When you think of visiting China you immediately think of the famous destinations- The Bund in Shanghai, Beijing’s Forbidden City and the Terracotta Army of Xi’an among many, many others. But if you want to be able to go home and have people saying “tell me more” rather than “I already know that”, then you’ll want to visit some of the amazing destinations our interns have discovered over the years, all close enough to visit in a weekend (which isn’t nearly long enough of course.)
From Chengdu, Emei Shan can be easily reached by both bus and train so it is an ideal overnight trip.
Emei Shan is a well-known attraction to many because of the deep cultural and religious associations with Buddhism. The first Buddhist temple, Huazang, was built here in 1AD, and the largest Buddha in the world, LeShan’s Giant Buddha (which stands at an awe inspiring 71 metres tall) is also located here.
In addition to the cultural, religious and historical importance of Emei Shan, the area is a huge conservation effort. You can find over 3,000 diverse species of plants and trees over a millennium old all around the mountains, as well as over 2,000 kinds of animals.
Emei Shan will leave you speechless- its beauty, fascinating history and religious calm will make this a trip to remember. So stroll up the mountain, take in the view, and relax as the monks from over 30 temples remind you of the spiritual importance of this place.
Kangding, also known as the Land of the Snows, is a trip for those who don’t mind braving the cold in order to experience a fascinating combination of Chinese and Tibetan culture. While you will have to endure a 10 hour bus journey from Chengdu, the sights that will welcome you throughout Kangding will make you forget all about the journey.
You will get to experience true Tibetan cuisine and customs while here- one intern said they felt as if they’d travelled to Tibet without ever leaving China.
Highlights of the trip include the Tagong and Dordrak Monasteries, Guoda Mountain, Hailuogou Valley, the Taong grasslands and the Mugetso Scenic Area. Arguably the best time of year to visit is in Autumn, but whenever you decide to visit, make sure you pack warm clothes!
JiuZhaiGou National Park is yet another area of astonishing national beauty in China… blue lakes only seen in paintings, sprawling mountain ranges, waterfalls and forests to entertain you for hours. Similar to Kangding, JiuZhaiGou will give you the opportunity to experience some Tibetan culture. While you do need to pay admission into the park, you have acres to explore and hours to do so- you can even camp out if you’re feeling adventurous.
If you want to see the park in all its glory, visit in Autumn to be surrounded by every colour imaginable while the weather is still enjoyable.
Located close to Dalian is the capital of Liaoning province, Shenyang. Shenyang is an ancient city filled with great artistic, cultural and historical importance- namely due to the excellent preservation of the Shenyang Imperial Palace. Shenyang is also widely believed to be the birthplace of the Qing Dynasty (which lasted from 1644 to 1911!), so it is a city filled with more than 2000 years of history.
Other notable relics from the Qing Dynasty include the Fuling Tomb, in which the founder of the Qing Dynasty (Nurhachi) and his Empress are interred, and the Zhaoling Tomb, home of Nurhachi’s successor Huang Taji and his Empress.
And if you are interested in more than just the history of the city, there is a curious natural phenomenon for you to play with- Guaipo. The “Strange Slope”, as it is otherwise known, is a sloping piece of land approximately 80 metres long which doesn’t abide by the rules of gravity. Cars, bicycles and tourists alike all have to accelerate to go downhill, yet can enjoy a leisurely roll back up the hill… just a little confusing!
Of course, there is the usual abundance of bars, restaurants and KTV venues to keep you occupied at night.
While Beijing is far from being an “off the beaten track” destination, it’s a popular trip for the Qingdao interns. After all, it would be a little disappointing to go to China without seeing the Great Wall when it’s only a few hours away on the train! If you aren’t aware of what China’s capital city has to offer you, a quick summary would be the Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs, Tiananmen Square, the National Grand Theatre, the panda base, the Silk Market, the Lama Temple and the Forbidden City. Oh, and the Great Wall of China.
Beijing is a city with millions upon millions of people from all walks of life, and with a history spanning three thousand years it’s obvious why this is one of the most traveled to destinations in the world. You’ll have the opportunity to see ancient and modern China with your own eyes all in one place!
You can reach Beijing from Qingdao in around five hours via train, or even quicker by plane, however travelling by train is a whole other experience everyone should have in China!
Qingdao is famous for two mountains- Fushan and Laoshan. While FuShan has the attraction of being located in the middle of Qingdao, LaoShan provides a much more interesting challenge and experience… and who doesn’t love a challenge?
Located approximately a 30- 40 minute drive from Qingdao, visiting Laoshan will mean you can see rivers, waterfalls, ancient temples, beautiful forests and amazing scenery all from one place. The Laoshan National Park covers an area of around 450 square kilometres, so you will have plenty of sights to see on your climb to the top of Mount Lao. Or if the climb seems too daunting, take the cable car to the top, and relax with some local Tsingtao beer or Mount Lao green tea while you enjoy the view.
ZhouZhuang in the Jiangsu province, arguably the most beautiful water town in China, is located near Shanghai and is very easily travelled to from Qingdao by bus, train or plane in just a few hours.
If you want to be transported back to quieter times in China, then a day trip to Zhouzhang will be perfect for you. The opportunity to float along the waterways of this village on a traditional gondola and witness the locals go about their daily lives entirely on the water is not something you can see anywhere else- who wouldn’t want to witness someone doing their shopping from a boat? With the added bonus of being surrounded by ancient architecture almost a thousand years old, which has been virtually untouched by the recent developments in China, ZhouZhuang is the perfect relaxing day trip.
Macau, also known as the “Las Vegas of Asia”, is a fast paced, energetic city that you will struggle to fit into a weekend trip. Unfortunately this trip is only possible if your visa allows multiple entries, so if not it may be best to wait until you are leaving China to spend a weekend here. To visit Macau from Zhuhai, you can take a ferry across the bay or even walk!
Macau will offer you an interesting mix of Cantonese Chinese and Portuguese influences, and it is highly recommended to take time to walk around the city and take in the mix of architecture and cultures surrounding you. Make your way from Sendao Square around the streets, sampling traditional Macau food, visiting Golden Lotus Square and the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral. In the evening, spend some time around the famous casinos!
Foshan is both one of Guangdong province’s oldest cities (5,000 years old!) and one of the most modern. With a history heavily focused on the arts, including opera, martial arts and traditional ceramic crafts, there no shortage of cultural activities in the city for the art lovers among you.
If you want to try your hand at creating some traditional Chinese pottery, you can do so using the Nanfeng Kiln, otherwise known as the oldest kiln in China.
There is a much more recent connection to the martial arts as well- you can visit the house of Bruce Lee’s ancestors! If that isn’t to your interest, then the Zumiao Commercial Street filled with malls, plazas, restaurants and tea houses might be more to your taste.
To continue your cultural development, visit the Ancestral Temple, or the Qinghui Garden.
If you’ve ever held a 20RMB note, then you are already familiar with the mountain scenery that will greet you from the Li River in Yangshuo.
There are several reasons to visit Yangshou, including the incredible change of pace you’ll be thrown into (compared to Zhuhai’s easy going atmosphere). You can start the trip with a lazy rafting journey down the Li River, before visiting the incredible Silver Cave below:
There’s also the abundance of amazing local food, including Beer Fish, stuffed Li River snails, bite size Li River fried shrimp and of course, street barbecues.
If you want to visit these amazing cities yourself, then apply now to experience China yourself!
Qingdao, was soviel wie die Grüne Insel bedeutet, ist eine Hafenstadt in der Provinz Shandong im Osten der Volksrepublik China. Heute leben und arbeiten rund 7 Millionen Menschen in Qingdao. Nicht nur der rapide Bevölkerungsanstieg, sondern auch das enorme Wirtschaftswachstum in den letzten Jahren macht Qingdao zu einer der wichtigsten Handelsmetropolen an der Ostküste Chinas.
Von 1898 bis 1919 gehörte die Stadt als Kolonie zum Deutschen Reich welcher der Grund für den charakteristisch deutschen Baustiel im Westen der Stadt ist. Weltweit bekannt ist die Küstenmetropole für ihr Bier namens Tsingtao, das seinen Ursprung in der deutschen Kolonialzeit hatte. Zudem wurden 2008 vor der Küste Qingdaos die Segelwettbewerbe der Olympischen Sommerspiele von Peking ausgetragen was zu dem westlichen Charakter der Stadt beigetragen hat.
Wirtschaftlich entwickelte sich Qingdao in den letzten Jahren sehr schnell. Als Tiefseehafen ist Qingdao bedeutend für die ölverarbeitende Industrie und den Güterverkehr der gesamten Halbinsel Shandong. Der Hafen der Stadt ist der drittgrößte Hafen Chinas und der achtgrößte der ganzen Welt. Er gilt als Chinas wichtigste Anlage zur Aufnahme von Erdöl und ist der größte Hafen für Eisenerzimporte. Als zweitwichtigster Hafen für den Außenhandel des Landes soll sogar in der Zukunft den bisherigen Spitzenreiter Shanghai ablösen und größter Hafen der Welt werden.
Qingdao ist eine sehr westlich geprägte Stadt in welcher eine Vielzahl von europäischen und amerikanischen Unternehmen ansässig sind, welches zu einer zunehmenden Modernisierung der Stadt führt. Qingdao ist jedodoch durch seine alte Geschichte und die zunehmende Industrialisirung eine sehr vielseitige Stadt und kann Besuchern und Touristen ein hohes Maß an chinesisch kulturellen sowie als auch sehr moderne Einblicke bieten. Neben dem sehr international geprägten Arbeitsumfeld kann man in Qingdao seine Freizeit wunderbar in einem der vielen kleinen Straßencaffee’s oder Restaurants verbringen oder auch einen der 7 verschiedenen Strände besuchen. Auch im Nachtleben steht Qingdao in nichts nach und kann mit anderen chinesischen Metropolen sehr gut mithalten. Es gibt eine Vielzahl an Bars, Restaurants und Nachtclubs in denen Einheimische mit Ausländern feiern und eine gute Zeit genießen.
In jeglicher Hinsicht ist Qingdao eine sehr unterhaltsame, interessante und sehr schöne Stadt die man während eines China Aufenthaltes auf jeden Fall mal besucht haben sollte.
Written by Anna Theves | Intern at InternChina
Losing your passport a week before your flight is the basis for the nightmares of many people who go abroad – for me it was a reality. Last week I realised that my passport had gone missing when it dawned on me that it wasn’t in one of few hiding spots in my room. Here is a debrief of the processes you will go through in order to get an Emergency Travel Document and get home, correct as of 26th September 2014.
Search everywhere, everything and everyone (maybe not the last one)
I searched every nook and cranny of my flat. I moved my wardrobe, flipped my mattress and stuck my head in rather uncomfortable positions with the optimistic dream that it had fallen down the back of the sofa or was hiding in one of my trouser pockets. If you are fortunate then this ordeal will stop here for you.
Once you begin to lose hope of finding your beloved passport, it is fair enough if you want to scream your lungs out over it. But you have to accept that it is gone and then plan your next steps with a sound mind, after that it isn’t so bad. Working with InternChina, I was lucky to have the support and necessary advice I needed in order to get my new documents in time before my flight in 1 week and indeed this support is available to all our interns.
Step 1 – Gather passport copies, relevant documents and passport photos (with receipt)
Step 2 –Police Station (handy to have a Chinese speaker)
It shouldn’t take too long but first off, was to report my missing passport to the police station, hand them your passport copies and they will give you a small form with a red stamp on it [all formal documents should have a red stamp on them]. Having my InternChina colleague, Henry, there to help translate for me made this step much easier.
Step 3 – Local ‘Division of Exit and Entry of (insert city) Public Security Bureau’
Next I was told to take my police report and passport copies and to inform the Exit and Entry bureau of my missing passport. They spoke English here so I was happy to make the journey myself. You will have to queue and wait to be called to the desk like any Visa office. Once reported, they will give you another form detailing the report of the missing passport. Ask in advance how long it will take to arrange a new visa, as you may need to change your flight if you simply don’t have enough time.
Step 4 – Nearest National Consulate
With your police report, your Exit and Entry bureau report, flight details and a proof of residence in your home country (eg. Driver’s license) and passport copies, the next step is to make an appointment with your nearest Consulate/Embassy in order to get your Emergency Travel Documents (ETD). For me this was the British Consulate in Guangzhou and they were able to arrange an emergency time slot for me which was great, you will have to pay for this service though (mine was 1020rmb). I went in the morning, my meeting was at 10am and it only took until the end of the afternoon to collect it – and now you can go back to wherever you are staying.
Step 5 –Residence report
If you registered with the police then you will need to go and amend this with your new ETD passport number. If you are staying at a hotel then you can ask the reception to help you with this form.
Step 6 – Local ‘Division of Exit and Entry of (insert city) Public Security Bureau’ again
You now need a visa to exit the country. Bring all your documents, photos etc here. Ask for a visa application form and fill it out and queue up for the desk. Once you are there you can apply for the visa and they will give you an estimated date to collect your visa and how much it will cost – you may be required to pay via a Chinese card – they will take your ETD passport until visa collection.
Step 7 – Collect your ETD Passport with visa!
That’s it. It’s over. Now enjoy the rest of your time before your sweet flight.
I was given one week off to travel around China, so I had to think about where I wanted to go. Zhuhai is a beautiful city but as my internship is based here I wanted to go somewhere different. I also wanted to be able to go back home and tell my family and friends about different parts of China. I had already been to Shanghai, but I still had not visited Beijing which is on my “must-see-list” for my time here. Thanks to modern technology my flight was booked and I met up with my boyfriend in Beijing. That night we stayed in a hotel close to the airport (Tianyuan Hotel) and the very next day we had a smooth start as we started our onward journey into the capital of China. A lot of the Zhuhai interns had already been to Beijing, so I had heard about a few famous places to visit. I really wanted to see the Wangfujing food street, so we did that on our first day! My boyfriend went for the sugar-coated fruits on sticks rather than the insects. I was there just looking around and enjoying the atmosphere. We made our four days in Beijing a typical tourist style trip and visited as many of the famous places we could! On Monday we started with the Summer Palace. During the whole week we were very lucky with the weather, thus perfect to get some sun and relax.
I mostly enjoyed our walks through the merchants’ district on the Quianmen Dajie, Dazhalan and Liulichang streets and our trip to the Great Wall by ourselves. We met some nice people on our trip who gave us a lot of information and helped us find the correct bus to Badaling. We explored a new way of travelling. There were a lot of strange guys wearing the same uniform trying get us into cabs and also telling us that there were no more buses to the Great Wall for the day. So when you are travelling in China you need to be careful. But finally we found the bus to the place and actually spent less money than going there with a travel agency.
All in all we spent 5 nights in Beijing which was more than enough. We still had a couple of days left and instead of going straight back to Zhuhai we decided to go to Hangzhou. From Beijing South Railway Station it only took us 5 hours with the high speed train to arrive there. Hangzhou is close to Shanghai and is bigger than Zhuhai. Hangzhou is a very beautiful city, where we spent most of our time around and on the West Lake. We also did a short boat trip over the lake, hiked up some mountains close by and took some amazing pictures of Hangzhou from the mountain top.
I was so lucky to visit these places and with so many new unforgettable memories of China to take in, we finally flew back to Zhuhai last Sunday (23th March, 2014). When we arrived back both of us noticed that we were are back in a city with a more upbeat rhythm but still with a calm atmosphere. I would love to go Hangzhou again, but only once more and only for a holiday.
Apply now for an internship and experience China by yourself as I did last week! Learn more about other cities and return to the city were you have been placed with the sense of coming home.
Last week I probably did my last trip during my time here in China. After being to Shanghai during Golden Week and visiting one of the holy mountains of China, Taishan, I definitely wanted to see the capital of China – Beijing.
Before the trip started my good friend Aubry came to Qingdao two days in advance and I had time to show him Qingdao (which has been my home for the past 5 months). I showed him around in our beautiful old part of the city, as well as our nice beaches.
On Thursday our trip to Beijing could finally start. We decided to stay in a hostel called Sanlitun Youth Hostel, which I can really recommend to you, if you want to stay in Beijing for a few days or even a while. It has cheap prices, a warm atmosphere, clean rooms and even offers some nice food – I can definitely recommend you the big Swiss breakfast.. yummy! Besides that, you have a young, open minded and very international audience that we liked to hang out with.
The next day we took a trip to the Great Wall which I have really been looking forward to. It was a great experience to walk up all the way on our own and enjoy the landscape. Also the wall itself was quite impressive. At the end of our walk on the wall we found a part which has not been restored – this is where you can have the nicest of all views!
The following day we started exploring the city a bit more. We visited some of the more famous sights of the city as the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. A personal tip here is to go to the Jing Shan Park near the Forbidden City. It is not very much crowded and is a really nice area. If you go up the little hill inside the park you have a great view above the Forbidden city and also the city in general.
After we explored much more of the city area, we decided to find ourselves a nice place to eat. We found out about Sanlitun village which is a big complex with lots of restaurants and shopping. The place you should not miss if you like some Mexican food is the Cantina Agave. Atmosphere and food there are top notch. Near Sanlitun village is also huge bar street where we had some drinks in various bars.
All in all it has been a nice experience and Beijing is a city that is worth a visit. We had a decent time and I guess we have really been lucky with the weather, as it was sunny all day and there was literally no smog at all. Beijing is a bit more Chinese than Shanghai in a way but is also just as lively. Nothing more to say than – bye bye, Beijing!
It’s getting cooler in Zhuhai – so we decided to take the last chance to visit one of the many islands around us. So 15 of us packed our stuff for camping trip on the beach right next to the sea.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t considerate of us – it was still warm but cloudy due to the terrible typhoon that is raging in the Philippines at the moment. We checked which direction it was heading to, and there were no worries about our destination.
We arrived at the ferry port on Saturday noon and it was already very windy outside – but we didn’t care, because it was the weekend and we were on the way to a beautiful island. Unfortunately it seemed like the ferry captain made his first experience with wild sea that day. During the one hour horror trip to the island, about every third person on this boat had to throw up. The stewardesses distributed small plastic bags and on the way back they collected them in one bigger bag… they had a lot to do. Luckily most of us made it through without being sick.
Finally we arrived back on land – we started to pitch up our tents that we rented there. The windy was pretty hefty by now, and so pitching the tents was not easy business. Sometimes, if you weren’t careful enough the tent just flew away. 😀
Some of us (the softies) booked a hotel room to be safe from the cool wind from the sea. This, at the end turned out to be the better decision. We had a great time out there, sitting together and playing games, but at night the wind got stronger and it started to rain – some had a tent that wasn’t as waterproof as expected. First a lot of rain found its way into the tent, and soon it gave in to the wind, collapsing down on its inhabitants. So they escaped to join the softies in the hotel.
Sunday was a very lazy day, we chilled at the beach because it stopped raining. Some of us went up the mountain, others just walked around to explore the island. One hour before our ferry was scheduled to leave, some locals warned us that due to the typhoon there would be no ferry transfer that day. Worried by this news we started to contact the ferry office and our travel agency. It turned out that the typhoon indeed had changed direction and was headed our way. We were told that there may not be a ferry on Monday nor on Tuesday. We were stranded on the island for at least another night. We packed up our tents and hurried to find a hotel, as everyone on the island rushed to find accommodation.
Thankfully we managed to find a ‘beautiful’ hotel we could stay at. As the ATMs on the island didn’t work, money was our next problem. We were all low on cash, so we shared a double room with 3 people. Our plan for the following nights was to put as many people in one bed as possible, so we could save money. 🙂
We spent the night playing games, and since we had no money left, we couldn’t even afford a couple beers to lighten the mood. The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, we finally managed to get some tickets for the only ferry available that day. The typhoon had calmed to a tropical storm.
To sum it all up we are very happy that we were stranded for just one night on the island and made it back alright.
大家好！Hello my name is Katharina, I am 24, from Germany and I just arrived in China last week. After landing in Beijing I immediately left for Jinan to visit a Chinese friend and then went on to Yangzhou to visit some old friends of mine. This weekend I arrived in Chengdu and started my internship at InternChina.
I studied Cultures and Societies of Asia, with main focus on Chinese Studies and Ethnology at University of Cologne and just finished my Bachelor’s degree. I have been fascinated with Asian culture, especially China and Japan, since I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and Anime. As I love to study languages as well I decided to study Chinese and go to China.
I spent my year abroad from 2010 until 2011 in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province. It is a relatively small city, but maybe some of you know Jiang Zemin, who was born there and during his political years helped to develop the city a lot. The atmosphere was very relaxed and there weren’t too many foreigners which helped to improve my Chinese. I still met many people from all over the world and it was a great experience.
As I approach the end of my studies I was looking for chances to go back to China as soon as possible. I found out about InternChina and thought this would be a great way to gain work experience in the field of cultural exchange and come back to Chengdu, which I have visited before and loved. Although I am not used to eating spicy food I will learn slowly, or as Chinese would say 慢慢来Mànmànlái. Jenny, Kenny and the other office interns received me very friendly. I am looking forward to improve my Chinese, learn a lot of new things and meet many nice people and of course to see the panda bears again 😉
I always look forward to travelling and exploring the world. So the weeks leading up to Golden Week I have been looking forward to going to Shanghai. After 3 months I could finally see my good friend Aubry again and besides that explore one of the craziest cities in the world – sounds like a solid plan.
Tickets for me and my colleague Sandra for the 1st of October were booked early and so the date was set. After arriving on Tuesday in the evening we decided to take a rest and get started the following day.
On Wednesday we began exploring the city. We went to a place called Thamestown which is built like an English village with small streets and typical English architecture, it was fun but very surreal! Afterwards we went to a big fake market. You can get everything there you have ever been looking for. But there is one ultimate skill required in this venue – knowing how to bargain. Thank God I know how to do that!
My friend and I got some nice tailor made shirts that look damn smart on us for a price that is too cheap to tell. Fake markets and tailors in Shanghai – definitely worth a visit!
We also did not forget to party. We tried several bars and clubs and my favorite has to be Club No. 88. If you like it the crazy Chinese way, do not miss it. It has a tremendous atmosphere, Russian dancers, Chinese live singers and the environment looks a bit like a video game. Craziness!
We also took a nice boat trip on the Pudong river at night. We ordered tickets that included a buffet but we should have thought about the fact that you do not order buffets in China… It was madness… When we got there it was no more a buffet than an ugly battlefield of food. As compensation we had a really nice view of the city.
An even nicer view we had was on our last evening when we visited the Flair bar above the Ritz & Carlton. It is on the 58th floor of the HSBC building and the impression you get of that huge, vibrating city is hard to describe!
When we were heading back to Qingdao on Sunday we knew we made a memorable trip to Shanghai but were also happy to escape this big, noisy megacity. Right back to Qingdao, back to a more pleasant, comfortable lifestyle.