summer and with average temperatures of 30 degrees, and with it being so hot outside the pandas were hidden away in their cool enclosures. This meant I had to fight my way through the tourist mob to catch a glimpse of the famous bear cat, but it was worth it- after all, pandas are an icon throughout the world so I couldn’t pass through Chengdu without stopping by!
Life in Chengdu was a bit of a shock at first, especially the morning commute to work. Chengdu feels like a combination of the fast paced lifestyle of cities like London with bustling subways and seas of people, along with the easy going nature of the Chinese locals, sat playing Mahjong on the street at night- a contrast if there ever was one.
Since coming to Chengdu I’ve been involved in all sorts of IC events, from the weekly Thursday dinners eating famous hot pot to the Four Sisters mountain trip in western Sichuan. When staying in Qingdao I used to think it was the city that never sleeps, however since coming to Chengdu, I’ve realised what life really is like in a busy Chinese city.
Here in the hub of China’s “Go West” policy, there’s always something to do, somewhere new to explore, and it’s the perfect mix of culture and business. I’m looking forwards to what the next two months bring here in Sichuan.
Dalian is a fantastic place for you not only for internship, but it is also a great place to enjoy yourself and explore other destinations nearby. You have been in Dalian for a while now and are already familiar with places around you and want to go somewhere you have never been before? If you want to experience something different then why not have a look outside the city’s borders and go for a weekend or day-trip in the surrounding area?
There are many choices for you to have fun in or near Dalian instead of staying in the city centre. Since Dalian has an excellent geographic location, which is close to many national parks, resorts and many other attractions and scenic areas. You can easily discover new places and have fun outside of the city centre of Dalian during the weekend. Here are some recommendations for sightseeing and outdoor attractions, which are close Dalian.
1. Lushun (旅顺)
Actually, Lushun is a district and it belongs to Dalian city. However, since it is not really close to the downtown (about 30 kilometres), it’s becoming one of the best choices for local people to enjoy themselves during the vacation. Lushun has a very special history background as well, it was a colony of Japan and Russia several decades ago. Therefore, there are lots of museums, old battleships (close to the West Harbor) in Lushun. There are also lots of resorts and scenic areas for you to visit as well.
2. Golden Pebble Beach (金石滩 Jinshitan)
This is another area that attracts many visitors, especially during summertime. The Golden Pebble Beach is well-developed and it has an amusement park, a golf club, and of course beaches. There are also lots of nice hotels there as well. You can enjoy the nature and beautiful seaside scenery here. You can conveniently reach it via monorail from downtown Dalian – the monorail station is located right behind Dalian train station, the ride to Jinshitan takes around 1 hour.
3. Changshan Islands
Want to enjoy the life on islands? Fishing enthusiast? Then you should consider a trip here. You can go out fishing with native people on a boat in the morning, and enjoy seafood in the afternoon. This is also one of the best places to experience life like a native. Highly recommend visiting islands during the summer since the sea water is warm enough to swim. You can easily go there by ship from Dalian Port and it usually takes about two to three hours to get there.
Dandong is a small city located on the border of China. It is about 300 kilometres away from Dalian. Even though it is a little bit farther away, thanks to the newly built high-speed train link it only takes two hours to get there. There are many places for you to visit there, like Yalu river, which separates the two countries, the famous Broken Bridge, Phoenix Mountain for a hike, or even a section of the Great Wall from which you can oversee North Korean territories. If you want, there are also lots of agencies which can take you to North Korea and have a unique experience, either enjoy North Korean traditional food, or discover what life is like under Kim Jong-Un’s control.
5. Seoul, South Korea
You might be surprised if it is possible to go abroad in this short period of time, because you never realise that it only takes 55 minutes by plane to Seoul from Dalian. You can enjoy Korean barbecue, beer, or if you like K-pop, superstars, this should be your first destination because famous companies like SM Entertainment, JYP and so on are located in Seoul as well. A visit to the imperial palace, ancient temples and famous Gangnam district also should be included in a trip there. Here is a cool site which gives you some tips on where to stay in Seoul: https://triphappy.com/seoul/where-to-stay/84746.
(Attention: if you plan a trip outside of China, make sure about that your visa for the People’s Republic of China is a double entry or multiple entry visa, otherwise you won’t be able to re-enter the country!)
Credit to: 曲天昊 (Danny Qu)
Pretty attractive? Want to start your internship in Dalian? Apply now!