Travelled So Far.

Hey everyone! I know that a lot of you who are considering teaching in China are mainly going for the travel opportunities. I know I was. So in this post I'll be telling you all of the travelling I've actually been able to do (where I've been, how long did I spend there, was it enough time etc.). In my next blog post I'll be sharing my future travel plans with you too! This post won't include activities in Shanghai since I will be writing a post about my favourite things to do here as well. Also, as soon as I finish my contract, I'll be posting an article called "Are We Really Paid to Travel" which may be a big interest for those who are considering teaching in Shanghai. It'll be noteworthy, so hang on, it's coming!

Anyway, this will probably be a lengthy post, so I suggest you grab a cuppa and have a sit down...

1. Nanjing- 1 night (12/13th Nov. 2016)

Where did we stay? We stayed in a dorm room at Nanjing Time Youth Hostel. Around £5 a night.

What did we do? On our first day we arrived at the hostel around 10am from getting up mega early and catching a 6am bullet train. We headed to the Nanjing Massacre museum (a must!) and then over to XuanWu lake that afternoon. The lake was beautiful. We saw loads of things going on around the outside including amazing dancers! We hired a boat and drove around the lake at sunset which was beautiful. The next day we spent the entire day at the Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum. Its on a mountain with loads of other things to do. We had beautiful weather so it was just lovely to walk around and see so many things outdoors. I've made a video blog of our weekend here (click here to see it).
Did we like it? We LOVED Nanjing. I would highly recommend anyone coming to China to visit the old capital. A fantastic weekend.
Was it enough time? No where near enough time here. Getting up so early meant that we were all exhausted and didn't have much energy to do anything in the evening. Maybe try to spend at least 4-5 days here if you go. There's so much to do and see!

2. Laos- 15 nights (Chinese New Year: 8/23 Jan.)

Where did we stay? When we visited Laos we stayed in loads of different hostels booked through We visited Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Houey Xia, Pak Being, Luang Prabang.
What did we do? I loved cycling around the beautiful countryside in Vang Vieng. This was probably my favourite place of all because even though we had terrible weather we still had such a fantastic time. We did the Gibbon Experience in Houey Xia which was really great, however quite a challenge for me, but staying in a treehouse in the jungle is totally worth it. We took the slow boat to Luang Prabang which was incredible. Two days of chilling on a boat with sunshine, the wind in your hair, reading and playing games with friends. LOVED IT. In Luang Prabang we visited the incredible beautiful Kuangsi waterfalls. Honestly spend the entire day here, it's too beautiful just to stay for a few hours. Again you can watch some videos that I made about Laos here.
Did we like it? Yes! Laos is fantastic. It's a part of South East Asia which isn't as discovered as Vietnam or Thailand which makes it still feel quite raw. However, if it's a beach you're looking for I'd suggest someplace else.
Was it enough time? Yes definitely! I think 2 weeks in Laos is enough time to see the main things at a relaxed pace. I should mention this is just for northern Laos.

3. Guangzhou- 3 nights (Chinese New Year: 24/27 Jan.)

Where did we stay? We stayed at a hostel called Lazy Gaga in a triple room. The best place we could have hoped for with great staff! 
What did we do? We got to visit the huge YueXiu park which was fantastic. Going at Spring meant that they had decorated the park beautifully with flowers and new year lanterns. The park was filled with happy people wandering around having fun with their families. Honestly you can spend hours exploring this park so don't miss it! We took the river cruise at sunset through Guangzhou where we got to see the amazing Canton tower. The cruise is cheap and the views are priceless. A notable restaurant is Tiger Prawn. delicious but incredibly packed!! Lastly, we also claimed Baiyun mountain which was lovely. Not spectacular but nice to spend the day outside walking!
Did we like it? Yes, we loved Guangzhou. We had such a great time there and were so sad to leave! I think it was made so much better by the Chinese New Year too! There were countless flower markets and lots of things going on at night time too!
Was it enough time? Unsure. You could definitely do it in 3 days and be happy with it, but I wouldn't object to staying a little longer. You forget how massive these cities really are and we didn't get to see much of it. However, what we did see was great!

4. Hong Kong - 3 nights (Chinese New Year: 27/30 Jan.)

Where did we stay? We stayed at Mei Mei motel, which was fine but very small. I would recommend you stay at Icon Inn. It's fairly cheap, very central and a good size room for Hong Kong!
What did we do? Unfortunately with it being Chinese New Year and all, everything we wanted to do really was closed. We did see Victoria's Harbour and go to Victoria's Peak which was obviously packed (best advice, get there SUPER early). However, the avenue of the stars was closed off due to the firework display. We went to see that as well and it was a massive let down. Unless you plan on spending the entire day sitting at the harbour waiting for the fireworks, you won't be able to see them. And they don't last very long. What we did love was wondering around the busy streets of Hong Kong. It's definitely an experience. Our favourite thing of all? The New Year Parade! Fantastic and worth it! Definitely go see it if you get the chance!
Did we like it? It was good, not great. I wouldn't go back, I think Shanghai is a much better city with a lot more to offer. It Hong Kong is A LOT more expensive!!!
Was it enough time? Yes, I think so. Considering everything was closed it was more than enough time. However, what I wish I had done was visited one of the beaches in Hong Kong or one of the islands with more countryside. So maybe that would take a little longer.

5. Foshan - 3 nights (Chinese New Year: 30 Jan/2 Feb.)


Where did we stay? We stayed at Best Residence Hotel. A great place to stay, a very spacious apartment with a sofa and a kitchen for a great price! It's a little far out from the main action but very close to the metro and a Walmart.
What did we do? We visited the Ancestral temple and the Ip Man Museum (same location) which was fantastic. We got to see the loin dances which was such an incredible show. Get there early to get a good view! A great bar to visit is Bar 51. You get an incredible view of Foshan and good entertainment. Drinks are expensive though. We also took the bus to Xiqiao mountain where we stumbled across the biggest Buddha in the world! Lastly, we visited the Ancient Naffing Kiln which was really cool. We learned a lot about the history and got to see the infamous toilet waterfall. 5 stars.
Did we like it? Yes! Foshan is a real taste of old China. It felt to authentic there
Was it enough time? Honestly, yes. Foshan is wonderful but I really didn't feel like I needed more time there. I think it would be good as a detour trip from Guangzhou seeing as they are so close to each other!

6. Tokyo - 8 nights (Chinese New Year: 3/10 Feb.)

Where did we stay? We stayed in two Locations. Yuka's Air BnB and Wise Owl Hostel which were both FANTASTIC. Five stars to both, especially the Air BnB. we got a real feel of what it was like to be a local in Tokyo.
What did we do? SO MUCH. So,  I'll just mention our absolute favourites. The Robot Restaurant was a definite highlight for us. If you want some of that Tokyo-weirdness this is where you need to be. The Meji Shrine was beautifully serene and if you're lucky you'll be able to see a traditional Japanese style wedding. It's such a great thing to see! The Tokyo Met. Government building is fantastic. Honestly, GO. It's completely free and you get some fantastic views of Tokyo (with a special surprise!). Theres so many incredible things to do in Tokyo it would be hard for me to list them all, but they really do have something for everyone.
Did we like it? Yes. Yes. Yes. A million yeses. Incredible place to visit if you get the chance. Tokyo is one of those life altering cities, where if you've been there, from now on you'll just compare everything to Tokyo. Fast, Efficient, Clean, Beautiful, Weird, Wonderful and Polite.
Was it enough time? Yes and No. I think we spent a good amount of time in Tokyo, however, I think you could live there your entire life and there would never be enough time. I would hop back there in a heartbeat.

7. Beijing - 2 nights (Tomb Sweeping Weekend: 2/4 Apr.)

Where did we stay? We stayed at 365 Inn in a private dorm for around £20 a night. Fantastic hostel with lots of trips and in a great location. Would highly recommend it if you are travelling to Beijing!
What did we do? We got the overnight sleeping train from Shanghai. A big mistake. Just don't do it. You will NOT sleep and you will be exhausted! On our first day we headed over to the (extremely busy and crowded) Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City. Whilst it was an awesome thing to see and learn about we didn't get very far because of all the crowds which was a shame, but still worthwhile! We then got some lunch and headed over to the Temple of Heaven for sunset. It's a beautiful place with beautiful gardens surrounding it, a must do. Definitely go at sunset because the light just makes it look so beautiful! On our second day we had our trip to the Great Wall. The trip included lots of extras too (a jade museum, the ming tombs, a tea ceremony) but save your time and spend it on the great wall. We had roughly and hour and a half on the wall. No where near enough! On our last day we went to the summer palace. My favourite thing of all. Please, if you go to Beijing you HAVE to go here. It's truly beautiful.
Did we like it? Of course! I think it's very rare that people would go to Beijing and not like it there. However, try and go at a time when there isn't a festival. This is hard if you'll be teaching because your time off will be the same as everyone else's. But it will be a lot less crowded if you can do. if not just try to go to attractions REALLY early or late in the day and much less people will be there. We got the Summer Palace at 7am and we had the entire place to ourselves. Probably the best thing we did in Beijing!
Was it enough time? Absolutely not. Beijing is like it's own world. Its such a fantastic place to experience, where old China meets the new. You absolutely need at least 5 days here so you can see the main sights, and take in the wonderful small things about Beijing too. I guarantee you'll love it.

I hope that this was helpful for all of you wanting to teach in China. Follow me on Instagram see what I've been getting up to around Shanghai and China!
Lots of love to all of you!



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