Winter Travel Plans Revealed & The End Of Monthly Round Ups
It’s been just over a month since our amazing European getaway and we’ve been biding our time waiting for our next trip. Luckily we have three trips planned during what has been one of the coldest winters in China during the last 5-10 years.
Firstly some bad news. Earlier on we announced we would have three upcoming international trips in 2017, but we’re going to have to retract that statement. We were indeed planning to go abroad during our two longer holiday breaks in China before we realized flight prices quadrupled (as teachers we’re stuck with dates that the entirety of China goes on holiday). So we will not be travelling abroad again, apart from our very next trip, until we leave China in November next year. I feel really terrible about this. I’m always worried you might get bored with our China vacations, but there are a couple of reasons why we’ve made peace with this decision.
Firstly, there are some epic places in China that we feel might hold your interest – we’re certainly excited about seeing them! Secondly, the places we were planning to visit abroad are in the area we’ll be visiting after China, so it’s not like we wont be seeing them just a little further down the track. Lastly, however is that when our contract finishes, we really just want to leave as soon as possible – and that means seeing all we want to see during our contracted holidays. We’re excited to sign on for our second year but honestly, I don’t want to stay here much longer than that. At that point we’ll be very excited to start the next chapter of our lives and want to move forward as quickly as possible.
Secondly we’ll no longer be doing monthly round ups of our time in China. This isn’t necessarily bad news (unless you were hanging out to read these each month) but we’ve decided to stop as the don’t add too much value to this blog. You can still read our first year of Monthly Round Ups, and we will publish a yearly post each October. If you want to see more of our day to day life you can always follow along on our Youtube channel.
Anyway, without further mumbling here is what we are doing for our winter vacations in China. Keep track of our dates so you can follow us in real time on Snapchat (username: theygetaround)!
The International Trip: December 11th
We’re going to Japan! And when I say we, I mean us and most of the foreign and Chinese teachers at our school. Our boss has decided, since our school has had so many sign ups, to take us all to Japan. The itinerary changes every so often so I don’t want to give too much information away (in case the route changes), but it seems we will visit three cities and we’ll be doing it via a Chinese tour bus.
As our manager put it so eloquently, this will probably be our first and last time travelling as a Chinese tour group. In case you’re unsure of what a Chinese tour group is – it’s the group led around by a flag held by a loud tour guide, stopping to take pictures before moving onto the next site. Kind of like a normal tour group, but more chaotic (I’ve been told). Who knows though.
I think it will be an interesting experience and frankly am pleased to not have to plan a trip for once. It will be fun to hang out with the Chinese staff while traveling as we don’t really get to see them outside of school hours. Also Japan has been somewhere Steven has wanted to go since we first started dating. We will of course be daily vlogging each day of the trip which is 6 days in total, with our videos coming out sometime after the trip. Six days on a tour bus sounds crazy, but it’s free so we’re totally down to see how it goes.
Sunsets & the Sea of Clouds: 26th of December
We’ve been given a sneaky four day holiday the day after Christmas so we’ll be escaping to the Yellow Mountains in China. The Yellow Mountains are a place we’ve only heard about recently and despite being popular with the Chinese, they aren’t really promoted to international travelers as much as Beijing and the Terracotta Warriors.
While I don’t think winter is the best time to visit, we will be avoiding the crowds (well, at least some of them) as we won’t be seeing them during a Chinese holiday! Coincidentally the mysterious sea of clouds phenomena is most likely to happen during December so we may see something epic beyond sunsets. If you are unsure what the sea of clouds is, it’s when the clouds flood around the peaks taking the appearance on an ocean. If we miss out on this at least we will see some beautiful peaks and hopefully some beautiful sunsets.
Apart from the mountain views we’ll also be visiting the cute traditional town of Hongcun which is a town full of lakes and traditional Chinese architecture. This trip will only be four days long so make sure you tune in from the 26th on SnapChat so you don’t miss anything.
The “We’re Going To Be Cold” Trip: January 25th
While the idea of this trip is crazy for us, coming from a place where winter is 16 degrees celcious, this may not impress those of you who experience a real winter. For our holiday during China’s Spring Festival we are going to the far north to see Harbin and Beijing in the grips of winter! Temperatures in Harbin for our holiday dates are projected to be between -15 and -30 degrees celcius (without windchill), and we just recently found out China is having one of it’s coldest winters. Needless to say we’re a little nervous about our decision, but have been stocking up on some serious winter gear on Taobao.
Harbin, a little known city to international travelers, is renown in China for it’s ice and snow festival during the winter. By day there is a massive snow sculpture competition and by night you can wander through a ton of massive lit up ice buildings and statues. From Harbin we’ll be attempting to visit China’s snow town which is a six hour drive away towards Russia. This town is known for receiving the most snow in China and since the snow is sticky it envelopes the small forest village in the most magical way (Google: China’s snow town and head to the Images section).
We were also planning to return to Beijing to experience this brilliant city in the midst of winter, albeit a much warmer winter than in Harbin. Our plans here include visiting the summer palace, exploring the city in the snow and trying to track down some frozen waterfalls at nearby parks. At this point I don’t think we will visit the Great Wall again to try and get some snow photos there, but plans could change.
CC: Cover photo by Steve Langguth