Peculiar aspects of Chinese culture and customs

As one of the largest and most influential country during the history of civilization, China is a home of incredibly rich history and tradition, impressive and unique culture and customs, plenty of which are present nowadays too. In spite of a severe isolation for several decades and the period of regression, China remains an exotic attraction for studying and exploring, especially today with open borders for tourists. However, some aspects of lifestyle in China and particularly some customs still being practiced may easily shock and confuse western tourists. Here’s a rundown of some of the most peculiar phenomena you might face when visiting China.

Post-apocalyptic urban areas

One of the first associations to China is certainly its huge population. The overall number of inhabitants is still increasing, and it consequentially leads to a problem of accommodation. In an attempt to solve this issue, the government invested big money into construction industry to build massive urban infrastructures. Unfortunately, the real estate fluctuations boosted the prices of these real estates causing most of these infrastructures to remain unoccupied. It created so-called “ghost cities” phenomena with New South China Mall as the most obvious example. Empty and sterile buildings and streets truly make the spooky atmosphere.

Careful with time zones

Considering the massive area of the country, it is expected to face switching of time zones if traveling from one region of the country to another. Back in 20. Century, before the period of Communist Party, China had five time zones. When Mao Zedong took the country over, the specific political decision relegated the whole country into one same time zone, eight hours ahead of GMT. Consequentially, this caused some unusual aspects, such as the discrepancy between time and the actual time of the day in some regions. To overcome the problem, some areas, such as Hong Kong, stick to their “time zones” which may easily confuse uninformed tourists.

Rich and immune to the law

There is nothing surprising in the fact that those the richest have always been the most privileged everywhere. Sometimes even privileged enough to dodge various rules and legislation regularly applied on average people. But in China, this aspect reached impressive culmination. Namely, there’s an awkward practice of so-called “ding zui” that remains under the radar of the government for decades. The practice refers to hiring (and paying enormously) someone else to stand a trial and do the prison time on behalf of the convicted wealthy people. The practice got so far that the chosen “double body” doesn’t even have to resemble the criminal much. However, this practice remains reserved only to the richest.

Obscure methods of TCM

TCM or traditional Chinese medicine has been developing for centuries parallel with Western medicine, often being significantly ahead of the medicine in other parts of the world. Some believes and methods in TCM remain drastically different compared to conventional medicine and some treatments are particularly weird. Aside from acupuncture and fire cupping, much Chinese still go for controversial treatments, such as “bile bear.” These methods include specifically the cruel treatment of animals and extraction of bear’s bile. It is believed that bile gained through these procedures cures dozens of health issues.

Great Wall of China Succumbs to both Natural and Human Damages

crumbling great wallWhen you think about China one structure immediately stands-out: The Great Wall of China. According to a comprehensive archeological survey, the entire architecture – including its actual walls, trenches, and natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers – measures to about 21,916 kilometers. Continue reading “Great Wall of China Succumbs to both Natural and Human Damages”

A High Dose for Thrill Seekers in China’s Haunted Places

haunted placesPeople jump off a plane mid-travel. Groups of young adventurers scale high cliffs and mountains. Liberated souls go kayaking in swelled, roaring rivers. Thrill-seekers, one and all.

There are a lot of activities available for people wishing to elevate their adrenaline, to feel that rising fear from your stomach climbing up your chest, and yelling it out as you scream for pure ecstatic excitement. Continue reading “A High Dose for Thrill Seekers in China’s Haunted Places”

The Towering Skyscrapers of Shanghai

shanghai skyscrapersOnly twenty-five years old, the Lujiazui Financial district, Pudong, Shanghai has a world class skyline and in 2014, the second tallest building in world.

Cities with great skylines have several buildings that stand out from the rest. New York has the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. Chicago has the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and John Hancock Center. Hong Kong has the International Commerce Centre, Two International Finance Centre, and the Central Plaza. Shanghai’s already impressive skyline has the Shanghai World Financial Center, Oriental Pearl Tower, and Jin Mao Tower, and will be joined by the Shanghai Tower in 2014; giving Shanghai two of the top four tallest buildings in the world. Continue reading “The Towering Skyscrapers of Shanghai”

Exploring the Bargains in the Famous Beijing Markets

Bargains in Beijing Markets

Bargaining for clothes, shoes, souvenirs and knockoffs in the capital of China makes for a fun afternoon or a whole day of Beijing shopping.

No trip to China would be complete without an afternoon spent haggling in a traditional market such as the Dirt Market in Panjiayuan or the Silk Market, the indoor reconstruction of the old Beijing Silk Alley. Beijing shopping options can satisfy bargain hunters and trend hunters alike and range from outdoor free-for-alls to modern indoor mall-like complexes. Continue reading “Exploring the Bargains in the Famous Beijing Markets”

Kicking Off Your China Travel Plan

china travel tipsChina is fast becoming a popular and relevant tourist destination since it opened its doors to the world some 30 years ago.

Obtaining Your Chinese Visa

Be prepared to obtain a Chinese visa before leaving for your trip. You will want to apply for your visa at least a couple months before your flight departs. Visa’s can be obtained from your local Chinese consulate or you can hire a third party to deal directly with the consulate for you. Keep in mind that if you don’t live in a major city, you may not have a Chinese consulate near. The cost of a Chinese visa will run you anywhere from $150 to $300 depending on the method you choose to get one. Continue reading “Kicking Off Your China Travel Plan”