On a Sunday, two days after my arrival in Zhuhai, I joined a day trip organized by one of the other IC office interns. I was told it was going to be a one hour bus drive and a one hour hike until we would reach a waterfall where we could go for a swim. By that time I did not know how amazing this trip was going to be.
At 10:00 in the morning we got on the bus to a town called 金星村, which is close to a mountain called 黄茅田 (or here the Google maps address: Sheng Dao, Taishan Shi, Jiangmen Shi, Guangdong Sheng).
We were a group of twenty enthusiastic interns who could not wait to see this supposedly beautiful waterfall. So we got off the bus, put sunscreen on, and started hiking.
After five to ten minutes of walking, the hiking track became quite adventurous. We strode through little streams, jumped from one stone to another, walked through bushes and had to be careful while walking along some pretty steep hillsides… oh and not to forget about all the Chinese paparazzi who came along and wanted to take selfies with us!
It was very hot and humid that day. Accordingly, we were melting in the sun until we finally reached the swimming hole. Within seconds, all of us jumped into the water to cool off. At last we then knew that the hike was totally worth it. The view from the top was stunning and we stayed for the whole afternoon.
And after that… well… we had to go all the way back to the town where the bus had been waiting for us. It turned out the way down was even more challenging than the way up. We had such a good time and it was a great opportunity for me to get to know the interns in Zhuhai. Even though I still had a jetlag, I’m very glad I joined the group that day..
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No way, I’ve been in Qingdao for three months already… Time flies as we say. Three months completely disconnected from western countries, entirely immerged in the Chinese culture. Now after three months I will leave China with my head full of memories and amazing experiences!
Since the day I arrived, I was looking forward to go to Laoshan, the famous mountain near Qingdao. Sadly, in January, February and March, the weather was still too cold to consider climbing that mountain, and I was feeling desperate to never be able to climb that mountain. And finally, as the end of my stay drew closer and I resigned to not climbing it, I took part in a Laoshan trip organized by InternChina. After an early wake up at 5 am to get to the bus – Laoshan here we are! Even though the weather wasn’t that sunny, I think it was the perfect week end to go to Laoshan (and not because it was my last week end in Qingdao). The temperature was warm enough to take off our sweaters to climb the stairs!
We went through unofficial trails, in the wild part of the mountain. Thankfully we had a Chinese guide who seemed to know exactly where we were and where we went, he was amazing! And once he even took me by the hand and helped me to climb the stairs (not that I couldn’t have done it myself but it was far easier this way). Mid-April is cherry blossom time! A lot of flowers everywhere which gave me the feeling that spring was finally here. After a lot of stairs, I can say that I managed to reach the top of the mountain (or at least the top of the peak our guide led us to), and I am so glad that I was able to do it!
When I wrote my first blog, I still couldn’t believe I was in China, and now I can’t believe I am about to leave it. Three months, it’s short, but I used all the time I had to discover most of the places that have to be seen in Qingdao and to meet a lot of incredible people. I am so grateful towards all those people who made my stay in Qingdao unforgettable. Thank you especially to the InternChina team in Qingdao, for giving me this great opportunity. And of course, many thanks to my host family who has been so nice with me!
Read more blogs here!
If you plan to come to Qingdao, you will inevitably hear about Laoshan, a must-see in the region. However, while waiting for warmer temperatures to go exploring this beautiful mountain and take a breath of fresh air, you can still go to Fushan, if you want to have an escape in the nature for a few hours.
Fushan is a 5km long and 2km wide mountain in the eastern part of Qingdao. Its highest point is roughly located at 384 meters above the sea. To go up there you won’t need a lot of time, just a bit of willingness. That is what we needed, me and a friend of mine, when we got up at 4:45 am on a Saturday morning (What? Lie in during the week end? Never!) to go to Fushan in order to see the sunrise from the mountain top. Rude awakening, I have to admit, but once our hiking shoes were on, we were up for climbing all of the mountains of the world. Well… it was only Fushan, but anyway.
We walked for a while in the quiet early morning of Qingdao. As we had already been there once, we were familiar with the small passage that allows you to enter the mountain: only three stairs separated the link between the street and the wildness of the mountain. From there, no more roads could be seen but only natural trails. We knew we were going to make it on time, thirty minutes before the sunrise, but the sky was becoming lighter and lighter (good job because otherwise we would have fallen more than once on the way). After few minutes walking gingerly, we reached the stairs. Here is where the real climbing began!
Time quickly passed, sweat and 500 stairs later, we found a comfortable rock to wait for the sunrise. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side, we didn’t even see the sea from the mountain. But even though we had chosen a foggy day, there were beautiful colors and the muted atmosphere caused by the fog was relaxing. We were just about to give up waiting, thinking we would never see the sun coming out, when suddenly we saw it, shyly emerging out of the fog, perfect bright sphere in the sky. We stayed there for a moment, just enjoying the moment.
Afterwards we made our way back home, after a short passage in a bakery for a well-deserved breakfast.
Interested in finding out more about Qingdao and the programs we offer? Click here to get more information
It has been some time since our last official InternChina trip. After a busy September and a relaxed October (because of the Chinese national holidays) we came back on track with a small trip to Shaoguan.
The weather was surprisingly friendly towards us. Actually in Shaoguan city it was warmer than Zhuhai itself. Or this could be due to the excitement of finally continuing to explore China and its beautiful nature.
It may have seemed hard in the beginning to wake up at Saturday early in the morning (around 6) but that was soon forgotten. Surprisingly no one complained at all about the early morning! Maybe they couldn’t wait for the hot springs. So after a 4, 5 hours long bus ride we were finally in Shaoguan.
First on our list was to have a lunch together and then move in to the hotel. Everything was arranged and we were moving on schedule! Then we were off to the hot springs:
We spent more than 3 hours inside of the hot springs. The water was really pleasant and relaxing. Some of the mini-pools were actually infused with various Chinese herbs or milk which made them feel exotic. Honestly my skin needed this treatment. It felt a little strange since it was the beginning of December. While our European countries were fighting massive floods and snow, we were actually walking around in our swim suits. Definitely a different experience.
After we finished with the hot springs everyone was really starving so we didn’t wait for long. After returning to the hotel at around 8 in the night we gathered as soon as we could and went for a restaurant. Food was really delicious…as it is everywhere in China. After a couple of “dinner” drinks we were ready to go and explore the small city of Shaoguan! The locals were following us around the city as usual but they were really friendly and managed to help us out to find a proper bar where we could “experience” more of the culture in the city!
I would say the night was a success! After a great game of Chinese dice, stage singing and many beers at around 1.30 we were all in our beds tired but happy.
The next day was all about mountain climbing. We arrived with the bus near the entrance of the mountain road. There were plenty of other enthusiasts going up to the top of the mountain. Waterfalls, huge rocks and small sidewalks paved the way to the top of the mountain. Unfortunately we couldn’t reach the top because we didn’t have the enough time. After climbing for 2 hours we reached barely the middle so we had to go back!
At the beginning of the afternoon we had to go. No one really understood how much leg pain we will have the next few days but everyone was happy for the trip we made. It was the perfect combination of relaxation, fun and sport.
We would like to thank Paul, Maddy, Henry, Sunny, Manish, Enrico, Fraser, Ralf, Kate, Chris, Jessie, all our Chinese friends that we made and myself for the great trip that we had. Can’t wait for the next one!
It’s Jenny again.
A trip is planned for the weekend. Some people asked me what can be expected from the excursion site of Xinfeng (新丰县) county. Xinfeng county is under the administration of Shaoguan city. First of all I looked up on Google maps how long it would take us to get there. From the InternChina office direct to Xinfeng it’s less than four hours. As we only travel by a coach, that’s how long it would take.
I did some research on the geography of Xinfeng, so that we’ll be well prepared when we get there: Xinfeng county has an area of about 2.016 km². Shaoguan – to which Xinfeng belongs – is a city in the north of Guangdong province (of which Zhuhai is also part of). Shaoguan is bordering by two other provinces (Hunan to the Northwest and Jiangxi to the Northeast).
Once we arrive in Xinfeng we will have the chance to try many of different dishes, such as the particularly famous tofu, basil ducks, chicken rice and river fish.
“After dinner rest a while, after supper walk a mile!” We will continue our journey after a good lunch and with full stomachs. One hour later we expect to arrive at the Sakura Valley, where we expect to be able to appreciate the beauty of falling Sakura blossoms.
As we will be mostly in the countryside, we can have a relaxing evening in Xinfeng while watching the night scene or enjoying hot springs in the jungle mountains.
After a hopefully long and restful night we will have a good, filling breakfast, to arm us for the next hours. We want to hike from the hotel to the foot of the mountain.
We will see a beautiful mountain formation in the so called Tiaojishan Nature Reserve. The highest peak is 1438.8 meters. I’m sure those rock formations will leave us breathless for a few seconds! Once we reached the viewpoint, we will walk to the camp. On the way there we will pass the ‘red earth zone’ along the stream.
After going through the jungles and stone zones, we will reach the second highest peak of the Cloud Bun Mountain.
During the whole hiking tour we will be able to listen to different kinds of birds, smell the fragrance of the flowers and enjoy the fresh air.
To sum up, I expect this to be a very relaxing trip for everyone – a chance to unwind, feel at one with nature, and to recharge ourselves!
By the way, for those of you who will join us and who already learnt some Chinese, there will be several Chinese people with which you can chat about culture, tips and tricks.
Looking forward to the weekend and I will let you all know, if my expectations have been fulfilled.
Also want to have the chance to see such beautiful scenery and take part in our adventures? Combine your travels with an internship in Qingdao, Zhuhai or Chengdu!
For last week’s Saturday Event the InternChina crew decided to walk up Fushan.
Fushan Mountain is one of the highlights of Qingdao. The whole mountain range is about 5 km long and the highest peak is perfectly embedded into the city. With a height of 384 meters it is not as exhausting as Laoshan to walk up but the lack of roads leading to the top makes it a great adventure! And Fushan is famous for its marvellous natural scenery.
Our small group of three people met Saturday afternoon to start the hiking trip. Since lots of people who had recently walked up Fushan gave me advice about where to start and where to go, I was quite confident that we would find the right way. But as soon as we got there it seemed to be a little more complicated.
We started our tour by finding our way around a locked fence with a red flag on top of it, walked up a few stairs and that was it. There was no obvious path that lead to the viewing platform, from which, I was told, the courageous ones could start their climb up to the final top of Fushan. Instead we were standing in the middle of pine trees and bushes with only a one foot wide path to follow.
After more than half an hour of following the path it suddenly stopped and instead of the viewing platform we were standing in the middle of graves. The ground was heaped up all around us with yellow squares and gifts for the dead in front of it. This was definitely not the right way. But as none of us wanted to turn around and go back to where we started, we decided to continue on our path. And after a one-hour walk through pine trees and high bushes we finally crossed the promised walking path right where it ended and the climb up to the peak began.
And the last bit of the hiking trip up Fushan was the best. Instead of walking you actually have to climb up big stones to get to the top. We started with the lowest peak but it was not enough, hence we continued to find our way over stones and through wild bushes to the highest Peak of Fushan. The wind was quite strong on that day but even though we made it to the top. At the end of our trip we were rewarded with a beautiful pre-sunset and a great view over the city. And our Tsingtao beer never tasted as good as it did after climbing up Fushan.
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!