Going on a trip to China is more than exciting, and you’re probably the envy of quite a number of your friends right now. While you’re there, whether for a week or a year, it would behoove you to immerse yourself into the culture as deeply as possible. Here are four fool-proof ways to do so.
Visit Religious/Spiritual Centers
In any country, a major part of the culture is the religion and spirituality of the people, because they’re tied to both so many traditions and stories of old and everyday life. The best way to get in touch with this side is to visit houses of worship. While you’re there, make sure you are aware and respectful of all the rules governing these sacred spaces – you may only be allowed to visit a few select parts, but see what you can.
Eat, Eat, Eat
Another huge part of any culture is the food. Sure, you can get Chinese food in the West, but it’s a little bit different in China. You don’t need to have expensive meals to enjoy the cuisine of the country either. Make it a personal goal to try all different types of food while you are there – for every budget. You can enjoy breakfast in a garden, buy some lunch from a street vendor and then go out to dinner at your hotel. It might also be fun to see what some chain restaurants from here are like there.
Go On Tours
You might not like to have that “touristy” feel when you are vacation, but going on at least a couple of guided tours can really enhance your experience. This is because through going on these tours, you’re getting to hear information from a guide, a person who actually lives, works and plays in China. As a result, you’re getting that insider perspective that books aren’t really able to offer to you. These tours might be of museums, historical sites, cultural landmarks or other places you wouldn’t even dream of. Of course, after the tour, you can always go back to some of your favorite spots to learn more and take some extra pictures.
That’s the Life
It’s always fun to learn a bit about what the lives of the people who live there today are like. Talk to a couple of individuals or to other people who are staying at your hotel to get a sense of what they do on a day-to-day basis. Never keep to yourself and your travelmates. Look for local bars, shops, boutiques and places where local people like to hang out – avoid the touristy establishments on all the main drags. Doing so really gives you that look at how people in China live. Don’t forget to check out the nightlife either!
Jeremiah Jimenez writes about his adventures traveling and his background in mental health. His recent work is about the best online counseling degrees.