Another country! Another goodbye! Our journey through China is almost over and Melanie is already heading to the Philippines tomorrow (Sunday). For me, I will still stay a little bit longer to work on some private projects in Hong Kong and will afterwards also head towards Manila by mid of next week. Like always we can’t believe that the time was running so fast and that the four weeks in China were gone like nothing. (looks like it was soooo fast that we even forgot to write some further blog posts – hihi)
In general we have on one side the feeling that we are already on the road since such a long time (because of all the experiences we made in the different countries) but on the other side, time in each country is running so fast that we would normally need more of it to explore the beauty of each stop a little bit further.
Nevertheless, our time in the 6th country is almost over and retrospective China was a BIG BIG surprise (in a very good way).
While we had a lot of respect in advance and basically had no idea what was waiting for us, we just jumped into the cold water and had an amazing time on each stop during this journey. From an amazing first time in Hong Kong and the possibility to explore the city, it’s culture and the local dish with some friends, to a lot of crazy stories we heard about China in advance: “Be careful with the food!” “Nobody speaks English, everything is in Chinese!” “The people are spitting and smacking all the time!“ Melanie and I thought that China will be a huge culture shock for us and yeah, it’s definitely different – BUT with some research and a sense of humour you can definitely find it’s beauty and easily fall in love with it.
We are also quite happy that we made the decision to explore the country on our own and not through an travel agency. I mean, it can be challenging and sometimes we had a hard time to find the right way when nobody speaks English, but it’s all about the experience, right? 😊 After some time it was a lot of fun to explore the country on our own and talk with people by hand and feet. So we had the chance to see the other side of China and get in contact with local people. I think we will never forget the many train rides (13 and some bus rides) through the country, sitting next to people who are starring at us because they never saw a blond, bearded guy and a tattooed girl (with two big noses) eating some instant noodles 😊
All in all we had a really good time in China and the country gave us many exciting and good moments we will never forget. From the Great Wall, where we felt so small, because of its size and history, Shanghai and it’s amazing skyline, the small water towns around Suzhou, where you have the feeling to still find “the old China” and it’s traditions, to the world famous Yellow Mountains or the beautiful nature in Guilin and the Zhangjiajie National Park. China has definitely many things to offer and we can recommend everybody to explore it on his/her own. Unfortunately it’s simply not possible to mention everything we experienced, ate, saw or whom we met throughout this journey 😅 But let’s say it like this: “Melanie and I definitely got our money’s worth 😊
I think the only thing we will never get used to are the massive crowds of Chinese tourists. Before we started our journey through China we already knew that the Chinese people love to travel, especially in their own country but we never expected something like this – it’s crazy! You have to think about a group of 20 to 30 people following a tourist guide who is shouting through a microphone and is waving with an umbrella to keep his gang together and push them from one tourist spot to the other – and then you have to think about 100 groups like this at the same spot. At the beginning it was quite funny to see chinese tourist groups like this everywhere but after some time it was also a little bit annoying to be honest 😅
Nevertheless with some online research and a little bit of luck you can also avoid those crowds. I don’t know how, but Melanie and I were most of the time lucky – for example we also had the Great Wall just for us, but I think we just had more luck than judgement 😄
Beside our leisure time through China we also had the chance to collaborate with Fairtrade Hong Kong. During that time we visited different tea farms that are part of the Fairtrade community (I think I don’t need to explain what Fairtrade is doing in general) and worked on new photos for them. Melanie and I were really impressed about their work and the huge farms. We are really happy that we had to chance to work with them on such important topics like equal labor conditions. We are sure that we would never had the chance to see this part of China without the collaboration.
When we think back about our last couple of weeks in China we are more than happy that we had this country on our travel route. Of course it wasn’t always easy and sometimes also a little bit frustrating when you get lost and you can’t ask somebody for the way, but China was definitely our biggest surprise until now and beside the fact that really all Chinese people are spitting and smacking all the time, it can be a wonderful country 😀
Having that in mind and with lots of new collected experiences we are already looking forward to our next adventure in the Philippines. This is also the first country that Melanie and I are going to explore on our own (at least for the first 10 days) because we have enough from each other … no I’m just kidding but while I will work on a collaboration in Manila together with CARITAS, Melanie will get a visit from her sister and her husband to explore some of the islands and its beautiful beaches – yeah 😊
So while we are already super excited, we are also a little bit worried because of all the ongoing things and the bad news about the Philippines right now. But let’s wait and see on our own how everything will turn out.
So hopp hopp Melanie… it’s time to keep going!
All the best and lovely greetings,
Philipp & Melanie