In 2009, the abandoned workshops of Redtory, which once formed the biggest canning factory in China, re-opened as a cultural centre with more than 40 establishments taking over the decaying red brick buildings. Fashion houses, galleries and restaurants replace the Dace and Black Bean Sauce production marking a most significant Guangzhou’s shift from traditional to creative industry.
Redtory in relation to Chinese Contemporary Art Scene.
Not exclusive to Guangzhou, industrial creative districts are a distinguishing feature of the contemporary art scene in China. Shanghai has the infamous, graffiti lined M50 in the old Chunning Club textile mills, Beijing offers high class artwork in 798 Art Zone located in a decommissioned military factory. Almost an instillation themselves, the buildings overcome the threat of destruction through ‘urban renewal’. These aesthetically stimulating structures and buildings are now an integral element of art tourism in China, with Redtory a major contender. The 1950’s soviet brick and equipment line the alleyways for form rather than function, updated with posters or paint as a contemporary refurbishment that explicitly acknowledges Chinese history.
Labelled ‘can street’ or ‘refrigeration street’ fro example, even the signs that direct across the 70,000-square-metre zone reference the past of the site. A popular favorite with young creatives (adorned with necklaces of Nikon camera straps) fashion students shoot their newest lines as hipsters shoot their new We Chat profile photo affront the perfect textured backgrounds. Life imitating art or art imitating life?
Although M50 was bourn from artists searching cheap studio space – that ever familiar tale of gentrification – Redtory is a government funded project. Rather than solely an art gallery, Redtory offers residency programs, lectures and collaborations with the local art institutes. Contrasting the gallery structure of Beijing or Shanghai, Redtory also operates as a functioning work space for engineering offices, product design studios and architecture companies. With many shops and boutiques, it is also slightly more commercialized than M50 or 798 but this too provides an alternative experience.
With its array of industries and low number of somewhat intimidating ‘white cube’ galleries, it avoids any claims of pretentiousness making it a charming day out. Therefor its not surprisingly popular with both Chinese and international art lovers alike.
Redtory 红专厂 Information.
Address. No. 128, Yuancun Si Heng Rd., Tianhe District, Guangzhou, China.
Opening hours. Gallery Mon-Sun 10:30am – 9pm while Redtory Market Saturday and Sunday’s 11:00am – 6pm.
Phone number.+86 20 6631 9930.
Christmas in China is a unique experience.
On Christmas Eve, I went to a tasty feast arranged by InternChina. The good food and company put me in the festive spirit. To continue with the celebrations, I made a spontaneous decision to go to Guangzhou with a couple of friends on Christmas Morning.
After a rush to throw my things in a bag, I jumped into a taxi to get to the train station. By the time we had arrived, there was a queue out the door, and the train was set to leave in under twenty minutes. My friends and I had already reserved the tickets online, but we still had to collect them at the counter. Fortunately, we all managed to get our tickets and we caught the train on time.
The journey was off to a good start.
The journey took just over an hour.
Guangzhou South Railway Station is huge and modern. It’s a fair distance from the city centre, but a 24-hour pass cost only 20rmb.
The metro system is clean, bright and modern. They have driverless cars, the carriages are wide and every station has glass screens with automatic doors at the edge of the platform.
When we arrived at the hostel, we found out that the government currently has a policy of not allowing foreigners to stay in hostels, which seemed strange. But this wasn’t a problem and we stayed in a nearby hotel.
Once we dropped off our bags, we could start exploring. The city is loud and animated. After walking around, we got some lunch on Beijing Road.
I tried some of the famous bubble tea.
As evening approached, we walked around the park on Yuexiu Mountain, where we saw The Five Rams. They are meant to bring good fortune to the city.
We then made our way to the Flower City Square, near the Pearl River, where we got a good view of the Canton Tower. This structure is an impressive feat of architecture. It stands at 600 meters, making it the third tallest tower in the world.
After some more walking around and being taken in by the lively atmosphere and the modern cityscape, we got some dinner and returned to the hotel to get some rest.
On Boxing Day, we went to the China Communist Party’s Third Congress Museum. It was all in Chinese, but my friends were very helpful by translating the key points.
We then headed over to the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall Museum, which was an academic temple. It is a site of historic and cultural significance, and it contains a number of beautiful pieces of artwork, from pottery to wood carvings and ivory.
Another attraction that we went to see was the Nanyue King’s Tomb in the Museum of the Western Han Dynasty Mausoleum. This was interesting and informational. I learnt that the King was buried with fifteen sacrificial people.
The last site that we saw was Shamian Island, which offers a glimpse into China’s colonial past. The island is a tranquil, scenic stretch of land that is shaded by trees and contains old colonial-era buildings. The southern side is encircled by the Pearl River. A canal separates the northern part from the mainland. Shamian Island was given to the UK and France in the nineteenth century.
The building that caught my attention the most was the old Soviet Union Consulate, which is now abandoned and has fallen into a state of disrepair.
After dinner, we made our way to the railway station and caught a late train back to Zhuhai. It was a different Christmas experience, for sure.
If you’d also like to experience the exciting cultural differences between the UK and China, apply for the GEN UK funding now!
My colleague Gianna and our Chinese intern Anna organized a trip to Guangzhou last weekend. As we are pretty close to some nice and different cities here in Zhuhai, most of our interns were happy to join our trip. Finally a huge number (all in all 27 people) confirmed to join us for mysterious Mr. X. I started a bit earlier on Saturday to Guangzhou and took the first train at 07:00 a.m.! Driving with the train rather than taking the bus is more convenient to be honest. Even if the price is compared to taking the bus for students much higher it’s still a good deal.
Anna booked us in a nice Hotel in Yuexiu district that was close to some nice sightseeing spots. The interns visited the ChenJia Ci old temple and went for a good shopping experience to the Tianhe area, whereas I have already explored our hotel-area in the morning and found a huge jewellery-market. I spent almost the whole morning to shop some for some cloth in this area. I’m more interested in the typical small Chinese clothes shops in little streets in between the living compounds or at least close to such complexes. If you buy a one-day pass for the metro (the metro system is not bad in the third largest Chinese city), it is really convenient and fun just drive to random places and find out what will appear at daylight. So I did and I got off at cultural park and walked along the river side, drunk a coconut and enjoyed the hot but nice weather.
In the evening I met the other guys at the Teppanyaki restaurant and felt immediately again under friends and in my usual social environment, even if we had a bunch of new arrivals the last couple of days and most of them I have not met before.
It was a nice relaxing evening with interesting chats and a good atmosphere.
The highlight everyone was looking forward to was Mr. X (escape room) on our schedule for Sunday morning. As we were such a big group we booked 3 rooms. The guys who were already experienced, as they have done it in Shanghai (read more here) went for Level 4 out of 5. I joined the Level one group and luckily we made it and we could escape, even if we got some more time than the 60 minutes. This is a good experience and a nice way to build teams and enjoy a good excited time. The Level 4 group could also escape and both of our teams could made it on the “wall of fame”. Just the Level 2 group could not made it in in time, but all of us had fun and enjoyed a good morning there.
Afterwards I went together with Anna to the biggest and famous university in Guangdong province: Sun Yat-Sen University. They have a green and big campus there and we had a good morning there. We ate in the dining hall for lunch, which Anna reminded on her time in college.
As I wanted to see the Art Gallery we drove from the university direct to Yuangcun and then a couple of stations from there with the bus to this alternative place with art, nice little souvenir shops and a creative audience. We both had a nice and relaxed afternoon there. I even kissed another statue man 🙂
I then went to the water front village area, a bit far from down town. I suddenly felt like in another city. Moreover I felt like in a green area far from such a big Chinese town.
I have once again acquired valuable insights in Chinese cities and saw new beautiful places.
I am happy to share my experience and my travel routes with all of you guys and hope you also take this awesome chance to explore Chinese cities. Apply now!
On the first weekend of April, Chinese locals celebrated Qīngmíng festival (清明). What that meant for me was another long weekend to explore different parts of China. I have heard a lot of things about Xi’an (西安), the city with the world famous Terracotta Army (兵馬俑); that’s why I finally decided to fly there and check it out.
I booked my flight for Friday evening at 10:00 p.m. from Guangzhou (廣州). Unfortunately, this was not the best deal I could have made. As after booking my flight, I found out that it takes around 3 hours on the bus to get to Baiyun (白雲) Airport. Hence, I tried to get there in time with the high speed train, which takes less than 1 and half hours. Although I arrived in Guangzhou at around 08:30 p.m., the train arrived at the South railway station and it takes at least one more hour to get to the final departure place – GZ airport. On the train I meet a really nice girl, who helped me finding the quickest way to the subway from the railway station. Since it was the beginning of the holiday you can imagine how many people were in the queue to the counter. “Windy”, the girl I met in the train helped me a lot by persuading a free-standing worker to give me an entrance chip to the subway. Finally it took me -thanks to Windy- just 2 minutes to get my ticket, instead of waiting until a counter freed up. Although I got so much help from strangers, I still missed my flight for Friday.
I was standing in the airport asking myself “and now?”. Luckily, InternChina provides a telephone card with a Chinese number, so I could browse the internet to search for a cheap hostel. I quickly found a cheap dormitory and drove back into town. When I arrived at “Homy Hostel”, which is just 5 minutes away from the East railway station, I luckily secured a room in a 6-bed-dorm. All in all it was a really terrible night. They only offer double bunk beds and whenever the guy below me turned in his sleep the whole bed-frame would squeak. But in the end I had survived the experience and went to the airport again the following morning. This time I got on my plane in time and was looking forward to Xi’an.
After arriving at the airport in Xi’an it took around one hour to get my hotel, which I booked in advanced on the Internet as well. My hotel was in the center of the ancient city in between the old city walls.
Directly opposing my hotel there was a tourist information booth where I went in more than once to ask for bus numbers, directions and attractions I wanted to see.
On Saturday I had very little time left. So, I decided to spend the evening in an ancient part of Xi’an and try different kinds of noodles, as I was told by my Costumer Relations colleague Sunny that noodles are a famous delicacy from Shaanxi (陝西) province. While eating my noodles, I had a really good experience behind the ancient city wall. The child of the owner of the restaurant, who was a bit shy sat down on my table and tried to speak Chinese with me. While I was trying to make her understand my survival Chinese, she was trying to make me understand her basic-English. It was quite interesting and I ended up with an invitation to the dinner by her father. When I wanted to pay for the dish he said I didn’t have to as I helped his daughter to improve her English.
On Sunday I decided to go hiking up “Cuìhuàshān” mountain (翠華山).
Later on, I learned from our new intern ‘Li’ that according to traditional Chinese culture, hiking is what Chinese people here do quite often. Qīngmíng is considered as a good time as all the plants become green and flowers begin to bloom. The air is so fresh, especially in the countryside. Qīngmíng (清明) is celebrated to welcome pure brightness, as everything begins to grow. All new things such as sprouts in the trees are quite clean and new. Qīngmíng is also known as the “death festival” of China. During these days people need to burn “death money” for their deceased family members in front of the graves, which are often located at their place of birth in the countryside.
It is an added bonus if people can go hiking after this ritual. Now: Please try to imagine how many people had the same idea as me! Qingming festival day is considered as a traditional and good way to enjoy the clear, fresh, positive air of springtime. That’s why people go hiking. Asa lot people have experienced a lifeless winter, it is really good to enjoy this holiday out in the open. Not just for this ritual, but also for one’s health and temperament.
Although there were a lot of people in the mountains I really enjoyed my day there.
On Monday, the day almost every company had off I had already planned to go to the famous Terracotta Army. It was just as awesome and interesting as I thought. I would recommend you do a little bit of research before you go there. Read through the whole history. It’s cheaper than renting the audio guide!
I also visited Huáqīng chí (Hot Springs) which is located in the northern foot of Lí Shān (Mt. Li.). They were built by Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty as part of the Huaqing Palace (華清宮). It was amazing especially as there was such a great weather the whole weekend.
I had some time left, before I needed to leave for the airport, so I drove back on the bus to Xi’an and visited the Xi’an Small Wild Goose Pagoda (Xiǎoyàn Tǎ – 小雁塔). It was quite a good decision, as this Pagoda gave me the opportunity to climb up and see Xi’an again from above.
All in all it was such a cultural, adventurous, informative weekend that flew by, but I enjoyed it a lot! I met a lot of nice people in just 3 days and had a lot of new experiences to share, which will help me for my future travels.
Apply now for an internship and experience China by yourself as I did over Qīngmíng holiday! Learn more about other cities and return to the city were you have been placed with the sense of coming home.
As I was studying one year in Guangzhou before my internship at InternChina I was pretty excited about organizing the trip to Guangzhou. I wanted to show everyone the city where I spent the last year in China.
We were a nice group of 12 people. We left Zhuhai on a Friday evening after work. We took the super-convenient high speed train to Guangzhou, which takes around one hour (one way 70 RMB). From the Guangzhou South Railway Station it was about 30 minutes to our hostel by metro.
We dropped our stuff off in the hostel and went to the BBQ nearby for dinner. It was a really relaxed evening. We were talking and drinking till late into the night.
On Saturday morning we met again for breakfast together and to do some sightseeing. I took the interns first to the Yuexiu Park. In the Park we found some rides, it was like a little amusement park. We had some fun on the rides, and after that we even rented some boats to row around the lake. Despite all the bumping into each other and terrible rowing skills, thankfully no people or boats were capsized or harmed.
In the Yuexiu Park there is also the Guangzhou Museum, where we learned a little about Guangzhou city’s history.
After the Yuexiu Park we went to the Liwan Lake Park. It is a beautiful park with Chinese architecture, a lot of lakes and a beautiful night scenery. It was nice to walk around, take pictures and chill a bit.
Having been on our feet all day, everyone was pretty exhausted by the evening, but as we only had one weekend in Guangzhou, I wanted to follow my plan strictly! So after the parks, I gave everyone some time to get ready before we set out for the night.
I booked a table in a Teppanyaki Restaurant. Teppanyaki is Japanese and you get a big table with your personal cook, who will prepare the food in front of you. It is one of my favorite restaurants because the food is just amazing!!! You pay 168 RMB and you can drink and eat what you want for 2 hours. We ordered A CRAZY AMOUNT OF FOOD!!!!!! We had steaks, sushi, different kinds of seafood, different desserts, a lot of Sake (Japanese Alcohol), beers, wine and so on. CRAZY!!! By the end we were fairly drunk, including our cook who was happily drinking with us. For most of the people it was the first time Teppanyaki so it was a very nice experience.
After the Teppanyaki we went to a nice Club in Guangzhou. We were dancing and having fun! We had an amazing night!
The next day we met at noon to have some Dim Sum. Guangzhou is famous for its Dim Sum, which is Cantonese food. We went to the Guangzhou Restaurant chain, a famous restaurant with many branches around Guangzhou. After the brunch, we did not have anything planned, so everyone got some free time. Some went to the Gaungzhou Fake Market (where you can buy just EVERYTHING!) and some went to the famous Walking Street in Guangzhou for shopping.
We took the train back on Sunday evening. While we chatted about the trip, most agreed that the best part was probably the Teppanyaki, and the interns asked me when we could go back to Guangzhou. After that I was happy that my trip was pretty successful and everyone had a great time.
Before I started to intern at InternChina I was studying as an exchange student for 2 semesters at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. My major was International Business.
I arrived in Guangzhou in August 2012, which was the first time I had ever left Europe. It was also the best experience of my life!
A typical day at my University started at 8.30 am with my Chinese classes running until 11.30 am. Before my Chinese classes I had jiaozi (dumplings) for breakfast. I had to get used to eating warm food in the mornings because in Germany we would usually have things like bread with butter and cheese, but now I love having jiaozi for breakfast, and I know I will miss it when I return to Germany. Our lunch break was from 11.30, which was weird for me because the lunch break at my university in Germany starts at 1.30 pm, and it was the first time that I had lunch so early! After lunch, I had business classes from 2 to 5 pm. It was a really nice experience to work on group projects with Chinese students. I quickly realised that the Western and Chinese way of thinking is very different, but I managed to adapt myself to work with an international team.
At my University in Guangzhou I met a lot of people of different nationalities, and I made a lot of new friends. All of us were in the same situation: far from home, without family and friends in a new country which is very different from the Western countries. So we spent almost every day together, had lunch, dinner and parties, so nobody felt lonely and we had an amazing time together. We all took care of each other.
Of course the weekends were the best part of my exchange program. Usually we met at the BBQ to have a couple of beers and then we went clubbing. Guangzhou has a lot of nice foreign and Chinese clubs and during my year there I visited them all.
I love China. I had a wonderful time, the best experience of my life, and I met a lot of foreign and Chinese friends who influenced me in a positive way. This is the reason why I have chosen Zhuhai for my internship. After I had experienced student life in China, I also wanted to experience work life here. I have been in Zhuhai for 3 months now and I already know that I will come back after I graduate.
Written by Jack Everett
My first official trip with InternChina was to the Danxiashan Geopark in Guangdong province. Here we planned to explore the Chinese countryside and also see the crudely named “Penis Mountain” and “Pussy Cave”! (This definitely allowed us to unleash our immature side!) The trip got off to a bad start when our bus ride was delayed for 3 hours. However, nothing makes you feel better after sitting on a hot bus than Chinese water rafting! The water rafting was incredible! With 5 meter drops in tiny dinghy’s it proved an incredibly dangerous but exciting activity. It was definitely a good way to start the trip!
Following my first experience of crazy Chinese water rafting, we travelled to Shaoguan where we could relax and spend the night. We treated ourselves to some local Cantonese food, had a few beers and chilled out before our tiresome day of mountain climbing in the morning!
After a short bus ride on the Sunday morning we arrived at Danxiashan Geopark. The dense forests, small lakes and winding rivers provided some beautiful scenery. It was great to explore the Chinese country side despite the intense humidity!
It wasn’t long after we started walking that we were confronted with the infamous “Penis Mountain”. The phallic shaped rock proved to be a strangely popular tourist destination… I found it so strange (and quite disturbing) that families travelled together to see the mountain! Nonetheless, it was a great place to mess around and take some hilarious photos!
After climbing what felt like a never ending amount of steps, we finally made it to one of the mountain peaks. The steep climb and raging heat had completely exhausted us, but the view from the top of the mountain was totally worth it!
The climb down from the mountain was treacherous but it offered some incredible views of the surrounding areas! Waiting for us at the foot of the mountain was “Pussy Cave”. In our tired and delirious state the cave seemed hilarious! We spent a worrying amount of time taking some more ridiculous photos and laughing at the strange tourist site.
Many hours later, we finally completed the physically grueling and shattering journey up the mountain! Although we were completely exhausted we were so proud that we’d made it! The trip had definitely been worth it. InternChina has conquered the mountain.
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!
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.
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, http://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.
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.
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!
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.
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.