Living in Xinjiang: Interview with Josh, founder of FarWestChina

Farwest China

Today we’re going to talk with Josh Summers, the founder of Far West China, as far as I know the best website dedicated to Xinjiang, one of less known and most beautiful provinces of China.

Josh, thank you for accepting to answer to some questions for SDC. You arrived in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, in 2006. How did you end up there?

My pleasure! I’m honored to chat. Our arrival in Xinjiang back in 2006 is a long story that can be summed up in pretty much one word: “accident”. Seriously, who in their right mind travels halfway across the world to a place they can barely find on a map, much less properly pronounce? People who don’t know what they’re getting into, that’s who.

That’s not even the craziest part. Once we arrived in Urumqi in 2006 we only stayed there for two days. Our ultimate destination was Karamay, an even smaller and more remote town about four hours deep in the desert. We did it party out of a sense of adventure but mostly because a trusted friend convinced us it was a good idea. Ha! [Read more...]

Travel by train in China

train in chinaA Chinese train class K.

In this guide to travel in China by train you’ll find out how to buy a train ticket in China, what are the different classes of Chinese trains and some general travel tips.

How to buy a train ticket in China?

You can only buy a train ticket starting from 20 days before your trip. You can’t do it with too much advance. Especially during the peak seasons – Spring Festival (on January or February), May Day (1st May), National Day (1st October) and Summer Holidays (from July to August) – you should buy your ticket as soon as possible or you’ll risk to look for it when the tickets are already sold out. [Read more...]

My nightmare experience in a Chinese hospital

hospital china

Going to the doctor in China is a unique experience. If you don’t have a proper health insurance, it’s also pretty expensive. Today I want to share with you the story of my last visit to a Chinese public hospital.

The most stupid accident in the world

Thursday, 9 p.m. My house is a mess and tomorrow I’ll have guests. I can’t delay it anymore: I need to clean up right now.

Housework isn’t my thing; but once in a while I get mad an can’t stop cleaning until everything looks perfect. Today isn’t an exception and I start to run from one place to another. [Read more...]

Living with a Chinese family and doing an internship in Beijing: My experience

live with a chinese familyMe, Liu (behind me) and some friends of the family

Today we publish an article written by Caterina Saccani, who at the moment is living with a Chinese family in Beijing while she studies Chinese and works as an intern at a language school, LTL Mandarin School.

How I wound up in China

I studied in Germany and graduated in March as an interpreter and translator. I didn’t specialize in Chinese, I always studied it as a third foreign language. Already during my studies everyone encouraged me to work on my Chinese, because it is the language of the future, the Chinese will conquer the world, there will always be a growing need for more people who speak Chinese etc. To tell the truth I don’t know if the Chinese will actually help me to conquer the world, but I study it because I like it, and the culture fascinates me.

After graduating I decided to spend a few months in China. I had already been to Kunming in the summer of 2013 for an intensive Chinese course in a private school, but two months seemed too short and I wanted a different experience that was more than just studying. So I began looking around for an opportunity as an intern. [Read more...]

The Damnoen Saduak floating markets near Bangkok (Photo Essays)

Floating Market in Bangkok

While I was in Bangkok I’ve spent a day in Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand, and half day in Damnoen Saduak, where you’ll find the most touristic floating market of Thailand.

Was is worth?

Yes. And no. I’d never seen any floating market before so the visit was quite interesting to me. Also, I think I managed to shot some decent photos. However the market is way too crowdy and you’ll have to “swim” through a wall of western and Chinese tourists (mostly western, I must say). [Read more...]

Interview with Olle Linge, Hacking Chinese’s founder

olle linge

After almost a year we come back with our interviews to the superstars of Mandarin language, that this those people that not only are studying Mandarin but, through the internet, contribute to the always growing community of Chinese learners with their own wisdom.

Today we’ll talk with Olle Linge, a 30 years old Swedish guy that spent the last seven years learning Chinese (and how to teach it). Olle is the founder & soul of Hacking Chinese, one of my favorite website that focus on Chinese learning. But, as usual, we aren’t going to talk about how to learn Chinese…

Introducing Hacking Chinese

Olle, Hacking Chinese isn’t a simple blog. Sure, the foundation of the website are your articles. However what impresses me the most is the community of people you built: the ones that comment on your articles, the ones that discuss or ask you for advice on Twitter or, why not, the ones that participate to the challenges you propose. When did you start Hacking Chinese and why? What was your initial goal? [Read more...]

Chinese VISA for visitors: Shall I apply for a Q, S or L VISA?

visiting family china visa

More than one year ago, we published the first version of our comprehensive guide for obtaining a Chinese VISA. Since then we received hundreds of questions and suggestions for improving it (thousands, if you consider the Spanish and Italian version of this website).

We actualized the article several times according to the feedback we received and the new laws that ruled out. However, it seems that there is still a point that isn’t clear at all.

This article will explain what type of VISA you shall apply for and what documents you need when you want to visit (or accompany) your family members or friends in China. [Read more...]

Enter the Mantis: Interview with Will, a traditional kung fu practitioner

traditional kungfu in China

My name is Cristiano and I’ve been living and working in China for ten years. In my spare time I love writing and outdoor exercise (PM 2.5 permitting).

I met Will Wain-Williams three years ago, and we immediately became friends. Will is a vigorous martial artist, as well as a tea expert. One of our favorite pastime was spending long hours sipping Chinese tea while discussing about travels or, sometimes, bitching about China.

Will runs Monkey Steals Peach, a website full of information on China, where he talks about his experience with traditional kung fu and his passion for Chinese tea.

Today, in this first article I publish for SDC, I’ll interview him. [Read more...]

How not to learn Chinese (part 2)

how not to learn chinese

This is the second part of the best methods I use for NOT learning Chinese in China. If you didn’t read the first part yet, then I suggest you to follow this link and start from the beginning.

After my “highly successful” experience in a Chinese university, unfortunately I had to leave behind my dream of being an exchange student forever and I had to start doing something a bit more useful. Working, for example! [Read more...]

Living in Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong? Pros and Cons

living in ShanghaiShanghai’s skyline

People often ask to us what is the best city to live in China, Shanghai or Beijing? And is Hong Kong an option? What about second or third tiers cities?

Obviously there isn’t a right answer: it depends on what you’re looking for. In this article we’ll focus on Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong and look at the most important factors (cost of living, carrier opportunities, quality of life and so on) in order to solve some of the most common doubts.

Before we start…

If you’re looking to move to China and you didn’t read it yet, make you a favor and get our free e-book.

Also, keep in mind that Hong Kong S.A.R. (Special Administrative Region) is a Chinese Province only since 1997 (before it was a British colony). [Read more...]