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How to really see China - Avoiding Beijing and Shanghai

By Jonny Blair

So you want to see the real China then? Well read on for a bit of decent advice into how to properly dip your toes into the world's largestcountry by population. One thing you need to know first is that visiting Shanghai and Beijing are not really visiting China. The reason is these places now have street signs in English, an influx of foreign workers and they are well connected with internet, telephone and all modern communications. To see the real China you need to avoid those two big cities and getoutinto the obscure countryside where China breathes the way it really lives.

First up, by China I mean for the most part mainland China. I don't include Macau, Hong Kong or Taiwan in that. I also respect Tibetan freedom and don't include Tibet as part of China. These are what I class as 4 Chinese countries, but not part of China. So as well as avoiding Beijing and Shanghai, you need to avoid those 4 places too in order to really see China. Rather than bore with the reasons why, I'm just going to tell you that I've been to China 10 times and the worst two places I have been so far have been Shanghai and Beijing. And by a long way. Beijing and Shanghai are almost on a par with Hong Kong and Singapore as being global cities these days, therefore their Chinese-ness is being phased out (there are loads of foreigners living in those two cities!). They won't stop to notice though as the money flows in...

Until you have sat down in an unknown village, eaten food thatyou don't even know what it is, stranded miles from any city you have even heardof and with no foreign writing in sight, or any foreigners, then you really haven't yet experienced China!

Get yourself off the beaten track in order to see the real China. Here are a few things you will do that proves you have really seen China:

1. No-one is sightspeaks a word of English, some of them only speak a local dialectwhich isn't even Chinese Mandarin!

2. You get on a local bus to the completely wrong place.

3. There are more chickens than there are cars in the place you are staying in.

4. There are no computers, mobile phones or internet anywhere.

5. Nothing on sign posts is written in any language other than Chinese.

6. You eat something and you have NO IDEA what it is!

So that's a decent guide folks - if you've seen and ticked those six then you really have done China. If not, please check it out, but don't forget to avoid those major cities particularly Beijing and Shanghai! Get away from those two and your travel possibilities becomes extreme, endless and unrivalled. China is a whole new world to discover!

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Monday, March 25, 2013

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