Hi, my name is Steeve and I am currently undertaking a one month internship in Zhuhai organised for me by InternChina.
Within my first day of arriving in Zhuhai I was approached with the offer to join the other interns on an InternChina organised trip to Xiamen, naturally I was slightly sceptical due to the long 10 hour bus journey. However, I reluctantly joined knowing that this may be my only chance to experience the cultural history of China. Once the journey to Xiamen began, I am very pleased to say that I was completely wrong to second-guess the trip. Although the journey was long it was barely arduous. Driving through beautiful scenery and breathtaking mountainous backdrops really made the long journey a lot easier.
Before arriving at Xiamen the bus stopped for a toilet break, during this 15 minute break I was pleasantly surprised at the warmth and welcome from the locals. They sat us down and served us traditional Chinese tea. Although my understanding of Mandarin is not the best the language of welcome is universal and this village optimised it.
During our time in Xiamen we were fortunate to experience the variety of different environments the city has to offer, ranging from religious temples, to island tours. On the second day of the trip, we went to an area just outside of Xiamen which consisted of seven villages dating as old as 700 years; Yunshuiyao, Tianloukeng Tulou Cluster, Taxia Village, Huaiyuanlou, Hekeng Tulou Cluster, Yuchanglou, Heguilou and last but not least Yunshuiyao. With beautiful scenery rich in culture and breathtaking streams and water features. We got to see traditional tea making as well as traditional rice wine making. We even got the chance to meet some of the villagers, the pride they showed in their culture was awe-inspiring.
While in Xiamen we also had the opportunity to visit a famous island just off the coast of the city, the main attraction of the island is the sunlight rock. Do not let the name fool you as it was more than just a rock we saw!!
We were also fortunate enough to visit the Piano Museum where we got to see some of the greatest collections of classical pianos played by composers such as Igor Fyodorovich Starvinsky.
The nightlife in Xiamen was quite vibrant and cosmopolitan with friendly people; those who could speak English would always say hello to you and make conversation which helped us feel so welcome.
I’d like to be 1st to thank all the staff at intern China for arranging such a wonderful trip. It felt less like being taken around by talk guides and more like a road trip with close family and friends. And I would like to encourage any in turn to grab the opportunity with both hands.
If you would like the opportunity to explore China, all while doing an internship apply now
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.
InternChina planned another fun trip for their interns during the Dragon Boat Festival, this time going to Xiamen! The city is a mere 12 hour bus ride away, which only costs 300 RMB (36.5 €). Having left at 8:00pm Sunday night, we arrived at 8:00am Monday morning, and straight away started our sight-seeing.
First stop: Xiamen University, said to be the most beautiful university in all of China. Across the street was a beautiful temple, with a mountain to climb to see the city views.
Xiamen’s beach is very beautiful and has a lot of fun activities, one of which is to rent a 3-person bicycle and ride down the coast. So after visiting the university and temple, we all had fun jumping into the water (most jumped in with all their clothes on!) and enjoying a cool-down in the summer heat.
After lunch, we took the bus and ferry to Gulangyu Island to experience the romantic beauty of the island at night. Gulangyu Island is a car-free island and is home to around 20,000 people. Having been a treaty port after the First Opium War, the island is filled with Victorian-era style architecture and British influence. There is a great international culture of pub drinking and relaxing in the evening with friends. We all enjoyed walking around the island, having a local dinner and relaxing in the main square with a couple of beers.
There was an abundance of street BBQ everywhere, selling delicious-smelling sea-food.
The last ferry leaves Gulangyu Island at 12:00am. Xiamen has many Bar-streets, so if you’re not spending the night on the island there are plenty of other places in the city to have a good night!
The following morning, we checked out of our hotel and set out for our journey to the Tea Villages of Fujian, a five hour bus ride away from Xiamen. Although everyone was exhausted from the night before, the scenery viewed from the bus was too stunning to miss; beautiful mountains with tea farms, rice terraces and banana plantations.
We arrived at the World Cultural Heritage – NaJing Yun Shui Yao, where we would spend the next two days. Fujian is important to China, as it produces black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea and scented tea, of which only the green tea was not pioneered in Fujian. This tea is sold all over China. For all tea-lovers, this is the place to stock up! Yana (a Russian intern) and I bought two 1-kg bags of tea for as little as 65 RMB (8 €)! The Chinese that came on the trip of course left with bags and bags of tea to bring home.
We ate lunch in a local restaurant that was situated in a vegetable garden. All the food that we ate was grown in that vegetable garden, which made the meal very special.
Afterwards, we went to the famous Round Houses of Fujian. These were built by families around 700 years ago to protect themselves against brigands. The houses only consist of one entrance and small windows on the outside walls and do not have walls on the ground level. The center holds a courtyard and a small temple. The external walls are typically 1 meter thick, and are three- to four-stories high. Each Round House could house up to 100 people, the typical size of one family during the period. The architectural style of the Round Houses are very unique in China, as most houses usually only consist of one- or two-stories. The houses are set in a landscape of flowing hills covered with Tea plantations.
We were able to go into the houses and see how they look and are set up. Most of the houses still have families living in them, and they were very kind to us. There were little shops set up inside, and Ruary (a British intern) had the benefit of learning how to play the Chinese flute!
There were also many tea-stalls, where they gave us some tea-samples and did the traditional tea-pouring ceremony.
The lovely hotel we were staying in on the river made us dinner and sat us in the hotel courtyard where we enjoyed a cozy and delicious dinner, and afterwards an abundance of beer and games. Because of the traditions of the Dragon Boat Festival, we were setting off fire-crackers and fireworks all night, as was everyone else in Fujian!
The next morning was one of leisure. Having been playing games and listening to music, some of us only got to bed at 4:00am in the morning, and were really excited to sleep in. Fire-crackers were going off all night and morning, so I was awoken to what I thought was a bomb. We had a couple of hours to kill before the bus would leave for Zhuhai at 1:00pm, so we all set out to find some local lunch and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the tea village.
Hello hello my lovelies!
I’ve just come back from a crazy weekend in Singapore. I was originally planning to go to Xiamen but a typhoon hit China this weekend and a cheap flight came up for Singapore so I figured…why not?!
I met up with some friends from uni who live in Singapore and had an amazing time.
Initially when I was deciding between Qingdao and Zhuhai, I never even considered how WONDERFUL it is to be so close to Hong Kong. HK is a hub for all of Asia so the number of cheap flights available is astounding! I am already planning to go to Thailand in July with some friends!
I’ve attached some goofy photos from this weekend, including my experience of having a very large python named Elizabeth wrap around my body at the zoo!
For anyone considering staying in Zhuhai, make sure you fully realise all of the travel opportunities the city affords you!! I don’t think there is a better place, location wise: it borders Macao and along with multiple 1-hour ferry services to Hong Kong daily (to both downtown and directly to the airport) it is just the best!