With so many new things to see and do in China there are no excuses for feeling bored. Here are seven ideas to get you started.
Play badminton in the park
Badminton is a popular past time in China and in he parks there are almost always numerous badminton courts marked out and waiting for your patronage. Many parks charge a modest entry fee for admission usually around 2 rmb (20 pence/ 30 cents) and once you are in the park playing badminton on the courts will be free. Badminton is great exercise and often you will make new friends on the court as curious locals come to talk with you or even play. Badminton rackets and shuttlecocks can be bought cheaply from any local sports shop or many supermarkets.
If badminton isn’t to your liking, many parks also have tennis courts and even hire out gear to save you having to buy it. There are also endless other options of sports, from karate to archery. There’s no reason not to stay fit in China.
Visit a tea house/ chill in a cafe
Cafe culture is a very popular new trend in China and growing rapidly, increasingly it now appears that there is a Starbucks on every corner and despite a cup of coffee costing more than 2 meals in many small restaurants cafes are extremely popular. Cafes are a good place to chill when China is becoming too much as their style and nature is almost identical to your local Starbucks back home, thus they can provide sometimes much needed respite from the cultural overload that is China.
If you would rather experience something a little more traditional, then there are endless tea houses to visit in China. Chinese green tea is world famous and very drinkable. Just be sure to go to a reputable tea house and always check the price of the tea before ordering. Tea is highly valued in China and some teas can be extremely expensive. Also never follow someone into a tea house whom you have just met, the most common scam in China is where someone posing to be friendly will come and talk to you and invite you for tea in a tea house. Upon finishing your drink of tea they will then suddenly produce an extortionately priced bill. Not all experiences should be tried!
Visit English corner
Every city has an English corner, this is a meeting that usually occurs once a week in a local cafe. The room is packed full of eager Chinese looking for Western friends to make to practice their English with.
Take a weekend break
China has countless destinations to visit and wherever you are in China you will have numerous new places well worth a weekend trip. Book a cheap flight or buy a sleeper train return ticket and go. This is a great way to see places and tick boxes off of your list without using up your precious limited holiday time. Make the most of your time in China and go and explore.
Learning Chinese is not easy but is well worth the effort. Studying mandarin on your day off is something constructive to use your time on and will make you feel better.
Plan the next weeks lessons
It may not be that fun, but next time you chill in a cafe, why not use your downtime to get ahead for the following week and plan your lessons? Well planned lessons make teaching in class much easier and will make the week ahead much more relaxed. A little time well spent now will save a lot of stress in the upcoming week.
Try out Tai chi
Tai chi is a popular exercise regime all over China and has multiple health benefits both to body and mind. If you have the determination to get up early on your day off then you can join numerous groups of locals all over your city that do this wonderful morning routine. Learning tai chi is good for you and will help improve your understanding of Chinese culture, not to mention improve your mandarin.