China hadn’t been high up on my travel ‘to do’ list, but when ridiculously cheap sale flights to Hong Kong came up, we found ourselves trying to work out where else we should go while we were in that part of the world. It was my dad who convinced us to go to China. He explained the chances of us planning a trip just to visit China were pretty slim, so we really should make the most of it while we’re nearby and go see it because it would blow us away. He was right. Today I wanted to share with you my 10 favourite photos from our time in China.
10. Hongcun Village
This is the face you pull when you realise the very cute dog you just picked up has poo all over its butt. Thankfully Matt was on hand with the camera to capture it! Serves me right for trying to befriend every street dog I come across when we travel.
9. Guangzhou side street
It was five thousand degrees and ridiculously humid and Matt and I had been walking around in circles forever trying to find the Temple of Six Banyan Trees. It was one of those times when it should be really easy to find something and you can see it on the map, but somehow you keep missing it. We finally started to get on the right track and as we were walking down a side street we came across this entry-way. It made me feel really happy because we had been having a bit of a rough time in Guangzhou and seeing this spot made me feel like I’d finally seen something that matched up with how I’d pictured China to be.
8. Artist in Hongcun
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of my top 10 favourite movies, so when we got the chance to take a day trip to Hongcun, where part of the movie was filmed, I was stoked! Turns out the best part of it was seeing all the artists who flock here too. There were hundreds of them, lining the banks of the waterway and set-up through the tiny winding streets of the village, painting, sketching and creating incredible artworks.
7. New friends at Mount Huangshan
To get to the top of the Yellow Mountain you have to catch a gondola. Matt and I piled into a gondola with this family and on the ride up we suddenly became aware that they were talking about us and we felt really awkward. They translated through one young girl, who isn’t in the photo, and we had a bit of a chat about where we were from and where we were visiting. They were really lovely and the Uncle, standing to the left of me giving the ‘ok’ hand sign, was obsessed with how tall I was. He was quite clearly that one quirky relative, a little bit crazy but really funny! They asked us to pose for photos and selfies after the ride. Matt took this photo.
6. Tiananmen, Beijing
There are a lot of things to like about this photo. Firstly, it looks like everyone is just walking straight past it. It’s like they don’t even see it or as though they’re on their way to somewhere more important. It’s a tourist landmark, there should be loads of people posing for photos! Also, I really like the contrast of the bright blue sky, rich red wall and flags and the soft pink umbrella in the foreground. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy the visit to Tiananmen and the square, but this photo gives me fond memories of that day.
5. Great Wall, Mutianyu
We almost didn’t make it to the Great Wall. We’d tried to go the day earlier, with only a few days left in Beijing, and failed miserably. Our plan was to catch the train up to the wall but when we arrived at the station all the trains had been sold out and there were no tickets available. Matt snapped into action and somehow found an amazing guide who we contacted at 6pm, asking if we could go the next day. He said yes and organised it super fast for us. It was well worth the visit and extra money for a private driver. I love when people take these point of view shots… so when I got to the wall I couldn’t wait to take one too.
4. The West Lake, Hangzhou
There was never a point where I thought any part of China could look like this. This small lake with its flooded, abandoned boats looks like someone has spilled a mirror.
3. Fluffy puppy in Tunxi
I just can’t help myself… as soon as I see a dog I have to go over to it and be friends with it. This fluffy puppy was toddling its cute butt down the main street in Tunxi. I went over to it and it proceeded to melt both Matt and my hearts. Look at it! It’s just so damn cute!! (P.S no poo on this one’s butt). This is really just a photo of me at my happiest.
2. Jingshan Park, Beijing
We woke up in Beijing and it was completely different to what we expected. The sky was bright blue, the trees were lush and green and there was no pollution at all. We climbed to the top of Jingshan Park and it took our breath away. This photo captures the feel of that day and the colours of Beijing exactly how I remember them.
1. Ice cream at the airport
I woke up really sick on this morning. We were flying from Guangzhou to Beijing and for some reason, my body threw in the towel and let me be struck down with a cold. The weather was also really bad and our flight was delayed over and over again. I had a lot of work to do, so Matt and I found an airport restaurant and set up camp. I decided that a beer and ice cream sundae would make me feel better while I worked. Look how happy I am about it. This photo is also funny because of the guy behind me… it was a noodle restaurant and everyone was slurping their food down so loudly and we couldn’t stop laughing about it.
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.