It’s been a while since I wrote my last post on the 5 Things I Hate About China. Having been living in Korea for a month now I have been missing a few things in Beijing. I still don’t miss the pollution or the slow ass internet. But, there are a few things I do miss.
I miss the variety of food. I didn’t eat a lot of Western foods while I was in Beijing. Ninety percent of the time I would eat Chinese food. My favorite dish was fried squid, sliced potatoes, and rice. China seriously has good local cuisine. One of my favorite food to order for lunch was a pork or chicken (never figured out what meat it was lol) rice bowl with cumin and black pepper and a spicy sauce. Currently where I live in Korea I’m eating at the same places a lot. I do need to get on the apps and start ordering food here. But in China you can find local cuisine, western food, Indian, and many other types especially regional food from across China. Another favorite meal is hot pot or Shabu-shabu. Hot pot is a soup which can be spicy or more like a soup broth that you dip thinly sliced meats, vegetables, and tofu in until they are cooked.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in China is cheap. Compared to rent in America it’s pretty cheap even for a 1 bedroom place. But for Beijing it’s very expensive about 5500 RMB ($798~ USD) especially with the second ring of Beijing near the popular foreign areas. My rent was 4000 RMB ($580~ USD) which I paid in 3 month installments. But when it comes to food and going out it’s very cheap in Beijing. My favorite lunch dish that I ordered was only 23 RMB ($3.34 USD) and that was for the bowl, extra meat, and the drink it came with. Even ordering my favorite dish was only a 100 RMB ($14.52 USD). Going out for with friends I would spend under $50 dollars for drinks and food. In Beijing after putting aside money for rent and sending some home, I would live off of 4000 RMB a month.
In and around China travel is very cheap. It’s even cheap to fly out to countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, and Japan. When I went to Chongqing, China I spent about 3000 RMB (~ $400 USD) for the entire trip which was for 6 days. That was including food, flight, train tickets, hostels, and some shopping. In Shanghai I spent about 3200 ($450 USD) RMB while I was there and that was for 4 days. I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to while in China and didn’t go to a lot of the places that I wanted to. A goal of mine when I decide to return to the States is to travel through China for a month.
The one thing I am going to miss about Beijing when I eventually return to America is the public transportation. I hated driving when I lived in Texas. I hated owning a car and having to pay for all the maintenance fees. I love that Beijing and even Korea have great public transportation. The fact that it is also cheap to get around Beijing was great. The most I paid for the subway was 25 RMB to get to the airport. Generally I would pay anywhere from 4 to 5 RMB (less than a dollar) per ride on the subway. Also taxies in around the city are very cheap. It was even cheaper to split it with people. I also loved walking and biking around the city. It’s going to be really hard for me to go back to Texas or anywhere in the States that doesn’t have good public transportation.
Safety / Lifestyle
Beijing is one of the safest cities in the world. I never felt more safe in a city. You could be out late and walking around at 3 in the morning and no one will bother you. But that doesn’t mean you should not have common sense and be aware of your surroundings. Also the lifestyle in China is very easy. For expats, you can have an easy comfortable life in China. In China, there is also this out of sight out of mind mentality. Many things are just over looked and not a major deal in China. I also think it’s because there isn’t such a religious bent in China and you don’t have a lot of the hang ups that religion brings as you would in the West. For me I never felt pressured to do things or act a certain way because it wasn’t a big deal in China. For Chinese people, it’s a little different because they have the pressures of getting married, getting a good job, or get into a good school, and buy a house. But for expats you don’t really have those pressures.
P.S. I will miss the friends that I made in Beijing. That’s probably one of the hardest things you must get use to when you decide to leave a country.
These are the 5 things I will miss about China. For me China was a rollercoaster. I had my ups and downs while living in Beijing but, I did enjoy my time while there. For those who are adventurous I would recommend China to you. Someone once asked me if I would ever return to China. Currently where I am at in life and graduate school I would say, not right now. But if I were to go back to China it wouldn’t be Beijing. I would consider somewhere like Shanghai, because it’s a much more cosmopolitan city.