Trekking in Henan Province, China

Trekking in Henan Province China
Trekking in Henan Province China

Trekking in Henan Province China

Trekking in Henan Province, China

When most people think about China, the big attractions such as Beijing (Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City), Xian (Terracotta Warriors) and Shanghai are usually first to come to mind. However, China is a huge place with a plethora of diverse and amazing places to visit. If you love getting off the beaten track and challenging yourself to some real cultural experiences there are countless numbers of places which are out there to be discovered.

 

I first moved to China in 2005, and chose the city of Zhengzhou, Henan to live and work. Henan is a centrally located province and one of the most populous in China. The famous Yellow River runs through it, so the area often referred to as the ‘Cradle of Chinese Civilization’.

Trekking-in-Henan-Province-China-02

After living and working in the concrete jungle of Zhengzhou for a few months, I managed to find a trekking club, who organised camping trips to the countryside on the weekends and holidays. Finding this club was definitely a game changer for me and enabled me to experience Chinese culture on a whole new level.

 

Henan province is extremely mountainous, and despite many cities relying on heavy industry, you can easily escape to the rural areas, which are steeped in dramatic scenery and ancient history.

 

Some of my most memorable personal moments include the challenge of communication with my trekking colleagues, none of whom spoke any English (this was to be a big factor in my Chinese level improving), the generous nature of the Chinese, who would constantly be sharing fruits and snacks with each other during the expedition, and climbing out of my tent in the mornings to the crisp mountain air and noodles for breakfast, boiled on gas camp stoves.

 

Trekking through tall, misty mountains and coming across old stone bridges and remote villages was an awe inspiring experience for me, and getting my lungs full of fresh air was just the tonic from the bustling industrial city of Zhengzhou. Also, just spending time with my Chinese trekking club was an experience in itself, as I learned so much about language and culture when travelling and spending time as a Chinese person would.

 

As a born and raised Queenslander, another big difference was the changing seasons. Seeing the beautiful hues of red, yellow and orange of Autumn on the mountainside while following old paths for me was a highlight, as was the snow in winter.

 

I guess the point of this article is to highlight that no matter where you go and what you do, you can always go deeper. Speak to locals, find the people who share similar passions within that country, and you will have experiences and find places which otherwise, you may never have known existed. Not to mention, you will make new friends, connect with people and share cultural experiences beyond that which you may have ever previously expected.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mitchell Callander is a freelance Chinese marketing consultant specializing in the Asian markets, specifically China, Japan, Korea and India. He speaks fluent mandarin, conversational Japanese and is developing an online social media based channel completely in mandarin, called Strange Rice TV.

Eating Out In Cairns! When Garlic & Ramon Collide! – Noodles with Attitude!

When Garlic & Ramon Collide Noodles with Attitude Eating out in Cairns
Eating out in Cairns! When Garlic & Ramon Collide - Noodles with Attitude!

Eating out in Cairns! When Garlic & Ramon Collide – Noodles with Attitude!

Eating Out In Cairns! When Garlic & Ramon Collide! – Noodles with Attitude!

 

Welcome to our latest article on Eating out in Cairns!

 

One of the fundamental enjoyments of traveling is unquestionably stuffing our mouths with great food, right?

 

Well, maybe not necessarily stuffing, but tasting the exotic flavor’s of a foreign country is definitely pertinent to gaining a deeper insight to the everyday lives of locals.

 

Here, we are going to try to discuss the question:

 

“Is the local food being served in Cairns a true representation of the local people?”

 

Arriving – As weary travelers stumbling into a new town or city, we observe new smells, colors, people and weather conditions. Cairns has a thick, heavy and humid climate, especially in Summer. You will most definitely feel this as soon as you step off the plane!

 

With backpacks laden and all the comforts of home inside, the traveler dodges the throngs of people hustling and bustling their way out of the airport.

 

Now to find the hotel, you flag down a taxi or take off on an airport shuttle. Eventually, you arrive at your new home! Now, that wasn’t too hard, wasn’t it?!

 

Firstly, take the weight off your shoulders and store your bags. You’ve now arrived at your eco-luxury tropical escape! Well, maybe not quite that luxurious, but you will be able to at least call it home for the next few days!

 

It’s right about at this point in time I find the belly starts to rumble! For me this is where the real fun begins! Eating!

 

Exploring any new city or town is an absolute joy, new streets, architecture, buildings, different people, faces, language, fashion, cars, motorbikes and for me, the main event ….food!

 

As mentioned before, I always ask the question; is the local food a representation of the local people? From my experience, I would have to say yes!

 

No trip to Paris would be complete without a freshly baked croissant from the local Boulangerie, would it? Certain foods most definitely represent the local inhabitants, don’t you think?

 

A fantastic example of food representing people is right here in Cairns. This little city is one of my favorite eating cities in the world. Well actually I’am a little biased, mainly because I live here!

 

We have a huge variety of international cuisines and multicultural flavors right on our door step! Firstly, just take a walk down to our famous local fresh fruits and vegetables market, Rusty’s Markets Cairns! Here you will find all walks of life and more importantly all the flavors of the world! Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings!

 

How did we arrive at this multicultural food revolution you may ask? Well it wasn’t as strenuous as Che Guevara’s struggle’s to freedom in South America.

 

A lot of it has to do with the International flight connections that come in and out of Cairns from our neighboring countries! Also, the work forces required to service the ever growing Cairns Tourism Industry!

 

The Top 5 Secret Food Places Eating out in Cairns? Only the locals know!

The Top 5 Secret Food Places Eating out in Cairns? Only the locals know!

The Top 5 Secret Food Places Eating out in Cairns? Only the locals know!

 

When Garlic and Ramon noodles collide there is only one Japanese restaurant like it … the Sensei of Japanese Ramon in Cairns – Gumbarumba Ramon Noodles Cairns on Spence Street. Ramon noodles to die for at a fantastic price. With awesome service, try their hot cooked Gyoza’s & soy sauce, I promise you wont be disappointed.

 

Next on the Cairns street food trail is Ocha Cha Japanese Restaurant Cairns , upstairs behind the old defunct Blue Sky brewery on Lake Street. This is a local secret, a little golden gem, hidden far from view. Don’t blink or you will miss it! Beautiful set menus at an excellent price, this really feels like you’re in Tokyo!

 

No traveling adventure to Cairns would be complete without a visit to one of the very best Korean Restaurants in Cairns – Corea Corea Restaurant Cairns , upstairs at Orchid Plaza in the heart of the city! Fantastic speedy service, amazing hot rock BBQ Beef bowls with tantalizing chili and garlic flavors! You really should try the Beef Rib Soup! Get in early as it gets very busy here!

 

There are many more food institutions in Cairns worth their wait in Gold, these include the finer dining restaurants of Barnacle Bills Seafood Restaurant , one of Cairns local favorites. Also you cannot go paste the beautiful Dundee’s Restaurant on the Cairns Esplanade, complete with spectacular harbor views and a delicious variety of wines!

 

So, going back to my theory; does a food represent the local culture? I mentioned a bunch of beautiful Japanese and Korean restaurants, so does that mean we have a lot of Japanese and Korean people living here in Cairns?

 

Well the answer is yes! Due to direct air access and the large tourism industry that operates here in Cairns, many tourism companies employ foreign speakers to deal with the large volumes international tourists that visit the region. Cairns is also very popular for International students studying English at one of the many Cairns English Language schools.

 

Read our recent article on how Cairns is voted 4th in the top 10 Destinations to visit in Australia by Trip Advisor 2015!

 

With direct flights from Tokyo and Osaka to Cairns on Jetstar Airways up to 3 days per week and at just 7 hours to get here, it’s no wonder we have fantastic international restaurants right on our door step.

 

It’s so nice to be able to walk the streets of Cairns and with a little local knowledge pick a restaurant based on your taste buds desires!

 

Eat well my traveling buddies, try one of the many restaurants mentioned above. You wont be disappointed, especially now you know where to go!

 

Like the article? Would you like to receive more updates from Greenbuddy Cairns? Join our email list and keep those taste buds watering!

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clint Carroll is an adventure travel enthusiast, travel blogger, avid scuba diver and founder of Greenbuddy.com.au. based in Cairns, Australia. Connect with Clint on Twitter.

Cairns, voted 4th in the top 10 Destinations to visit in Australia by Trip Advisor 2015!

Cairns, voted 4th in the top 10 Destinations to visit in Australia by Trip Advisor 2015!
Cairns, voted 4th in the top 10 Destinations to visit in Australia by Trip Advisor 2015!

Cairns, voted 4th in the top 10 Destinations to visit in Australia by Trip Advisor 2015! Photo – Clint Carroll

Cairns, voted 4th in the top 10 Destinations to visit in Australia by Trip Advisor 2015!

 

It’s a harsh tropical winter this year, just 28 degrees, imagine skies of deep blue, warm golden rays from the sun, smell the warm salty air. That doesn’t sound like a cold nasty wet winter! Nope that’s a winter in the tropics, North Queensland style mate!

 

Not just cold 4X beer, sausages on the BBQ, and maybe a few flies hindering your lunch! Although the cold beer and snags are a great way to spend a day at the beach! Welcome to the modern cosmopolitan city of Cairns!

 

This once sleepy little town has morphed into one of the leading tourism destinations of Australia! Wow, how did that happen? Hard work, long hours, years of marketing and clearly 2 distinct World Heritage Listed National Parks standing side by side! Welcome to the Kingdom of Nature!

 

Trip Advisor for 2015 has pinned Cairns as the 4th leading tourism destination out of there top 10 destinations to visit in Australia! Wow fantastic and what an achievement! Click Here

 

Well it’s the people’s choice it seems! I don’t know any of the fundamental details of how Trip Advisor calculates its rating algorithms, but I’m guessing the results are user generated! The travelers have spoken!

 

I’m also convinced it has something to do with the largest living organism in the world …… The Great Barrier Reef! No not the one Greenpeace and Government agencies have all been squabbling about, we are talking about the real deal!

 

Understandably there will always be confusion in the marketing and public perception of a destination in the eye’s of the media, also the people who will use it for there own advantages and causes. But we will leave all that up to the politics of the conglomerates to battle out.

 

I’m more interested in sharing with you my first hand experiences of what possibly are the top 3 things to see and do in this beautiful little city called Cairns, located in Tropical North Queensland, Australia.

 

As the only Northern city in Queensland to have an international airport with direct flights from China, Japan, Singapore, Guam, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea. Cairns must have something going for it!

 

Alas welcome to what is more commonly know by many people around the world as the Gateway to The Great Barrier Reef! Now this is a controversial issue, but I only ask people to look at local marine charts. How far is it from Cairns to Green Island? or should I say the mainland to Green Island. Google has a great measuring tool – Google Maps

 

Cairns steeped with a strong tourism background, created from a handful of young, inspirational adventurers in the late 70’s and 80’s. These people pioneered what the city is today, one of the leading tourism destination in Australia. Wow that’s an achievement!

 

Lets talk about the top 3 things to see and do in Cairns.

 

01 – Visit The Great Barrier Reef

Well you guessed it, Visit the Great Barrier Reef! This is the absolute must do and the fundamental reason Cairns is what it is today. Try snorkelling or scuba diving from one of the many day reef tour operators. They are all fantastic with great customer service and all have a variety of different reef sites to choose from. My only advice, just get out there and enjoy it! See it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

 

02 – Visit Kuranda Village by Train & Skyrail

Visit the quaint little village of Kuranda, a true original little hippie town, now re-incarnated as more of an ecologically functioning eco village in the rainforest. Beautiful markets, gardens, art studios and fantastic food, the French Crepes are to die for! Go Le Petit Cafe Creperie!

 

Kuranda village is to be accessed by the historic Kuranda Scenic Train. Enjoy fantastic views on the 1hour 15min journey. This is a hand built railway line traversing thru Barron George National Park. After your visit to Kuranda village, enjoy another round of scenic views returning on the scenic Skyrail, a rainforest cable car system that meanders all the way back down the Great Dividing Range.

 

03 – Visit Cape Tribulation National Park

Visit Cape Tribulation National Park, grab a car and drive yourself North of Cairns. Venture off into this thick tropical Northern jungle. Think Jurassic park but without the living breathing dinosaurs! Although the Rainforest is home to many pre-historic trees and plants.

 

Cape Tribulation and Daintree National Park also seem to be one of Sir David Attenborough’s favourite tropical rainforest locations in the whole world. At least that’s what he told Jonathan Ross from the BBC’s The Jonathan Ross Show, see the YouTube video Click Here.

 

Imagine thick tropical jungle, the Daintree River full of wild ankle biting saltwater crocodiles and of course the beautiful Cape Tribulation beach, a photographer’s paradise!

 

With the top 3 basics covered you can rest easy knowing you have only just scratched the surface of what can be found in and around this little Great Barrier Reef city.

 

Hopefully we have inspired you to dig a little deeper and find out why Cairns would be voted 4th in the Trip Advisors top 10 Destinations to visit in Australia 2015!

 

Struth mate! Grab a coldie and stock up the Barbie! Is it 5’Oclock yet!

 

Clint-Carroll-Avatar
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clint Carroll is an adventure travel enthusiast, travel blogger, avid scuba diver and founder of Greenbuddy.com.au. based in Cairns, Australia. Connect with Clint on Twitter.

The Great Social Media of China

No Facebook or Youtube, Just Weibo and Wechat?
No Facebook or Youtube Just Weibo and Wechat!

No Facebook or Youtube Just Weibo and Wechat!

No Facebook or Youtube, Just Weibo and Wechat?

 

Most of us are aware now that the ‘Great Firewall of China” blocks out social networking sites such as Facebook and Youtube (which many of us couldn’t imagine a world without). So, if Chinese aren’t using these, what social media are they using and are they as infatuated with it as we are?

 

The short answer to that question is ‘yes’ – the Chinese are at least as much if not many times more infatuated with social media as we are in the west. As a matter of fact, the first question you will usually here from a Chinese traveller upon arrival will be ”is there free WIFI?’

 

Let us go back a little, to Weibo and Youku. You can think of Weibo as the Chinese version of twitter or facebook. A user can blog using photos and text, subscribe to accounts, follow others, scroll the home page for days – you get the picture. Youku, on the other hand, is basically Chinese Youtube and is used for video sharing.

 

Weibo was HUGE, and amassed a massive number of users. However, such is the speed of change in China, it has already been superseded by an absolute giant of social media. Wechat. Wechat works on a ‘Whatsapp’ principle (and the logo even is a little similar – coincidence, maybe?) of using WIFI to message and text, however it has many functions which make it very appealing. Think of Wechat as a combination of every kind of social media app we have. It has already eclipsed the 350 million user mark.

 

Companies even use ‘public wechat profiles’ which are basically like mini – websites.  These public profiles are not easy for Australian companies to get a hold of, as they need to be registered in China so that content can be monitored (of course). Also, believe it or not,  but wechat QR codes are being used to make payments when shopping, acting as a credit card of sorts!

 

Personally, I was in denial about needing Wechat until I heard a Chinese friend tell me frankly: ‘No Wechat, No Business,’ so I uploaded it immediately.  Since then,  I have realised just how much it is used in doing business in China. If you do business with China and don’t have it, I suggest you download and English version of Wechat yourself from the app store.

 

Just be careful… Once you get started, you may get a Wechat addiction too.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mitchell Callander is a freelance Chinese marketing consultant specializing in the Asian markets, specifically China, Japan, Korea and India. He speaks fluent mandarin, conversational Japanese and is developing an online social media based channel completely in mandarin, called Strange Rice TV.

Australian Tourism Exhange (ATE) Melbourne 2015 – Things I Learnt

ATE Melbourne 2015 - Things I Learnt
ATE-Melbourne-2015

ATE-Melbourne-2015

ATE Melbourne 2015 – Things I Learnt

 

After having recently attended the Australian Tourism Exchange in Melbourne, one big thing that I came away with is that things are changing faster than ever before in the Chinese market.

 

Now that we are settling well into the digital age, and we are seeing the new generation raised in this era starting to travel independently, the game has changed forever.

 

Now, in the past some similarities had been drawn by people in the tourism industry between Chinese and Japan’s trend of development. Since the Japanese started travelling much earlier than the Chinese, many believed that the trend would not only follow the same path, but the same time span.

 

However, what they have failed to take into account is that we are now living in a time where an abundance of information is available at any time, literally by the touch of a finger on a phone. The rate of change that we are seeing in tourism as a result of this is staggering.

 

While only a year ago, some travel agents were resting on their laurels in the hopes that their group business would continue ‘as is’ for the next 5-8 years, they are now having to look outside the box for new ideas, products, itineraries to give them an edge over their competitors.

 

Some agents have reported a big shift in FIT focus as their group to FIT traveller ratio went from 80/20 to 50/50 over less than two years! Agents purely dedicated to the FIT market and adventure activities are popping up, while agents who relied solely on traditional group business are now in catch – up mode.

 

So, what does all this mean for Australian tourism suppliers? Big opportunities! However, it also brings with it great challenges. Our products and marketing have to move and advance with the changing face and requirements of the Chinese when comparing to the rest of the world, or we will simply be left behind.

 

The fact is, that the consumers are driving the demand for change. Change is happening fast.  Tourism Australia has been focussing their Chinese campaigns on the FIT market in anticipation of a doubling of expenditure from this market by 2020, and as the Chinese traveller dares to dig deeper into their travel experience, it opens up a whole new range of opportunity for us to enter the market and get a piece of the action.

 

The only question is, are we ready for it?

 

Mitchell-Callander-Avatar
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mitchell Callander is a freelance Chinese marketing consultant specializing in the Asian markets, specifically China, Japan, Korea and India. He speaks fluent mandarin, conversational Japanese and is developing an online social media based channel completely in mandarin, called Strange Rice TV.