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Top 10 of 2014 Posted by on Dec 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

2014 is just about in the books, and you know what that means – time for our Top 10 of the year!

10.  Tricky Chinese Tones

This is your voice on Chinese.

This is your voice on Chinese.

For new learners of Chinese – especially Westerners not used to tonal languages – the tones are confusing and frustrating. There’s more to the four tones of Chinese than meets the eye, so I tried to clear the air a bit with this post that explains some of the trickier aspects of them. Get these rules down and practice and you’ll be well on your way to being understood in Chinese.

9. My Favorite Meal in China

A table full of food in a Xinjiang restaurant.

A table full of food in a Xinjiang restaurant.

There’s tons of delicious food to be found throughout China, and we’ve talked a lot about it on the blog over the years. That being said, there’s one meal in particular that always makes my mouth water. Get a full description – with plenty of photos – of my absolute favorite meal in the Middle Kingdom.

8. Top 10 Places in Beijing – Hutongs

The Drum Tower above old Beijing.

The Drum Tower above old Beijing.

With so many great places to visit in Beijing, it was quite the task counting down the Top 10. That being said, my number one choice was easy – the old hutongs of the Chinese capital. Although many have been torn down in recent years during the city’s rush to modernization, a lot of these alleyways have protected status. Let’s hope that old Beijing lives on so that future generations can experience the hutongs.

7. A Love Letter to Chinese Dumplings

One of the best things in the world.

One of the best things in the world.

When I’m out of China, there’s one thing that I always miss – a hot plate of dumplings. While I was traveling throughout SE Asia this year, I missed Chinese dumplings so much that I penned a love letter to them. It’s not all silly, though, as you will also learn some useful vocabulary for ordering up a plate of these tasty morsels yourself.

6. A Guide to the Internet in China – Social Media

WeChat

WeChat

We went in depth on the topic of the Internet in China this year, but perhaps no topic is more important or interesting than social media. Facebook and Twitter are both blocked, so what exactly are these millions of Chinese people doing online? Find out the answers and learn about Chinese social media with this post.

5. 5 Awesome Beijing Day Trips

Get out of the city and check these places out.

Get out of the city and check these places out.

Having lived in the Chinese capital for over 4 years, I took plenty of great day trips. After all, sometimes you just need to get out of the concrete jungle and take a hike. From remote sections of the Great Wall, to a scenic playground amongst karst mountains, to a sacred Buddhist temple on a hilltop, there are tons of options for escaping the smog.

4. Chinese Rocket Fuel AKA Baijiu

A nice collage of baijiu faces.

A nice collage of baijiu faces.

Throughout the years, I have taken much pleasure in introducing friends and family to Chinese liquor. Known as bai jiu (白酒) in Chinese, this stuff is pure rocket fuel. Love it or hate it, bai jiu is an important part of Chinese culture. Get the inside scoop on this strong drink and check out some hilarious photos of people making a “bai jiu face.”

3. A Guide to Changbai Mountain

The Heavenly Lake from the north side.

The Heavenly Lake from the north side.

In all my travels in China, Changbai Mountain up in the northeast ranks amongst my favorite places. On the border with North Korea, this mountain features the beautiful Heavenly Lake, epic waterfalls, great hiking paths, and much more. As it’s not the easiest place to travel to on your own, I penned a guide for independent travelers so you can ditch the tour group and do it yourself.

2. Hong Kong to Kunming Overland

Rice fields as far as the eye can see in Guangxi.

Rice fields as far as the eye can see in Guangxi.

After spending nine months traveling outside of China, we landed back in Hong Kong in August and embarked on an incredible 3-week trip overland to our new home in Kunming. This is a great route for travelers looking to see some of the highlights of China on the way to or from SE Asia, so check this article out to see how we pulled it off.

1. 10 Things I Hate – and Love About China

Street food in China.

Street food – something to love about China.

When I returned to China and finally settled back down in Kunming, I had lots of reflecting to do. I was starting my fifth year living in China, and I had just spent a year visiting plenty of other amazing places. People often ask me questions like, “When are you coming home?” or “Why don’t you just move to Thailand?” I decided to take stock of the things I love and hate about China and living here. In the end, it was much easier to compile the list of things I love, and the good far outweighs the bad. For those considering a move to China, these posts might be useful pre-reading.

 

Thanks to all of our readers – without you guys the blog wouldn’t be much at all! Happy New Year to all of you, and we’ll see you here in 2015.

 

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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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