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Pleasant Surprises: Unusual Things that China Made Me Enjoy

Most foreigners in China find that the country is a rich source of delightful discoveries affordable China tours. Despite my culture shock having been depleted quite some time ago, I never fail to be surprised by new things on a regular basis. Many people find however that one of the best kind of surprises is the surprise of the ‘pleasant’ variety. To clarify: these things are the things that we thought we would never enjoy, but when we get round to trying them we in fact find that we do actually like them.

Chinese Food

Chinese food in other countries is often very bland fare which is filled with head ache inducing MSG and has very little in the way of redeeming features. For this reason, prior to arriving in China I believed that I would struggle to find food that I enjoyed. On the contrary, upon my arrival I was completely overwhelmed by the broad variety of delicious foods on offer. The biggest pleasant surprise was that of tofu; in most western countries tofu is a much maligned ingredient that is seen as a poor substitute for meat. Several servings of mapo doufu (spicy tofu in bean sauce), doufu zhuan (deep friend tofu dumplings) and dofu si (tofu in vinegar shreds) and I was a true tofu ‘convert’.


For many people in western countries the common opinion about karaoke -or KTV as it is known in China-. Is that it is a tacky and mildly annoying pursuit that is a lame form of entertainment. How wrong I was about this much maligned activity. It turns out, in fact, that some of my most fun and memorable nights out in the Middle Kingdom have been ones enjoying Karaoke with friends. I must admit that I was reluctant to try but soon found that it was the perfect way to let your hair down. The beauty of KTV is that it lets people express themselves, have a joke and enjoy music and a drink in company. Prior to China I thought that it was an activity that I could not possibly enjoy my top China tours

Travelling by Bus and Train

In my home country public transport is a ‘necessary evil if you do not drive. The list of complaints are never ending; poorly planned routes that don’t go anywhere near to your destination and delays, delays, delays . In Beijing popular China tour package taxis are plentiful and relatively cheap, but the cost of bus and subway tickets is cheap beyond belief. With Beijing’s extensive subway lines which run like clockwork and stay clean all of the time you can travel tens of kilometers quickly and for less than the cost of a bottle of water. Beijing’s public transport is an amazing feet of civil engineering and a pleasure to use.


If many critics are to be believed, traditional Chinese medicine is an ineffective form of health care. Many people believe practitioners of TCM to be quacks or charlatans and consider ideas such as that of spiritual energy or ‘qi’ (phonetically pronounced – chee) to be hocus pocus or just downright silly. If you experience a blind masseur identify what kind of illness is troubling you just by the touch of the soles of your feet then you become a believer. Although not effective at curing all illnesses TCM is a more mild, gentle alternative to western style medicine which often relies on extreme and invasive procedures. Chinese medicine is a great way to manage chronic illness and commonly has less side-effects, a pleasant surprise and definitely not something to be sneezed at (if you pardon the pun)

Listed above is just a selection of things that I have changed my opinion about during my time living in Beijing. Furthermore, there are a great many other things about culture and life in today’s China that grow on a person . China is unarguably an Aladdin’s cave of interesting, exciting and culturally rich experiences just waiting to be discovered. Get out there and find them!

More others via chinatourdotcom such as Hong Kong tours

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