Category: Guest Post

Guest Post: 7 Chinese engineering marvels you haven’t heard about

Guest Post: 7 Chinese engineering marvels you haven’t heard about

China is a home to 1.3 billion people. It is rich in resources and has become one of the leading world powers in defense and energy sector. I would be lying to everyone if I state that Chinese people just made themselves great in this century. The whole world knows this nation is destined to rule the globe one day. Chinese are known to do magic with their work. We have a present example of The Great Wall of China to back our statement. Over the Centuries, China has not only made The Great Wall, but also some other Wonders of the World; such as The Forbidden City, Terra Cotta Army, Shi Bao Zhai Temple and more. Today, China is in continuous development and if you visit this Land of Wonders, you may come across many other Modern Wonders of the World and other Engineering Marvels you haven’t heard about yet.

A structural Wonder is first developed and designed as a building with an ambition to make it special. Chinese engineers and architects are ruthless and determined to the core. Designing and building an engineering marvel is a norm for them. Tourists travel to China from all over the world, to see Chinese engineering geniuses and wonders. If you want to visit China in the near future, you can book your cheap airline tickets with UK Travel Agency flights. Although you may know many of their modern man-made wonders, you may not have heard about the following 7 Chinese Engineering Marvels. So read this article and know more about them. We recommend you to include them on your to-do list in China.

  1. Three Gorges Dam

When we talk about Dams, the first thing comes to our mind is a huge water reservoir which we have seen in our local country and admired. But when we talk about Three Gorges Dam, nothing even comes near when we compare it with any other Dam, especially not the one you have seen; as it is in a league of its own. The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s biggest hydroelectric dam. It is also the world’s biggest concrete structure and the total cost to build it was 56 billion USD. It became fully functional in 2012 and is capable of producing 22 gigawatts of power.

You can go there when you visit China and we guarantee you will be left in the state of awe. It is located in Yangtze region and is one of the best spots for cruise ships. We recommend you to take a Yangtze River cruise to see the full might of this dam.

  1. Bullet Train

We have bullet trains in France, Spain, Japan and other countries but none of them compares with Chinese Grandest Bullet Train System. It is considered a modern engineering wonder of China and is about 22,000 kilometers long. This state of the art bullet train is also one of the best and cheapest way to travel in China. It is convenient and comfortable and can get you anywhere in China in a jiffy.

  1. The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge

The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge is the world’s longest bridge. China has some longest bridges in the world and they are all high speed. This bridge is 164.8 Km long and it was completed in 2011. If you plan to visit China, you should also plan to cross this bridge once.

This bridge is a part of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, and it bisects low lying terrain in the Yangtze Delta, river, lakes, and rice paddies.

  1. The Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge

The Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge is the longest glass bridge in the world. It is also the highest glass bridge ever made. This bridge is an example of creativity and passion towards inventiveness. Don’t just plan to visit it, walk over it for an extra adrenaline rush.

  1. The Shanghai Tower

Speaking of Chinese Engineering Marvels, one cannot ignore the second highest standing man-made structure in the world. The Shanghai Tower is a 632-meter, 128 stories mega-tall Skyscraper. It also offers the view of changing colors at the horizon from its highest observation deck. This building is equipped with the fastest elevators in the world and is one of the modern wonders of the world. Every aspect of this building is a record of some sort, so don’t miss the chance to visit it.

  1. Qinghai-Tibet Railway

Apart from state of the art bullet trains, China is also home to the world’s highest train service which also includes the highest train station and highest railway tunnel. It is one of the greatest engineering feats in modern world’s history.

With the completion of this railway track, China has made it easy for people to travel to Tibet, which was not easy to access before.

  1. China National Highway 314 – Karakorum Highway

China National Highway 314, or more commonly known as Karakorum highway, is one of the highest paved roads. This road connects China to Pakistan through the highland and mountains of Xinjiang Uyghur region; and is of very much strategic importance. This highway was made with amazing Chinese engineering and labor hard work. There are many tunnels and one can enjoy a comfortable car or a bus ride through it into the mountains. You can see amazing mountains that are 7000 meters high, along with Yellow River and other beautiful lakes.

My name is Kazim Raza and I am a professional blogger & work as a digital marketing expert at flights to Copenhagen travel agency. If want to work with smart minded people and their payroll doesn’t matter for them then you are capable to afford me. I love to do branding because I’ve nine-year-old affair with it.

My aim is to work with all those people who want to do business with their business names only. They have vision and they are mature enough to play smartly.

If you can do work with that mentality then dare to contact me I would convert your coffee into a mindset which you should have for your business to bring it on next level.

 

Guest Post: Tips to Stay Productive While Traveling

Guest Post: Tips to Stay Productive While Traveling

Working as a digital nomad has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and choosing to become one has its advantages and drawbacks. Being able to travel and make money at the same time is a very appealing idea. If you think you’re disciplined enough to balance out business and pleasure on your trips, then you should definitely think about working while traveling. However, there are numerous things that could go wrong on such journeys, and here are a few tips on how to avoid them.

Always plan ahead

First of all, it’s absolutely crucial to have a detailed plan on how you’re going to organize your typical day. You’ll have to establish some routines. If you don’t do that, you might end up not being focused enough while working, while on the other hand not enjoying your free time because you know you’re behind schedule with your work.

Your plan will, naturally, depend on the type of job you do, amount of work you have, as well as what you intend to do on your trips and your general habits and routines. It’s vital that you don’t think about work during your free time and vice versa – if you don’t separate the two, you’ll get yourself into trouble and you’re not going to enjoy your stay. Also, have in mind you’ll always need a few days to adapt to a new place, especially if there’s jet lag. So try to design your plan in such a way that you don’t have to work too much in the first few days and that you don’t stay at new places for less than a week.

Break your tasks down

It’s often hard to focus when you know there’s a huge project ahead of you and you haven’t even started working on it. Just the thought of the amount of effort you need to put in might be discouraging, especially if you’re on the road. Therefore, it’s important to take baby steps. Break big tasks into little bits, and think only about completing the next stage. It will be easier for you to concentrate and start working, and the sense of accomplishment after every finished stage will continually push you through your next task.

Work space

One of the things you should seriously think about if you choose to work while traveling is your work space. Ideally, your hotel room or the flat you’re renting can serve as one. But if you’re the type of person that gets distracted a lot when working from home, then working from a hotel room might be even more difficult. In addition to your coy bed and cable TV, there’s a whole world of things out there to discover at this new place and it’s hard to resist to just go out and play. That’s why you should consider other options as well.

In places where there are a lot of freelancers and digital nomads, such as Australia for instance, it’s not difficult to find an inexpensive co-working space or office for rent. Serviced offices are also a reasonable option, because they are more affordable and available immediately or on a short notice. You can find them in buildings run by facility management companies that will provide you with support staff as well. It’s easy to contact them online, so if you’re traveling around places like Australia, renting a serviced office in Melbourne or Sydney is simple and quick.

Charging your devices

Sometimes, you won’t be able to plan everything ahead and you’ll have to carry your laptop around while sightseeing or exploring the city, because you have a scheduled conference call or some work that can’t be postponed. Get used to always having your chargers with you and get an external charger in case there’s no power supply. It’s necessary to carry these with you at all times, since for you they’re just as important as your wallet or documents. Getting a solar-powered charger is not a bad idea as well. It’s easy to use the lack of power supply as an excuse and you simply mustn’t do that.

Prepare for offline situations

There will be times on your trip when there’s simply no internet whatsoever, especially while on the plane or on the bus. A solution to this problem is to download everything you might need in advance, so that you can do some work while being offline as well. Copy-paste important emails, download your tasks, projects and even articles about your industry that you wanted to check out. If you planned ahead to dedicate a few hours to your work, it’s important not to waste them, no matter whether you’re online or not.

Everything said above can be summed up into four words – discipline is key. You’ll be constantly tempted to break established routines but avoid that at all costs. Once you break the deal you made with yourself for the first time, there’s a good chance it’ll be happening again and again. Being spontaneous and impulsive on your trip is appealing, but if this is how you’re going to do it, then you should just simply take some time off and travel around. If you want to work and travel at the same time, then you won’t be able to think and act like an ordinary tourist, and the sooner you realize that, the better.

Lauren Wiseman is marketing specialist, contributor to bizzmarkblog.com  and entrepreneur. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in a fast-changing and demanding market, strongly believing in a holistic approach to business.

Guest Post – The 5 Best “Secret” Beaches in China

Guest Post – The 5 Best “Secret” Beaches in China

China. It’s a country rich in humanity, culture, and natural wonders. When we think of China, so many incredible images come to mind, but beaches aren’t usually among them.

China, though, has splendid beaches for enjoyment. The country has about 18,000 kilometers (over 11,000 miles) of coastline. While not every inch is part of a usable beach, China boasts hundreds of beaches.

If you live in any of China’s metropolitan areas, a beach getaway offers you the opportunity to slip away from the intensity of city life. If you are visiting, a trip to one of the serene beaches is a great way to unwind while experiencing yet another of China’s diverse riches.

So many beautiful beaches grace the coastline: Xiamen, Beidahe, Beihai, Puto Island, and many, many more. These are well-known so are crowded.

For those among us who prefer a secluded beach getaway, we’ve compiled a list of the five best “secret” beaches in China. These beaches are public beaches that can be openly enjoyed, but they aren’t so well-known that they attract daily crowds. In no particular order, we present peaceful, beautiful beaches.

1. Sanya

The city of Sanya on Hainan Island in southern China has several popular beaches. This is by far the best beach area in all of China. The region is known as the Hawaii of China because of its beaches.

The beaches are pristine and the waters a beautiful blue. If you love being active on the beach and engaging in water sports like snorkeling, SCUBA diving, jet-skiing, or riding in a glass-bottomed boat to take in underwater wonders, then one of Sanya’s beaches might be for you.

Expect crowds at many of these beaches. The “secretive” part of these beaches comes when you stay in one of the beach resorts. Most resorts have their own private stretch of beach available only to their guests. You get all the perks of these energetic beaches without the crowds.

2. Houhai Beach

Houhai Beach is another of Hainan Island’s many beaches. This South China Sea island has a plethora of sand, surf, and sun for all types of people.

If you want a secluded experience, head to Houhai Beach. The drive or bus ride from Sanya is about two hours, and the trip is well worth it.

This beach is little more than a stretch of sand and shoreline, but it is gorgeous. Nearly unspoiled by human presence, it is clean, clear, and surrounded by natural beauty.

The secret is beginning to leak out, however, and it’s increasingly frequented by surfers. The conditions are outstanding for surfing and for splashing and causally playing in the water as well. Be sure to bring snorkeling gear, for the snorkeling is excellent here.

A handful of small restaurants serve beachgoers. Vendors at fruit stands sell delicious, fresh local produce.

Enjoy hiking on surrounding trails if you want to venture off the beach, and then return to swim or just relax.

3. Coconut Island (Dongjiao Yelin)

In the northeast part of Hainan Island, Coconut Island is barely touched by human hands. Its natural beauty is breathtaking in its wild, largely underdeveloped state.

It’s developed enough that public transportation is available. A two-hour bus ride from the city of Haikou in the northeast part of Hainan Island will get you here.

Once you’ve arrived at the beaches of Coconut Island, you can settle in, stretch out, and enjoy peace and quite on the beach. Stroll up and down the sand without weaving around people and their belongings. The beach won’t be deserted, of course, but it will be sparsely populated.

You just might have the opportunity to gather coconuts, as Coconut Island is so named for it’s plethora of coconut trees. Even if you don’t, the coconut trees enhance the tropical feel of your beach day.

If you desire a break from the sand, you can enjoy the nearby Xinglong Tropical Botanical Garden. Stroll through this beautiful city garden and enjoy the colors and fragrances before heading back to the shore.

Small resorts are just beginning to spring up. Coconut Island won’t be a secret beach area for long.

4. Clear Water Bay Beach #1

If you live or are vacationing in Hong Kong, head to the Sai Kung area on the island. Hong Kong has numerous beaches; Sai Kung’s are the least known among them. This means, of course, that the beaches of Sai Kung are less busy and crowded than elsewhere around Hong Kong.

Of the beaches of Sai Kung, the best-kept secret is Clear Water Bay Beach #1. This secluded beach is smaller and quieter than its sister beach, Clear Water Bay Beach #2.

Perhaps one reason it’s so peaceful and almost deserted is that it can be challenging to access. To access it from the road, one must walk down a long flight of stairs. It’s about a five-minute walk from top to bottom. If you can complete the walk, it’s well worth it.

On almost all weekdays and some weekends, there’s a calming hush about this beach that is instantly stress-relieving. This beach offers no flash in the form of jet ski- or other equipment rentals. It’s made for quiet relaxation activities such as reading, napping, meditating, and meandering.

When you get hungry, take advantage of a large barbeque area. Enjoy a picnic of freshly barbequed food as part of your relaxing day at the beach.

5. Kwun Yam Beach

Find Kwun Yam Beach on Cheung Chau Island, just off Hong Kong Island. Take a ferry (an approximate 40-60-minute ride, depending on whether you take the standard or fast ferry), and then walk for about half an hour to this beach. The fairly long trek deters some beachgoers, making the beach less crowded than it otherwise might be.

If you enjoy watersports, especially surfing, windsurfing, and canoeing, Kwun Yam Beach is the one for you. Rent equipment from the Cheung Chau Windsurfing Centre, and enjoy an active day.

While playing on the water, be sure to spot the unique costal rock formations found in the area as well as the Mini Great Wall, the granite railings along the Cheung Chau Family Trail.

China’s richness extends to its beaches, and its “secret” beaches offer an escape from crowds. Citizens and foreigners alike flock to these beaches for a warm, fun, and restorative break.

Luke runs a beach and travel blog, where he helps his readers prepare for upcoming getaways through in-depth product reviews, and beach guides. You can check out more of his content at BeachRated.

 

Guest Post – 8 Best Careers for Foreigners in China

Guest Post – 8 Best Careers for Foreigners in China

For a long time, the main avenue open to foreigners in China had been teaching English. However, times have changed.

As a result of significant economic growth and the push for globalization, foreigners are finding more opportunities to work in China, within a variety of different fields including sales, marketing, engineering and more. Most of these jobs come from international companies run or invested in by foreigners, but even some Chinese firms are beginning to hire foreigners and expatriates.

Working in China offers not only the opportunity to participate in the fastest growing economy in the world, but also will allow you to experience a new rich and varied culture.

Education

Teaching remains the most common job offered to foreigners in China, though it’s slightly on the decline. A wide range of teaching jobs are available at nearly every level of the Chinese education system, from high school to college, as well as private language schools.

In order to qualify as an English teacher in China, you’ll likely need a Bachelor’s degree and TEFL or TESOL certifications; experience is also very welcome. Teaching is a potential chance for young college graduates with good English skills and little professional experience to work in China.

IT and Engineering

China’s IT industry has been expanding rapidly, and that expansion brings with it a desire to target international markets. As such, Chinese software and tech companies are looking for computer scientists and software developers who understand international standards and languages other than Chinese.

The need for software engineers who are able to bridge the gap between China and other countries is growing, especially in small to mid-sized tech companies. These opportunities are especially concentrated in Southern coastal cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen, which are granted flexible governmental measures regarding free trade due to their status as Special Economic Zones.

Further, the Chinese government is heavily pushing expansion in the IT and tech industries, which is leading to an overall demand for qualified engineers. Newer, specialized fields like clean energy, gas and oil, and the automotive industry especially tend to outsource, as Chinese universities find it difficult to train qualified IT professionals in those fields.

Marketing and Advertising

Just like with IT and engineering, Chinese companies are turning their gaze to the international markets, and are looking for qualified professionals who can help them engage those markets. This opens up opportunities in the fields of marketing and advertising.

Advertising and marketing in China are very different from how products and companies are marketed in other cultures, and Chinese firms looking to launch global campaigns are looking for marketers who understand other cultures.

Large Chinese companies, such as electronics and software giant Xiaomi and e-commerce kingpin Alibaba, have already begun to hire significant numbers of foreign ad and marketing professionals to help with global campaigns, and this trend looks to continue to increase over time.

Translation and Proofreading

Another great way to put English skills to use for bilingual job seekers are the fields of translation and proofreading. Many companies are looking to bring their content into English, and to do so are seeking native speakers of English.

If you are able to demonstrate your advanced levels of both English and Chinese proficiency, you’ll likely be in-demand as a translator. An advanced degree isn’t necessary in order to demonstrate your ability in Chinese, as you can acquire credentials by passing the HSK test.

In addition to a need for translators, the demand for proofreaders is also growing. Chinese students and young professionals are often times required to demonstrate English proficiency, and they’re looking for proofreaders to edit their resumes and other material.

Journalism and Editing

If you’re not fluent in Chinese but have strong English skills, editing is possibly a niche you can fit into. In many cases, Chinese news syndicates will have stories already written in English and are looking for native English speakers with a strong command of the language to perfect these articles. These company even hire telecommute copy editors that can work from anywhere.

Beyond editing, journalism as a whole can be a good field, especially as an area which English teachers can move into over time. It should be noted that many journalism positions involve working non-standard hours, as a number of news syndicates are delivering news all over the world. Beijing, in particular, has a number of state-run TV channels and other media sources putting out content in English at all times.

Sales and Import/Export

If you possess a strong understanding of the way Chinese do business, a job in sales or facilitating imports and exports can be a lucrative start to a career in China. Many Chinese manufacturers are extremely motivated to find foreign connections who can help them move their products to global markets.

This isn’t a position where everyone can succeed – You’ll need to have strong sales skills, the ability to put Chinese firms into contact with foreign distributors and buyers, as well as an understanding of the way Chinese businesses transact.

But if you do possess these attributes, this is probably the best area for you to succeed in. Most opportunities will be located where most of the factories are, with means in Guangzhou or Shenzhen, or else in smaller cities.

Finance

Although Hong Kong dominates finances within the Chinese sphere, the financial system in mainland China has also begun expanding. As a result, this is a market where foreigners with expertise can make inroads.

Banks are looking for senior financial executives, and companies of all types are seeking Chief Financial Controllers in particular. In order to fill these types of roles, you’ll likely need experience with both Chinese and Western finances, in addition to strong financial fundamentals.

Hospitality

China has more and more become a tourism juggernaut, and this trend doesn’t show any sign of slowing. As China welcomes increasing numbers of foreign tourists, its demand for hospitality workers at the front end is also growing, and those positions are the ones in which foreign job seekers have a natural advantage.

This is especially true when it comes to premium hospitality services at places like luxury hotels. VIP type clients expect a certain level of accommodation, which includes interacting with workers who are able to communicate fluently and in a familiar manner. Foreign chefs have also been able to thrive in China in recent years.

Native Chinese students are learning English at significantly increased rates, which means that simply speaking English is no longer enough to guarantee employment in China. To give yourself a leg up, proficiency in Chinese (or at least showing the desire to learn it) is a must in conveying to recruiters that you’re someone who is committed to working in China long-term.

Working in China has its challenges, but it’s also a life-changing experience, one that will give you real-world skills and develop your character significantly.

———-

Jen McKenzie is a self-employed author hailing from New York, NY. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie

Guest Post: Steps to Plan a Backpacking Trip To China

Guest Post: Steps to Plan a Backpacking Trip To China

Traveling is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and your loved ones. If you are planning to travel alone or with family or friends, China can be a great place. However, you must keep in mind that China is a big country and that you can make the most of your trip only if you plan it well.

Here is the step by step guide to planning an amazing backpacking trip to China:

STEP 1: DECIDE ON THE NUMBER OF DAYS

As a first step, it is important that you decide on the number of days that you want to spend in China. It will help you plan a comprehensive itinerary. There is a lot to see in China. From exploring the big city life in Beijing and Shanghai to the nature’s beauty in Jiuzhaigou. There are some historic sites in Chengdu, the Huashan mountains and much more. There is so much to explore in China but it would depend on the number of days you can spend there. You must plan your itinerary in a way that you get at least 2-3 days in each place so that you can experience the place in a better way.

STEP 2: GET ALL THE BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS FOR CHINA

When traveling to China as a backpacker, you need to carry a bunch of essentials apart from your passport and a valid visa. A travel guide can come handy for China so you get the entire insider’s knowledge. It is commonly known that China is amongst the most tech savvy countries so a good smartphone to download some useful Chinese Apps can be a life saver. Moreover, you should have a water bottle, a Tupperware to carry food and a kindle because you are likely to have some long bus rides. These will keep you energized and help you kill time during the rides. You must also have a rain jacket because it can rain almost any time in China.

STEP 3: NARROW DOWN ON ALL THE PLACES TO VISIT

If you are planning a 7-15 day backpacking trip to China, you need to make the most of it and see some of the unique attractions in China. You can start with Beijing and explore the street food and local market. You can also go to the Great Wall of China and visit some other major attractions there. From there, Xidan is just an overnight train away where you can do to the Terracotta Warriors and also explore the amazing street food. Huashan Mountain and Chengdu can be your next stop followed by Jiuzhaigou where you can visit the National Park and the Tibetan plateau. You can end this trip by spending your last 2-3 days in Shanghai to explore the city. Make sure you have enough time to relax during the trip. You can skip a few places if you feel it is becoming to hectic. Flexibility is important while you travel.

STEP 4: GOOD TIME TO TRAVEL TO CHINA

Fall is the best time to travel to China if you don’t want to experience the extreme weather. September to October is usually the time when fall occurs so you can plan your trip around that time.

STEP 5: RELAX AND ENJOY!

The most important point to remember when you travel is that you are traveling to enjoy and release your stress. Therefore, you must not make your itinerary too stressful and be open towards making changes in the plans. If you miss out on seeing a few places in this trip, you can always come back again. But if you try to see cover every place and run around from place to place, you will end up being tired and won’t enjoy your backpacking trip as much.

Just follow these steps and have a great backpacking trip to China!

Yogi and Suchna believe in taking the road less traveled and stumbling upon some hidden gems along the way! For over a decade, they’ve mapped their way across various continents, sniffed out unusual routes, discovered new flavors and stayed at quirky hostels. TheBackpackerCo is their expression of soul travel. You can catch up with them at TheBackpackerCo – The Backpacking Europe Trip Experts.

Guest Post – Top 3 Holiday Destinations to Visit in China with Kids

Guest Post – Top 3 Holiday Destinations to Visit in China with Kids

Families have so many choices when it comes to destinations for their vacations.  They can choose to travel to the Caribbean, Paris, or take one of the amazing Halong Bay Tours.  However, some families will decide that they want to visit China, a country so massive and diverse, yet filled with a plethora of activities that will keep them engaged and yearning for more.

Here are 3 holiday destinations to visit in China with kids:

  1. Beijing

Beijing is the most popular tourist destination in China, which shouldn’t be a surprise since there are multiple historical attractions located there.  Families can begin their day at the Forbidden City, which is a palace complex that was the former seat of the Imperial Chinese Dragon Throne.  The Palace Museum is now inside the building and currently there are more than a million rare and valuable works of art within the permanent collection.  A tour of the Forbidden City is a must while in Beijing as it shares the true history of the country.  Everyone will enter through The Gate of Heavenly Peace, or Tian’anmen, and then walk across the square towards the main entrance of the palace.  The outer court is comprised of three buildings and side gardens, while the inner court has three main structures, six eastern palaces, six western palaces, the Imperial Garden, and The Mental Cultivation Hall.

The Summer Palace is an Imperial Garden that entire families will enjoy seeing while they are visiting Beijing.  This beautiful and stunning masterpiece was first built in 1750, however, it was destroyed by the war in 1860.  The original foundation was used to completely restore everything back to its original glory in 1886 and people can still walk around the grounds today enjoying the spectacular views while contemplating any of their spiritual thoughts.  The hills, lakes, and the islands are all natural items within the gardens, but the pavilions, palaces, temples, halls, and bridges have all been built to add to the ambiance of the area.

Children need to be able to move freely throughout the day, and that is why stops at places like The Great Wall of China are so important.  The Great Wall of China was built from east to west along the northern borders of the country, so that nomadic groups could not invade or attack.  Various walls were built over the years and the one that is still in existence today is from the Ming Dynasty.  Beijing is the best place to see this wall, as that portion has been well maintained.  Families will enjoy walking along the wall and may even want to take a snack along with them for the hike.

  1. Chengdu

The one fabulous thing that can be found in Chengdu that every family member will love is giant pandas.  The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding allows people to visit and interact with the giant pandas.  Children of all ages will love touching and feeding the pandas, and no one will be able to resist having their photo taken with these cute adorable furry creatures!

One of the tricky parts of traveling to destinations unknown is the food.  Sometimes picky eaters will be a little leery of trying new things, but in Chengdu, everyone will be ready to eat the Chinese baozi.  Chinese baozi, which are also known as sweet dumplings in Chengdu, are buns that are filled with meat or vegetables and then steamed, or pan fried.  In Chengdu, they fill the buns with pork mixed with ginger sauce and chicken stock, which accounts for their sweetness.

There are many other activities that children will love in Chengdu including Jin Li Street with the peddler markets, teahouses, temples, and bridges that cross over the river.  At the market, families will find Tibetan clothing, cultural artifacts, and even live frogs for sale.

  1. Hong Kong

Hong Kong is filled with numerous outdoor destinations including parks, nature reserves, and of course, the infamous Victoria Peak.  This mountain is more affectionally known as The Peak and it is 1,811 feet high.  That makes it the highest mountain in Hong Kong, but unfortunately, no one from the public can climb up to the summit.  However, everyone is welcome to venture through the surrounding public parks that have the same name.  Those areas can be reached via the Peak Tram that opened in 1888, and families will be amazed at the breathtaking panoramic views that they see during their ride.  They will be able to spend time at The Peak Tower and The Peak Galleria, where they can stand on the observation deck or go shopping at the retail outlets.  The Peak Circle Walk offers even more views as well as a way for children to work off some of their energy.

Families will find plenty to do in Causeway Bay, and while they can walk the streets, they may want to consider hopping onto the Ding Dong for a little ride.  A seat on the upper deck will allow everyone to enjoy the views and see where everything is, despite the fact that it won’t get anyone where they need to be any faster than walking would.

The Tin Hau Temple can be found easily as it stands out amongst all the skyscrapers in the area.  It was built more than one hundred and fifty years ago and it is still a full functioning temple today.  It has a nice garden that families can enter for some quiet in the middle of the day.

If the children are getting a little restless, then it is time to take them to Victoria Park for a little time to unwind.  They can take a lap on the jogging trail, eat a snack, or even take a little nap next to the fountain.

Older children always love to go shopping, and Causeway Bay has massive shopping malls, local stores, high-end fashion designers, and affordable clothing brands.  There are even stores selling electronics and household items, so there is going to be an item on everyone’s list.

These three destinations in China are perfect for family holidays as there is quite a bit to do and see in the areas.  The children will have fun while exploring and working off their energy, and the parents will enjoy learning about the history and culture of this fascinating country.  There are not too many places where both parents and kids will enjoy their holidays, but China and these cities seem to make this a possibility.

Guest Post – Legal Considerations If You’ve Had A Hit and Run While Traveling In China

Guest Post – Legal Considerations If You’ve Had A Hit and Run While Traveling In China

Legal Considerations If You’ve Had A Hit and Run While Traveling In China

Disclaimer: The contents of this article should not be taken as legal advice and should only be used as a resource to provide information about legal considerations if you’ve had a hit and run while traveling in China. You should always seek for the services of a lawyer specializing in hit and run cases to give you a more in-depth view of this matter.

You’ve been wanting to travel to China for the longest time now, and when your friend invited you to come with her on her China escapade, you happily obliged. There’s so much about China that’s you’re interested in learning about – the culture, the cuisine and of course, the people. And when you finally got to China, you took the time to get out in the streets because this is the best way you can experience China. You loved how different street foods are paraded all over the streets and how the people are very welcoming to tourists like you. However, when you were busy looking into locally-made items on the street, a mad driver hit you and ran off. The driver didn’t even bother to check how were you doing and immediately fled the scene. Because of the injuries you’ve incurred during the hit and run, you’ve decided to take legal action.

Since China is a place you’re not accustomed to, you should be careful on what legal actions you’ll take if you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident. You want to ensure that what you’re doing will benefit you, and not harm you in any way. If you still don’t have any idea on what you should do after what happened, here are some legal considerations if you’ve had a hit and run while traveling in China:

  1. Remain at the scene of the crash

Although it can be tempting to walk out from the scene to save yourself from the crowd of people, don’t. It’s important that you’ll stay at the scene for important reasons. For one, you need to wait for the police to arrive and inform them of what had transpired during the hit and run accident.

  1. Call for medical help right away

You should call for medical help right away, no matter how severe or little your injuries are. Never self-diagnose what you’re feeling because chances are, your injuries can worsen by the minute. Once you regain your consciousness from the accident, call 911 immediately.

  1. Gather as much information

Your hit and run will be easier once you have information about the driver involved. This can be details about the car’s make and model or the plate number. Whatever information you can recall from the accident – if you had the chance to glance what the driver looked like – inform the police about it right away. Don’t let a day pass without doing anything about the accident as your memory might not be as clear. Try to recall all of the information you can from the accident and let the police know about all of this.

  1. Call the police

Inform the police of what happened and relay to the information you have regarding the driver of the vehicle who hit you. In this way, you’ll be able to help the police to identify the person responsible for the accident. File a police report and make sure you have copies of the documents.

  1. Talk to any witnesses

The accident happened on a busy street so most likely, some bystanders were able to witness the hit and run. If you can determine who was present when the accident happened, talk to them and have them cooperate with you. But do so in a calm manner. Never be aggressive towards your witnesses because you might lose the chance of having them work with your case. You want these people to provide evidence proving you’re the victim of the accident and not reverse the story. If they agree to work with you, get their contact numbers and full names as witnesses are crucial in lawsuits like these.

  1. Call your insurance company

Report what happened to your insurance company and relay to them the steps you’ve taken after the accident. Let them know of all the information you have and assure them that you were able to file a police report already. The more information you have about the accident, the better. You want to be covered by your insurance, and that’ll only happen if you were able to present enough evidence.

  1. Work with an experienced attorney

When you’re involved in an accident, you should be careful about what you say or do. For instance, being apologetic when you report the accident to the police might mean that you’re taking responsibility for what happened. Instead of having the driver pay for the damages he/she caused, you might end up with nothing and will actually have pay for everything yourself – and if you’re the victim, you don’t want that to happen. Look for experienced attorneys who were able to handle hit and run cases in the past. Inform them about your situation and what legal actions you’ve taken. Working with professionals, in this case, will give you better leverage while ensuring that you’re practicing your rights.

Your main reason for traveling in China is to enjoy the trip, and not get harmed in any way. And no matter how careful you are in what you do, accidents which are beyond your control will happen. China and the country you’re permanently residing in, have different state laws, and you should take the time to get to know the differences between the two. You want to ensure that you’re getting the most compensation from a hit and run accident because you’re the victim, right? And you can do that by considering what legal options you might have in China.

Vicki Haskett is a law writing enthusiast who’s had over 25 years of experience in her field. She enjoys sharing her experiences with those who want to learn more about the legal world. In her spare time, she spends quality time with her family and friends.

Guest Post: 9 Things Foreign Travelers Can Learn from China

Guest Post: 9 Things Foreign Travelers Can Learn from China

Like it or not, as foreign travelers to 3rd-world countries, we have a tendency to look down upon the customs and cultures we’re visiting. “We’re a more advanced society” we unknowingly think to ourselves, a mindset that often keeps us from seeing everything we can learn while traveling abroad.

As an expat who has spent over a decade living and traveling around China, my eyes have slowly been opened to the ways in which certain Chinese customs or ways of doing things are, in fact, better than my American way.

It’s easy to bash China and find all the things that annoy us. For a moment, I want to step back to think through the lessons I’ve learned from China and hopefully give you an opportunity to reflect on your own experiences.

#1 Dessert isn’t Part of Every Meal

When I first arrived in China, I was surprised to learn that most restaurants don’t even carry a dessert menu! The only dessert-like menu item was a plate a fruit to end your meal.

This is a huge departure from my American upbringing, where desert was and still is a common tactic used by parents to encourage finishing my meal (“Eat all your broccoli and you’ll get dessert!”).

It’s easier for me to stay healthy while living in China, in part because I do more walking but also for reasons such as this: desserts are no longer an everyday part of my meal plan.

Thank you, China.

#2 Neither are Refillable Drinks

During my travels around China, I have not come across a single restaurant that offers refillable soft drinks or coffee. In fact, most restaurants I visit offer no other beverage options besides hot tea!

I have a friend who is a waiter back in the U.S. and he tells me of people who come in and drink 5 full glasses of Coke during a meal. Do you know how much sugar that is!?

Meanwhile, my biggest problem here in China is that I’m being served hot tea in the middle of the sweltering summer (because, you know, it’s “healthier”). Is it frustrating at times? Of course. But hey, I’m healthier and I don’t spend as much money on a meal.

#3 Personal Debt is not a Universal Concept

Did you know that according to the Federal Reserve’s 2017 numbers, the average American carried $16,883 in credit card debt and $50,626 in student loan debt? And that’s on top of any car loans and a mortgage!

We’re conditioned to carry a balance on our credit card, to “build our credit score”, and to appreciate the value of debt. What we often don’t realize is that from a global perspective, this isn’t normal.

When I first began making friends in China, I was shocked to learn that almost all of them didn’t have a credit card. They didn’t have student loans. In fact, many of them owned their home without a mortgage, and they weren’t yet 40 years old!

Unfortunately, times are changing in China: housing prices in the city are getting so high that most new homebuyers need a mortgage. China’s appetite for luxury import cars (which are taxed at an insane rate) means that many people are forced to get a car loan.

By and large, though, the average Chinese citizen carries little to no debt – and they live perfectly comfortable lives.

#4 “Dialects” and “Accents” are VERY Different

Various parts of the U.S. are known by their special accents: Louisiana, the northeast, the west coast and even my home – the great state of Texas. We may use different phrases or ways of saying something, but for the most part we all understand every word that the other says.

China is fascinating in that the country not only boasts a number of accents (i.e. Beijing accent) but also a number of very distinct dialects (i.e. Shanghai-ese, Guangdong Hua).

Unlike accents, these dialects are practically a different language. A Chinese person from another province likely won’t have a clue what a person speaking “Guangdong Hua” is saying. The Chinese characters are the same but the way it is spoken and the words that are used are very different.

I’ve heard people in the U.S. talk about that “crazy Texas dialect”. I understand what they mean, but China has taught me that there’s a huge difference between a “dialect” and an “accent”.

#5 Clean Air Takes Time

Expats often complain about China’s polluted air, and rightfully so. It’s dreadful.

China has enacted a number of changes in their environmental policy that are meant to improve the air quality all across the country, but they’ve warned that it will take close to a decade for these changes to make a difference.

The Clean Air Act was a policy in the United States that was enacted by Congress in December of 1963. At the time, the air quality in many U.S. cities was terrible. (just ask anybody who lived in Pittsburg over half a century ago)

We Americans benefit from the fact that such a policy was implemented over 50 years ago. It’s something that I’ve grown to appreciate now that I’ve watched China attempt to do the same thing here in the 21st century.

Changing the environment of any country takes time.

#6 Trains are an Extremely Efficient Mode of Transport

After having lived in China for a decade, I am extremely embarrassed at how poorly the U.S. has developed a train network. Unless you live in the northeast, chances are you haven’t taken a train in the U.S.

China, on the other hand, has developed the world’s largest and fastest-growing rail networks. Not only do they have more track than any other country, they also have more high-speed trains in operation than anybody else.

I’ve learned to love taking trains in China (I even wrote my own guide to taking a train in China!). In most cases, if it’s a choice between a train or an airplane – even if the travel time is longer – I’m often inclined to take the train.

#7 Squatty Potties are AMAZING

I find it quite humorous just how difficult it is for foreign travelers to use a squatty toilet. Many of us have a hard time squatting or are turned off by the generally bad smell of China toilets.

The frustration of it all makes it easy to overlook one of the biggest benefits of using a squatty toilet: your butt never shares a seat with anybody else’s butt.

Think about that for a moment. The way we do toilets in the west is nasty. I’m appalled that anybody in their right mind uses a public toilet at Wal-Mart!

Squatting may not be comfortable for us westerners, but in many ways its a cleaner way to take care of business.

#8 Being Old Doesn’t Mean Being Frail

When I get old, I want to be a Chinese old person. They are WAY cooler than the average old person in the U.S.

Don’t get me wrong: every country has elderly people who walk with a cane or who battle with chronic illnesses. We all have healthy elderly and unhealthy elderly.

But China just seems…different.

I remember the first time I went to a public park in China and saw a group of Chinese elderly using the exercise equipment. My jaw dropped to the ground.

I’ve seen elderly here in China who are more flexible and more daring than I am. My favorite was a gentleman who was swinging full 360 like an Olympic gymnast on a high bar. He was 65.

Like I said, I want to be a Chinese old person.

#9 Being a Truly Defensive Driver

I used to think that Chinese drivers were crazy.

Well…actually, I still think they’re a bit crazy. But I have to give them credit: they are some of the best defensive drivers in the world.

I remember when I got my first traffic ticket in the U.S. The best way to get the record expunged was to take a defensive driving class. The class was a joke. If you really want a lesson in defensive driving, go to China.

Insane as they are, Chinese drivers are constantly aware of what drivers all around them are doing. There is no expectation of “personal space” so they all drive around expecting other cars to cut them off or veer into their lane.

I am convinced that I am a much better driver thanks to my experience driving around in China.

Conclusion – Learning from China

As I said earlier, it’s incredibly easy to be a bitter expat who complains about every aspect of life in China. I’m quick to admit that there are plenty of things that annoy me about China, but one of the best ways I’ve found to combat this mindset is to reflect on the things that China has taught me.

I’m healthier, I have a better financial situation and I’m a better driver all thanks to my time living in China.

Do you have any other big lessons you’ve learned as you reflect on your time in China? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Author Bio: Josh is a travel writer and expat entrepreneur who has been living in China since 2006. In addition to writing about his China experience on his TravelChinaCheaper website, he also hosts The Expat Entrepreneur, a new podcast on his experience doing business overseas.

Guest Post – The Biggest Fears You Must Overcome to Enjoy China

Guest Post – The Biggest Fears You Must Overcome to Enjoy China

China is, without a doubt, a beautiful and fascinating country. Old habits and customs seem to be intertwined with modern skyscrapers that seem to pop up every minute. While traveling to China was one of my lifelong dreams, there’s nothing in this world, including all the facts available online, that could’ve prepared me for the experience. Some of their traditions I’ve read about online, but some of them have definitely caught me off-guard at times and there were moments and situations where my jaw simply fell to the floor from the sheer amount of shock I experienced.

1.    Counting to ten using one hand

Chinese is one of the most difficult languages to master. There are thousands of different characters, most of which look almost identical to me. The language itself is tonal and unless you’re careful, your intonation can completely change the word you’re trying to say. I know very little Chinese and to make matters worse, very few Chinese people actually speak English. You might think to yourself “but it’s ok, I can probably use my hands to explain what I’m trying to say.”

You, my friend, have no idea how wrong you are. The difference in languages also extends to body language and gestures and the Chinese rely on a single hand to count to ten. Like that isn’t enough, you can also gesticulate larger numbers, like a hundred or a thousand.

2.    Squatters and Kaidangku

From my personal experience, I’ve noticed that the majority of bathrooms in China only offer squatting toilets or a cut in the tiles resembling a squatter. Most stall partitions are knee-high and I’ve seen stall-doors exactly two times. While we’re on the subject of bathrooms, most Chinese babies don’t wear diapers. In fact, what they wear is called “kaidangku”, which literally translates to open-crotch pants. I cannot describe how many times I’ve seen parents unzip their children’s crotch-zipper and let them urinate and defecate near a sidewalk.

3.    Carrying cash everywhere

I have read numerous stories online on how it’s a bad idea to rely on credit cards while traveling through China. In all honesty, I’ve only witnessed maybe a couple of stores that accept credit cards. Fortunately, this is not my first time traveling to countries that don’t readily accept credit cards and I’ve prepared financially by taking out a few personal loans. They’ve helped me pay off some of the more expensive travels which you would normally put on your credit card. But the thing is, online loans don’t butcher people with abnormally high interest rates and they can easily be paid off in monthly rates.

4.    “Poor” manners

What we westerners consider to be poor manners seem to be completely fine in China. Chewing with your mouth open, speaking with your mouth full, slurping loudly and last but not least, spitting everywhere. And I don’t mean the “sorry I have a cold, I honestly have to spit this gunk in a tissue” kind of spitting. People would be standing right next to you spit a slimeball mere inches from your feet.

Don’t get me wrong, traveling to China was one of the best and most memorable experiences of my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But the difference in culture is more than evident and unless you learn to adapt and overcome your fears and prejudices, you’ll hardly get the chance to truly experience all the wonders China has to offer. Most of it is truly wonderful, the people are friendly and welcoming and the food is absolutely amazing, once you get over the fact that they also eat insects. On a stick. Covered in chocolate.

Lauren Wiseman is marketing specialist, writer and entrepreneur, currently based in Melbourne. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in fast-changing and demanding market environment. Covering finance and investment topics, Lauren strongly believes in a holistic approach to business.

Guest Post – Guide to Fenghuang On A Budget

Guest Post – Guide to Fenghuang On A Budget

How much does a trip to Fenghuang cost? How to travel to Phoenix Ancient Town in the most economical way? Those may be the popular questions if you are planning for the journey to Fenghuang Town. In the following article, I will share with you some experiences to help you make this dream come true only with a limited budget. In my opinion, this trip is the most suitable for those who are between the ages of 18 to 26.

General information about Fenghuang

Fenghuang, or Phoenix, is the name of an ancient town in China (more than 1300 years old). It is located in Fenghuang district which is a county of Hunan Province under the administration of Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture. It is nearly 300km from Phoenix Ancient Town to Zhangjiajie city which is also a famous tourist destination in China. To come to Fenghuang Ancient Town, you have to go through Zhangjiajie first, therefore you can combine traveling to Zhangjiajie with the trip to Fenghuang.

The landscape of this wonderland is seemly taken from the historical dramas. There is a diversity of population structure because it is the residence of ethnic minorities, most of which are Miao, Han, and Tzu Gia groups. Fenghuang is also the economic, social and political center of the region. Next to the Da Giang River, the ancient town still retains many ancient citadels, streets, houses, manors, temples, and pagodas. Its age has made Phoenix Ancient Town become one of the living museums of ethnic cultures: 1300 years.

At night, the town seems to be more sparkling, more beautiful than the day. The lights from ancient bungalows down to the surface of the river create a fanciful and ancient scene for the town.

In general, the weather in here is quite comfortable and the best time to visit Phoenix Ancient Town is the spring. Based on my experience, you should avoid coming here in any Chinese national holiday, especially in the Independence Day of China, because on these occasions, Fenghuang will be more crowded.

To ensure the plan of working and studying, you can visit here in summer or any long holiday of the year because Fenghuang is beautiful all year round, not necessarily to go in the spring. In addition, you should go in a group to reduce travel expenses.

How to come to Fenghuang Ancient Town the most economical way

There are 3 ways going to Fenghuang as follow:

By plane

You will move from your location to Guangzhou and then from

Guangzhou to Zhangjiajie. After that, you catch the bus from Zhangjiajie to Phoenix Ancient Town (it is obliged because no other choice is available).

The airfares for these routes are quite expensive so you can refer 2 other ways to save the cost: by train and by bus.

By train

In Pingxiang, you do immigration procedures. When filling in the declaration form, in the part of Intended Address in China, you write “Nanning” to complete. After that, you buy the train ticket from Nanning to Jishou train station in Zhangjiajie. It takes nearly 15 hours. The train departs at 17:50 in Nanning and arrives at Zhangjiajie at 8:20 of the next day. You can book the train ticket in advance on travelchinaguide.com.

Finally, you move more than 50km more by bus to come to Phoenix Ancient Town.

By bus

At Youyi Guan international border gate, you have to pay about 0.5$ for the electric car and it will take you to the place of entry procedures.

As same as going by plane, they will give you a declaration of entry. The declaration is available at the table near the counter. You just take the pen and open the passport to copy information only. After that, you can walk or go by electric car (0,9$) to the bus station.

The bus from the border gate to Nanning train station departs at 12:30 and arrives at 16:00.

You can choose between the 2 following types depended on your budget and the number of people in your group:

  • 12-seat car: 17$/person or 68$ (renting the whole car).
  • Bus from Zhangjiajie (Jishou train station) -5 buses per day: It takes 3.5 hours and the ticket price is about 12$/person.

From the bus station of Phoenix Ancient Town to the center, you can move by taxi at the price of 3$.

Suggested summary schedule in 5 days

The 5-day trip is reasonable for you to visit Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang Ancient Town, including 2 days of moving, as follow:

  • Day 1: Nanning – Zhangjiajie
  • Day 2: Visit Tianmen Shan (200m from Zhangjiajie). In here, there is a famous glass road.
  • Day 3: Take the train from Zhangjiajie to Phoenix Ancient Town.
  • Day 4: Discover Fenghuang where there are a lot of beautiful landscapes to visit.
  • Day 5: Phoenix Ancient Town – Jishou – Nanning.  

 

Notes when traveling to Fenghuang

  • For the Chinese visa, you should apply 15 days before your trip.
  • Money: you should prepare about 2500-3000 yuan during the journey ($350-$450). In Fenghuang Town, ATM (automated teller machine) is not popular and the credit card is not accepted when you buy food or drink.
  • If going by train, you should prepare some snacks and water.
  • English is useless in here, so you should study some common Chinese sentences or buy a SIM card in the gas station or the airport to use Google translation tool. A SIM card costs about $7.5. Another way which may be helpful for you is setting up Pleco application (an online Chinese dictionary) on your phone.
  • Bring your coat or a thin blanket because at any time of the year, the weather in Fenghuang is bitter cold.
  • Spend at least 2-3 days to explore this ancient town. In the evening, along 2 river banks, there are many bars, coffee shops, and restaurants at the affordable prices.
  • Download Astrill to access Facebook and Viber because China blocks the international network.
  • Do not be ashamed when bargaining and you will definitely get a discount.
  • The food here is very delicious and cheap but also quite spicy. If you cannot eat the spicy dishes, tell the cook before he or she prepares the food for you.
  • The landscape here is incredibly wonderful, so you will take a lot of photos as well as shoot many videos. Therefore, remember to bring a rechargeable battery to not miss any beautiful moments.
  • In Phoenix Ancient Town, there are many hotels available. You can book in advance or find yourself a good place to stay after arriving. The room price is about 15$/day/twin room (not included meals).

I hope that the above information will be helpful for you. Have a nice trip!

My name is Jim, writer at Asia Marvels. I love traveling around Asia and share my stories & travel guidelines to my readers. I want people from all over the world to see the beauty of the landscape, people and culture of Asia.