ChinaTravel.net: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be in China.
Gillian: I am originally from Hong Kong, and I loved my life here so much I moved back right after my studies!
CT.net: Did you write a blog back home or was it something you started here?
Gillian: Blogging simply never crossed my mind until December 2010, when my friend Erica invited me to attend events on behalf of Lifestyle Asia, the online magazine she represents, and do some write ups for them. In February 2011, after several months of guest contributing for various online magazines and blogs, I decided to keep my own blog on top of writing for others, because I have just way more to write about than an occasional guest post.
CT.net: Have you had the chance to travel very much in China? Tell us about your best experience so far.
Gillian: Ever since moving back to Hong Kong, I have been traveling a lot within China, due to its proximity and my ability in Mandarin. My best experience so far must be my trip to Hangzhou last year. It is such a laid back city with a diverse range of sightseeing spots to offer! More after the jump....
CT.net: And your worst?
Gillian: I must say, I am not too keen about the toilets in China, which is quite an experience in itself. They are improving tremendously over the years, though. I have been to a super decent one inside Chengdu's Panda Base which is spacious, clean and even has a resting area where tourists could lounge on their sofa while watching panda documentaries.
CT.net: You’re currently based in Hong Kong; what are your top five recommendations for a first-time visitor to get a real feel for the city?
Gillian: If you really want to get to know the real Hong Kong, you must go to Shum Shui Po for their quirky open air market and cheap computer gadgets. For a taste of expat life, head over to Stanley for more open air markets, al fresco dining and dragon boat spotting. Want to know what the working life or the tai-tai life is like here? Spend a day talent-spotting in Central! For a breathtaking night view of the entire Hong Kong Island, Victoria Peak would be your best bet. Finally, for a more action-packed day in Hong Kong, head out to Lamma Island for a chill hike, some quaint art workshops and lots of seafood munching!
CT.net: What is the one thing you wish you’d known about China before arriving?
Gillian: I had a good idea of what China is like prior to coming over, so not much of a surprise there. However, I have recently discovered a show on CCTV-4 called "快乐汉语" (Kuàilè Hànyǔ, "Happy Chinese"), which is intended to be a Chinese language learning show, but they take you over to the most obscure places around the country, sampling the best that they have to offer. Definitely a great place to start for some China traveling inspirations!
CT.net: What do you miss most from home?
Gillian: Well, I consider Hong Kong my home, and I love how it is such a fast-paced city. The upside is that everyone is so efficient you never need to wait a moment more than required. It makes a huge difference, especially with government and banks.
CT.net: What would you miss most in China if you were to leave tomorrow?
CT.net: What three words sum up your China experience?
Gillian: Colourful, glamorous, diverse.
Gillian is a Hong Kong-based lifestyle blogger who loves to travel around China, digging through its longstanding history and rich culture. Like what you read? Stay up to date with her on her blog!