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Top 10 of 2013 Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in architecture and landscaping, Buddhism, Culture, Drinking, environment, festivals, food, history, Leisure, religion, sightseeing, train, travel

Yet another year is coming to a close here, and while some people loathe end of the year Top 10 lists, I happen to be a huge fan of them. When I was a kid, I used to write down my Top 10 songs of the year every year, after much deliberation of course. I know – I was a giant nerd. Well, I still am, so without further adieu, I present to you my ten favorite posts to the Chinese language & culture blog from the year 2013. Drum-roll please…

10. Datong Sightseeing

The incredible Hanging Monastery in Datong.

The incredible Hanging Monastery in Datong.

Back in April, some friends and I traveled to Datong in Shanxi province to explore the Yungang Grottoes, Mt. Heng, the Hanging Monastery, and more. This city is rich in Chinese history and culture, and it’s unfortunately often overlooked on travel itineraries in China. Hopefully this post will convince you to check it out.

9. In a Chinese Restaurant

Delicious food awaits you... if only you could order it.

Delicious food awaits you… if only you could order it.

Chinese food is famous all over the world, and for good reason. It’s also much better in China than it is anywhere else. However, many visitors to China miss out on some of the best food due to language barriers. Read through this post, and you’ll be equipped with lots of useful lingo for eating out in China.

8. Teaching English in China

Hang out with adorable kids, play games, and get paid for it!

Hang out with adorable kids, play games, and get paid for it!

Teaching ESL to Chinese people is the day job of many expats in the Middle Kingdom (including myself). If you’re considering trying it out, get some facts and tips before doing so. It could be one of the best choices you ever make, but you have to be smart about it.

7. How to Buy Train Tickets

Riding that train in China.

Riding that train in China.

Riding the train is probably the best way to travel through China, that is, if you can figure out how to buy the tickets you want. Most train ticket offices will feature zero English, so you’d better brush up on your Chinese before heading into one.

6. Culture Shock in China – Drinking

Binge drinking, the Chinese way!

Binge drinking, the Chinese way!

Many westerners in China are sure to experience some culture shock. This is especially true when it comes to eating and drinking. Ever tried Chinese bai jiu? Confused as to why people always want hot drinks? What is that weird thing in the red can people always drink? The answers await you.

5. How to Study Chinese Online for Free

Free things are great, including language lessons! There are tons of resources for you to study Chinese on the ‘net for free (including this blog!), so take advantage of them.

4. Street Food

Sketchy, but tasty!

Sketchy, but tasty!

The street food is without a doubt one of my favorite things about China. Don’t be scared by that mystery meat on a stick – dig right in and worry about it later!

3. 3-Day Beijing Tour

One of the many cool sights you can find in Beijing.

One of the many cool sights you can find in Beijing.

I called the Chinese capital home for about 4.5 years and only recently decided to move. I already miss that crazy place, and I worked pretty hard to put together this post in Chinese about a great plan for a 3-day visit there. That’s how much time you can get visa free in Beijing now, so use it wisely!

2. How to Sleep On the Great Wall

Home for the night.

Home for the night.

Don’t get stuck on some crappy packaged tour visiting the restored, overcrowded Badaling section of the Great Wall. Instead, read this post and then head out on your own for an incredible camping trip on one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

1. Eco-tourism in Jiuzhaigou

At the end of a long, tiring hike.

At the end of a long, tiring hike.

I’ve had tons of great adventures all over China, but the 3-day hike up a sacred Tibetan mountain near Jiuzhaigou national park in Sichuan province has to be the best one yet. Read the story and check out some photos from this epic hike.

 

Of course, I can’t finish without including some of my favorite videos from the past year. You can find them all on our YouTube channel, but here are my five favs:

Yungang Buddhist Grottoes

Chinese Spring Festival

Around China in 5 Minutes

Camping on the Great Wall

24 Hours in Beijing

 

Thanks again to all you amazing folks who read the blog, comment on the Facebook page, and share your love of Chinese language & culture with us. Here’s to hoping that 2014 is just as good as this year was!

Happy New Year!

新年快乐! – xīn nián kuài lè

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


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