We spent 47 days in China; it is the longest period that we intend to spend in a single country during our trip.
The following words are the ones we associate with China:
Speed, modern, Ofo (bikes), dim sums, crowd, rice, spits, electronics, future, metro, tai chi, buildings, acrobats, complexity, VPN, Google Translate, cloudy, police, noise, ‘xièxiè’ (thank you), smell, Great Wall.
Our highlights / what we (all) liked the most:
- For Beijing and Shanghai: refer to specific ‘summary’ posts about these 2 cities where we spent 25 days in total.
- Our hotel in Yangshuo
- Longji Rice Terraces; nice trek (despite the weather)
- Electronics market in Shenzhen
- OCT Loft and the bike tour in Shenzhen (Florence and Jules didn’t come)
- View from The Peak in Hong Kong
- Dragone’s show in Macau
The kids loved the scooter tour in Yangshuo.
Ludivine also particularly liked the cormorants fishing; Florence the Terracotta Army; Jules the lunch on the boat of the Grelon’s and the tour in Kowloon.
Isabelle liked also very much the Terracotta Army in Xiang (and the Tomb of Emperor Jindi), the light and sound show on the river Li in Yangshuo, the Reed Flute Cave in Guilin and the Lytchee Lab visit.
What we liked less:
- The Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin
- The boat cruise on the Li River, from Xingping to Yangdi (except Isabelle who is ‘neutral’ on this activity)
- Macau itself (Largo de Senado and Ruinas de Sao Paulo)
Not surprisingly, these 3 visits / activities were very touristy (and the weather certainly didn’t help).
Our general impression:
China is clearly a country looking to the future.
The cities are impressive. They are so modern. There is a caveat to our enthusiasm though; China could build a lot of things from scratch (greenfield) and we still have to see how it will “age” (especially in view of the “quality” of the construction).
Everything (and everybody) is focused on speed: they want to go fast in everything they do.
I think the vision exposed by Xi Jinping in his recent (3h30 long) opening speech of the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (on 18.10.17) is very clear (and very realistic I think):
1) China = the new America. Aiming at Trump almost explicitly, Xi rejects isolationism / the exclusive pursuit of national interests and wants China to become a “leading global power” conscious of the “common destiny” of humanity;
2) Refusal of Western democracy, and fidelity to the “Chinese socialist” model;
3) Economy: transforming China into a “country of innovation” by designating the conquest of space, transport and digital as key sectors;
4) “A beautiful China”: commitment to face the environmental challenges (air pollution in particular) for more “happiness and well-being”.
- China is very clean (there are people cleaning all the time in the metro stations, e.g.).
- The country tries hard to educate his people (educative videos about proper videos in metros, e.g.).
- It is a very safe country. This feeling is probably reinforced by the ubiquitous police presence (and the number of cameras, which is impressive).
- The police is very good at crowds management (we could witness it during the Moon Festival in Shanghai).
We’d like to thank Patricia for all the good advices she gave to us for Beijing and Shanghai.