Alright, so if you read my previous blog, I gave you a quick run down of my travels to Hong Kong. It was a great way to start a trip. The NEXT stop took me to Taishan, China and I was kinda nervous to be honest. My perception of China was 3rd world and that’s a big change to a person who grew up in a large metro city. Anyways, let’s find out what happens.
To get to Taishan, a city in southwestern China, I had to take a bus from Hong Kong. The ride itself was going to take 4+ hours, which was already more than I can handle. Especially since it was a bus and not my own car. Hey, check out my sweet ride below:
One hour into the ride, I arrived at Customs (this is required when you enter China). It was packed with people, probably 2,000+ people trying to get through. I managed but it wasn’t easy! Custom agents didn’t speak any English so be warned, take your time and ask others for help if needed. Check out all the people waiting for their connecting bus:
After a few more hours on this bus, I arrived at the terminal. There were no cabs around, but mainly a bunch of unmarked private cars for hire. My first thoughts were, there was no way I am getting into one of these cars. But after hanging around for 20+ mins, I realized I had no choice. Lucky for me, there was a nice guy giving me the low down. He assured me it’s legit, and my only way out of here. With that said, I negotiated a ride to my hotel ($4 USD) and I was off!
When I finally got there, I was quite happy. This hotel (Taishan Country Garden Hotel) is considered to be a 4 star hotel. It was also the only full service hotel around, with a couple of restaurants, bar and spa onsite.
While in Taishan, the experience exceeded my expectations, 10 fold. As I said in the beginning of the blog, I was expecting 3rd world (old buildings, farms and chickens running around). I did see all that, but I also got to see a very modern China, and in some ways more progressive than the USA. How so…? Well for one, everyone uses WeChat to pay for everything (think of an app that has Whatsapp, Facebook, ApplePay all-in-one).
There is also Chinese version of Uber, where I got to use it once. I missed my shuttle back to the hotel and the restaurant called one for me (talk about customer service!).
In terms of fashion, local Chinese trends are very different from the US. Everything is very colorful, form fitting and very stylish. I did not see any guys rocking a hat or sweats. This goes the same for the girls. Everyone seemed like they were putting in the effort to look very presentable, which they were. I guess you could call this new China…? I don’t know, but I liked it. Even for me, it’s quite normal to roll out of bed and sport a cap. Maybe change is good, and I may have to starts when I get back home.
I got a chance to see a few famous places, which was really cool. If you know who the Chinese actor Chow Yan-fat is, then this was a treat.
While in the area, I stopped roadside to buy some Plum Candy (basically dried plum, very good, can be purchased at any local US Chinese Supermarket, but these we produced locally with zero preservatives! #NomNomNom)
Food here was amazing. I am sure you hear people say that all the time but in my case, it was true! For breakfast, it was Dimsum (Chinese tapas) on a daily basis. Check this out:
Table side Tea
Dinner was exceptional. In the US, I would never of had the chance to eat such meals, check this out:
Everything tasted so fresh. I bet everything I ate was caught locally same day (never frozen). I didn’t want to fill up this page full of food pics, but if you want to see more, check out my Instagram account @PowPowPoof.
I was in China for almost a week and it was such a great experience. An experience that I will never forget. Things were relatively cheap in terms of food and entertainment. Higher end things stay consistent regardless of where you are at, so keep that in mind. I could have easily stayed for a month exploring, may save that for next time. I hear they are planning to build an airport close by so when I do come back (which I will), hopefully it will be ready by then.
I just scratched the surface during this visit. This place opened my eyes in a good way. I love to travel and this was one of my favorite places (+ Hong Kong). My journey continues and I need to PowPowPoof out of here. Next stop, Macau, stay tuned…!
Until Next Time,