Asian country name, 1550s, of uncertain origin, probably ultimately from Sanskrit Cina-s “the Chinese” (earliest European usage is in Italian, by Marco Polo), perhaps from Qin dynasty, which ruled 3c. B.C.E. Latinized as Sina, hence sinologist. The Chinese word for the country is Chung-kuo (Wade-Giles), Zhongguo (Pinyin). [online etymology dictionary]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

20 & 30 somethings in SH-Hikes, Drinks, Parties, Fun Stuff! – This is a social group where you get to meet people from all over the world, and make new friends, traveling/hiking/weekend getaway, language exchange, socialize in a coffee shop, or hang out for a fun night out. [meetup]

Beijing Business & Social Network (2,000+friends #1@Beijing) – Networking events & social mixers. Regular hikes in Beijing and the Great China. [meetup]

Beijing Foodie Meetup – Beijing Foodie Meetup is for finding good food and meeting great people. We exchange insider foodie tips, share unique dinning experiences, meet the chefs and even learn to make our favorite foods. To us, EAT GOOD FOOD is the attitude of life. [meetup]

Beijing International Badminton Club – The Beijing International Badminton Club (BIBC) was found in 2007 by John Ho from Dallas, Texas, today we have more than 100+ members on our rosters from all over the world. Our badminton club is gear towards, but not limited to international badminton players, expatriates, travelers, international students, tourists in/to Beijing for opportunities to playing badminton, meeting acquaintances, acquiring training, bonding friendships, business networking, social gathering and mutual exchange of ideas and assistance. [meetup]

.. Books, Laughter and Coffee – This meet up will grow from ‘book club’ to a platform where like-minded people can become really good friends, share stories, drink coffee and share their expat journey with others! Look forward to meeting you! [meetup]

Go Out with Local in GZ – Life is brilliant! Work hard, learn endlessly and enjoy all the fun! Explore the City with locals. [meetup]

Guangzhou Idea Exchange Meetup – The Original GZ-IDEA EXCHANGE Began In 2013. Each Event Features One Or Several Guest Speakers Presenting A Topic Of Their Choice, Followed By A Lively Q&A And Comments Section Where The Audience Joins In The Discussion And Debate. [meetup]

Hiking Lovers – This is a group to gather people who has similar interesting like hiking, running. Silver is an adventurous Chinese girl who like hiking in a mountain, desert. Silver hiked a lot nearby Shanghai, like Zhejiang and Jiangsu. [meetup]

Tianjin Travel – This is a group for those calling for someone who are also planning to travel the same place. I don’t care where you are now, but you have to have the same destination within the same peiod, so that we could share boarding, transportation, and be accompany during the journey. The requirment on you is you should be trustable. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date – Not a lot of people talk about when it comes to China since (and the sister site in Hong Kong) is run by the same brand and is more targeted towards China. Nevertheless, it is really a good second option and has a lot of members in China (and Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines too). Like all of the sites on the Cupid Media network, AsianDating has a well-designed, easy-to-use website. Sign-up is free, but the free membership doesn’t let you do much. AsianDating does have a number of great features for its premium members however. [visa hunter] – Badoo is a hybrid site that combines social media networking with online dating. Badoo began in 2006 in Soho, London and has grown to over 300 million users. For reference, if it were a country, it would have the fourth highest population in the world! The site has users from 190 different countries, making it an international hit. After some use, I found that it is really more of a dating site as it lacks a few features that are commonly found on regular social media sites. [visa hunter] (a.k.a. – If you are an English speaker and don’t know Chinese, I recommend you check out ChinaLoveCupid instead of is run by one of my most favorite online dating companies, Cupid Media. Cupid Media owns sites that I’ve used in the past like and The general site layout, interface, and available features is the same as the other Cupid Media dating sites, which is a plus. The website sports a clean design and is easy to navigate. ChinaLoveCupid is an established site for those looking to meet and make matches with Chinese singles. With around 40,000 members, it is not the biggest site operating in this niche, but if you can sign up for a premium account, you’ll get a solid set of communication features and strong anti-spam protection that make this a site worth your time. [visa hunter] – DateInAsia is an Asian dating site that has approximately one million users. The vast majority of the users are Asian women (and foreign men looking to meet Asian women). DateInAsia is a free website. You get what you pay for. DateInAsia has many of the same problems as other free dating websites. It has scam artists, inactive users and fake profiles. The website does not have a lot of features and has a basic design. You may find some great people on DateInAsia, but you will need to send out a boat load of messages. Check out the other websites above first. Then, if you don’t have any bites, check out DateIn Asia. [visa hunter] – is the largest and best online dating site in China. It was founded in 2003 by Rose Gong, a journalism student at Fudan University in Shanghai. It is one of the most popular websites in China and on the entire web. Jiayuan has a whopping 135 million members. While the profiles I came across all seemed legitimate, it’s worth mentioning that Jiayuan’s gotten flak in the past for inadvertently hosting a lot of scam-artists and fake profiles. [visa hunter]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Beijing Walking – Leo leads a team of licensed guides who are experienced professionals and will cater to your every need. Each member of his team has been carefully handpicked to ensure the consistent quality of every tour delivered. All the guides in his team are licensed, friendly and very professional. [beijing walking]

China Hiking Tours – China hiking tours offer energetic out-doors people exciting choices to slow down to discovery a different China. Popular Wilder Great Wall, picturesque Guilin, the Yellow Mountain, professional Tiger Leaping Gorge meet your different needs. [china highlights]

Dandelion Hiking – Welcome friends. If you are looking to hike, camp or trek on the Great Wall without crowds than you found the right people. All our Great Wall hikes are off the beaten path and carefully selected for their beauty and safety. [china hiking]

Diverse China Travel – As a leading travel specialist on private tours, Diverse China Travel also has been playing an important role on eco-travel and responsible travel within China. Experience the diversity of China is what Diverse China Travel wants to share with all our clients from all over the world. Protecting the diversity and inherent qualities of land and culture, helping the local community, and our passion of sharing travel experience of China is why Diverse China Travel comes in. [diverse china]

Easy Tour China – Walking tours on combines great walks, sightseeing excursions and cultural experiences for travelers to appreciate the natural wonders, connecting with Chinese traditional culture and learning the history of the land. [easy tour china]

Newman Tours – Newman Tours provides public, private and tailored tours in and around Shanghai, Beijing and Xi’an. [newman tours]

Noodle Walking Tours Shanghai – Shanghai is there to be discovered. And there is no better way to explore this exciting city then on foot! The choice of what to see is overwhelming, so why not join some passionate walkers who are living in this city and know exactly where to go? The Noodle team shows you the backstreets and the real life of Shanghai and the Shanghainese. We just love this city and we would love to share it with you! [world of noodle]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Be here for New Year – Falling sometime between late January and late February each year, Chinese New Year sees a week-long national holiday and generous helpings of fireworks, traditional food and lion dances. It’s a family affair across much of the country, but the larger cities allow you to get a good sense of how important the event is to the country as a whole. [world travel guide]

Circle Mount Kailash – Tibet’s Mount Kailash is the holiest mountain on Earth, sacred to one fifth of the planet’s population. It’s some undertaking to even reach it, given its beautifully remote location, but once you’re here, a clockwise circuit of the peak (pilgrims walk around, rather than up, the mountain) is one you’ll never forget. Allow three days for the circular walk. [world travel guide]

Climb Tai Shan – The UNESCO-listed Tai Shan has been of sacred importance to the Chinese since as long ago as the 11th century BC. Today, heading to Shandong province to climb to its summit has become a rite of passage for many. Don’t expect earth paths and rock scrambling, however – the main route is paved, with 7,000 steps lying between bottom and top. [world travel guide]

Cruise the Yangzi River – China’s longest waterway is also its most aesthetically powerful, the Yangzi’s famous Three Gorges serving up heart-soaring panorama after heart-soaring panorama. Joining a river cruise is the best way to experience the scenery at length – the insatiable appetite for the activity among the Chinese themselves tells its own story. [world travel guide]

Encounter pandas in Chengdu – Panda sightings in the wild are elusively rare, even in the creature’s home patch of western Sichuan, but the province gives good opportunity to see the animals up close. The large Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, close to Chengdu, is no two-bit zoo – its bamboo forests do a good job of simulating the pandas’ natural environment. [world travel guide]

Explore Beijing’s hutongs – The Chinese capital isn’t just about grand monumental buildings. Its traditional hutongs (alleyways), many of which still stand, retain a neighbourhood feel and give a glimpse into daily life not seen on the large avenues. You might stumble across anything from microbreweries to cafes. [world travel guide]

Explore the Forbidden City – Beijing’s inimitable Forbidden City is one of the world’s great historical treasures, a vast palace complex with a superbly preserved collection of ancient buildings. It takes its name from the fact that – as home to the Emperor – it was off-bounds to mere mortals for 500 years. Directly adjacent to the complex spreads Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public square in the world. [world travel guide]

Follow the Silk Road – Trace the ancient Silk Road trading route, which once ran from Xi’an through deserts and mountains to the Caspian and Mediterranean seas, bringing Buddhism and Islam into China – and a thousand other things besides. Key sights include Dunhuang’s Buddhist grottoes, the ruins of Jiaohe city near Turpan and Kashgar’s lively Sunday market. [world travel guide]

Get a feel for Tibet in Lhasa – Whether Tibet should be seen as a part of China is a matter of opinion. Less up for debate is the fact that the regional capital, Lhasa, contains some astonishing cultural sights. Top billing goes to Jokhang Temple in the heart of the Old Town, and the majestic Potala Palace. [world travel guide]

Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge – China has some incredible scenery, much of which is best seen on foot. A prime example is the plunging scenery of Tiger Leaping Gorge in northwest Yunnan, where the towering snow-capped mountains are threaded with hiking trails. It stands as one of the deepest gorges on the planet – spectacular doesn’t come close. [world travel guide]

Immerse yourself in Shanghai – In the cutting-edge atmosphere of economic powerhouse Shanghai, soaring skyscrapers contrast with the European-style Bund waterfront while the art deco laneways of the former French Concession sit alongside on-trend boutiques and galleries. Home to some 24 million, this is a city going places. [world travel guide]

Lake-gaze in Hangzhou – Shop for silk and tea in the ancient Chinese capital Hangzhou, once described by celebrated traveller Marco Polo as ‘the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world’. Popular with Chinese and foreign tourists, its main attraction remains the highly photogenic West Lake scenic area. [world travel guide]

Marvel at Zhangjiajie – In a country brimming with preposterously dramatic landscapes, the Zhangjiajie area in Hunan province boasts arguably the most incredible of the lot. Its jagged sandstone pinnacles look like something from a CGI movie – indeed, belief holds that James Cameron took inspiration here for the unearthly landscapes in his movie Avatar. [world travel guide]

Rent a bike – Some 300 million Chinese use bicycles to get around. Hire shops are everywhere and cycling is one of the best ways to see China’s countryside. Popular cycling routes include the area around Yangshuo in the south – renowned for its stunning karst scenery – and the dramatic high-altitude plateaus in the west of the country. [world travel guide]

See the Terracotta Army – The Terracotta Army, close to the city of Xi’an, is an enormous collection of Chinese warriors made out of hardened clay. Created in the 2nd century BC for Shih Huang-Ti, the first emperor of a unified China, the figures were entombed with him upon his death. The interred army was discovered by chance in 1974, and remains a phenomenal attraction. [world travel guide]

Seek out Buddhist monuments – Travel out to the monumental carved Buddhist effigies of Yungang Grottoes, near the city of Datong, or arrange a trip to see the tens of thousands of statues at Luoyang’s 5th-century Longmen Buddhist Caves. Elsewhere, at Bingling Lamasery near Lanzhou you’ll find 34 early Buddhist caves, while the Mogao Caves in Gansu province still play home to some of China’s oldest shrines. [world travel guide]

Set foot on the Great Wall of China – Work on the Great Wall started more than 2,000 years ago and the end result stretches some 5,400km (3,375 miles) across the hills to the west of Beijing (although contrary to legend, it can’t be seen from space). The heavily restored Badaling section is the most visited stretch, but many alternatives exist, including remote ‘wild wall’ stretches that can still be walked. [world travel guide]

Take a garden walk in Suzhou – 2,500-year-old Suzhou is China’s own Venice, its Grand Canal and famous water gardens once helping it to draw artists, painters and scholars in droves. There’s still plenty to make a visit worthwhile – away from the gardens themselves, make sure you set aside time to visit the IM Pei-designed museum. [world travel guide]

Take a trip to Hainan – It may come as a surprise, but China has some impressive tropical beaches. Sanya, on the southern coast of China’s most southerly province, Hainan Island, is one of China’s most popular holiday areas and has international resort hotels, fine sand beaches, golf courses, coconut palms and watersports. Hawaii eat your heart out. [world travel guide]

Try out tai chi – Try the ancient ‘shadow art’ of tai chi, a series of linked, slow movements based on the principle of using the entire body to focus the mind. Traditionally practiced early in the morning in parks and public squares throughout China, it can be seen in places including Beijing’s Beihai Park and People’s Square in Shanghai. [world travel guide]



Chinese Spring Festival 春节 – Chinese Spring Festival is the grandest and most important festival in China. This traditional festival already has a history of more than 4,000 years. The festival begins on the first day of the first month of the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day of the same month. It is the time for the whole families to get together and enjoy delicious foods and happy times, a similar one like Christmas holiday to the westerners. [china whisper]

Duanwu Festival 端午节 – Duanwu Festival, or the Dragon Boat Festival, falls on the fifth day of the fifth Chinese lunar month. This day people will celebrate it through dragon-boat races, especially in China’s southern areas, another important thing is to eat Zong Zi (glutinous rice wrapped with reed leaves). [china whisper]

Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 – Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday that originates from the worship of the moon. It falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month and symbolizes harvest and family reunion. Traditionally, it is a time spent with family members, similar to Thanksgiving Day. Family members will get together and enjoy the full moon (auspicious symbol of harmony and luck) and eat delicious mooncakes. [china whisper]

Qingming Festival 清明节 – Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day in English, falls on one day between April 4 and 6 each year. This is the most important day for offering sacrifices. Both the Han and minority ethnic groups offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased. [china whisper]

The National Day of China 国庆 – The National Day of China is celebrated every year on October 1st. The National Day is celebrated throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau with a variety of government-organized activities including fireworks and concerts. This is also the first day of the 7 days national holiday. Many people will travel during the holiday. [china whisper]

Yuandan Festival 元旦 – The New Year’s Day is a grand festival worldwide, China is no exception. In China they call it Yuandan Festival, “Yuan” means “at the beginning”. “Dan” means “day”, so joined together the words mean “first day of a year.” Chinese celebrate the New Year like people all over the world. All kinds of festive programs are broadcast on TV, many companies and institutions hold parties, bringing everyone into the jubilant atmosphere of the festival. [china whisper]

Yuanxiao Festival 元宵节 – The traditional Lantern Festival, or Yuan Xiao Festival, falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month, marking the end of the Chinese Spring Festival. The main activity on the Lantern Festival is to enjoy beautiful lanterns of different sizes and shapes at night, another important part is eating Yuanxiao, small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour. [china whisper]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Bus – With extensive networks, buses are an excellent way to get around town, but foreign travellers rarely use them. Ascending a bus, point to your destination on a map and the conductor (seated near the door) will sell you the right ticket. The conductor will usually tell you where to disembark, provided they remember. In conductor-less buses, you put money for your fare into a slot near the driver as you embark. [lonely planet]

Subway, Metro & Light Rail – Going underground or using light rail is fast, efficient and cheap; most networks are either very new or relatively recent and can be found in a rapidly growing number of cities, including Běijīng, Chéngdū, Chóngqìng, Dàlián, Guǎngzhōu, Hángzhōu, Hong Kong, Kūnmíng, Shànghǎi, Shěnyáng, Shènzhèn, Sūzhōu, Tiānjīn, Wǔhàn, and Xī’ān. [lonely planet]

Taxi – Taxis (出租汽车; chūzū qìchē) are cheap and easy to find. Taxi rates per kilometre are clearly marked on a sticker on the rear side window of the taxi; flag fall varies from city to city, and depends upon the size and quality of the vehicle. Most taxis have meters but they may only be switched on in larger towns and cities. If the meter is not used (on an excursion out of town, for example, or when hiring a taxi for the day or half-day), negotiate a price before you set off and write the fare down. If you want the meter used, ask for dǎbiǎo (打表). Also ask for a receipt (发票; fāpiào); if you leave something in the taxi, you can have the taxi located by its vehicle number printed on the receipt. [lonely planet]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Beijing Professionals and Entrepreneurs – This group is for those of us dreamers with big ideas, who have actually been doing something to build up dreams, and ready for others (investors, mentors, or co-founders) to help make our dreams come true. [meetup]

Beijing Professional Networking Events – The official Beijing Professionals Networking Event is held monthly to promote connections between professionals and businesses. [meetup]

Beijing Python – This is a group for anyone who’s interested in learning, developing, chatting about, and networking around Python in China’s Northern Capital. The idea is to get together for anything from simple meet-and-greets to presentations, hackathons, and other events. [meetup]

Docker Guangzhou – Meet other developers and ops engineers using Docker. Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run distributed applications. Consisting of Docker Engine, a portable, lightweight runtime and packaging tool, and Docker Hub, a cloud service for sharing applications and automating workflows, Docker enables apps to be quickly assembled from components and eliminates the friction between development, QA, and production environments. [meetup]

Shanghai Apache Spark Meetup – This is a group for anyone interested in Apache Spark related technologies, applications and architectures, etc. People who are interested in this are big welcome. We start this group to meet other Sparkers and promote Spark ecosystems. [meetup]

Shanghai Startup Weekend – Startup Weekend is the world’s biggest learning programme for entrepreneurs! There will be 1,000+ Startup Weekend in 2016 all around the globe. You most likely have more than one friend who attended one edition already! [meetup]

Startup Grind Guangzhou – Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. We host monthly events in 200 cities and 85 countries featuring successful local founders, innovators, & investors. [meetup]

Startups, Innovation & Corporates in Shanghai – Welcome to XNode. We are building a community of startups, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders in Shanghai. We are bridging stakeholders from different backgrounds and origins to exchange with each others & foster innovation through meaningful events. [meetup]

The Guangzhou E-Commerce Development Group – Welcome to The Guangzhou E-Commerce Development Group where we are passionate and discuss all things E-commerce. We cover every aspect of it and realize that starting an e-commerce site is not about building a good program or system, it’s about starting and maintaining a viable business. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Beijing Chinese Language Group 北京快乐中文角 – Foreigners living in China often have the luxury of using English in their dealings with locals. Now it’s the locals’ chance to put foreigners in the hot seat! Unlike language exchange, where people take turns speaking different languages, this group’s purpose is to converse in Chinese. [meetup]

Beijing Expats & Locals Meetup – This is a group for people who are looking for expanding their network and making  friends in Beijing. This group is intended to connect residents of Beijing, frequent visitors, those who do business and have an interest in Beijing for the purposes of exchanging information on life and work. [meetup]

Beijing Girl Gone International – Each city has it own Community Manager. The girls that come to our events are English speaking and internationally minded who want to meet like-minded friends, gain a foothold in their new city or build a strong network. Alternatively they have just come home from being abroad and want to keep in with an international circle. [meetup]

Expats in Guangzhou – This is the group for all expats who are working, living, or visiting Guangzhou and looking to meet others from overseas. This is mainly a social and networking club where we can share our knowledge and experience of living in Guangzhou. Life is too short! Join today and introduce yourself. This only works if you participate so come out and start making new friends! [meetup]

Shanghai International Meetup – Shanghai International Meetup is the “Lifestyle” events partner of EME Meetup Events! offering FREE, Paid, and Sponsored events for our members. [meetup]

Shanghai Japanese Language Exchange Group – This is a group for anyone interested in learning Japanese, or for native Japanese speakers interested in learning English or Chinese. We will meet once a week at a cafe or restaurant that is convenient for all our members. [meetup]

Tianjin Spanish Language Meetup – For those people who need just a bit of Spanish mood on their day a day life in Tianjin 🙂 [meetup]

Xiamen Language & Culture Meetup – This group is dedicated to expats and people in Xiamen to appreciate, exchange and learn languages and culture. [meetup]

Xinzhuang Language & Board games Meetup – Language Exchange: English French Korean Chinese and Board games. [meetup]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Beijing Faeries – We are gay men and radical faeries in community who enjoy nature, spirituality, honesty, sharing our hearts, minds, meals, and adventures. We come from many cultures, both Western and Eastern. Faeries came out of groups formed in the 1970s to bring gay men together in a spiritual space different from the bars and nightclubs. [meetup]

Beijing Queer Meetup – A safe environment for LGBTA to meet up and socialize in Beijing. [meetup]

LQ : Les Queers – Private message me to be added to the LQ WeChat. We are the hub for the queer women community in Shanghai. [meetup]

Open Doors Beijing – Open Doors Beijing is a social activity group for the LGBT community and our straight allies in the fabulous city of Beijing, China. Every week Open Doors Beijing gets together to eat, play and socialize. We are not about the typical bar scene, but rather supporting local businesses throughout the city. [meetup]

Open Doors Shanghai – OpenDoors Shanghai is a social activity group for the LGBT community and our straight allies. Our motto for the group is for the young and young at heart. [meetup]



Places in China

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