Chinese Language Blog

Top 10 of 2015 Posted by on Dec 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

It’s hard to believe, but 2015 is almost behind us. You know what they say – “time flies like an arrow” (光阴似箭 – guāng yīn sì jiàn). Ok, maybe you haven’t heard that one before. There’s a new Chinese idiom for you to start using to impress your friends! Anyway, back to the task at hand. As is tradition here on the blog, we like to reflect on the year gone by and look forward to the one ahead. Of course, if you’re following the lunar calendar that won’t be for another month and a half, but oh well – New Year’s Day is a public holiday in China, anyways. Without further adieu, here are our Top 10 posts from the year that was 2015:

10. Money Talks in Chinese

Chinese money.

Small change in China.

Sure, it’s the root of all evil, but love it or hate it, most of us have to deal with money on a daily basis. Doing so in a foreign language can be tricky, but I tried to make it easier for you in this post. Learn some important Chinese words and phrases related to financial matters, and your life will be a lot easier.

9. Chinese Taxi Cab Confessionals

Believe it or not, I actually credit a lot of my Chinese abilities to chatting with cab drivers. Forced to take a long ride home from work every night for a few months, I used the time to practice my newfound mediocre language abilities. This post explains a bit more about how I picked up Chinese in taxis, and also teaches useful vocabulary for taking a cab.

8. Craft Beer in China

Craft beer in China.

Craft beer is here to stay!

Way back when I first moved to China, one of the things I missed the most about home was a good craft beer. Lukewarm Tsingtao or Yanjing leaves a lot to be desired for an avid beer drinker. Thankfully, times have changed in the Middle Kingdom. Get the scoop on the craft beer explosion that’s taken the country by storm, and take a look at the first Shenzhen Craft Beer Festival in this video:

7. Understanding Chinese Names

Did you know that if you added up all the people with the top three surnames in China, you’d have more people than the entire population of Indonesia? Chinese names can be confusing to our untrained western ears, but I try to help you understand them a bit more here.

6. 10 Reasons Why Yangshuo is Still Awesome

Karst mountains in Yangshuo.

Karst mountains in Yangshuo.

Yangshuo may be one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, which gives it a bad rap amongst some travelers. If you can look beyond the chaotic main street and the awful tourist traps, however, this is still a great place to visit and explore.

5. Why Spring Festival Sucks

You’ve gotta get the yin with the yang, right? So what better way to follow up a post about how awesome something is than with one talking about how much something sucks? In all seriousness, though, there are quite a few reasons why the biggest holiday in China is actually kind of terrible.

4. Longji Rice Terraces

The Dragon's Backbone

The Dragon’s Backbone

When it comes to jaw-dropping landscapes, few places can compete with the Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces in Guangxi. Walking amongst the terraced paddy fields for two days was an incredible experience, and it’s something I highly recommend travelers to China check out.

3. My New Home – Kunming

Kunming's famous seagulls.

Kunming’s famous seagulls.

The Spring City will always have a place in my heart as potentially the last place I ever lived in China. I had an amazing year living and working there, exploring Yunnan province in my free time. This post is a great way to learn more about Kunming, and it’ll also help you with your Chinese reading.

2. Exploring the Fujian Tulou

The Chuxi group from above.

The Chuxi group from above.

Over the years, I’ve been to a lot of awesome places in China – the Great Wall, Jiuzhaigou National Park, the Terracotta Warriors. There was one place, however, that I had been longing to see with my own two eyes – the epic tulou villages in Fujian province. Learn more about them and check out tons of pictures in this post.

1. So Long, and Thanks for All the Rice



After 5+ years of living, working, studying, and traveling in China, I finally decided to bid farewell to my 2nd home. Reflecting on the amazing experience, I spent a few hours writing out my thoughts. Moving to China seemed like a crazy idea back in 2008, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. To anyone considering a move to China, let my story serve as motivation.


I hope 2015 has been as good of a year for our readers as it was for me. I saw the Grateful Dead 50th anniversary shows, got married, and moved to Bali – a pretty good year if you ask me! For those interested in Indonesia, you can also find my work over there on the Indonesian language & culture blog. As far as 2016 goes, I hope to build up my website (Grateful Gypsies), explore more of Indonesia, and maybe make it to Europe. Of course, I’ll also be posting more articles and videos here on the Chinese page – I had enough experiences over my five years there to last a lifetime!

What are your plans/hopes for the New Year? What would you like to see us talk about here on the Chinese blog in 2016? Leave a comment and let me know!

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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.


  1. Mike Stalder:

    I have a question I hope you can answer. I am planning to travel in Southern China (Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan) in the summer of 2016 and I want to blog my travels. What blogs are allowed in and out of China’s “firewall”? I have used blogspot, and word press in the past. Are they easily accessible throughout China. If not, which ones are that don’t require my friends and family be able to read/write Chinese (I can read some).

    Any information would be very welcomed.

    Mike Stalder

    • sasha:

      @Mike Stalder Hey Mike,
      A lot of blogging platforms are blocked in China, as is Facebook, YouTube, etc. Best if you just get a VPN while you’re there. I always used Astrill and never had any complaints with it.

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