With May Fourth Square, Marina City, Qingdao’s Old Town, Ba Da Guan district and the shopping streets Part one of places to show your friends during their visit in Qingdao was all about Qingdao’s Culture and nice places where you can spend all your money on beautiful things. But Qingdao has a lot more to offer. With its location surrounded by the sea and mountains you and your friends should definitely escape the city for some days to discover the nice area around Qingdao.
Qingdao is located right on the base of Fushan. A mountain range with an area of 7.5 square kilometres. The main and highest peak is in Qingdao with a height of 384 meters. There are no roads but instead natural trails, meadows and pine trees that guarantee a nice hiking tour to the top. Once you made your way up you will be rewarded with a great view over the city of Qingdao, the sea and the beautiful costal area. Best time to go is definitely in the evening to watch the sunset on top of the city. There is even a little shack shop run by a friendly elderly couple selling snickers and beer… amazing.
Bigger, further away and with lots of culture to offer, you should take a whole day to experience Laoshan. It is the highest costal mountain in China with the peak reaching 1132 meters. But Laoshan has more to offer than just a long hiking tour with a marvellous natural scenery of seas and waterfalls. It is said to be one of the birth places of Taoism and thus a mountain of high significance for the Chinese culture. With lots of Taoist temples and nunneries Mount Laoshan offers more cultural experiences than one could possibly place on one day.
After hiking up two mountains it might be nice to grant your visitors a little rest. Best way to relax in Qingdao is definitely a day at the beach. Since Qingdao has 6 bathing beaches the decision which one to show is not that easy. One of my favourite beaches is Shilaoren beach. It is the biggest beach and outside of the city center. The second one that should not be missed is bathing beach number 2 next to the Ba Da Guan District.
Best way to discover both, spend the day at Shi Lao Ren beach and watch the sunset near bathing beach No 1.
In case that is a little too much nature for your friends, take them out for a drink to Minjiang Er Lu – Coffee Street.
With comfy kitsch coffee places next to Italian restaurants and wine bars the coffee street will be the perfect place for your friends to relax after hiking up two hills and discovering Qingdao’s seaside.
My name is Philippe Touzin and I am the Marketing and Graduate Recruitment Manager for InternChina. I am based in the city of Zhuhai and this is my blog on travelling to Big Sky Country: Inner Mongolia (China).
For China’s National Day holiday I decided with three friends to brave the masses and travel in China. (1st of October till the 7th of October https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Week_(China) ). This holiday is during one of the infamous Golden Weeks in China. Why infamous? Please have a look at this InternChina blog entry for more info (also tips on other hot potato destinations during Golden Week): http://www.internchina.com/zh/about/blog/2012/10/philippines-during-golden-week/?lang=zh&Itemid=244
Our decision making process on choosing our destination was quite messy and my German colleagues at InternChina (extremely organized and efficient) would have had at least 579’236.5 heart attacks ( 😛 ) by the end of the trip due to the non-organised / laisser-faire attitude we kept during the trip- which turned out to be Amazing and Perfect for a Adventure holiday!!
We all have very busy jobs, and trips tend to fall down the Priority list, so 2 months before the trip we were going to Japan, 1 month before the trip to Indonesia, next day to Philippines, next day to Malaysia/Borneo, next day to Nepal….2 weeks before the holidays and we decide to go for China due to China being AWESOME and finding out one of our friends couldn’t leave China for Visa reasons (oops).
What does this mean? There are hundreds of destinations outside and in China! All with return flights (national and S.E.A flights) costing approximately 2000.-RMB / 240.-Euro/ 330.-USD / 205.-PoundsSterling (high season prices, for low season prices knock off 500.-RMB)!!
For booking cheap flights (using a foreign card in China) please check:
Next step; where to go in China?- its Golden Week- its busy as hell at every half-popular tourist sites and travelling during the 1st and 7th will be impossible (there a lot of people in china= tourists central).
This is when we decided on Inner Mongolia, where we could find Deserts and Grass plains (green deserts) and hopefully avoid the battalion of Chinese and foreigner tourists. We booked our flights and a hotel for our first night Hohhot (capital of inner Mongolia), and we all decided to meet up a week before so as to plan some more….-Germanheartattack#125…needless to say that did not happened.
29/09/2013- Zhuhai, Guangdong Province
Our flight was very departing very early on the 30th (7:30 am) from GuangZhou airport, so on the 29th we took the Speed train from Zhuhai newly opened fancy train station (just next to the Macau Border) central to Guangzhou South station. This train takes only 1h15 min, and the 2nd class ticket costs 70.-RMB, with first class costing 90.-RMB. You can also buy San Miguel Beer for 6.-RMB! It was a good train ride.
29/09/2013-Guangzhou, Guangdong Province
We had booked a night in a hotel …Germanheartattack#-1…The location was 100% based on being close to a Turkish restaurant we wanted to try out, called the Sultan- the food was amazing and our first kebabs in a long time with the hummous, tzatiki, salads, flat breads and all grilled meats! Highly recommend it! We were so full from all the food that we went for a stroll to help us go to sleep…
Sultan (4 people : 5 starters + 4 mains + mint tea= approx. 160.-rmb per person) http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g298555-d1006324-Reviews-Sultan-Guangzhou_Guangdong.html
30/09/2013-Guangzhou, Guangdong Province
I had organized t for a wake-up call at 4 am and a Taxi for 4:30am. It took about 45 min to drive to the Guangzhou BaiYun airport (148.-RMB/4pers= 37.-rmb) and after checking in we were on our way to the capital of Inner Mongolia: Hohhot (呼和浩特市 and in Mongolian script see the wiki link)–pronounced: HoHeHaoTe—or as we pronounced it –HohhotisSoHot-
30/09/2013-Hohhot, Inner Mongolia Province
The flight took 2h30min, and at the airport we caught a taxi for the 20min ride to the city center. Be aware Taxi drivers will try and scam you (even with the meter on!), a taxi ride to the city center should be maximum 30.-RMB. Our hotel was very nice and the staff was friendly. They even brought to your room a free yoghurt and brioche every day at 5-6pm for your snack!! 😀
Hotel: Wanli International Hotel: Price 282 rmb per night for twin room, so 141.-rmb per person per night: http://english.ctrip.com/hotels/hohhot-hotel-detail-129103/wanli-international-hotel/
We then went for lunch and had a great Meat Fest with Mongolian style dumplings, whilst we discussed our next steps.
We had a general idea as to what we wanted to do in Inner Mongolia: Deserts, Grassplains, horse riding, archery and drinking horse milk alcohol. We also knew that we didn’t want to travel with any other foreigners or Chinese, only Mongolians, so we were lucky enough to discover an International Hostel, run by Inner Mongolians, which organized tours! After some intense negotiations we were able to secure a 5 day trip:
-mongolian guide (Mongolian name: Dulung- we became best buds)
-4*4 jeep + driver
-no other tourists
-all transport/food/accommodation (yurts) costs
– visiting Desert for 2 days 1 night/ visiting grass plains for 3 days 2 nights
-camel riding and desert dune surfing = 2115.-RMB per person! 🙂
Hostel: Anda Guest House: http://www.andaguesthouse.com/index_eng.htm
Hostel Manager, Ms Guan : +86 4716918039 / +86 15947519807
We left the hostel with having organized to meet the following morning at 8am. We had also asked them to write down the name of local Mongolian dishes, so went to a recommended restaurant, ordered them and tried it all! It was good!! Except for the sausages…or testicles…we are still unsure as to what we ate :s
30/09/2013-Hohhot, Inner Mongolia Province- Gobi Desert
8:00 am departure from Hohhot in our Jeep and awesome driver. We first headed for the Desert, part of the Gobi Desert, taking the away going West from Hohhot and following a lone mini-mountain range.
After 5hours of driving we had lunch in a small town and this is where we met up with Dulung, our Legendary Mongolian Guide. We also took the opportunity to buy over 150 fireworks and 5 cases of beer in one of the small towns. Usually its illegal to buy fireworks, but China’s national day was the on the following day (1st of October) so all the locals were already going a bit crazy with blowing stuff up, and certainly a few that we bought were a bit dangerous, but they’re more fun 😉
We drove for another 2 hours and then had to change jeeps as we had to drive into the Desert and through the Dunes- AWESOME-
We stayed in Yurts (Ger in mongolian), in an Oasis (bushes and 2 trees) in the middle of the sand dunes, with no other humans (or much living creatures) for many km around us- it was exactly what we were looking for- Our Adventure had begun.
Animals living in this habitat: foxes, rabbits, lots of bugs, birds, wolves,…sheep and their herders…in a desert??!
Altitude: 600m over sea level
What followed was a afternoon, of running around sand dunes, wrestling, racing, picture taking, dune surfing on sledges (sitting and standing), jumping of sand dunes and seeing how far we could role and in the process swallow 1 or 2kg of sand.
We learned that 2 small bottles of water each – and 34 degrees celcius- means we shouldn’t have done all this running, and pushing each other of sand dunes, as we soon found ourselves very thirsty! But we didn’t want to return to the camp yet ( 48 bottles of water, 60 bottles of beer, dinner and fireworks-) as we were having such a good time, so we kept going!
The most tiring activity was when Joseph Fry (internchina graduate intern-now Head representative of a sourcing company in Zhuhai) and I decided to write out INTERNCHINA in the sand dunes. Pick a massive Dune, decide how big the letters were to be and get to it – Dehydrated and 1 hour later we were finally done and Voila!:
That same evening was Dulung‘s birthday! So we celebrated China’s and Dolongs birthday together by having a meal in our Yurt, then lighting a bonfire (I lit it with my fire-starter!! :D), and drinking 5 crates of beer and setting off all the fireworks!! It was amazing and the stars were beautiful with such dry air and barely any light pollution!
Night temperature approx: 10 degrees Celcius
Day temperature approx: 30 degrees Celcius
Cheers in Mongolian/ Inner Mongolia dialect: USTRAYA!!!!! (deep manly voice)
1/10/2013-Hohhot, Inner Mongolia Province-Gobi Desert and travel to Grass Plains
6am: woke up, hungover and as dehydrated as I have ever been and went for a walk to see the sunrise- it was amazing- no camera and only my memories 🙂 . In the horizon I could see on top of the dunes 7 camels walking, probably tourists checking the sunrise out, but it was a beautiful sight. Went back to tent and passed out.
8am: Dolong had found fireworks that we forgot to light- so you can guess what our alarm clock was- all around the Yurt!! So we were up and about by 8:03 😀
Had breakfast, cleaned up so as to not spoil the nature, and then discovered 8 camels that had been brought for us, we were only 6 with the Camel guy, so 1 extra camels for our stuff, and 1 along for the fun of it. We rode back to where we had left our jeep, met a cool little grandpa farmer who showed us the wolves he had caught!! Over 5 wolves and a cub, this is their ancestral land, and so they come through quite often, however with the tourism industry increase (big tourist Yurt camps on the edge of Desert) they have to catch the wolves./ I didn’t ask what they do with the wolves, but knowing china: The fur for clothing/ rug, meat for food, bones for traditional medicine. Some may see this as harsh, but at least they don’t kill them and leave them, not one part of the animal goes to waste.
We now drove for 8 hours to arrive to the grass plains, out of desert, followed mountain range, up the mountains to 1680m altitude, and their the Plateau of endless grass plains opened in front of us. It was an amazing sight. There was sleepy little town at the start of the plains, so we stopped by to buy more water and beer, 4 tall Laowai’s/ foreigners entered the only shop for miles- and quite a few eyes of the locals popped out- you should have seen their faces when we spoke Chinese!
As we had asked not to be with any other tourists and there are lots of big Tourist camps, they had found a Mongolian family who could host us, but they had never been there themselves, so it took us sometimes to find the place!- The funniest part was asking for directions, Imagine this scenery:
And then asking a passing car or herder, and he says: well keep on going straight, then you see the hill turn right, keep on going straight then you will see 3 trees, turn left and continue for a couple of km and their in that area- there are No landmarks making it very hard to give precise directions!
9pm- arrived at our destination, had great warming hearty Mongolian food, followed by drinking games and more beer.
Dulung taught us a game which I can teach you if you want if you come to China- 2-3-5-Joker-7 and that Maxime Dupuis (also an ex intern through IC and now come back for full time employment in Zhuhai with his internship company)- doesn’t like it when you tickle his feet when drunk and calls himself Mark (?!? :D)-
Something I haven’t mentioned yet is that every night we slept in yurts, on the dirt (or sand in desert), and 5 guys all spooning each other—and for some reason they all tried to cozy up to me, so every night I´d wake up squished between two guys, sometimes hugging me, sometimes stealing my blankets- let´s just say that I definitely know I am heterosexual after all the touching I went through during the trip 😉 (even Dulung got involved!) hahaha
Tourist camps: Tourist central with stone made yurts with private bathroom, mass meals and events for everyone, endless pictures and babies running around -HELL NO-
Thank you for reading part I, part II is coming up next week with stories on grass plains and horse milk alcohol. Please do not hesitate to stop by Zhuhai InternChina office for some tea and stories.
More information on travelling to Inner Mongolia : http://www.lonelyplanet.com/searchResult?q=inner+mongolia&facet=origin%3Athorntree_thread Where to find friends to go with you on an Epic Adventure : http://www.internchina.com/zh/contact/apply
Travelling in and around China can be so easy: Just ask our InternChina-team for advise! If you have to leave China after 90 days for your visa for example, you can just go to Taiwan for the weekend. It is cheap and easy to get around there! Apply now for your internship in China and become part of the InternChina community!
The Chengdu community of InternChina visited one of four sacred Buddhist mountains in China, Emei Shan. Moreover, it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Personally, I totally agree with the UNESCO.
Since the national park is pretty huge, we decided to make a two day trip to the area. We started early in the morning in Chengdu and took a bus to Emei Shan City. When we arrived we had early lunch to energize us before the hiking. Straight from the beginning the hiking was quite challenging. But we had had the goal of reaching the mountaintop, so we did not lose our ambition. Firstly, we explored the main valley of the mountain range.
The Nature of Emei Shan natural park is breathtakingly beautiful. This is a place of pure nature! (I felt a bit like walking through Jurassic Park)
After climbing a lot of steps up and down we met the Emei Shan’s famous wild monkeys. Thea’s meeting with the monkeys was a bit more intimate than ours. Therefore, Thea generously donated a bottle of her water to please the monkeys. We were really tired after a long day of hiking and climbing, so we looked for a nice hostel. Some local helped us find a decent place in the middle of the mountains. Since we were obviously really hungry we were happy about the great local food served at the hostel. Everybody enjoyed a satisfying dinner.
We all knew the earlier we get to the mountaintop the better. Hence, we woke up at 4.30. To win some time we took a bus to come closer to the mountaintop. This two hour ride was an adventure for itself. The driver seemed to be quite ambitious and did not hesitate to use every chance to speed up. After making progress, we conveniently had to climb the last stage to the mountaintop – another 2 miles of steps up atan altitude of over two thousand meters. This was a massive challenge for everybody of us because none of us actually never been on a mountaintop like this before. We started questioning ourselves if it was a good decision to do this trip but we were so close to our goal.
And when we reached the mountaintop we immediately recognized that every step was absolutely worth climbing!
We were surrounded by clouds. This was an amazing experience. There is a huge Buddhist statue on the mountaintop which is really impressive as well as beautiful. Considering the fact that this is a mountaintop the area is surprisingly spacious. Next to the statue and temple there are numerous viewpoints. It truly is amazing! Peering down from our high perch made all the other mountains seem so small, similar to how you look to the clouds from a plane. At some point we were able to take a look down into the depth. This makes you feel quite humble. Emei Shan is truly a majestic place.
For some Chinese people we seemed to as much an attraction as the mountain itself. A lot of people asked us to take a picture with them. This procedure nearly lasted 15 minutes. But we did not mind at all and were happy to do it. In total we spend two hours on the mountain. Then we split up. Some of us wanted to have the adventure of using the cable car in this height, some of us climbed the stairs back down.
All in all, this trip had been really great and definitely the best nature trip I’ve done so far. I’m curious what will be my next adventures in China but it will be really hard for any sight to compete with Emei Shan.
Interested in experiencing China’s majestic natural beauty first hand? Why not come to China! Apply now or send us an email for more information.
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.
After what seemed like endless weeks of heavy rain and foggy (but by no means cold) weather, summer has finally hit Zhuhai. The past few days have seen a glorious streak of sunshine and heat, with temperatures ranging between 25°C and 30°C. It still rains from time to time but there’s no mistaking: summer is here and it’s only going to get hotter.
The InternChina staff and all the interns have, of course, taken advantage of the beautiful weather and are not wasting a second indoors. This weekend’s activities, for example, have included hiking, beach volleyball, sunbathing, swimming and biking. Sure, we might complain occasionally about the humidity and how it’s now impossible to stay dry, but all things considered, we are loving the summer and never want it to end.
One thing we hadn’t thought about, however, is the food. In western countries, the ultimate summer dish is the salad, and there are countless recipes for all tastes and pallets: vegetable salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, tuna salad… you name it. But the concept of salad as we know it does not apply here in China, and even though you can definitely find some yummy salads at western-style restaurants, they’re usually quite expensive and therefore not a viable option to eat on a regular basis.
So, what to eat then? As much as we love Chinese food – and we do – sometimes when it’s so hot that you break a sweat the minute you step outside the door, the last thing you want to eat is a scalding-hot noodle soup or a steaming plate of dumplings. If you’re new to China, you might start to despair, thinking “All Chinese food is hot! What am I going to eat now?” But having been here a few months – as most of us have – you begin to discover that no, all Chinese food is not hot and yes, there is quite a variety of delicious cold dishes (liang cai – 凉菜) that will freshen up your taste buds and keep you cool during the hot summer months.
Here are a couple of my favorites:
Cucumber with mashed garlic (suan ni huan gua – 蒜泥黃瓜)
I call this “cucumber salad”, and it’s really a very simple dish: chopped cucumber, garlic, hot chilli oil and Sichuan peppers. It can be quite spicy, but I’ve found they serve it at a few restaurants and the level of spiciness varies, plus you can add some black vinegar or soy sauce to tone it down.
Cold skin noodles (liang pi – 凉皮)
This is a dish that you simply must not miss while in China. These noodles (though the word “skin” is in the name, there is actually no meat) originate from Shaanxi province and, though there are many variations of the dish, most of them are served with hot chilli oil and black vinegar. My favorite version comes also with julienned cucumber, bean sprouts and peanuts on top.
Shredded potatoes (tu dou si – 土豆絲)
Many westerners love potatoes so this is the perfect dish for them. The potatoes are served with peppers and vinegar – tangy and fresh yet quite filling.
Last Saturday we went to Laoshan for some hiking. Laoshan means ‘mountain lao’ and it is located in the east of Qingdao.
Our Group was guided by Mu & Richard, two ‘Qingdaorens’ who love hiking. Although they are professional guides, they have never been in charge of such a big group of foreigners. We met at 7:45h next to Hisense Plaza where the bus collected us. After 40 minutes, we arrived at the bottom of Laoshan.
It took us nearly 3 hours walking, climbing and abseiling to get to our picnic area where we ordered ‘di san xian’ (地三鲜) and ‘ji’ (鸡). In fact, we didn’t know that this ‘ji’ (chicken) was still alive at the time. But it wasn’t our only weird experience with animals that day. Some of us found snakes in big glasses which were filled with alcohol. The owner of this restaurant told us that this special snake-alcohol would make a man stronger and macho, so some of us drunk it – but sadly didn´t feel any difference!
Right next to the little picnic area was a lovely lake where we all went swimming. The water was fresh and crystal clear. After this nice stop, we were ready to go all the way back. The way down as expected, was much easier than the way up. We also had more time to admire the amazing view.
We all enjoyed the trip, had a great time and are looking forward to the next one,which is likely to be to the Huangdao beach.