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My 2014 travelling year in China and not only.

Popularity 15Viewed 1904 times 2015-5-20 18:47 |Personal category:Travelling|System category:Life| convenient, developed, addition, business, country

China is a paradise for travelers where people travel vastly and frequently, be it for business trips or vacations. And it is explainable due to the country’s developed touristic sector, the low cost of travel, accessibility, bullet trains that now connect the majority of cities in China and awe-inspiring scenery. In addition, China’s convenient geographical position in South-East Asia makes it easy to travel to other budget-friendly and amazing countries like Thailand, Vietnam or South Korea.

 

Travelling to other places is different from reading about them in books. As I understand it, learning cultural differences, history and language, broadening your horizons, tasting delicious foreign food answer the question “Why should people travel?”

 

I have traveled a lot across China since my first visit.  I have been to its Southern provinces - Jiangxi province where I witnessed the process of producing elegant porcelain crockery, Fujian province where I savoured on rich in taste and colour Wuyishan dahongpao tea. During my 4-year stay in China I have visited Harbin in Heilongjiang province and its winter fairy tale – “Ice and Snow World”, I strolled in the Disneyland park in Hong Kong and admired the Chinese economic wonder in Shenzhen.Having got up an appetite for travelling, my 2014 year was even more abundant in different kinds of trips, in and outside of China.

 

My 2014 year started with a visit to sun-kissed Thailand. Only around five hours by flight and you are in a white sand beach paradise having escaped Beijing, usually enveloped in smog during the Spring Festival time. For my vacations I chose a quiet island Koh Chang and a nice two-storey hotel on the sea shore to enjoy the calming sounds of waves in the evening and a majestic Thai sunset. At night the beach area comes alive and the local sea food BBQ chefs get ready with theirstalls full of delicacies that you can have cooked and served on the seashore. In many eateries and shops in Thailand the Chinese characters on the signboards compete with English and Russian letters for your attention as the majority of tourists come from these countries.

 

 

Having seen enough of sea and nature – if one can ever get enough of it – I made my way to sky-scraper framed Shanghai in early spring. It was not my first time to the city but this time was special – I came to visit a friend and was lucky enough to catch a scandalous and thought-provoking yet amusing exhibition of pictures, art works and installations of a Japanese octogenarian, worldly recognized artist Yayoi Kusama.

 

 

I love seaside cities! The next on my list was burgeoning Dalian in Liaoning province that is in the China’s North-East. Dalian is touted a fashion capital of China and it deserves its name! A very neat and clean city with vast greenery. Of course, the industrialization didn’t escape Dalian. The commercial tall buildingsframing the city center have emerged like mushrooms after rain during the last years. Port Arthur, which is in Chinese Liushunkou, is a place of a historical meaning in China. It used to be an apple of discord between three countries: Russian, Japan and China with varying success until it passed to China for good. Dalian, bordering on Russia’s Far East, is home to many natives of Russia and guests from this country. There is even a so-dubbed Russian district with Russian eateries and menus in Russian. Geographical closeness plays the role.

 

 

  Continuing my “voyage” along the Yellow Sea, I made my way to South Korea during the National holidays in China. I took a plane to Seoul first and then spent four hours on a fast train to Busan, the second important city in South Korea. Every year the International Film Festival is held there and I was lucky enough to be present at the opening ceremony of the Festival and witness the Korean, Chinese, Japanese and even some Western stars appear on the traditionally red carpet proudly demonstrating their dazzling dresses and peerless smiles to the audience. Seoul seemed to me like another glass-fronted megapolis, a popular shopping spot for cosmetics. I also grabbed some. It is impossible to be in South Korea and not to visit the DMZ between South and North Koreas. You can visit a museum there and be shown an educational movie about the intense relationships between two countries. 

 

The last trip I made in 2014 was to Qufu town in Shandong province, a birthplace of renowned educator, statesman, and world culture figure, Confucius. The trip was highly educational to me as apart from sightseeing and tasting local cuisine, I won a chance to meet the rector of QufuGuoxue Institute that was formed only in March and by now has been totally renovated. The Institute boasts of spacious classrooms for learning tea ceremonies, calligraphy and classical studies. Every year Qufu welcomes a lot of tourists coming from all over China and abroad.

 

Finally, I opened the new 2015 year with an unforgettable  trip to Xi’an which is in Sha’anxi province, a former residence of Emperor Qin Shihuang who brought the enormous fame to the city by erecting his Terracotta army to protects him in the best of the worlds after his death. But foreigners who are planning to visit Xi’an should be warned that some local hotels do not allow foreigners to book a room due to their regulations. It would be wise to ask before bookingwhether or not the hotel accepts foreigners. In Xi’an everything screams history. Even the sense of proudness for the great past of their city can be read on the faces of citizens. The Chinese hardest character, the name of the noodles, “biangbiang” was also originated in Xi’an.

Travelling is a lifestyle, and, if you are living in a foreign country, you are a tourist by default. To understand the world better you need to immerse in the culture, wander around the famous spots, talk to the locals and listen. Seeing is always better than believing.

 

 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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