10 Months after we got married and the long awaited honeymoon had finally come round. And what a fantastic trip it was.
We started at Beijing and included Pingyao, Xi’an, Chengdu and a Yangtze River cruise before flying on to Hong Kong. You may have seen this package on our website including some date we have for later on in the year and 2020.
The weather had been very kind to us throughout the two weeks. We only saw rain on 2 occasions for a very short period of time. But typically one of those times was while we did a shore excursion to watch a show outdoors during our time on the Yangtze. But never mind it was still very enjoyable.
This tour is very full on and jam-packed and some of the days are really long. We did have some early starts as well due to catching bullet trains or making sure we got the Great Wall before the Beijing marathon started and the roads closed off.
Our particular tour was run by Buffalo Tours who i hadn’t come across before. These guides were brilliant. We had the main guide, Mark was his English name and he escorted throughout the full 10 days and then we had a guide in each city who had exceptional knowledge of each place. Mark had some great stories to tell which passed the time on the coach journeys. He was also great at setting our expectations and informing the group about local traditions. Some of these i’ll share with you as they are handy to know or be aware off before you travel.
Toilets – It is normal in China to use a squatting toilet. This is seen as hygienic. Although facilities in China are becoming more Westernized, you can still expect to find Squatties. Most busy places will have toilet tissue in them but i found it handy to carry pocket tissues as not always the case.
Crowds – Some of the bigger cities are very overcrowded and can get very busy. To the Chinese it’s not impolite to push or shove it’s quite normal. Don’t take it personal just go with it.
Spitting – Many older generations of the Chinese were brought up to believe that it isn’t good for you to swallow your phlegm. So you may still catch many of the older Chinese spitting in public.
Westerners – Believe it or not it isn’t all that common for many of the Chinese to come across a Westerner. It was fascinating to see how excited they get to see you. They will smile, say hello and ask to take a picture with you. You can politely refuse but hey i though i’m never going to see that picture so feel free.
Food – Many of the restaurants try to cater well for Westerners and usually the tour providers will incorporate restaurants that have the facilities e.g western toilet, forks. do expect to be eating Chinese food 24/7. Some big cities have to odd KFC or McDonald’s. They also aren’t very big on sweets like cakes or chocolate you tend to get fruit.
Social Media – As they are a communist country you will find anything related to google, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat won’t work as they are blocked. I didn’t find this out until i got there so i was too late to download a vpn. However WeChat is acceptable in China so i sent messages and pictures home this way after using Outlook to email my parents to download it.
Mark also taught some very useful Chinese words to use during our visit. Some may come in handy if you are visiting the local markets and doing some bartering.
Hello – Ni Hao – pronounced ‘knee’ ‘how’
Thank you – XieXie – pronounced ‘shay’ ‘shay’ (try to separate them)
No Thank you – Bu XieXie – pronounced ‘boo’ ‘shay’ ‘shay’ (definitely separate these words, don’t say as one)
Very good – Ding Hao
Very Very good – Ding Ding Hao (an so on)
Beer – Pijiu – pronounced ‘Pee’ ‘Jo’
Tune in for my next blog as i will cover a bit more about my Chinese Adventures in each city. Next stop will be Beijing.
Please feel free to email me or visit my Facebook for more details and for help organizing you Bucket List Trip.