Top Four First-tier Cities in Mainland China:
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen
Besides Hongkong, Macao and Taiwan, I believe before you guys visit China, you may more or less hear about a few large popular cities in this country, such as the capital city, Beijing and the international modern metropolises, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. It's like when we talk about France, Paris will come to your mind first. Or when it comes to Britain, you'll think of London quickly.
Well, Beijing and Shanghai are the two of four municipalities in China, directly under the central government. Besides Guangzhou and Shenzhen both belong to Guangdong Province, of which Guangzhou is the provincial capital. They are called as “First-tier City” because they are the top four cities ranking on the GDP. Whatever criteria from the importance of politics, economics, culture, diplomacy or infrastructure, definitely they come to top.
Therefore, if it's your first time to visit China, personally I'll recommend you the four first-tier cities as your destinations, where you can enjoy the most complete tours as much as possible. For example, you can enjoy the food from the whole country in a metropolis, also the language and the people. Another reason is that you'll feel much easier at your first visit for there has been the biggest group of expats around these big cities as well as a large crowd of English speakers.
Of course if you have been China before, I believe you have had your own next destination already. Now let's provide more useful tips for those totally strange China-visitors.
Why choose these biggest cities:
First of all, as what I mentioned above, in these municipalities you can enjoy various food, the language and the people from all over the country. There also will be the largest group of expat friends out there for you. They're all true. But I need to tell you if you want to taste real local cuisines, you better go to the local villages, and enjoy the local food culture. As for the language and the people, learning some mandarin will really make you popular with local people, like 'Hello' means “Nihao”(??), or 'Thank you' means “Xiexie”(??). One of my Chinese friend told me when we speak Chinese, people will get really surprised: “Wow! He can speak Chinese! Great”. They always appreciate that foreign friends like their language and culture. They are really friendly and hospitable.
Secondly, you don't have to worry about you can't find the way to your destination. In these international cities, you can see bilingual signs with both Chinese and English everywhere, at least in public places. Some of them are even provided with Korean and Japanese. So it's no need to worry that you'll get lost if you can't speak Chinese.
For another reason I want to talk about the transportation system. Since the four first-tier cities have the largest passengers flow in China, of course they have the most complete transportation systems. Recently about China you may have heard most about the prosperity of high-speed rail. Yes, it has the fastest high-speed rail in the world. When you're in these cities, it can take you to everywhere you want to go as fast as possible. Besides high-speed rail, airports, bus stations, trains, subways, bus stop, even bikes everywhere!
What you should pay attention to:
Well, even when you walk along the street in China, you may see there are always some people spitting everywhere and that voice may make you frown and shout inside: Ewww! So disgusting! Well, this is kind of cultural shock. Just try to get used to it and remember not everyone does this in China. Respect and understanding can ease most of cultural shock effects.
Besides that, when you walk around parks or other scenic sites, some Chinese people will politely ask you to take a photo with them or others just take photos without asking. Well, in this situation don't worry, people do not mean any offense, they just like you and are curious, that's all.
Another thing is that you can't directly register your FB, Ins, Twitter, Google, or other overseas accounts in China. The government has blocked all these large social platforms, So you have to connect a VPN to help you out. I used to experience some and a few of them are stable including: Astrill, Express VPN, Strong VPN and Surf Shark.
At last I want to say: Do not bring too much luggage! It's not necessary at all! Because you can almost find everything around the world in China! Just bring some of your essential things without which you can't live. And the point is that it's more affordable and cheaper than that in your country! If you work here as a ESL teacher or something else, you can absolutely save a large sum of money here.
No matter what plan you make happens in this country, just keep your passion and energy to enjoy your journey. Before this you better not let too much information you got on Google or other social media distract you. Because most of them aren't true!
Well, hopefully everything goes well with your journey! If you want to find a job abroad to support your journey, click here: https://www.findworkabroad.com/direct-employers