I’ve been finalising up my summer plans, aaaaannnnd… (drum roll….) I’M RETURNING TO CHINA! 😀

After spending all of last year studying and interning there, I’m super keen to go back again to catch up with old friends, visit all the places I somehow never got round to visiting, and satisfy my craving for Chinese food! Here’s a rough plan of the summer:

July – Volunteering

After graduation on the 1st July, I’m flying off to Beijing then taking a train to Shijiazhuang – where I’ll be volunteering to teach English at Camford Royal School. This volunteering program is linked to the Chinese Cultural Society at my university and fully funded by the school itself. Although I’ve previously privately tutored students learning English and volunteered as a Classroom Assistant for Maths/ Science classes here in the UK, I’m hoping that this volunteering placement will give me the opportunity to take on more responsibilities, learn to lead lessons and manage a class on my own, and also gain experience with all the admin side of teaching (lesson planning, homework marking, assessments, etc.).

August – China

I then have around five weeks to travel around China (and potentially other nearby countries, such as South Korea or Vietnam – still tbc). I’ve not booked or confirmed any plans yet, all I know is that I’ll be starting in Shijiazhuang and ending in Hong Kong (from where my flight leaves on the 2nd September). There are sooooo many places I’m keen to visit – including Pingyao, Tai Shan, Qingdao, Hua Shan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Luoyang, Zhangjiajie, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and even more. Sadly it will be impossible to fit all these places in – if anyone has any particular recommendations do let me know! I’m hopefully going to persuade some of the other volunteers to join me, although it sounds like most are planning just to stick to the main tourist sites in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai, which I’ve visited before.

September – Australia

After spending most of the summer in China, I’ll then be flying to Australia to spend three weeks on a family holiday – starting in Sydney where we’ll trek in the Blue Mountains, then continuing up to Ainslie Beach for a week sailing around the Great Barrier Reef, before finishing with a week exploring the Atherton Tablelands and Daintree National Park near Cairns.

It’s going to be a jam-packed summer, but really looking forward to it! If anyone has any recommendations or would like to share their experiences in China/ Australia, please do leave a comment below 🙂

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20 thoughts on “Summer Plans Revealed!

  1. That’s so exciting! So glad that you’re returning to China, as well as heading to Australia. You’ll have to share your adventures while abroad. Can’t wait to hear more about them!

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  2. Two fabulous countries; one where I live (Australia) and the other where I lived for three years. I have been to all the places you would like to go visit in China (apart from Tai Shan)so if you search any of the names on my blog, you will find my post of my visits. I look forward to reading about your travels in China and views on Australia.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, I’ll definitely check out your blog posts on these places! 🙂 You must have been everywhere in China haha! I’m really looking forward to Australia, it will be very different culture wise to china of course, hopefully lots of beautiful scenery and nature 🙂

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  3. Sounds like an incredible summer! Out of all the places you listed in China, my recommendation would be Yunnan. We spent time in Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge, and Shangri-La and absolutely loved it. The scenery is outstanding. Your plans in Australia seem pretty well set. I don’t know how far south you’re going in Queensland, but we really enjoyed Wallaman Falls. I wrote about it here:https://roamingcounselor.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/wallaman-falls/
    Anyway, hope you have a spectacular summer and I’ll be interested to follow up.

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    1. Thanks for the advice! Yeah, that was vaguely the route I was thinking of through Yunnan 🙂 How did you find the public transport there? I’ve heard some people say it is quite slow/ unreliable, but trying to avoid a tour group as I’m in a budget!
      I’m travelling with family in Australia so they’ve already got most of the trip planned out and booked – so organised haha! I’m actually not too sure whereabouts we’re going to travel in Queensland, been keeping out of it all I have to admit! I’ll recommend to them the Wallaman falls though – looks lovely 🙂

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      1. We only took public transport and it was all pretty easy and straightforward. There’s actually quite a lot of foreigners that visit the area, so they’re not unaccustomed to people speaking English. We just bought bus tickets as we went, but they were working on a train line through the area, so maybe it’s finished.

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      2. Sounds great, thanks for the info! Several other people mentioned the public transport was really slow/ difficult, but perhaps it was the language barrier or they were the types to quickly give up and book onto an organised tour.
        Yeah, I do remember reading something about a new train line going in, I’ll have to look into that!

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      3. Yeah, we had been living in China for about two years when we visited Yunnan, so we were definitely used to how Chinese transport could work. The only slow thing we encountered was that it’s just a one lane road, so if there’s an accident it does get backed up quickly. Happy travels!

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  4. What an exciting Summer Plan! I am sure you are going to have lots of fun! I have been planning to go to China for a while but the trip hasn’t materialised yet. Hopefully I will get to travel there soon!

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    1. Thanks! I’d highly recommend China as a destination, so much to see and great if you’re on a budget too (cheap living costs, plus very convenient public transport etc.). I hope you have a chance to visit 🙂

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  5. Sounds like an awesome summer!! Hopefully things are going well. 😃 When I leave for Cambodia in a few months, I noticed I will probably have a 23 hour layover in Shanghai. (I haven’t booked a flight yet, but I was researching).

    If that’s the case, I’d be grateful if you could recommend a hotel for the night, places to eat, things to do, etc. I’ve never been to China, but I could pack a lot in for a day! 👍

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    1. Thanks! Yeah I’m having a great time 🙂 Ooh, that sounds like a great layover, there’s so much you can see/ do in Shanghai city centre in that time! Have to admit I’m really not the person to ask about Shanghai hotels, I’ve only ever stayed in student university dorms in Shanghai (I was there for a few summers as an exchange student and intern) and usually my approach to finding accommodation is just to go on booking.com and look for the cheapest hostel in a good location that doesn’t look uninhabitable… Similarly with places to eat, I just wander around and see what cheap restaurants I happen to be walking past – China is great for this, there are restaurants literally everywhere and lots of street food. Shanghai is famous for food such as their fried dumplings and wantons. A good place (although rather touristy) to get local food and buy gifts is the market around the Yuyuan Gardens in the centre of town, which are also lovely gardens to relax in 🙂 You should also definitely walk down to the bund for the amazing Shanghai skyline, visit Nanjing road for some shopping/ good restaurants, perhaps pop into the Shanghai Museum or explore one of the many local temples (e.g. City God temple near the Yuyuan gardens, he famous Jade Buddha Temple, Jing’an Temple near Nanjing road, etc.). Or if you’re less of a city person, head out to one of the nearby water towns or chill in one of the many parks 🙂 Have a great trip! 🙂

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      1. Yes! Thank you so much for all the information. I’m making a list so I don’t forget. I’ve only been overseas once (Germany) and this whole move is exciting to me! Fried dumplings in China? Yes please, and keep ’em coming lol.

        I never expected to be in China, but the cheapest flights have that layover. And I’m not complaining. ☺ I am a bit disappointed in my first 5 hour layover in Chicago though lol Anyway, thank you again for taking the time to respond. I’m happy your summer is rocking so far. Here’s hoping it ends even better! Have fun and stay safe! ☺👍

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      2. No problem! Feel free to have a look under the “Shanghai” section of my blog for more details and pictures of some of the places I mentioned 🙂 And the dumplings there are amazing!!!

        I’ve also only just started to discover the wonders of layovers, had 16 hours in Rome on the way out to China this summer which was great 🙂 Shame to hear about Chicago 😦 although I guess five hours isn’t quite long enough to make a explore without feeling rushed…

        In Shanghai you’ll have to apply for the transit visa when you arrive btw, so factor in a couple of hours to queue and get that sorted, I think it’s valid for stays of up to a few days so you’ll definitely be fine 🙂

        Hope you have a great trip too! 🙂

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