The best China travel stories from around the net

by James Weir
Posted: February 27th, 2012 | Updated: February 27th, 2012 | Comments
China travel features_china travel news_china travel blogs_china travel stories Apps for learning Chinese We read a lot about travel over the course of one week and, after much sifting and sorting, we've rounded up a few of our favorites. From news and reviews to great blog posts, unusual destinations and travel stories, read on for our picks. >>> Though the cultural barriers that foreigners face in China are by no means small, the largest obstacle faced by any lǎowài (老外), or foreigner, is most definitely one of communication. With a strong grasp of the language, the culture-gap narrows, barriers fall and understanding begins to take hold.  Some learn best in the classroom, with a deep immersion into textbooks, grammar structure and seemingly-ceaseless character repetition; for others, it is an immersion into China itself, where the skills develop not in preparation for tests but out of an essential need to function in a society where your mother-tongue is useless (this applies to the smaller cities in China, as cities like Shanghai and Beijing have such extensive foreigner-friendly infrastructure that it renders the need to learn Chinese almost insignificant). The question of how best to learn the Chinese language is certainly one that changes from individual to individual, but there are certain tools that benefit us all. The advent of technology assists all educational strategies in innumerable ways, be it online courses or the many excellent dictionaries available as apps. Whether you're a first-time China traveler scanning the landscape for experiences or a backpack-clad graduate student elbow-deep in Chinese history, having a smartphone or a tablet provides a wide range of language services at your fingertips. Chengdu Living recently reviewed the best apps for iPhones and Androids. Read on after the jump for more Best of the Net....
  • This week, we've got some pretty exciting dispatches from way up north. Way north. A group of British explorers discovered what is believed to be a section of the Great Wall of China in Mongolia, north of the Chinese border. Indeed, if it proves to be a long lost portion of the ancient wall, it would be the first such discovery outside of China. The site, which is around 40 km (25 mi) north of the Inner Mongolian border, is thought to house a long stretch of wall from the 12th century AD that was built during Genghis Khan's reign. Now that is one tough wall.
  • Have you ever considered jumping off of a mountain? No? Booooorrrriiiinnngggggg—that's what these fellas were probably thinking about normal life when they decided to Zhangjiajie. They used what are called "wingsuits"—think flying squirrels, except human. It's pretty insane stuff. The suits allow the jumper to use the air currents around them to fly down the angled mountainsides before engaging their parachute. I'll stick to watching the videos online... for now.
  • There are few rituals more culturally unique than the ways in which we bury the deceased. Last week Go Chengdoo posted these wonderful photos of burial practices in Chengdu, complete with accompanying commentary explaining the rituals.
  • Are you a homesick British expat that misses London? If so, you might want to head to Hangzhou and check out the London-style cabs peppering the streets. Though the cabs are confusing residents and the drivers complain that there are many misconceptions about the cabs floating around (incorrect assumptions that the cabs work with different rates), many a Londoner will recognize the uniquely-shaped body and be happy to take a familiar trip in the iconic vehicles with a Chinese twist.
  •  Everybody loves talking about Jeremy Lin. Speculation about his racial heritage and the implications of being raised in America, whether or not China has any right to be proud of the overnight NBA sensation (his parents are of Taiwanese origin, making nationalistic claims hazy, at best) and all kinds of other unanswerable questions have taken to the Internet and newspapers all across China. Here is one more debate about the implications of Jeremy Lin and his genetic makeup, courtesy of the Taiwanese publication, Want China Times. Take it with a grain of salt.

Until we meet again next week, happy travels!

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