Friday, 24 June 2016

The China Experience

(Picture by Lauren Shearer)
Where do I start with this country? Please stick with this post as it will no doubt turn into an epic rant about how annoying the place is and how super annoying the older generation of people are. I will start off with a breakdown of what we did and where we went etc.
So we flew into Beijing from Japan it was a relatively short flight as we flew out of Osaka (the floating airport) its pretty surreal give it a google. Upon getting to Beijing I honestly had really high hopes of China, now I knew about the social media issues and certain news channels but in all fairness I was not arsed about that I mean I am travelling the world I can refrain from Facebook for a while. This drastically changed upon trying to access my online banking IMPOSSIBLE without a VPN, In fact EVERYTHING that needs the internet is worthless in China without a VPN, everything google is banned, Maps, Search, Blogs, e-mail you name it its blocked. Basically EVERYTHING you need as a traveller is banned.

Its near impossible to navigate your way round a city without the internet so I gave in and got a VPN, even with this at times it was impossible to do anything online, for instance it took us 3 days to book train tickets in Xi'an because you could not buy the tickets at the train station and the internet was so slow and website kept crashing it made the experience of China so frustrating.

So we did Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai & got the hell out to Hong Kong, honestly I was not blown away by China at all, The Great Wall of China was alright, The Terracotta Army was better in my opinion, the food wasn't that great, the older generation of people were incredibly rude and ignorant, the whole place just had a feeling of a prison a society that knows it can not do what it wants when it wants.

So the food, IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND GOOD CHINESE FOOD IN CHINA!! YES thats right! We spent 4 days in Shanghai and literally could not find a LOCAL FOOD restaurant anywhere its all TGI Fridays, Hooters, McDonalds, KFC, Goodfellas, Turkish, Indian, French, Greek, Spanish & American food. We got talking to a couple of Canadian blokes in a bar one night who had lived there for 20 years and they explained that the vast majority of the local restaurants could not compete with the international chains so over the years they have all shut down, you can still find the locals who have opened their own homes to people to eat but honesty the cleanliness of these places leaves a lot to be desired.

The older generation of people are incredibly rude, the spitting is just dame right disgusting, the manners of these people leave a lot to be desired, now I know every country has its generation of arseholes but these guys take the biscuit. The younger generation however are lovely and want to learn so much about the world which makes the restrictions they have on the internet even more annoying as the people there are living such sheltered lives.

NOW THE COST OF TRANSPORT!! Let me sum this up for you with a simple breakdown of cost for trying to get to Hong Kong via a train and compare that to getting to Hong Kong via an airplane.

Train from Shanghai to Hong Kong 18 hour journey none stop.

Standing £51
Second Class Seat £51
First Class Seat £70
Hard Sleeper £95
Soft Sleeper £125
1st Class Sleeper £150

First of all yes thats STANDING UP FOR 18 HOURS FOR THE SAME PRICE AS SITTING DOWN and these spaces where the first to sell out!!!

Airplane from Shanghai to Hong Kong 1 hour 30 minute flight


Now people might say well you are technically leaving China when heading to Hong Kong but we did internal trains from Beijing to Xi'an and Xi'an to Shanghai and paid over £60 per person each time. Once for a sleeper bed and once for a seat so go figure.

Anyway I was well and truly underwhelmed by the whole country it was not what I was expecting one little but, It was far from an enjoyable experience you could not enjoy yourself as a traveller because you had no idea how you were going to get to your next place, I found it just as expensive as Japan, but a million times less enjoyable. I can honestly say I WILL NEVER go back to China, the visa cost alone over £150 is not worth it ONE LITTLE BIT!! It's a country you go to on holiday where everything is pre planned, it's certainly not a traveling destination where you want to be spontaneous and just go with it because this is nothing but stress. The only decent thing about my time in China was the people we met there, we met some amazing people just wish we could have enjoyed the country a whole lot more than we did.

Hong Kong however was completely different and i'll blog about that separately.

For now thanks for reading take care

Richard :)


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