SDE International - Shenzhen

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Only a few more months until summer vacation! Not that I’m counting or anything …
If you teach in Chinese public schools, when the students are on holiday, so are you! Different schools have various vacation dates, but you should have roughly two months to do whatever you want during summer vacation. Since you are a brave expat who moved all the way to China to experience new cultures, I bet I can guess what you want to do with those two months.


Yes, you can take weekend trips throughout the school year. There is a week-long fall break and a month-long winter break. But summer is when you really have the time to travel extensively. You can spend more time in a couple places so you can experience the cultures in depth. Or you might decide to see a lot of places during those two months! There is no right or wrong way to plan your summer travel itinerary. Choose which option works best for you.

Here are some classic summer travel plans for expats living in China.

1. Visit several Chinese cities

You can certainly take round-trip flights from your city to other places in China throughout the year. However, if you fly from Chinese hub to Chinese hub all at once instead, you’ll save a lot of money by buying one-way tickets. Summer vacation is probably your best option to see the country at length.

For big cities, check out Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Chengdu.

For scenic excursions, try Sanya, Guilin and Yangshuo, the Longji rice fields, and Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

You can try to see as much of the country as possible. Or you might want to stay in two or three cities so you can take your time and enjoy them.

2. See Southeast Asia

Any expat can take this journey, but it’s especially convenient for people living in Southeast Chinese cities such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Southeast Asian countries are just a hop, skip, and jump away!

It’s easy to dedicate two months to seeing this part of Asia. Spend time in various parts of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This is a classic tour of Asia that people fly from all over the world to experience.

3. Venture to East Asia

Although they look close on the map, East Asian countries are farther from China than you’d think. The flights between China and these places are a little longer than the ones to Thailand or Vietnam, typically lasting around three hours. As a result, they’re usually more expensive than flights to Southeast Asia.

But if you plan on spending significant time in East Asian countries, the cost of flights is worth it.

Hit up Tokyo and Osaka in Japan. To this day, I stand by my declaration that authentic Japanese food is the best food I’ve ever eaten. (If you go, eat the ramen. I repeat, eat the ramen!)

Spend time in South Korea, too. Even though a lot of expats want to live in Korea, it’s underrated as a tourist destination. In fact, I’m happy that the 2018 Winter Olympics have drawn more people to this gorgeous country. I’ve been twice and loved every minute.

4. Take a Beach Holiday

It’s summer, so you obviously can’t rule out a beach holiday! There are several options, whether in China or in another country.

In China, Sanya is the typical destination for a relaxed beach weekend. Outside of China, there are plenty of places, but my first thought is Thailand. I spent a week on Koh Chang Island in Thailand. It was the first beach vacation I’d taken in years, and it lived up to my expectations.


SDE International - Shenzhen

New teaching jobs in China interviewing now, apply today!

About the Author:

Laura Grace Tarpley
Laura Grace Tarpley is a freelance writer and English teacher in Shenzhen, China. She enjoys tinkering with crossword puzzles, reading Bill Bryson books, and taking naps on her huge couch. Follow her travels on her Instagram and Twitter. Or you can check out her blog, Let’s Go, Tarpley!
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