In the Presence of a Giant at Leshan

On July 26, 2012, in Historical Relics, Must-sees, Sichuan, by Jack Li

When planning your itinerary for traveling to China, the Sichuan Province holds many cultural, architectural, and historical treasures. One of its most well known is the Leshan Giant Buddha. Within every detail of its form, the Giant Buddha makes a profound impression carved into the side of a cliff, overseeing its three surrounding rivers. When […]

When planning your itinerary for traveling to China, the Sichuan Province holds many cultural, architectural, and historical treasures. One of its most well known is the Leshan Giant Buddha. Within every detail of its form, the Giant Buddha makes a profound impression carved into the side of a cliff, overseeing its three surrounding rivers. When I went to visit, I could not help but draw a comparison between this structure and one that is famous in my home country, Mount Rushmore. The main differences between these sites however, besides location, is that the Leshan Giant Buddha far surpasses Mount Rushmore in age and close-up viewing access to the public. The Buddha reaches an immense height of 233 ft. and is one of the world’s largest stone statues of the beloved deity. Construction of the Leshan Buddha dates back to the Tang Dynasty  in 713 AD and took nearly ninety years to complete. The location of this grand statue was defined by the convergence of the three neighboring rivers, the Min, Dadu and Qingyi.

Throughout China’s history, the strong currents of these rivers took many lives of those who worked in this watery locale. Due to these losses, the idea was formed to create a Buddha near the waters in hopes of taming their ferocity. Remarkably enough, however, a complex drainage system was also constructed to redirect water away from the Buddha to preserve its form. To see the Buddha, visitors board tour boats that deliver you to just the right locations in order to get close as well as far away views. You also have the option of viewing the great Buddha by entering the park and scaling up the cliff side. This is the best way to get very up close photographs of the Buddha’s features, but you have to put in the work of the ascending and descending climbs in order to get to these perfect observation points. The Leshan Giant Buddha gazes out to the horizon which spans over the meeting of three rivers in the Sichuan Province. Leshan is a must-see China tour for all travelers.

Lhasa- ‘Place of the Gods’

On January 12, 2012, in Cultural Experience, Festivals, Lhasa, Tibet, Travel Info, by Jack Li

Lhasa is the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, west of the mainland. It is known to be one of the highest cities in the world, with the altitude measuring up to 3,490 metres. Lhasa is also known as the ‘Place of the Gods’ this is because it is known as the centre of the […]

Lhasa is the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, west
of the mainland. It is known to be one of the highest cities in the world, with the altitude measuring up to 3,490 metres. Lhasa is also known as the ‘Place of the Gods’ this is because it is known as the centre of the Buddhist beliefs and spirituality. Located within the Himalaya Mountains, Lhasa is made up of seven counties. There are many sights and temples to see in Lhasa and there are great package deals going through China Tours.

 

For a foreigner whom is not a Chinese national will have to gain a special permit from the Chinese government in order to visit Tibet and they are strictly advised to have a tour guide with them at all times. Tibet Tours provides tour guides for people who want to visit Lhasa and will easily be able to advise on setting up a permit. They offer a religious and spiritual tour or a hiking and trekking tour, with the glorious scenery you cannot go wrong with either tour. Apart from the exquisite view this area has to offer there are three locations which is a must when visiting Lhasa. They are the Potola Palace, Norbulingka and Jokhang Temple. All these places are very accessible; you can either take a shuttle or go for a brief walk. The Potola Palace which is the most famous was of course the chief residence of the Dalai Lama before he fled to India in the 1950’s. It was first constructed in 1645 but since the 14th Dalai Lama was exiled the government have done reconstructions in 1989 through to 1994. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Tibet as it is so enriched with history, religion and culture that it should definitely not be ignored from your list of sites. Also to keep in mind photography within the Temple is forbidden, so just restrain yourself until you get outside.

 

Norbulingka is considered to be one of the biggest man made
gardens in China, taking up an area of 36 hectares. This garden is approximately 1 kilometre south-west of the Potala Palace and was known as the summer residence for the Dalai Lama. It is recommended to go in the July/August period when the Sho Dun Festival or ‘the yogurt festival’ in on. It is a great festival to experience, there is a lot of music, dancing and food. You will be able to experience the Tibetan culture first hand.

 

 

Jokhang Temple is a must; it is seen to be one of the most sacred temples in Tibet. The architecture of this temple is amazing, with beautiful gilded bronze tiles on the roof tops. The temple was constructed in the 7th century AD as a house of statues for the Buddha. Along with the Patola Palace, this temple is very popular among tourists. In the year 2000 the Jokhang Temple was added to the World Heritage List, Norbulingka was added in 2001 and the Potola Palace has been on the list since 1994.

 

If you love history, Lhasa is the place to go for your tour of China. It is so enriched with the Buddhist beliefs and culture that it would be an experience of a life time to see it all first hand. Lhasa is very accessible from the larger cities in China, it can be accessed either by a
train if you want to have the scenic route or you can choose to fly. It is advised to check out both options and see what else you can put into your itinerary. However Tibet flights are always the best way to go if Lhasa is the only destination you have in mind.

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Rules to Know about China Before You Come Over

On November 25, 2011, in Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

There are a couple of things that China does differently then the western countries. So before you start you China travels there is information you need to know. If you ever traveled to a new land you will know that things are different in each country so don’t expect things to be the same in […]

There are a couple of things that China does differently then the western countries. So before you start you China travels there is information you need to know. If you ever traveled to a new land you will know that things are different in each country so don’t expect things to be the same in China as in your own land. Your China tour will go smoothly if you understand what you need to prepared for.

1. How to cross the street

Unlike western countries where cars stop for pedestrians, in China the pedestrians stop for the cars. If the street is a bigger street you will notice many people crossing little by little meaning that the cars are still driving by and the people are standing in the middle of them. One reason why this happens is because people who are driving cars will usually ignore traffic laws. They will be in the wrong lanes or go when they should have stopped.

When you start to cross the street you will need to notice all of the cars. Keep a look out even when the sign for pedestrians is green. Make sure the cars notice you and know that you are there. If you are like most foreigners cross the street with other people go when they go, stop when they stop. Be care when you cross the street and remember to keep a look out and everything will be fine.

2. You will be a mini-celebrity

If you travel to a remote town or city you will have people staring at you. If you noticed they will also be taking your picture. If they know some English they will ask you to take a picture with them. It will make their day if you say yes and do. Don’t be rude let them take your picture, they are taking your picture as the fact that they don’t see that many westerns people. They will als0 try to speak to you give them some of your time, it will be worth it.

3. Internet sites blocked

If you plan on coming to China and you plan on getting on facebook then stop since facebook is blocked in China. Twitter is also block. Most people who come over find a proxy to use. Some of these proxies will cost you. Some are free but only work for a short time. Or most people will use their time in China and not get on facebook. The deciding is your find a proxy or not use facebook while you are here.

4. Carry tissue paper and hand sanitizer with you.

 When you start to travel around China you will quickly learn that most bathrooms don’t have toilet paper. So it will be helpful to you and others who are traveling with you if one of you has tissue paper. Some bathrooms will not have soap so remember to carry hand sanitizer with you.  If you are prepared then you will not need to worry about using a public bathroom.

Keep in mind these simple rules and you will be able to make it in China. So when you step off of your China flight you will be ready to travel around China. China is an exciting country you will see and do a lot. Therefore come prepared so that you can enjoy your time.

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Souvenirs Shopping in Beijing

On November 24, 2011, in Shopping, by Jack Li

Most people when they travel to a new country like to buy objects that remind them of their travels. This article will tell you want you need to buy on your China tour and where to buy them at. So when you travel to Beijing you will not worry about finding a souvenirs shops. Beijing […]

Most people when they travel to a new country like to buy objects that remind them of their travels. This article will tell you want you need to buy on your China tour and where to buy them at. So when you travel to Beijing you will not worry about finding a souvenirs shops.

Beijing Hongqiao Market (Pearl Market)

Each year 1,000,000 visitors go shopping at the Pearl Market. The best time to stop by is during winter time and during the weekend day. Not a lot of people are shopping at these times so it will be easier for you to haggle. On the first few floors you will be able to find digital products and watches. The Pearl Market is the most famous digital market in Beijing. You can buy watches of all different brands. You can also find silk on these floors. Silk symbolizes ancient China times. You can buy silk scarf’s, ties and clothes.

On the other floors you will be able find jewelry from China’s famous jade to pearls to silver, coral and emerald gem. The Pearl Market is the largest pearl centre in China. You will be able to pick from seawater pearls or freshwater pearls. On these floors you will be able to find souvenirs to take home with you or give to other people. These souvenirs include eternal balls, chopped sticks, scrolls, dragons, phone charms, kites and much more.

The Pearl Market is located in Tiantan Donglu Chongwen District it is located right across the street from the Temple Of Heaven. If you are traveling there by subway take line 5 and get off at Tiantan East Gate, leave through exit A. As you exit look across the street you should see a building with big letters that say Hongqiao Market- Pearl Market.

 Silk street- (Xiushui Street)

Silk Street has over 300 stores, and each shop keeper will want you to buy something from them so be prepared to haggle. To get the best price haggle with more then one shopkeeper to see if you can get the price that you want. Also watch out of shopkeeper keepers they will trap you in their store and won’t let you leave in till you buy something. There are many things you can buy at Silk Street things like bags, shoes (all brands and types), coats, clothes, ties, silk, jewelry, souvenirs, plus much more.

The shopper keepers only speak simple English so they will use a calculator to show you the price, you will need to show them what you are willing to pay. They will start at a high number so you should start at a low number and slowly go up to the price that you are willing to pay. If they are being unreasonable walk away they will chase you down and say you can buy what you want for your price. Make sure you haggle or you will over pay. If you are traveling to Silk Street by subway take line 1 to Yong’anli station. The exit for Silk street will say Silk Street.

When you decide to go shopping make sure you plan on going for a couple of hours, you will need time to haggle. Always remember to have fun while you are haggling. Your Beijing tour will not be completed unless you try to haggle. So when you come to Beijing plan on shopping at one of the famous shopping centre.

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Things to Try in China

On November 22, 2011, in Cultural Experience, Nightlife, Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

When you go on your China travel there are a couple of activities you should try while you are visiting. The first activity is KTV known as Karaoke Television. The second is street food. You must try the street food. KTV and street food are very popular to the locals and to foreigners. Trying these […]

When you go on your China travel there are a couple of activities you should try while you are visiting. The first activity is KTV known as Karaoke Television. The second is street food. You must try the street food. KTV and street food are very popular to the locals and to foreigners. Trying these two activities will be entertaining for you and the people who will come with you on your China tour.   

KTV is the Best way to send a night.

If you want to have fun like the local do then KTV is right for you. KTV stands for Karaoke Television. Instead of singing karaoke at a bar, here in China they rent out rooms for people to come and sing and dance. So if you just want to have fun times try KTV.

There are many reason why people go to KTV some of reason could be for a work party, or for a friends birthday party or just to be able to hangout with each other. Each group of people will get one room where all of their friends are and sing to each other their favorite’s songs. Each room has a big scene and a stage with a microphone. KTV will allow you to get your groove on and impress your friends. Foreigners love going to KTV because it is really fun way to send their time and they can feel like a small celebrity without being judged.

Street food is good-

Most cities in China will have street food able to you. Some cities will have night market where you can walk down a street of vendors and see the different street food that they are offering. Some of the foods you can try are star fish, snake, and frog, meat on a stick, dog, cat, sea horse, bugs and much more. If you don’t want to try a new adventure then you can get fruit with a sugar coating (these are really good) or yogurt.

If you are too scared to try these kinds of food you can always get a Chinese pancake.  These pancake are made with egg you can watch the person make it for you. They have a big circle grill where they pour the batter then they use a stick to make the batter circle. They will cook each side of it when it. You will have a choices of what you want to put in side of it lettuce or a meat. When it is all done the person making it will fold it up and give it to you. It will be nice and warm. These are good to eat whenever. Another food you should try is the China style burger. These are pitas filled with meat and lettuces. They are really good. So when you are in China make sure you try the street food.    

As you get off your China flight make note to try KTV and street food. Trying these two activities will allow you to be entertained. It will also help you understand Chinese cultural a little better. You might think that the street food is weird but many locals enjoy these kinds of food and eat it on a regular basic. So come to China and do what the locals do.

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Ways to Travel Around China

On November 21, 2011, in China Travel Gossip, Tips & Ideas, Transportation, Travel Info, by Jack Li

Take a China tour and enjoy the different types of transportation. There are several types of transportation you should try they are airplanes, rickshaws, bikes, buses, taxis, and subway. These types of transportation will add excitement to your China travels. Airplane If you would love to see more then one city in China but you […]

Take a China tour and enjoy the different types of transportation. There are several types of transportation you should try they are airplanes, rickshaws, bikes, buses, taxis, and subway. These types of transportation will add excitement to your China travels.

Airplane

If you would love to see more then one city in China but you only have a limited of time in China, then feel free to travel by Airplane. Airplanes will get you there fast so you can spend more time sight seeing.

Rickshaw

Rickshaws are a cool way to see the sights. A rickshaw is a small carriage pulled by a driver who is riding a bike. Tourist who visit Beijing love to ride rickshaws through the hutongs. Rickshaws are not only used in Beijing they are used all over so if you decided that you don’t feel like walking then find a rickshaw so that you can still enjoy the sights.

Bikes

Another cool way to see the sights is by biking them. Some places where it is fun to bike are Xi’an city wall and from your hotel in Yangshuo to the mud caves. It is also a great way to get your exercises and to see the sights. Many local Chinese ride bikes on a daily basis. So if you want to feel like a local rent a bike and ride it around the city you are staying at. The best time to go bike riding is in the summertime.

Buses

Only major cities like Beijing and Shanghai have subways so if you go to a city that has no subway you will need to ride a bus. Buses are a fun way to travel. Just make sure you know where you are going so that you don’t miss your stop. There are different types of buses first is a double decker bus. On these buses it will be easier for you to find a seat. The second type of bus is a tours bus these buses come with soft comfortable seats. So if you want to see an attraction that is far from your city it is a good idea to catch one of these buses.  The third type of bus is a regular bus; these buses are great for getting you around the city. They will be less expensive then a taxi.

Taxis

If you want to travel to your destination fast then taxi is the best way to go. Taking a taxi will cost you more then taking the subway or bus. If you travel after eleven pm at night in Beijing you will need to take a taxi since the subway will be closed.  

Subways

Traveling by subway is easy to do. Every subway station has a map in it that show all the subway lines and where they are going. So when you enter the subway you will need to know what stop you need so that you can find your way by using the subway map. The subway takes over one million people a day. It is a lot cheaper then going by taxi. Most popular attractions in Beijing have a subway stop near it.

 So when you came to China remember that it is easy to get around. You can book your China flight online to help you get to your destination fast. Bus, taxis and subways are also convent for everyday travel.

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Types of Trains and Classes of Train

On November 17, 2011, in Cultural Experience, Tips & Ideas, Travel Info, by Jack Li

Let’s say you are in Beijing and you plan to travel to Xi’an you don’t want to take a China flight because it cost too much so you choose to travel by train. The first thing you need to know is that there are five kinds of trains they are regular (only have numbers), fast (K/N), […]

Let’s say you are in Beijing and you plan to travel to Xi’an you don’t want to take a China flight because it cost too much so you choose to travel by train. The first thing you need to know is that there are five kinds of trains they are regular (only have numbers), fast (K/N), express (D/T), direct (Z), tourist(Y) and temporary (L). Second thing you need to know about trains is that there are different class hard seat, hard sleeper, soft seat and soft sleeper.

Kinds of Trains

Direct Express Train (Z) or Zhida in Chinese can reach up to 160km per hour as their top speed. The (Z) trains only have soft sleepers and soft seats so this train is ideal for long distance travel. Some (Z) trains will have several stops while others will have only one stop. Express Train (T) or Tekuai in Chinese have limited of stops on their route but these stops are usually in major cities. Express Train top speed is 140km per hour. The (T) trains are equipped with soft/hard seats and sleepers.

Fast Train (K) or Kuaiche in Chinese is slower the (Z) and (T) trains. The top speed of (K) train is only 120km per hour. This train has multiple of stops. The good thing about this train that it has air condition and four classes of train berths. Temporary train (L) also known as Linke in Chinese is only used during holiday travel time such as Chinese Spring Festival and National Holiday. You can find this train listed in the official fixed train schedule. Try not to take (L) train since they are known for delays. The (Y) train is for the tourist. If you want to travel to popular sights or destinations then you can travel by a (Y) train. For example a (Y) train will take people to the Great Wall.

Classes of train

There are four classes of Train seats one soft sleeper, two hard sleeper, three Soft seat and fourth hard seat. The soft sleeper has two bunks in each compartment. Each compartment has a door allowing separate access plus they come with slippers, cloths brush, tea cups, trash can. If you need to plug something in don’t worry each compartment has a wall socket. The toilets will be the clean and have toilet paper. If you travel by a sleeper train the price will be higher.

Hard Sleepers are not as comfortable as a soft sleeper. Each compartment has six fix bunks; there is no door so it will be noisy. Each bed will come with a pillow blankets and sheets. If you want to be more comfortable then sitting on a seat then hard sleeper is want you want it will also be cost effective.

Soft seats are nice and comfortable seats. They do have cushions. There will be five seats in a row each one will have a folding table. Hard seats are the lowest price. They are not comfortable if you going on a long or overnight train. The carriage will be noisy and crowed. The toilets are unclean and cramped and will not have toilet paper. If you want to be adventurous or travel like a local then the hard seat is a wonderful way to travel.

Your China tour should include at least one train ride. It will help you make your vacation more exciting. It will also help you save money on travel since it will cost you less then a plan ticket. Remember there are different trains and different classes just pick the one you want to experience.

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Part 1- A Quick Guide to China Trains

On November 15, 2011, in Tips & Ideas, Travel Info, by Jack Li

If you are planning on a China tour and you want to travel by train but you have no idea on how to get a train ticket, look no further this article will tell you all you need to know about booking a train ticket. One of the cheapest ways to get around China is […]

If you are planning on a China tour and you want to travel by train but you have no idea on how to get a train ticket, look no further this article will tell you all you need to know about booking a train ticket. One of the cheapest ways to get around China is by traveling by trains. Traveling by train will help you save money on your China travel.

Train Tickets

There are many ways to get a train ticket you can go through your hotel, or you can go to the train station, or go to a train agency, or buy it online. The most convenient way is to go through your hotel. The hotel staff can help you book your ticket. Then the ticket will be sent to your hotel. If you don’t want to talk to anyone then you can email you hotel and ask them to do it for you. Hotels will charge you extra if you book your ticket through them.

If you want a cheap ticket the best way to do that is by going to the train station. In most stations the ticket office is separate from the waiting area. At the Beijing Station the ticket office is off to the left of the main part of the station, in big letters it says Ticket Office. If you are a foreigner make sure you go to the window that says Foreigners Window. To make it easier for you and the person helping you, write down where you want to go and what time you want to leave and what kind of train you want to go on. This way the person who is booking your ticket clearly understand what you want and it will be easier for them help you get the ticket you want. When you go to the train station make sure you take your passport with you. No passport no ticket.

The third place you can go to get a ticket is from a ticket agency. These agencies will be located in small offices around big cities. Some of these agencies will be hard to find and too recognized. The people working at these agencies might not know how to speak or read English so it might be helpful if you take a local with you to buy your ticket or if you know someone who can speak Chinese you can call them and have them translate for you. Another way is to have someone write down what you want in Chinese then all you have to do is show the piece of paper to workers and they can help you buy your ticket.  These agencies do have a small charge so be prepared to pay at least five Yuan.

A quick way to book a train ticket is by doing it online. Train tickets are usually expensive if you book online. There is a number of travel agency that sells train tickets for example ChinaTravelDepot is one. Just go to travel agency home page and click on tab that says “Trains”. Then type what city you are departing from and where you are arriving.  A list of schedule trains should pop up. Then pick a train that best fits your needs.

Traveling by train will be a lot cheaper then traveling by a China flight. Just remember there are lots of ways to get a train ticket. If you want quick and easy then go online or book through your hotel, but it will be more expensive. If you want cheaper then go to the train station or a train agency. Remember booking a train ticket is not hard to do.

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Great Souvenir Shopping Ideas From Beijing!

On October 18, 2011, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Shopping, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

If you are in the last few days of your China travel adventure, Beijing is definitely the best place to be to look for a large selection of souvenirs for friends and family back home. There is so much choice around the city, from specialist souvenir shops in Beijing hotels, to giant shopping malls, to […]

If you are in the last few days of your China travel adventure, Beijing is definitely the best place to be to look for a large selection of souvenirs for friends and family back home. There is so much choice around the city, from specialist souvenir shops in Beijing hotels, to giant shopping malls, to the markets and areas surrounding tourist attractions. Here are a few potential gift options:

 

Modelled Dolls

This may be more of a souvenir for yourself, or your family, however the creative model makers found throughout the city can make very realistic replicas of your face from either studying you in person or looking at a good photo. Expect to pay a bit more than you would for a generic souvenir but these are so unusual and detailed it is definitely worth the extra cost.

 

Wooden Dolls

These have a cartoon-like Asian feel, and come in a variety of colours and designs. They are widely available at markets and in small stalls at markets or down side streets in the city. Small dolls (around 4 inches high) can be had for around 10rmb, but there are many different sizes to choose from.

 

Lucky Cats
Often seen when you enter a Chinese Takeaway in the west, the Chinese lucky cat has a presence here and there are many small shops inside Beijing Malls selling the ornaments with a variety of designs and meanings. In addition to ornaments you can also purchase key rings, vases, wind chimes, crockery and phone charms with the theme.

 

Traditional Souvenirs

There are plenty of the popular souvenir items available in Beijing too. Head for the markets, especially Silk and Yashow for the biggest selection. Generally on the higher floors there is a souvenir section, bargain hard and you can get things for very reasonable prices. Items for sale include magnets, shot glasses, snow globes, fans, silk items, chopsticks and lanterns.

 

Food Items

If you are in Beijing around the Mid Autumn Festival you can pick up Chinese Moon Cakes in a variety of sizes and flavours. These make interesting gifts to bring back home and are often decoratively packages. Many other food items are available including selections of tea, dried herbs and fruits, unusual sweets, chocolate and biscuits.

 

Bigger Items

If you have plenty of spare luggage space there is lots of choice for larger and heavier items. The obvious choice would be ‘designer’ goods including handbags, purses and clothing. Jade and pearls are plentiful, both imitation and real. Other popular options include tea sets, paintings, calligraphy, wall hangings and mahjong sets.

 

Personalised Stamps

Nearby popular tourist attractions you can get a stamp carved with your (or any) name in Chinese alongside your Chinese Zodiac sign. You simply write it down, pronounce it out loud and watch it being made in front of you. Again there are many sizes and designs to choose from. They also sell traditional ink and present the stamp in a gift box. They will also test the stamp for you to check you are happy with the result.

 

If you end up shopping to much you can also send your extra purchases home via surface mail although this can take up to two months to arrive. Your Beijing hotel may be able to assist with this as you will probably need a Chinese speaker to help you.

 

The Challenge of Learning Mandarin in Beijing!

On September 9, 2011, in Activities, China Travel Gossip, Cultural Experience, by Jack Li

When you travel to Beijing, especially if you plan to get good deals in the markets or take a few taxis it may be a good idea to learn some Mandarin phrases. Although staff in the higher end China hotels may speak some English, not much is spoken in many others which can be a […]

When you travel to Beijing, especially if you plan to get good deals in the markets or take a few taxis it may be a good idea to learn some Mandarin phrases. Although staff in the higher end China hotels may speak some English, not much is spoken in many others which can be a problem should you have an issue with your room.

 

The term ‘Mandarin’ is technically the name of the Beijing dialect group within the Chinese language as opposed to the actual language name. Officially the correct name for the language itself is ‘Modern Standard Chinese’, known locally as ‘Pǔtōnghuà’ (meaning the common dialect’), however most western countries refer to it simply as ‘Mandarin’.

 

There are over 800 million speakers of Mandarin throughout the world and it is one of the six official languages for the United Nations. It is not the easiest of languages to learn, mostly due to its tonal structure and use of characters rather than a standard alphabet.

 

Mandarin has four tones and these are what differentiate words that otherwise appear to have the same pronunciation. For example, the word ‘ma’ can mean mother, horse, hemp and scold dependant on the tone used to pronounce it, and in addition it is also used to make a statement into a question, for example:

Nǐ jiào Ceri (You are called Ceri)

Nǐ jiào Ceri ma? (Are you called Ceri?)

 

Tones in Mandarin

The four tones are known as:

  • 1st (high tone)
  • 2nd (high rising tone)
  • 3rd (low falling-rising tone)
  • 4th (high falling tone)

 

Understanding Pinyin

Pinyin was introduced in 1958 as a method of writing Chinese with the common Roman alphabet and is a helpful tool in learning how to pronounce Mandarin. Pinyin is used throughout most urban areas on signs and shops, however it is less common outside of the big cities and many native Chinese can’t understand it. Pinyin is a simple system to use providing you understand the rules of pronouncing letters, for example ‘c’ is pronounced like the ‘ts’ in ‘boats’ and ‘x’ like the ‘sh’ in ‘shoulder’.

 

It is still wise to carry a phrasebook around with you as a guide, and also they commonly have Chinese character definitions which is ideal if you plan to visit more rural locations. If you intend to stay in Beijing longer than a few days, there are also language schools located throughout the city, such as ‘That’s Mandarin’ which has locations in the main expat area of ‘Dongzhimen’ and the student district of ‘Wudaokou’.

 

There are also applications for the iphone and blackberry which you can download to help you with the language further, including a Chinese to English dictionary (for more information check out this page).

 

Here are some common phrases to get you started for when you travel to Beijing:

Hello Nǐ hǎo

Goodbye Zài Jiàn

Thanks Xiè xiè

Yes Shì

No Bùshì

Do you speak English? Nǐ huìshuō Yīngwén ma?

How much? Duō Shǎo?

One

Two Er

Too expensive Tàiguì le!

 

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