Avoid Shanghai and Beijing if you want to see the real China

So you want to see the real China then? Well read on for a bit of decent advice into how to properly dip your toes into the world’s largest country by population. One thing you need to know first is that visiting Shanghai and Beijing are not really visiting China. The reason is these places now have street signs in English, an influx of foreign workers and they are well connected with internet, telephone and all modern communications. To see the real China you need to avoid those two big cities and get out into the obscure countryside where China breathes the way it really lives. [I:http://proarticlesdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/JonnyBlair21.jpg]

First up, by China I mean for the most part mainland China. I don’t include Macau, Hong Kong or Taiwan in that. I also respect Tibetan freedom and don’t include Tibet as part of China. These are what I class as 4 Chinese countries, but not part of China. So as well as avoiding Beijing and Shanghai, you need to avoid those 4 places too in order to really see China. Rather than bore with the reasons why, I’m just going to tell you that I’ve been to China 10 times and the worst two places I have been so far have been Shanghai and Beijing. And by a long way. Beijing and Shanghai are almost on a par with Hong Kong and Singapore as being global cities these days, therefore their Chinese-ness is being phased out (there are loads of foreigners living in those two cities!). They won’t stop to notice though as the money flows in…

Unless you have visited a village with a name you can’t pronounce and nobody has ever heard of, eaten food you have never seen or even have a clue what it is, find yourself miles from any city you have heard of, are the only foreigner in sight, and can only see Chinese writing, then basically you haven’t yet seen China!

So get off the beaten track to see the real China. If you experience these things then you are really in China:

1. No-one is sight speaks a word of English, some of them only speak a local dialect which isn’t even Chinese Mandarin!

2. You cannot understand the bus timetable and end up in the wrong village.

3. There are more chickens than there are cars in the place you are staying in.

4. There are no mobile phones or internet connections anywhere.

5. You don’t see any other language than Chinese written anywhere!

6. You eat something and you have NO IDEA what it is!

That’s my take on how to really see China – you don’t have to listen or take it all in and of course you might find what you need in Shanghai and Beijing. But honestly, if you really want to see China and Chinese culture which hasn’t changed in generations, then head off the scent to places like Jin Ji Cun, Shaoguan and Kaiping. You’ll be gasping for more of China once you’ve seen what it’s really like!

For more knowledgeable articles like Backpacking in China visit Jonny Blair’s recommended travel site Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel for more tips and advice.