Xiamen (Amoy), A Small Portrait of a Liveable Chinese City (or that Tries to Be)

xiamen portrait china

This article was written by Ángel Lázaro, co-founder of An Nà (安娜), a project which defines itself as:

The combination of our knowledge, culture and languages to establish a cultural and business connection, mainly on the local level (Barcelona and Xiamen), between two cities with very similar profiles (tourism, markets, maritime and trade tradition, new open economy…), without neglecting the cultural context (Hispanic and Chinese).

Introduction to Xiamen

Xiamen (厦门市), Amoy in the “Minnan” language, is among the Chinese cities that aren’t tourist or important economic destinations for visitors or investors outside of China, forming part of the so-called “second-tier cities.” Among this group, it is worth mentioning Qingdao (Shandong), Hangzhou (Zhejiang), Chengdu (Sichuan) and Kunming (Yunnan). [Read more…]

Zodiac signs and the Chinese horoscope

Chinese zodiac

After years of continuous requests, here’s an article about the Chinese Zodiac : )

The Chinese Zodiac, or shengxiao (生肖), has twelve symbols, just like the western one (given to us by the ancient Greeks). And, even in this case, each sign is associated with particular character traits. The difference is that while in our Zodiac each symbols corresponds with a certain month, the Chinese Zodiac corresponds with a particular year, For example, 2015 is the year of the Goat!

Why does each sign correspond with an animal?

It is said that Buddha, when he was near to dying, gathered all animals of the earth. However only twelve bothered to come say goodbye. So he – being magnanimous as few others could – decided to reward them by baptizing each lunar phase with the name of one of the animals that came. The first to show up was the mouse (never trust the rats). After that, arriving in order were the buffalo, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat, the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig (the usual latecomer). [Read more…]

[Contest is Close] Win a Yearly ExpressVPN Plan (value 99.5 USD) Here at SDC!

Ni hao!

ExpressVPN, one of the VPNs we recommend, got in touch with us to see if we were keen on giving away a yearly plan of their service (value: 99.5 USD) to one of our readers.

They get you guys to know them and you may get a year of VPN for free!

In order to enter the contest, just click here and follow the instructions.

p.s. If you already subscribed to an ExpressVPN plan, no worries. The free year will start only with your current plan will expire!

p.p.s. If you’re traveling to China soon and you don’t know what a VPN is, check this. I’m sure you’ll find it interesting…

Ciau

Furio

798 Beijing Art District (Photo Essays)

798 beijing art district

Continuing our series of articles on Beijing, in today’s article, I want to talk about a place which, even though it is no longer an alternative plan, remains one of my favorite parts of the city.

What is District 798?

District 798 is a former industrial area created in the 1950s which reached its peak during the period of the Great Leap Forward. However, since the opening up of the Chinese economy by Deng Xiaoping, it started to decline bit by bit until becoming almost completely abandoned at the beginning of the 1990s. [Read more…]

Bordering on Hong Kong: The easiest routes in and out of Shenzhen

Shekou Ferry TerminalShekou Ferry Terminal, Shenzhen, China

At first glance, it’s hard to believe that the Chinese city of Shenzhen, situated directly north of Hong Kong on mainland China, was nothing more than a sleepy fishing village back in 1979. This area became China’s first, and one of its most successful, Special Economic Zones and is a thriving metropolis. In fact Shenzhen is now considered one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

The Brits may have handed Hong Kong back to China, but it still retains its status as a “Special Administrative Region of China”. So don’t expect to pop over to Shenzhen without a valid Chinese visa – all visitors to Shenzhen from Hong Kong have to pass through customs and immigration at any of the border crossings, regardless of their nationality! [Read more…]

Moving to China with Family

moving to china with family

A few months ago, we did a survey to subscribers of our newsletter and asked, “Are there any subjects which you would like to read about on SDC?” and lots of people asked us for an article more oriented towards families.

However, how can we write an article oriented towards families if neither of us has a family?

So, a few days ago when I received an email from a Spanish family which had moved to Shanghai and wanted to share their experience and suggestions, I didn’t hesitate for a moment.

This article was written by Julio Cesar Castro, who recently moved to Shanghai with his partner and daughter.

P.D. In my opinion, this article helps to complete my previous article: “How to move to China to study or work [Read more…]

Shenzhen: The Book – Interview with the Author Ted Rule

Shenzhen: The Book

In today’s interview I’ll discuss with Ted Rule, one of the authors of “Shenzhen: The Book“, a comprehensive guide for traveling and living in Shenzhen that has just been published by ShenzhenParty.com.

I read the book last week and I must say that Ted and Karen, who first arrived in Shenzhen in 1971, did a great job on both describing what you can do and see in Shenzhen and conveying the atmosphere of this metropolis that, only 40 years ago, was just a village.

Ted, first of all, thank you for accepting this interview. Your book starts with a couple of Chinese sayings. The one I liked the most is this: “If you love him, send him to Shenzhen. Heaven’s there. If you hate him, send him to Shenzhen. Hell’s there,” which remember me the saying “Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford” of Samuel Johnson. What is, in your opinion, that makes Shenzhen so different from the other Chinese cities?

In some ways Shenzhen is very different to other Chinese cities but it shares many of the characteristics that are changing every Chinese city. The main difference – essentially Shenzhen was built from scratch. Before 1979 there was nothing here. That’s true of most Chinese cities in a sense. Look at Beijing and Shanghai. Most of what you see there was built in the past 20 years. The difference is that in Shenzhen there’s no equivalent of the Bund or of the hutong. The “indigenous” population is tiny and its traditions are barely known. Everybody in Shenzhen is a recent immigrant and that colors everything that happens here. There’s nobody to tell you that “we tried that and it didn’t work”. [Read more…]

From China to Laos, the entrance to Southeast Asia

from china to laos

Combining a trip to China and Laos on the same visit may seem strange, however it can be a very interesting thematic tour. The Chinese region of Yunnan for climate and environment could easily be considered part of Southeast Asia, especially its most southern region.

Even from a historical point of view there are many connections between the two, such as the fact that Jinghong – capital of the Chinese province of Xishuangbanna, was once the capital of the Thai kingdom of Sipsongpanna. And what about the Yuan dynasty, that from Yunnan turned toward present-day Laos and Burma in an attempt to subdue rebellious kingdoms for the will of heaven?  You too can follow the footsteps of Kubilai Khan and, if at the most you submit to a Beer Lao and a plate of noodles, you will have entered into an extraordinary land: Laos.

From China to Laos by air

For a trip to Laos from China, the starting point is Kunming, the capital of Yunnan also known as “the city of eternal Spring”. Depending on the time you have available, the trip can be made by land or air. From Kunming Changshui International Airport, situated in the Guandu district (about 25km from Kunming), the national carrier Lao Airlines offers daily flights to Vientiane. Alternately, flights to Vientiane are available also on the Chinese company  Eastern Airlines, though they offer only two flights per week. [Read more…]

How to get a Russian Visa: The Complete Guide

Russian visa

This article is a complete and updated guide on how to obtain a visa for Russia. In this article, we are going to cover the following points (you can click on them to jump directly to the point which interests you):

[Read more…]