Around Beijing in 80 Days

In the depths of the Australian wilderness emerged a nimble and thought-provoking individual that seemed alien in every sense of the word. Perhaps he was just an alien in disguise, trying to mimic human culture, but every now and again making a mistake that brought to mind the question, “is this guy an alien?”.

Hi guys, Lachlan here, with a FANTASTIC review of my first 3 (ish) months in the particularly famous city of Beijing, or Peking for my 19th century homies, bro-fist.

Not gonna lie, when I got here I was #wowed by the city. There were a lot surprises when I got here, and for the first month I was untoldly elated by the differences. Here are just some of those things I saw.

Not gonna lie, when I got here I was #wowed by the city. There were a lot surprises when I got here, and for the first month I was untoldly elated by the differences. Here are just some of those things I saw.


THE SIZE of this city is HUUUUUUUUUge, not even kidding. Coming from a medium sized Australia city, aka Brisbane, I really wasnt cut out for what I was seeing. It takes so long to get from one side of the city to the other, and when you get to the center, the buildings look like they are the size of 4 or 5 Empire State Buildings in one. But even just the normal parts of the city are heavily urbanised as well. You will feel like you are in the land of giants and you are Jack having climbed his beanstalk.


To get an idea of how big this place is, just imagine if you smashed all of Australia’s population into an area a little larger than Brisbane and turned that region into a concrete jungle, then you might be able to fathom the slightest smidgen of the things I have seen. But once you get used to it, you can go to some awesome places like the forbidden palace, tiananmen, the temple of heaven, the Great Wall and the Summer Palace for sure and an absolutely chugging amount of shopping malls. But aside from that, you can also go to Wudaokou (restaurants galour) and Sanlitun (BAAAAAR STREEEEET)

In this land of many differences come objects of great surprise, either with unnerving shock or with the seemingly unending euphoria that lasts for but a moment. But when it comes to the familiar, something we have thought we have always know, can be twisted or changed in a way that feel the same way as with anything new or different but in a more intense manner.

Take for example, soft drinks, such as coffee flavoured soda, halloween brand banana and chocolate flavoured fanta, and cucumber flavoured sprite. These oddities may seem strange at first but once you get used to them they will seem less strange to you, and perhaps you might even come to like these new and interesting flavours. China is full of these different varieties of popular foods and brands common in western countries.


Speaking of food, have you guys tried Chinese food? Its so amazingly delicious that perhaps i might get lost in China just to end up in a food factory where I can endlessly eat jiaozi (dumplings) and baozi (steamed buns), both of which I can say with no uncertainy in my mind that these foods are my favourites. If you want to eat anything, just go outside for a walk and you will easily find a restaurant with just about anything you want, but if you have trouble finding what you really want, just look up the kind of food you want online or on a map app and there will definitely be a restaurant with that kind of food around the corner. And if you still can’t find the food you want, you can try out some food apps like 美团外卖 (Mei tuan wai mai), 饿了么 (e le ma), 大众点评 (Da zhong dian ping).

Deliveries aren’t all just food though. You can use apps like Taobao, Jingdong, and Dangdang to get whatever you want online for extremely low prices and ridiculously fast delivery times, often on the same day. With apps like Taobao and Jingdong, they have just about everything you might need, whereas other apps like Dangdang focus on more specific things such as books in this case.

As in addition to these apps, you can also find many useful apps in China. Some of them include Wechat which is like China’s swiss army app, Tencent maps (My all time favourite map app), 飞猪 (Fei zhu) a Chinese flight app that gives you mega-cheap flight and long distance train costs, 携程旅行 (xie cheng lü xing) for cheap hotel bookings and flights, 网易有道词典 (wang yi you dao ci dian) a fantastic online translator for English and Chinese, and Pleco an offline Chinese dictionary. All these apps have been a massive hand for my time and China and I honestly feel like things would have been much harder if I didn’t have any of them, especially wechat.

Just to give you an idea of how useful Wechat is. It is first and foremost a communication tool, but also a payment method (Wechat Pay) that makes mobile payments very easy, and its vast variety of mini-apps give it a huge variety of functions, such as being able to rent and use share bikes which are quite literally everywhere, so if you have signed up for and subscribed to those bike sharing apps, then you will be able to get on a bike anywhere, cutting down walking time considerably and sometimes being faster than the public transportation.

Speaking about biking, its probably best to not do it when it is very polluted. The pollution usually is decent enough to to bike around for an hour or so.

some quirky cultural differences:

  • take off shoes and wear slippers indoors
  • dont stick your chopsticks upright in your food
  • not as much need to say thank you or sorry since they are much more sincere here. Excuse me should be used instead most often
  • plastic bags for holding hot drinks like coffee in!
  • More collectivistic (family orientated) here, such as grandparents living in the same house as their grandchildren
  • People are very hardworking here, always working, every day of the week

In conclusion, Beijing is definitely worth a visit and i would highly recommend trying out everything i have mentioned in my blog and a whole lot more. I guarantee you will enjoy China! #Peace

For an unforgettable adventure, apply to become an au pair in China