The Top 15 Spa Hotels in Beijing & a Hot Tip for Beijing Travelers

The Top 15 Spa Hotels in Beijing & a Hot Tip for Beijing Travelers

I remember Beijing well, so many places to explore, so much walking, so many activities, and the flu. That’s Beijing, it can really wear you out because it’s simply one destination that there is so much to take in, and so much to do. So, make sure to plan for a pitstop and some time for rejuvenation.

How? Here’s my tip, book yourself in for one night, at least, at a superb hotel that offers loads of amenities then sit back and chill. Don’t let fatigue destroy your plans or distract you from getting the most out of your time in the city.

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Power Adapters and Sockets in China

Power Adapters and Sockets in China

If you are an international traveller this is one big pain in the butt, all the different types of sockets used around the world, and then the different voltages. Aggghhh!

Fortunately, with China it’s not too difficult, so let’s take a deeper look.

There are five types of sockets in use, one in Hong Kong/Macau, two in Taiwan, and the other two on mainland China.

Hong Kong Power and Macau Socket and Plug

In HK and Macau they use a UK style plug, completely different to the mainland China. If you land in HK without and adapter they can be a tad expensive from stalls in tourist areas, I found simple ones at Mong Kok computer market for 15HKD that worked a charm.

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Going to Shenzhen? Essential Shenzhen is the must have eBook

Going to Shenzhen? Essential Shenzhen is the must have eBook

If you are visiting, day touring or moving to Shenzhen for work or business then this is the must-have guide book, Essential Shenzhen.

At least I hope it is! Coz, I wrote it. I had a simple aim with this guide book, which was to give you the fast-track for getting the most out of your time in the city. I spent over four years in Shenzhen and have put all those discoveries into this book.

The eBook is available for download on Amazon Essential Shenzhen.

For example, here’s the index from the book

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Newspapers and News Outlets in China: What Options do People Have?

Newspapers and News Outlets in China: What Options do People Have?

This extends on a question I recently answered on Quora, about alternative news in China. Included here is a huge list of news outlets, mostly in Chinese. For English versions, from within China and out, see the China news wall

All journalists in China must have a license, and in getting a license you must vow to uphold party values. Also, journalists are required to do a training session in party ideology. There are some recent new rules which are reviewed here at Xinhua 国家新闻出版广电总局:禁止记者和记者站未经本单位同意私自开展批评报道-新华网 . As for press freedoms, according to Reporters Sans Frontieres, they are ranked 176 out of 180 for press freedoms in the globe Reporters sans frontières.

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Applying for a China Visa: The Essential Info and Must Know Facts

Applying for a China Visa: The Essential Info and Must Know Facts

Although there are many types of visa for China, the most common is the L visa for tourists, the M visa for business, and the Q1/Q2 for those with a Chinese partner and the Z visa for people with work contracts in China.

Visa durations are generally 30 days. You may be able to get an L visa with double entry, meaning you can stay 60 days in total, but, you will have to leave the country prior to the end of the first 30 days. Going to Hong Kong or Macau and back will suffice. Z visa is normally twelve months, although that may depend on the contract with your employer. I often hear of people getting multiple entry M visas. These durations and whether multiple entries were available was always in flux. You can only really only know for sure at the time of application.

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The Big List of TV Channels in China

The Big List of TV Channels in China

Whether living in China or just holidaying, your probably going to turn a TV on at some time, so, here’s the big list of local Chinese TV channels. In the apartments where I lived the TV was set up through the internet. With a twelve month package, you could choose from different packages with more expensive packages offering extended channels which often include a select range of subtitled English programs. The different packages really depend on the local provider offerings.

If you are an expat, you will come across many people offering IPTV set-top boxes to access international content that’s not widely available by other means. There’s also satellite packages for sale too. You can also buy set-top boxes on Taobao which provide access to large range of  on-demand movies and TV series. If I was setting up in China again for a long stay, that would be the way I’d choose.

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China’s Top 10 Video Sharing Websites (aka YouTube Equivalents)

China’s Top 10 Video Sharing Websites (aka YouTube Equivalents)

Youtube’s Chinese equivalents were born on hosted ripped content from overseas, such as popular western TV series and movies, and grew from humble websites into fully fledged internet companies. So popular in fact, from tapping into a massive Chinese netizen audience, that many listed on the stock markets of the US (yes, there is a certain irony). Most content nowadays is licenced, and many of the popular sites are self-producing local shows. Of course, there’s still the regular uploads of daily life and crazy antics from Chinese netizens, news bulletins, documentary, opinion, DIY videos and everything you could imagine.

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50+ Amazingly Unique Destinations in China that Probably Haven’t Heard of

50+ Amazingly Unique Destinations in China that Probably Haven’t Heard of

Here’s a list of over 50 unique destinations in China, from temples to remote villages, that will leave you simply amazed.

There are so many unique experiences in China. The country is so large, and so diverse, it really is like a whole collection of worlds in one. When itinerary planning for a China journey, you can shape any kind of experience that you want, it’s up to you.

For most people, they are happy to stick to the safety of standard tour-book experiences and the well developed, and well known major attractions, such as anything Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau or a even Yangzte River boat cruise. The slightly more adventurous will fit in Xi’an and the Terracotta Army, Chengdu Panda Base and so on. All of which are awesome and great places to get started, but, China offers so, so much more.

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Toilets in China – Everything you didn’t want to know

Toilets in China – Everything you didn’t want to know

It’s quite amazing, one of the most asked questions on travel forums about China is about toilets. Questions such as “what are the toilets like”, or “Toilet Paper :} Is it really a problem?”, “No Western Restrooms in China! Yikes!”.

If you’re coming to China, it’s something you’re going to have to get comfortable with, the toilets are different. If you get familiar with the different style, truthfully, it’s not so bad. You can do it!

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The Cost of Living in China – for Travelers & Expats

The Cost of Living in China – for Travelers & Expats

How much does it cost to go to China? Take a look on the travel forums and it’s one of the most common questions there is, so, let’s break it down.

Just like anywhere, there’s a big difference between holidaying and living for extended periods so let’s tackle it in two parts.

Holidaying in China: The Costs

It is a bit like how long is a piece of string, it depends on the level of comfort your seeking and where you want to go and what you’d like to see. For this example, lets’ focus on Tier One cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou.

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Your One Page Guide to Yum Cha (Dian Xin)

Your One Page Guide to Yum Cha (Dian Xin)

A relaxed morning with a table full of delicious sweet and savory treats, with trolleys passing at regular intervals offering up even more, sound like your kinda thing? Then for sure you’ll be a fan of Dian Xin, also referred to as Yum Cha.

It’s a specialty of Guangdong province and it’s not to be missed. It’s also wildly popular in Hong Kong of course, but here’s a hot tip, head to Guangdong where it’s only part the price and sometimes twice as good. I’ll suggest a few places later in the post.

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The Essential Intro: Guiyang, Guizhou China

The Essential Intro: Guiyang, Guizhou China

Guiyang, it’s shopping and eating, then, more shopping and eating. And that’s it. Oh, there’s banks in between the restaurants and stores, so you can get more money out and continue shopping and eating.

Guiyang is the capital of Guizhou and It’s one of the most unusual capitals that I had visited in all my time in China. It’s, well, different. It really has its own identity, but then it doesn’t, some call it a mini Hong Kong. and that’s probably the best way to describe it. It’s just a city full of people shopping and eating, threaded with peoples desire to be rich and be seen to be rich.

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Qingyuan – A peaceful outpost of Guangdong’s Mega-Cities

Qingyuan – A peaceful outpost of Guangdong’s Mega-Cities

Looking for a nearby escape from the mega-metropolises of Shenzhen or Guangdong? Then this place is probably just for you. Fresh air, nature and simple laid back life make this small city a gem.

I shouldn’t say small, actually it’s quite large in size, being a prefecture-level city that has numerous other cities under it’s wing. The actual Qingyuan city is quaint and comfortable in many ways, it abounds with nature and features a beautiful river, the Beijiang, running through it’s center.

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Lets Eat…. Chang Fen (Rice Noodle Rolls)

Lets Eat…. Chang Fen (Rice Noodle Rolls)

This simple dish is a real favorite of mine and a staple of the Cantonese breakfast scene. Take an early morning wander along the streets anywhere from Hong Kong to way out past Guangzhou and you wont be able to miss it.

Rice noodle rolls, or zhū cháng fěn (cantonese: chee cheong fun) which translates literally to pig intestine noodle, named so only due to its looks.

Every morning the steamer, specially for making rice rolls, is parked out front of the shop and the chef goes to work producing rice rolls fresh on demand as customers grab breakfast on their way to work.

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