Report of our stay in China

After our stay in China – as part of our trip around the world – we have prepared a report with all the important info: itineray, expenses, things we found shocking, things we liked… Good reading!

Our itinerary in China

Number of kilometers

1600 km

Regions we crossed

Beijing, Jiangsu, Zheijang and Shanghai

Means of transport

Read our article about transportation in China! (coming soon)

In China, we took the subway and the bus to get around within the cities, then the train and the coach to get from one city to the next.

Our expenses in China

depenses

Blue: food and drinks. Red: hotels. Yellow: transport within and between the cities. Green: activities. Purple: others (money exchange fees, etc.)

Before leaving, we had predicted a budget of 30€ per person per day. After our stay in China, our final budget was 24,50€ per person per day!

Illness

Thankfully none for the whole 3 weeks! Just some digestion difficulties from time to time, but nothing serious. And Anaïs almost caught a cold because of the air conditioning in Shanghai, but she got over it!

Things we found shocking

Well, if you know us a little by now, you probably know that we’re quite straightforward when it comes to saying what we think! We’ve prepared a little list with all the things that really shocked us in China (but that’s only our point of view!).

  • The spitting: we knew that was common here but wooow! We’re not in our country and we respect their way of living, but as Western people we really have difficulties with that! The worst thing is not really that they spit, but when you’re peacefully walking around and you hear them look for their deepest phlegm… Imagine you’re making one of your life’s dreams walking over the Great Wall of China in the middle of the mountain, everything’s lovely and bucolic when… hrhrhrhrhr! It’s really disguting and we really heard that all the time!
  • The pushing: Yep, it may seem silly, but it happens on the street, the subway or queueing up to get into a musuem in Beijing. Chinese people have problems respecting queues, and they push and push! There are some that will even get ahead of everyone waiting in the line and simply stand in front of you, like it was natural!
  • The staring: appartenly, Europeans come from Mars, and they like to stare! Even in the subway (specially in Beijing), we were stared at for several long minutes. It’s kind of awkward but we got used to it.
  • The fact that they take pictures of us at any moment. It was specially uneasy for Anaïs! We were visiting the Forbidden City – the most important place in Beijing – and the Chinese tourists took pictures of Anaïs! Really?? And of course, they never ask if you mind them taking pictures of you! They’d even do that while we were eating! We can tell you it becomes annoying.
  • Many little children have their trousers cut at the crotch so that they are able to do their business on the street. We were walking through a park and we saw a little boy squat and… surprise!
  • Air pollution in Beijing and its surroundings! We couldn’t see the sky, it was striking.
  • The fact that there’re people everywhere… Really, everywhere! Even our flight was delayed for one hour because there were too many flights departing at the same time!
  • Everything is big and disproportionate! We often say everything is big in the USA, but hey, have you been to China?? It’s a thousand times worse! Stations, avenues, subway transfers… everything is huge!
  • The tastes: Chinese people like everything shiny and noisy. Be it the plastic jewels or crazy musical shiny jumping toys…
  •  The crazy traffic. Right, there’re a lot of people in this country, bla bla bla. But the thing is, honking is their way of saying “hey, I’m here”. Similarly, zebra crossings are also used by scooters and bikes, so you can imagine the mess! And of course, you won’t have the right of way at any time when you’re on a pedestrian crossing! We’ve too often missed getting run over!
  • The restrictions on the Internet. Yes, we know, Google and most social network sites are censored in China (Gmail, Google Maps, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). That’s why we bought a VPN service before leaving. However, the access to the VPN servers was also complicated because the government also censors them! We’ve met several travellers who had a lot of difficulties connecting to their VPNs too! By the way, if we didn’t publish too often, it was because we couldn’t!
  • Impolite: you won’t get a “hello”, “goodbye” or “thanks” at shops, hotels… If they shout “Passport!” you shall translate as “May I see your passport please? Thank you!”
  • Their phones are an extension to their own body. They always have a phone under their noses, even while crossing the streets!
  • The whole country is under construction. There are works going on everywhere, in every city we saw. We understand why China grows so quickly!

(wow, now that we see that list, we really have been surprised in China!)

Things we liked in China

  • The streets are really clean, people take care of cleaning the streets all day long!
  • Chinese people are kind! Yep, even if they push, spit and are impolite, they have always helped us find our way! Even if they didn’t speak English, some of them even accompanied us to our destination! In the subway, some people stood up and lent us their seats when they saw us carrying our big rucksacks.
  • The respect towards tourists: appart from taking pictures of us all day long, they were never unpleasant, they never tried to sell us silly things…
  • It’s an affordable country, specially concerning food. Generally speaking, a dish of noodles or rice would cost 20 or 30 yuan (2€-4€).
  • There’re public toilets everywhere! Yep, Anaïs (a true expert in wee breaks) was very happy to see that most streets have public restrooms.
  • It’s super easy to find a place to eat! There’re stalls, restaurants and street vendors everywhere! When you’re hungry, just open your eyes.
  • The culture is so old and interesting!

Conclusion

We loved our stay in China. We saw lots of beautiful things and places, specially at the Great Wall, Beijing and even Shanghai. True, we were shocked by some things, but that’s the point of travelling! Seeing how other people live is learning about ourselves. China is full of contrasts, and that’s really interesting. We just visited a part of this huge country, and there’s so much more to see. We’re sure we’ll be back some day and discover many more things!

Bonus