This month has been awesome! We have been travelling China and I am currently writing this blog post from the balcony of our Yangshuo hotel – check our our view! Travel in China is interesting, exciting and sometimes hard, so in this month’s summary, I thought I would our summer trip in China as well as some tips on how to travel China!
Our beautiful view from our hotel in #Yangshuo 🇨🇳❤️ We can’t believe it is nearly the end of our time travelling #China, in a few days we will be flying back up north to our home in #tianjin 🏠 Today we cruised along the #LiRiver and was treated to some spectacular sights! It is a beautiful part of the world here in the South of China and #Guangxi province is a must for anyone visiting China! ☀️ we will be answering and sharing our thoughts and tips about travel in China in this months summary over on our website, so any questions, drop them below and head over to CreativeTravelGuide.com for all our #TravelChina tips
Travel in China
This month has been hectic but amazing. We travelled China, visiting the places we missed out on our first trip in 2013. After living in China for over a year now, it feels surreal and unnerving almost to become a tourist again!
So, where did we go?
Well, first we headed to Shanghai! We ate lots of street foods in Nanjing Street, explored the Yu Yuan Old Street area, stumbled upon a marriage market in People’s Park and headed to the largest Starbucks in the world. We also checked out Thames Town; China’s own little fake England, built to disperse some of the crowds of Shanghai. Of course, a day at Disneyland had to be done too!
We even managed to do some live vlogs from Shanghai too, you can watch them below.
Next, we headed Changzhou, a more unknown city on the outskirts of Shanghai. We spent a day exploring the city, visiting it’s temple and parks and eating some local food, followed by a day at Joyland; China’s fake Disneyland!
Nanjing was next and it was a bit more of a sombre time, visiting the Nanjing Massacre Memorial. Hangzhou was our next stop (where we did another live video!); we fell in love with the local food here and also visited it’s West Lake. Just outside of Hangzhou is a place called Tianducheng; China’s FAKE Paris! (Notice a theme here?!)
After our 3 days in Hangzhou, we headed to Guilin; a beautiful place full of karst protruding from the ground – think Halong Bay but on land! From here, we headed to Ping’an Village for a two night stay in the Longji Rice Terraces.
This was seriously the best travel experience I have ever had!
I will be writing much more about our time in Ping’an and about all our travels in China but for now, just know that Ping’an is a MUST!
Lastly, we headed to Yangshuo to see what all the fuss was about! It is similar to Guilin but is a smaller city with a more compact area of restaurants and bars. I haven’t made a final verdict on Yangshuo just yet.
But tomorrow we head back to Tianjin!
Today we visited the most spectacular thing I have ever seen! We hiked to a viewpoint for the #longjiriceterraces and were greeted with this breathtaking view. 😍 We live in China and up until now, our favourite travel experience has been visiting the #LeshanBuddha - a Buddha that is caved into a gigantic rock face over looking a river. 🇨🇳 Our stay in the Ping’an Village and these gorgeous views of the #riceterraces have surpassed any of our previous travel experiences! ☀️ Simply stunning 🍚 What is your favourite travel experience in the world? Let us know below! ❤️ #China #ExpatinChina #travelblogger #travelChina #lifeinChina #Guilin #Longji #ricefeilds
What I have learnt
We learnt a lot about travel in China back in 2013 when we first went travelling the country. However, things have changed here in China and here is what I have learnt for travel in China now!
- WeChat – Everything is about WeChat. Practically everyone takes payments from WeChat and some places exclusively only take WeChat payments (they wouldn’t take my cash!)
- Trains vs Flights – China has some amazing high speed trains around the country and we made good use of these on our trip. They are definitely worth doing if your train journey works out cheaper than your flight, however my best advise for this is to keep luggage minimal! Train stations can be chaotic and confusing and we found taking two suitcases, one carry on suitcase and one camera bag around with us, quite challenging!
- Train tickets – We book our train tickets in advance on CTrip, which I would recommend, especially if you are travelling in Chinese holidays. You can buy your tickets on arrival at the station but the train may not be for the next hour or so. ALSO, it is worth noting that most train stations have ticket offices outside of the station itself. You must collect your tickets first then head through security to the boarding platforms.
- Airports – Another thing we learnt on this trip, don’t expect shops or cafes to be open in airports. We noticed that most shops, cafes and restaurants had opening times such as 9am – 5pm, so if you have an early morning flight, don’t expect to be able to get food or snacks!
- Google Translate – Before travelling China, get the google translate app and you can download the Chinese dictionary. This saved us so many times! You can use it to communicate, either by writing or speaking into your phone. You can also turn on camera mode and hoover your camera over text to be able to read it; great for menus!
I have so many more things to share about travel in China, so watch out for a tips for China Travel soon!
Blog Numbers and Goals
Website sessions are back on track and have surpassed their original numbers (pre Pinterest change)! Even thought we have been travelling, I am super happy to see our blog is growing and I am excited to get back to Tianjin and work on it even more. A bump of motivation for us!
Whilst we have been travelling, we have been vlogging our trip and those videos will be edited and posted on our YouTube CTG TV once we are back in our apartment too.
Social following has steadily increased but my Instagram has gone down! I spent so long getting it over 2000 followers and whilst we have been travelling, I have been posting more stories – and I have lost 12 followers! Oh well, I decided some time ago that Instagram is perhaps just not for me!
Love and Hate
China and local food in China! We have been eating more and more local food the past few months and I have loved tried the local favourites whilst we have been travelling. Hangzhou Dongpo Pork was incredible, Bamboo Rice in the Rice terraces was delicious and Yangshuo’s Beer Fish is amazing!
Not sticking to a schedule!
In our last monthly summary, my aim was to post three times a week about life in China. Then we went travelling and I spent the first week hardly touching the laptop! We had a few guest posts but apart from that, I hardly wrote anything this month!
THAT WILL CHANGE! I have so motivated to get back and write about all our China travels and will be setting myself a challenge this month! A blog a day! Yes, I love doing this challenge, it may not go too well but that is my aim at least!
Highlight of the month
PING’AN VILLAGE – Did I mention I love this place?
Our trip has been awesome but this was definitely the highlight!
Loved eating the local food in #PinganVillage - a small little village perched amidst the #longjiriceterraces 😍 🇨🇳 After hiking the #ricefield, we sat down to eat some #BambooRice #RiverFish and #Pork&Pepper 🍚 Our time in Ping’an is by far the best experience we have ever had on our travels, #China is an amazing place to live and travel, we would highly recommend anyone and everyone to explore a country we call home. #ExpatinChina #LifeinChina #LivinginChina #Asia #Beijing #Shanghai #Guilin #longshengriceterraces #Hangzhou
We are heading back to Tianjin tomorrow and will be spending August catching up on working and seeing more of Tianjin!
I have a long weekend too so we may book a weekend away, perhaps to the mountains in the North of Tianjin. We will also be heading to Beijing to watch one of Calum’s favourite bands; Wolf Alice.
A low key month coming up, just what I need!