The Journey - 2017

In 2017, my journey through China began with a delightful two-day stop in Qingdao, renowned for its Tsingtao beer and intriguing German heritage.

Afterwards, I spent five weeks in Harbin, a city that holds a special place in my heart. It offered the perfect blend of study and exploration, though I was fortunate to experience it during pleasant weather, avoiding the bitter cold of the winter season when temperatures plummet to -30°C or even lower.

An extraordinary event awaited me in Shanghai, where I attended the Shanghai Masters ATP tennis tournament for two days. I had the privilege of watching matches featuring many top-ranked players such as Roger Federer—my all-time favorite athlete—and Rafael Nadal.

Since Suzhou, a city known for its rich history and breathtaking beauty, was just a short train ride away from Shanghai, my friend June and I embarked on a day trip there.

The next leg of my journey took me to Japan, specifically Osaka and Kyoto, where I reunited with my friend Yangjie. Since these experiences don't directly align with the focus of this blog centered around China, I may consider sharing them in the future on

Finally, my last destination was Chongqing, a truly unique mega city that stands unmatched among China's bustling metropolises.

This trip was again filled with countless highlights that left an indelible impression on me. It's no wonder I fell in love with this remarkable country.

Enjoy wandering around with me in Harbin, my second destination, while I prepare the next post featuring Shanghai and Suzhou.


During my brief stopover, Qingdao left a lasting impression on me with its array of captivating attractions. From the meticulously designed 40-km long waterfront to the intriguing Tsingtao Beer Museum, I immersed myself in the city's rich cultural heritage and enjoyed its countless breathtaking views.

Being of German descent myself, I was naturally drawn to the historical connections and the remarkably preserved German-style architecture.

One of the waterfront's standout features is its serene ambiance. The wide waterfront park separates it from the hustle and bustle of traffic, creating a peaceful oasis. The architectural arrangement adds to its charm, with beautiful lower buildings closest to the waterfront, followed by medium-height structures, and finally, the high-rises in the background. This thoughtful design ensures a visually pleasing environment for a leisurely and tranquil stroll.

No visit to Qingdao would be complete without a trip to the renowned Tsingtao Beer Museum. The museum's exhibitions showcased the brewery's fascinating history and brewing techniques in various entertaining ways. However, the highlight of the museum was undoubtedly the Drunk House. This peculiar little room presented a mind-boggling experience as it seemingly defied gravity and left visitors disoriented, simulating the feeling of being highly intoxicated. The mystery behind its design intrigued me and I asked Google and ChatGPT but to no avail. Regardless of the secret, the Drunk House provided a delightfully fun and unforgettable experience that should not be missed.

My visit to Qingdao was a brief yet memorable encounter with a city brimming with surprises. Qingdao offered a unique experience unlike any other in China. With the desire to delve deeper into its treasures, I hope to return one day and uncover more of what this beautiful city has to offer.

Visited: German Governor's residence – Christ Church – Waterfront – May 4th Square – Signal Hill – Tsingtao Beer Museum – Zhong Shan Park


Welcome to Harbin, a city with a rich history that stretches back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). Originally a small fishing village, Harbin witnessed significant development during the late 19th century as it became a vital hub for the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway, connecting China and Russia. In the early 20th century, Harbin gained the nickname "Paris of the East" due to its vibrant arts and cultural scene, creating a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Despite the challenges faced during World War II and the Chinese Civil War, Harbin has successfully reclaimed its position as a major industrial and cultural center in northeastern China.

Looking to enhance my language skills, I enrolled in the Harbin Mandarin School. Similar to my experiences at CLI in Guilin and Keats School in Kunming, the school offered personalized one-on-one classes, comfortable accommodation, and a few engaging extracurricular activities. To my surprise, the living conditions exceeded my expectations, a detail I have enthusiastically shared in my blog post titled "High Life" in Harbin.

Harbin boasts a myriad of captivating destinations that make it difficult to decide where to start. With most attractions conveniently located within walking distance, I found myself strolling along wide sidewalks adorned with historical exhibits and pedestrian-only walkways. By turning left from the apartment complex, I entered the enchanting historical downtown, boasting a plethora of picturesque Russian-style buildings. On the other hand, a straight path led me to the magnificent 1-kilometer-long Songhua River Binzhou Railway Bridge, now transformed into a pedestrian bridge and one of my personal favorites. Crossing it granted me access to Sun Island, which hosts the renowned Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival and a host of year-round attractions. Further away are the Siberian Tiger Park and the architectural masterpiece, Harbin Grand Theatre.

Allow me to conclude with an intriguing anecdote from Harbin Airport. As I approached the passenger entry door of the plane, I suddenly realized that my backpack felt surprisingly light. To my horror, I had unintentionally left my laptop behind during the security check! With a rush of panic, I quickly explained the situation to a crew member, who promptly sprang into action. After what felt like an eternity, but was actually only five minutes, he returned triumphantly, handing me my precious laptop. This incident showcased the exceptional service of China Eastern Airlines, leaving me to ponder whether such a swift resolution would have been possible at other international airports.

Visited: Binzhou Railway Bridge — Songhua Riverbank Park — Zhongyang Dajie — Zhaolin Park — Renmin Plaza — St. Sophia Cathedral — Cultural Park /Jile Temple (Temple of Bliss) — Grand Theatre (Opera House) — Daowai Mosque — Hongbo Underground Market — Flood Control Monument — Siberian Tiger Park— Sun Island — Ice and Snow Art Gallery — Unit 731 Exhibition Hall — Jewish Museum (former synagogue) — Songhua River Cableway — Lilac Park — Harbin Confucius (Wen) Temple