china

11 China Travel Tips for Anyone Visiting China for the First Time

I cheated on my first trip to China: I stayed at the Hyatt, hired a private guide, and didn’t stray far from the tourist trail.  Like many travelers, I was intimidated by getting around on my own.  It sure doesn’t feel like home and in some ways, it’s harder to visit than other countries.  But …

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One Day in Nanjing (The Nitty Gritty Specifics!)

Planning Nanjing was an exercise in patience.  Since it’s not as popular as other Chinese cities, there aren’t as many articles about it (and fewer still on the actual coordination of visiting, rather than just inspiration).  But if I can do it, so can you — especially since I’m about to share how to spend …

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pagoda building lit at night in shanghai

I Was *ThisClose* to Falling for a Shanghai Tea House Scam

Have I told you about the time I almost fell for the tea house scam in Shanghai? No?  Well, settle in because it wasn’t pretty. I didn’t expect Shanghai would be the city that threw me.  Of everywhere I went in China, it’s the one that’s most conducive to tourists.  After five days of communication …

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nanjing china temple

9 Things to Do in Nanjing That Are Absolutely Worth Your Time

My friends looked at me a little funny when I mentioned I added Nanjing to my China plans.  Why not Xian, or Chengdu, or anywhere most visitors go to?  And on top of that, I spent the night instead of just taking the bullet train from Shanghai to Nanjing for the day.  But I really wanted …

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great hall usnisa palace nanjing

I Went to Usnisa Palace in Nanjing and My Jaw is Still on the Floor

I never thought Nanjing, China would be on the list of most magnificent places I’ve been.  For the most part, the city is dreary, smoggy, and grey, especially in winter.  But Usnisa Palace in Niushoushan Cultural Park is so stunning that it raises the entire city up a notch, to a level normally held for …

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First class seats on the Nanjing Shanghai train

Yes, the Train from Shanghai to Nanjing is Easy, Fast, and Cheap!

Independent travel in China is easier than you think thanks to high speed rail.  Unlike buses, it’s easy to figure out and for the most part, trains run efficiently on schedule.  As of 2019, there are 200+ departures on the train from Shanghai to Nanjing, making it incredibly easy to add in a side trip. …

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wechat app

Foreigners Can Use WeChat Wallet With This Workaround

As an American, it blows my mind that Chinese businesses accept neither credit card nor cash after a long history of counterfeit money.  They only accept mobile, electronic payment — WeChat Pay or AliPay.  That alone isn’t really an issue, except for the fact that it’s impossible to set up a WeChat Wallet without a …

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dragon snow sculpture on sun island harbin

Comprehensive Harbin Ice Festival Guide & Winter Harbin Itinerary

Everyone says winter is the worst time to visit China — unless you’re heading to the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, that is.  Before my visit, I found plenty of inspirational articles and photographs but I couldn’t pinpoint a recent Harbin ice festival guide to walk me through the logistics. I had zero desire …

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