Robert Schrader in Chengdu, China

30 Pictures That Will Make You Want to Visit China

When I moved to China almost eight years ago, one of the first pieces of advice I remember hearing was a single word. “Elbows,” my colleague at English First said, and positioned his how I would eventually need to position mine, when the time came—which, if you’re wondering, was later that evening on the Shanghai Metro.

To those of you who’ve never lived in the Middle Kingdom, this probably sounds barbaric. But it doesn’t take long in even the most cosmopolitan Chinese city to realize that becoming a bit crude is essential to assimilating here, to admit that China is a crude country with a crude culture.

I imagine some of you are looking up at the title and wondering if I made a mistake. Isn’t he supposed to be convincing us to go to China?

On my recent trip to Chongqing and Chengdu, to be sure, I used my elbows to shove more than a few dozen people out of my way. Among my minimal remaining Mandarin vocabulary are the very filthiest of swear words, ones my Chinese friends tell me are even more offensive than if I said them in English, which would get my ass kicked, or worse.

In the time that passed between my last trip to China and the one before that (to Beijing and the frozen city of Harbin, in 2015), I’d forgotten about this crudeness, as well as a dead energy I perceive everywhere I’ve ever been in China, and every moment I’ve ever spent there, that I can only describe as human static.

(I postulated, somewhere on the bullet train between Chongqing and Chengdu, probably having just told an old woman to go fuck herself, that this interpersonal necrosis was the true legacy of the Cultural Revolution, since the first temples rebuilt in the wake of it are now weathered enough by pollution and overuse to appear as if they might be original.)

Yet in spite of all the issues I have with the country—the issues most every non-Chinese person I speak to has identified, the issues that exist in and define today’s China, by any objective measure—a trip to China is, in the end, a journey of transmutation. Benevolent bursts of color flicker if you’re willing to look past the barbary and the tyranny and all the rest of the static.

If you’re willing to see each image in front of you for the thousand words it’s worth.

Need help planning your trip to China? Hire me as your Travel Coach!



About The Author

is the author of 1066 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!


Get Email Updates

Like what you're reading? Sign up to receive my weekly email newsletter – it's like a trip around the world to end every week!

Upcoming Trips

  • Sydney, Australia January 16-19
  • New Zealand January 20-February 4


SC May 31, 2017 at 6:10 pm

A crude country with a crude culture? Really? I thought this website was more than the typical white traveler bullshit, but that phrase alone proves it wrong by ascribing “crude” to cultures other than your “sophisticated” white, Western culture.

Robert Schrader May 31, 2017 at 7:07 pm

Please live in China for a year and tell me you disagree.

Robert Schrader May 31, 2017 at 7:10 pm

Also, for what it’s worth, I find much of white culture (particularly American culture) to be barbaric, cruel and violent. I am definitely not a white supremacist!

Charlotte June 1, 2017 at 7:33 pm

Amazing pictures! After visiting the country and travelling to many different cities in 2010, I have just arrived in Wuhan to teach for a year.. I’m suffering quite a bit from loneliness though as I refuse to do the whole going out and getting drunk thing which seems like the only way to meet other expats, and being a 2nd tier city, not many Chinese people here speak English. I am also paying off big credit card debt from private healthcare so don’t have a lot of money to spend on travel in order to pass the time! Do you have any advice for me? I have read your blog post on loneliness and I am indeed spending my time honing my skills in writing, yoga and meditation – all of which are passions of mine – but I am still feeling a bit tired of my own company after not socialising for six weeks outside of work.. Do you have any advice? 🙂

Also, I love your website! It was one of the many things that helped to inspire my to leave my office life in the UK behind and start to build a completely different one in Asia.

Robert Schrader June 1, 2017 at 8:44 pm

My advice is simple: Eyes on the prize! And if you don’t have a prize in mind yet, start thinking about what you want yours to be. It will distract you from the daily grind.

Shehryar Hussain June 3, 2017 at 6:52 am

nice one article.
Visit us to see the most beautiful places on earth…

Robert Schrader June 4, 2017 at 6:47 pm

I would love to come to Pakistan someday!

Small Group India Tours June 13, 2017 at 1:23 am

After seeing your post i am curious to go to china wonderful photograph thanks for sharing your experience with us. keep posting like this.

Taj Mahal Tour Packages June 13, 2017 at 7:26 am

China is such a wonderful country to visit it is also a best tourist attraction for everyone so this post helps everyone to understanding what is china photos are amazing in this post thanks for sharing this keep posting like this.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: