Before I moved to China, I wasn’t very interested in traveling to the country.
Sure, I wanted to see the Great Wall. But that was pretty much all I cared about.
A lot of fellow travelers have expressed a similar sentiment when I talk to them about the country. They’re just not that interested. It seems dirty. It seems bleak. It seems boring.
I get it.
But after living in Shenzhen, China, for eight months, as well as traveling around the country, I realized that I had known nothing about this place before moving there. I think the reason I was only interested in the Great Wall was that I didn’t really know anything about China except that The Great Wall was there.
Surprisingly, China is freaking awesome.
Let me tell you five reasons why China should be on your Travel Bucket List.
More blog posts about China:
1. Local Food
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. World travel is really just an excuse for me to eat ridiculous food. Binge-eat ridiculous food, if we’re being honest.
China has eight official regional cuisines. If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty, each of China’s 23 provinces has its own cuisine.
Yeah, so basically it’s a foodie’s paradise.
If you visit Beijing or any surrounding towns, you’ll want to try Peking Duck.
If you travel to Western China, you’ll get your taste of Sichuan food, AKA super, super spicy and flavorful dishes.
Yue cuisine is common in the Guangdong area, or the Southeast. In this region, you’ll want to try congee for breakfast.
I lived in Shenzhen, which is in the Guangdong Province. Since Shenzhen is such a new city, immigrants from rural areas make up a huge part of the population. Which was awesome, because that meant they brought all their culinary skills with them!
As a result, we could find almost any Chinese regional cuisine within a fifteen-minute drive from our apartment. It was magical. And fattening.
2. Bang for Your Buck
Okay, yes, paying for a flight to China can be expensive. Although I seriously recommend checking out Skyscanner for the cheapest flights. (If you’re somewhat flexible on your flight dates, click the “search by month” button. HUGE money saver!)
But once you’re in China, life is crazy cheap.
I’m talking decadent meals for $3. Hotel rooms for $20. 30-minute cab rides for $10.
It’s a budget traveler’s ideal country.
Granted, it depends on where you go in China. Traveling to Hong Kong (yes, technically part of China) is definitely going to cost you more than going to Guilin.
The Great Wall. Enough said.
Fun fact: An insane amount of people died building the great wall, and their coworkers would just kind of tumble them off the wall and keep building. So the Great Wall is kind of just a huge tomb.
Okay, that was the funnest of facts. Kind of morbid, actually.
All that to say, China is an ancient country with tons of interesting history.
Visit the Forbidden City in Beijing. The Terracotta Army in Xi’an. The silk road in … well, a lot of places. Dang, that thing is long.
Once again … The Great Wall. Enough said.
But once again … I’ll say more.
Frankly, China’s mountains are underrated. Here are a few suggestions of terms to type into Google if you want to get your travel porn itch scratched:
Rainbow Mountains, China.
Yellow Mountains, China.
Zhangjiajie National Forest, China.
When my brother decided to move to China, he typed Most beautiful town in China into Google, and Guilin popped up. So he moved to Yangshuo, a suburb of Guilin.
I visited him in Yangshuo last January, and HOLY MOLY, Google was right!
5. Friendly People
While the Mandarin language sounds harsh, the Chinese people definitely are not. On the contrary, they’re generally very friendly.
Chinese people are always willing to help you out when you’re lost. Granted, they might not always give good directions, but it’s the thought that counts!
They’re also always excited to see foreigners, so you’ll probably have people asking you to take photos with them.
That aspect of life in China can get old when you live there for a long time. But if you’re just in the country for a short trip, it’s actually pretty endearing!
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