For those who still are not familiar with, WeChat (微信, Weixin, which means “micro-letter” or “micro-message” in Chinese) is a social network: it’s sort of halfway between WhatsApp and Facebook, with the dual purpose of dividing content on your dashboard besides communication via chat. [Read more…]
Note: If you are only interested on getting a free quotation for a travel insurance, then we recommend World Nomads (click here to get your free quotation).
Travel Insurance for China – Index
When I decided to go to China for the first time, finding an affordable and comprehensive health insurance was one of my first concerns, as I knew that, while in my country I was covered by the welfare system, in China I was on my own. This also applies to short-term travelers: unless you have international insurance, you won’t be covered while traveling around Asia.
Why do I need an health insurance when I travel to China?
Health insurance isn’t compulsory when you travel, so you can still go to Asia without any insurance and hope to never get sick, have an accident, lose your luggage or having your flight canceled by a storm.
However, I won’t do it myself. It’s too risky. Especially when you consider that a good travel insurance only costs you a couple of USD per day.
Chinese hospitals are business-oriented and they won’t help you unless you can pay cash in advance or they can verify that you’re covered by adequate medical insurance.
I repeat, if you can’t pay nobody will help you. Also, international hospitals in China (where doctors and nurses can speak English) are often more expensive than hospitals in the U.S.
I’ve heard plenty of horror stories of western tourists or expats that were left to die or lose a foot in an Asian hospital because, after being a victim of an accident or bad food poisoning, they didn’t have insurance or enough cash to pay for the emergency treatments they needed. Can you afford to pay 5,000 or 10,000 USD cash? [Read more…]
Chinese Food Cooking Courses – Index
Chinese cuisine is well-known for being one of the biggest and most popular in the world. No matter where you go, you can find Chinese restaurants anywhere, even in small towns and villages in Europe.
If you want to learn how to cook Chinese food quickly, two good options can be to attend online and/or follow popular YouTube channels. Therefore, we have written this article where we list some of the most popular online Chinese food cooking courses and YouTube channels.
If you have any other recommendations, feel free to drop a comment below or send us an email!
Best Apps to Travel in China – Index
- City maps: Google Maps, Maps, Baidu Ditu
- Subway maps: Metro China Subway
- Train and plane tickets: China Train Booking and Trip
- VPN: Express VPN and the others
- Hotels: Agoda, Hostelworld, Booking
- Taxis: Didi Chuxing
- Chinese dictionaries: Pleco, Hanping, Google Translate
- The App of all Apps: WeChat
- Web content search engine: Baidu, Bing, and Google
- Payment Apps: Alipay
- Music player: Kugou Music, QQ music
Before you begin
Are you going to travel to China and would like to use of some tools that will make your experience easier?
In a country where the language is a huge barrier, it certainly doesn’t hurt to load up your smartphone with a few megabytes that will help you deal with typical situations of all types, and namely where to stay, how to get around and how to access key information.
Keep in mind that not all applications that work in your country will work in China, meanwhile, others will work, albeit very slowly.
Because of this, in this article, I present the 10 applications that I consider to be the most useful and effective for traveling to the country. Of course, there exist many more, but I will focus on those that don’t require a knowledge of Chinese to use.
Unless there’s an indication to the contrary, all of these are available for iOS and Android. However, take note Android users:
The Google Play Store doesn’t work in China, so to avoid complications, it’s better that you download all of the apps you think you’ll need before your trip.
Traveling to Wuhan – Index
Wuhan is one of the biggest cities in China, having a population of around 12 million people. The city has received a lot of more attention from January 2020, due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Wuhan is a transportation hub in central China, has plenty of foreign multinational companies, great cuisine, and astonishing views. Locals and foreigners travel to the city, especially during the spring and autumn, just to indulge in local food, visit parks, lakes and historical sites.
In this article, I explain why you should visit Wuhan, how you can reach the city, where you should go while there, what to eat, and more. Let’s get started.
Taking the metro in China – Index
There are many ways to unravel yourself from the vastness of Chinese cities: taxis, didis, buses, bikes, on foot, by train.
One of the most comfortable ways to get around the various parts of the city, is without a doubt the metro, which you’ll find in the majority of the large Chinese cities (more than 40 cities offer a metro system, including Hong Kong and Macao, and many that don’t have one are building metro systems or expanding existing ones).
It’s fast, comfortable, cheap, high-tech, clean and well-developed, but alas, often overcrowded (especially on certain routes during certain times).
Best Dating Apps for China – Index
The online dating applications industry has literally exploded and companies receive funding in the hundreds of millions of dollars and are valued in the billions. China is not an exception and there are plenty of both local and foreign companies that target the Chinese online dating market.
If you plan to visit or move to China and look for the best dating applications, don’t look any further. In this article, we list some of the biggest and most popular dating apps you can find.
Travel to Shandong – Index
Shandong, which translates to “East of the mountains”, is a populous province that has played a vital role throughout China’s history. It’s the home of Mount Tai, a site with one of the longest histories of religious worship. Besides, Confucius was born in Qufu, one of the biggest cities in the province.
It’s a religious and cultural center for Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, and also the third wealthiest province of China. In this article, I explain why you should visit Shandong, places to visit, about the cuisine, and finally, I share some travel tips.
- Chinese Name: 山东
- Provincial Capital: Jinan
- Famous Cities: Qingdao, Jinan, Weihai, Linyi, Qufu, Dezhou
- Population: Around 100 million
- Surrounding provinces: Hebei, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan
- Ethnic groups: Han (99.3%), Hui (0.6%)
This page is dedicated to my favorite Chinese movies.
Ocean Heaven (海洋天堂, Hǎiyáng Tiāntáng)
Ocean Heaven is a 2010 Chinese-Hong Kong drama directed by Xue Xiaolu.
Sam Wong has a terminal sickness and is going to die soon. Even if he has accepted it, he’s worried for his son, Dafu, who is a 21 year old autistic guy. Sam works in an aquarium and, since his wife died fourteen years before, he has to look after his son alone.
Sam’s deepest fear is that Dafu won’t be able to look after for himself after he will die. Hence he’s trying to teach to his soon how to learn the essential everyday tasks so that he will be able to survive once he will be alone.
An important part of the story is devoted to show the help that Sam and Dafu get from their community. In China there isn’t the state welfare that you can get in Europe or Japan, so people learned how to take care of each other.
This is one of the few movies in Chinese that I was able to completely understand without English subtitles. The reason is that there isn’t much dialogue going on. It’s all about body language and face expressions.
Even if it’s a sad story, Ocean Heaven does end up with an optimistic view of the future. But you have to watch the movie to discover it ; )
The Story of Qiu Ju (秋菊打官司, Qiū Jú dǎ guān sī)
Traveling to Hubei – Index
The capital of Hubei Province (湖北) is Wuhan (武汉). The abbreviated name for Hubei Province is 鄂 (E), a character mostly used on car license plates. The presence of the character 北 (bei) “north” shouldn’t fool you, since Hubei is a province in central China.
The name comes from the fact that it’s located north of the large and deep Dongting Lake (洞庭), just like Hunan (湖南) because, as opposed to Hubei, it’s located south of Dongting Lake. On one shore of Dongting Lake there’s the famous Yueyang Lou (岳阳楼), “Yueuang Tower”.
Note too that the really ancient State of Chu (楚) is located in Hubei.
Why visit Hubei Province?
Some time ago, the general image of China was a place full of lakes, rivers, mountains, forests, animals, Chinese with straw hats on board little boats, and so on.
Well, Hubei is certainly one of the most fertile and lush Chinese provinces, thanks to the countless rivers and lakes to be found there. The most important river that goes through Hubei is Changjiang (长江), the “Long River”, known in the West as the Yangzi or, Yangtze depending on the old phonetic transcription from Wade-Giles.
Although the literal translation of Changjiang is “Long River”, it’s conventionally called “Blue River” because there are clay-like substances present that allows it to reflect the blue of the sky like a mirror. The Changjiang is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world, surpassed only by the Amazon and Nile Rivers.
Although nature has an important role in Hubei, modernity has not failed to reach this wonderful province, with all the pros and cons that this brings. [Read more…]
Travel to China Guide – Index
- How to get a Chinese Visa
- Tour or independent travel?
- Travel Insurance for China
- Hotels and hostels in China
- Vaccines and medicine
- Flying to China
- Internet and phone cards
- Phone cards
- Best apps for traveling in China
- Money, ATMs and credit cards
- China by train
- Domestic flights
- What to bring?
- When to travel to China?
- Common sense and cultural issues
- Food and drinks
- Nightlife in China
- Scams in China
- Shopping and bargaining
- Numbers in China
- How to communicate in China
- Frequently asked questions
This guide contains pretty much all the info that you’ll need to prepare your trip to China. However, note that in this article we don’t go into detail about any tourist destination or itinerary.
If you’d like to learn more about a particular destination, The Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, for example, click here to access our collection of tourist guides.
If you want to learn more about a particular touristic itinerary, click here.
Zodiac Signs and the Chinese Horoscope – Index
- Why does each sign correspond with an animal?
- Personality and (romantic) compatibility between Chinese Zodiac signs
- Find out your Chinese Zodiac sign
- The four pillars of destiny
- Find out your “internal animal”
- Find out your “true animal”
- Find out your “secret animal”
- Yin and Yang
- The five elements
- For those fixated on the math
- A calendar of the next twelve years
- Frequently asked questions
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 symbol 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…]
10 Dog Breeds Originally from China – Index
Quite a broad and varied range of dog breeds have come to us from China, some of which are very well-known and others not so much. If you have one or are interested in these marvelous Chinese dog breeds, below, I’m going to explain their origins and most common features.
We have grouped them by size, as that is one of the features that people keep in mind the most when choosing which breed to take home:
Large (weighing more than 18 kg, and which can even reach 100):
- Tibetan Mastiff
Medium (weighing more than 8 kg and up to 30):
- Chow Chow
- Tibetan Terrier
Small (maximum weight of between 8 and 9 kg):
- Lhasa Apso
- Chinese Crested Dog
- Shih Tzu
If you plan to travel to China, it can be worth to do some reading about how to get around by taxi. Not only is the culture different, but it’s also important that you know how much it costs and what options to use.
How do you get a taxi and can you communicate with the driver in English? Do you need to tip or not? These are just a couple of questions that you should know before you depart for China.
In this article, we reply to some of the most common questions related to taking taxis in China.
How do you hail a taxi in China?
Below I’ve listed the three different ways of how you can hail a taxi in China. [Read more…]
Travel to Shenzhen – Index
Before you begin
Just across the border from Hong Kong on the Chinese mainland, lies the first tier city of Shenzhen, where around 15 million people live, work and entertain themselves.
Whether visiting or living in Shenzhen, this article will introduce some of the better scenic spots, historic sites and themed attractions. Shenzhen is a sprawling city covering ten districts, so you’ll need to plan carefully to make the most of your time – places to see are listed by district to make this easier.
Depending on your expectations, you may find some attractions quite touristy and possibly even tacky – but that’s the nature of Chinese entertainment. Take time to look beyond this, and you are likely to have some great experiences and get to sample the unique and wonderful culture that China offers.
Economic Development in China and India -Index
While the average income in China and India remains low, their impressive economic growth and enormous populations have made them two world powers of extraordinary importance, whose economies are surpassed only by that of the United States. Therefore, even if a large slice of their population remains in poverty, the economies of China and India are completely integrated into the world markets and financial exchanges, making the development of these two key countries important to maintaining a peaceful international scene during the 21st Century.
Following the financial crisis of 2008 and the difficulty faced by the main world powers in maintaining sustainable economic growth, China and India are among the few economies to record a positive rate of growth. Many hope that a closer collaboration among these two colossi may lead the rest of the world to break the negative trend of the worldwide economy.
Nevertheless, when China and India are more closely and meticulously compared, the profound difference in development between the dragon and the elephant is immediately noticeable, with the former having a decisive advantage over the latter. [Read more…]
I wrote this short story in 2011. It was firstly published in another website, but the website closed down last year, so we decided to republish the story here on SDC, as we think it’s still interesting, and relevant!
A nice encounter
Muse Club, Shanghai, almost one a.m.
I’m more bored than ever and I decide to contact a girl from Anhui province that I met two days ago on the pedestrian bridge at the intersection between Yan An Road and Xi Zang Road. I send her a text message:
“我在Muse, 你干什么?” (I’m at Muse, what are you doing?)
“我在KTV工作.你们几个人?” (I’m working at the karaoke. How many of you?)
“我一个人，你要来吗?” (I’m alone, wanna come?)
“和你聊天跳舞，你给我钱吗?” (If I talk and dance with you, will you pay me?)
“Oh shit, another prostitute!” I think while I give up and order a Carlsberg. [Read more…]
Do you plan to visit China and want to get some better bargaining skills?
The Chinese are way more used to bargaining than many foreigners. Therefore, it can be worthwhile to learn some standard phrases and common pitfalls beforehand.
This can save you a decent amount of money as it’s not rare that shopkeepers add markups in the multiples.
In this article, you’ll learn more about bargaining in China and what you should do to get the lowest price possible.
Is it difficult to bargain in China?
In short, yes it is. Why? First of all, this is not only prevalent when walking to local markets to buy clothes, for example. The Chinese are well-known for being persistent and skilled in negotiations, this also applies to the corporate world.
If you join a Chinese to a local market, you’ll notice that the haggling-process and atmosphere can become a bit tense. Many westerners aren’t used to haggling in this way, a reason why many don’t get the upper and pay a higher price. [Read more…]
Welcoming Chinese guests – Index
Chinese tourism is in exponential growth worldwide, with an increasing standard of living allowing more and more people the chance to travel.
Sadly, quite often there are linguistic misunderstandings because our almond-eyed friends don’t always know foreign languages, and those who host them often don’t speak the tiniest bit of Chinese, as well as cultural problems due to the different customs and ways of doing things (even those of us in China are considered “strange” for more than one reason).
In this brief guide I want to share a few experiences from over the years with Chinese friends and tourists who came to Italy and also those I directly knew in China.
I’m sure they’ll be useful for welcoming Chinese guests the best way possible, whether on vacation or for work, when they come to your country, as well as for better understanding their culture when traveling in the Middle Kingdom.
Day Tour Agencies in Hong Kong – Index
Do you plan to visit Hong Kong and want to participate in a local day tour? In this article, we list some of the most popular day tour agencies that offer everything from food tours to daily tours to New Territories and Lantau Island. You can even spend your layover in Lantau, which can be a great option if you have a limited time in Hong Kong, as the airport is located there.
You’ll learn about each operator and what kinds of services they offer. We will also explain about their recognition and reviews on Tripadvisor. If you have any other recommendations of day tour agencies in Hong Kong, feel free to drop a comment below!
If you’ve already decided to book a Hong Kong tour but you aren’t sure what travel agency to choose, we can suggest a reliable agency to you. Click here to contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.