I traversed across the entire country by train from Beijing to Kunming in 25 days. In retrospect, too fast.
I bumped into all sorts of kind people as well as assholes. I even got assaulted by an old lady in the street for not giving her money for a broken flashlight she tried to sell me.
China takes a lot of leeway with personal space and patience, and 25 days is WAY TOO SHORT!
If I return, I’ll spend a month in just ONE province. As far as advice, I’d say hit up Beijing and Shanghai, but then spend at least 30 days getting intimate and familiar with a particular area.
CHINA HAS ALMOST 1.5 BILLION PEOPLE. DONTCHU FORGET.
What a bizarre city. Flat, SO COLD, yet so many people on those damn subways. The city itself is huge and expansive despite it appearing more like a town upon first visit (no skyscrapers). The bareness of it is also part of its attraction. The clubs here are no different than the western world- there’s some damn rich fools in this city. I saw way too many Lamborginis on a Friday night.
Considering I only took one picture after a week in Shanghai, you can figure out that I found out little about the sites and a lot about the nightlife. Without writing an entire article on my take of it, here’s what I’ll say. The Shelter is the coolest nightlife venue.
And this hostel is the coolest hostel I’ve stayed in…I dare say ever. “THE PHONEIX”
The rest is spending way too much on drinks. Until once again, I needed to get that balance. And what better way than a 24 hour train to the middle of China? Unfortuanately, no sleepers this time. Only a cramped seat. But the locals were so damn friendly. I was fed by EVERYBODY, all from just trying to speak with my extremely basic Mandarin (ni tong na li lai? / where are you from?) I eventually slept after 20 hours.
It was totally worth the trek.
On my last day, I hiked for 12 hours straight. This man on the motorcycle took another traveler I met the hostel and myself to the base of the valleys. The roads were so rough we eventually all got thrown off the bike because of rocks. But, relatively uninjured, we hiked towards waterfalls.
My destination was Kunming (just another city, really), then up North bordering Tibet to a city called Lijiang. Lijiang is a beautiful city, classic Chinese buildings. Albeit, a bit touristy (CHINESE tourists are the primary contributors to the amount of people).
I took another overnight train to TIGER LEAPING GORGE. This is at the foothills of Tibet and the Himalayas. I traveled with a Chinese couple who spoke no English, but had such a fun time with them running around and making noises.
Overall, I had a great time in China. I had my moments of frustration, assholes, language barriers, and 24 hour trains, but the beauty and unique culture of it all made up for it. I’ll be back again one day.