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Culture, Shopping & Recreation in China

Once you’ve settled in, there’s so much to see and discover in China! From exotic dishes to colorful festivals, from Chinese games in the park to museums filled with history and art — China is a vast country with a long history, just waiting for you to explore all the culture it has to offer.

One of the most fun and interesting parts of immersing yourself in a new culture is getting to experience special festivals and holidays. The most famous ones in China are the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Other not-to-be-missed festivals include the Dragon Boat Festival and Lantern Festival. Have fun trying out the special Chinese foods served during these festivals, like moon cakes and zongzi. At other times of the year, be sure to visit local Chinese restaurants in the city you’re living in to get a taste of authentic Chinese cuisine.

Indoor and Outdoor Activities

Chinese people love to spend time outdoors in public parks — whether playing a sport like badminton or ping pong or a board game such as Mazhang. Just stroll through a park on a sunny day to get a taste for all the leisure activities you can engage in during your time in China. On a rainy day, China offers a plethora of interesting museums and art galleries, filled with artifacts from China’s long history and beautiful works of art. You can, for example, visit a museum that revolves around Chinese tea in Hangzhou and one dedicated to Chinese traditional medicine in Shanghai. China is also the right place for bargain shopping. For a successful shopping experience in China, we’ve included some tips on the fine art of haggling. When you feel like playing the tourist, read up on ideas ranging from weekend getaways to nearby cities, historical sites, and national parks to longer trips to China’s more remote areas.

The Door to Chinese Culture

Our article on Chinese customs and etiquette will give you a foot up when navigating the unfamiliar waters of Chinese culture. Learn about proper chopstick etiquette, discover the many Chinese beliefs, and find out what not to give as a gift. When it comes to your business and personal relationships in China, it’s also very important to understand the concepts of “face” and “guanxi” (social connections). Learning more about the different religions in China and the teachings of Confucius will also help you understand Chinese culture. Although the Han Chinese make up 92% of the population, there are 55 other recognized minority groups in China, many with their own autonomous regions, prefectures, and townships. All these different groups living within the borders of modern-day China make it the diverse country it is today.

InterNations Expat Magazine