10 Lesser Known Chinese Cities you should visit

10 Lesser Known Chinese Cities you should visit

chinese teacher rachel

by Chinese Teacher Rachel

Whether one is visiting China for the first time or for the twentieth, with every visit comes new things and experiences to discover.

For those adventurers who wish to witness the culture of China away from the well-known tourist sites of the great country, take a look at some of the following lesser-known cities in to visit.

For a peek into the more traditional style of living, take a day or two to spend time in the rural village of Cuandixia .  In Cuandixia, there are hundreds of Ming dynasty era homes, some of which are available for lodging.

To see some beautiful waterfront scenery, visit the lovely coastal city of Dalian.  Dalian offers wonderful beaches and parks, while maintaining an urban atmosphere with plenty of shopping.

A bit more off the beaten path rests Zhouzhuang, a small water town a few hours away from Shanghai.  In this little town, one can take a look at the historic homes and eat in a local restaurant.  Many small shops are open to the public as well.

If one wishes to explore the more scenic parts of China, a trip to Gulang Yu or Luoyang will certainly satisfy.  Tourists
can walk around the bird sanctuary on the island of Gulang Yu, then dine on the freshest seafood available.  At Luoyang, one can have the pleasure of viewing the Shaolin Temple, where kung fu demonstrations are given often.


Slightly more tourist inclined and urban is the lovely city of Kunming.  The weather is extremely pleasant in this particular city and visitors can shop, visit temples or see acts in local theaters here.

For a similarly urban feel but somewhat more bustling city, one should be sure to take a trip to Qingdao.  This city is extremely clean, from the air to the streets, and there are many beaches and museums to entertain tourists.

Perhaps one of the most unique places to visit in China is the city of Turpan.  Far in the Northwestern area of China, this city seems more like it belongs in Central Asia than in China.  In the heat, it rests upon a desert and contains old and unique architecture.

Just the opposite of this city is the snowy city of Harbin.  It lies close to the Russian border and tourists enjoy winter ice festivals in which amazing sculptures are made and stay until Springtime.

Finally, Zhuhai offers a variety of interesting sites for tourists to see at any time of the year. Shopping and beautiful waterfront scenery make this city famous.

Any of these marvelous towns and cities makes for a wonderful place to visit on a trip to China.  Whether one is looking to enjoy some
history, view awe inspiring sites or simply find good places to shop, there is a city that will satisfy any touristic need.  If one is willing to be a little adventurous and be unafraid to experience new places that other tourists may not, great memories can be made.


Top 5 reasons you should study Mandarin Chinese

“Top 5 reasons you should study Mandarin Chinese”

By Chinese Teacher Rachel

Chinese is considered to be one of the most interesting and complex language to learn and it has always been a difficult task to learn any variety of Chinese language. More and more people have found an element of interest in them to learn Chinese and its different dialects. The very famous dialect of Chinese language is Mandarin Chinese and it has been seen as an emerging trend in travelers and businessmen to learn Mandarin. Here are five top reasons why one should study Mandarin:


The history of China is privileged and preserved in pure Chinese language and all the ancient manuscripts and art work is available in old Chinese language. In order to understand and seek real pleasure of going through this material, you should learn Mandarin. This variety of Chinese would help you a lot in knowing more about China and its sophisticated history.



China is the world’s largest business hub with huge number of industries running throughout the country. Doing business in china or with some Chinese company directly means you are going to earn a lot because China has opened immense opportunities for foreign investors. Although you can communicate with Chinese businessmen in English but the way you can bargain and deal in Mandarin is way better than English. So, in order to put an impressive impact over your Chinese business partners, you should study Mandarin.


Chinese people love to travel around the world and they always find it pleasing to interact with someone who knows their indigenous language in a strange country. If you want to grab attention of Chinese tourists and want to earn more from them then you should learn Mandarin and start your business with Chinese tourists.


Technology is another field in which China is excelling at high pace and if you don’t know the Chinese local languages than you can’t sign a perfect deal. In order to make impressive purchases and sales, you should learn Mandarin variety of Chinese language as this is the only widely used variety of Chinese language in technical and industrial niche.

Chinese students:

China lacks in higher education and in order to bless their kids with latest knowledge of the world, Chinese people send their kids to other countries of the world. In order to deal best with them in your country and take benefit of their presence as customers or clients in your country, you should learn Chinese or study Mandarin. This will help you a lot in making better deals.


闻鸡起舞rise up upon hearing the crow of a rooster and practise with the sword

闻鸡起舞rise up upon hearing the crow of a rooster and practise with the sword 

By Chinese Teacher Rachel

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Listen to the audio here:




词汇 Vocabulary

Chracter         pin yin         part of speech     English definition

胸怀           xiōng huái         n.                 bosom, mind

坦荡           tǎn dàng         adj.               Magnanimous

远大           yuǎn dà           adj.               Ambitious

抱负           bào fù           n.                 Aspiration

青年           qīng nián           n.               Youth

意识           yìi shi             n.               Conscious

贫乏           pín fá             adj.               Poor, lacking

知识           zhī shi             n.               Knowledge

报效           bào xiào           v.                 Serve

广泛           guǎng fàn         adj.               Extensive

丰富           fēng fù           adj.               Abundant

汲取           xī qǔ             v.                 Draw

学问           xúe wèn           n.                 Lore

深厚           shēn hòu         adj                 deep, profound

炎热           yán rè              adj               hot

寒冷           hán lěng           adj               cold

训练           xùn liàn            V.               Train

栋梁           dòng liáng         n.                 Rooftree

间断           jiàn duàn           v.                 Break, give up

建功立业       jiàn gōng lì yè       v.   to achieve or accomplish goals

著名           zhù míng           adj                 famous



  1. 祖逖小时候是个怎么样的孩子? What kind of child was Zuti when he was young?
  2. 从什么时候开始祖逖意识到自己应该多读书来报效国家? Since when had Zuti realized that he has to learn more to serve the country

How to train yourself to think in Mandarin

How to train yourself to think in Mandarin

chinese teacher rachel

by Chinese Teacher Rachel

An important step to becoming fluent in any language, especially in Mandarin Chinese, is to begin to think in that new language. This can be a challenging feat to master, but once you do it will become much easier to hold a conversation in, write in and read in that new language.


Many believe that studying hard for long periods of time is the key to thinking in a second language. Though that may work for some, it is not necessarily true for all. Rather, to think in a new language, such as Mandarin, there are a few simple things to keep in mind. Context is possibly the most important aspect of thinking in a second language. Thinking about the culture of China or something one relates to Mandarin in general can help to make connections between speaking and thinking the language. Of course, thinking in a new language is not something that is necessarily just going to magically start happening. It is important to consciously make oneself think in that language, if only for a few moments a day.


When thinking to yourself, you should try to switch from thinking in your native tongue to Mandarin. If you are religious, a good way to practice this is to pray or meditate in the new language. If not, simply visualize having a conversation in that language or think to oneself in that language rather than your own. Spend an allotted amount of time each day thinking in just that language. Describe as many things as you can in your head using that language.


It may also help to listen to music in Mandarin to begin to think in the language. Getting song lyrics stuck in one’s head or simply memorizing the words of a song in Mandarin can help to start the process of thinking in it .



Associating the language with something recognizable like a song can contribute to your ability to connect the language to something concrete and begin to think in the language as well. After you have been a student of any language for a long enough period of time, generally you will begin to be able to think in that new language. It may take longer for some than others, but following the previous steps will help on the journey to learning a new language.


Thinking in Mandarin has many beneficial effects when it comes to becoming fluent. For one, it will make understanding what another is saying in Mandarin easier to understand. Replying in turn will also become more second nature, since you will already be thinking and processing a conversation in Mandarin.


Thinking in a new language is extremely useful for communicating with those who speak the language effectively. However, you should not fear if you have not yet reached this step in the learning process. Everyone learns at their own pace, so it is not unusual to have difficulty learning to think in Mandarin. With a bit of patience and effort though, anyone can become fluent in and think in Mandarin.


铁杵磨针Iron pestle needle (成语故事 Chinese idiom stories)

  1. 成语故事 Chinese idiom stories

By Chinese Teacher Rachel

chinese teacher rachel

(一)铁杵磨针Iron pestle needle


1. 成语故事 Chinese idiom stories
(一)铁杵磨针Iron pestle needle

众所周知的大诗人李白小时候读书不用功, 经常逃学,不求上进。
“我正在磨绣花针。 ”老妇人抬起头,看了李白一眼,接着又低下头继续磨着。


词汇 Vocabulary

诗人 shī rén n. poet
弃学 qì xué v.n. quite study
途 tú n. Journey
棍子 gùn zi n. Sticks
铁杵 tiě chǔ n. Iron pestle
疑惑 yí huò adj confused
针 zhēn n. Needle
穿 chuān v. Through/ cross
磨 mó v. Grind
年迈 nián mài n. Aged
功夫 gōng fū n. Effort, kungfu
惭愧 cán kùi adj ashamed/guilty
游手好闲 yóu shǒu hào xián adj eat the bread of idleness
无所事事 wú suǒ shì shì adj sit around
用功 yòng gōng v.n diligent
终于, zhōng yú adv. Finally
仙 xiān n. Celestial being

测试 quiz
1. 李白是谁?Who is Libai?

2. 针是什么磨出来的?How does the needle grind out?

3. 要磨一根绣花针需要哪些条件?What condition does it need to grind a needle.

4. 这个故事告诉了我们一个什么道理?What is the moral of the story?

Using a Phrasebook to Learn Mandarin

Mandarin Phrasebooks

by Chinese Teacher Rachel

chinese teacher rachel

Learning a new language can be a difficult and arduous task for anyone, especially a beginner. Mandarin Chinese can be an especially difficult language to learn, specifically for those whose first language is a western language, due to its unique structure and writing system.
For those just starting out learning a new language, such as Mandarin Chinese, one of the best ways to leap into becoming fluent is to purchase a phrasebook.

For those who are unaware of what that is, a phrasebook is a book in which useful and often essential common phrases are translated from one’s native language to the language one is studying.  Short sentences and key words are defined and translated in these books with phonetic spellings of the phrases. This allows readers to be able to pronounce some phrases without necessarily having to know individual words and grammar rules.

For those intending to take trips to areas in which Mandarin is used, these books are a wonderful tool for communication.  Of course, if you are serious about learning a new language and becoming truly fluent, it is in your best interest to use a phrasebook not on its own, but in combination with a variety of other sources.LingQ

Of course,ou should not expect to become fluent by relying solely on a phrasebook to study a language.  Not using sources that include grammar lessons will lead to making many mistakes when speaking and writing.

Additionally, it is best to use audio to study a language in combination with text.  This way, one can be truly sure of how to pronounce certain words, which syllables to stress and what tones of voice are appropriate to use.

Foregoing use of other materials to help one study Mandarin is a grave mistake. Just using a phrasebook will leave many gaps in knowledge of grammar and vocabulary and can lead to embarrassing mistakes.  Also, some phrases in phrasebooks may seem stiff and one’s lack of comprehension of the language as a whole may show when communicating with native speakers of the language.

Phrasebooks also will probably not help with listening comprehension.  It is all well and good to learn some useful phrases, but a phrasebook will not teach one how to understand when another is speaking, especially if one has a difficult to understand accent.  However, a phrasebook is still a useful tool when used in combination with other sources.  If one is already proficient in a language, a phrasebook can come in handy for trips and conversing with native speakers.  Proficient speakers will already have an understanding of some grammar and pronunciation, so phrasebooks are useful for finding words or phrases one has forgotten or has not yet learned.

With background knowledge of a language, one can use phrases from a phrasebook correctly in the context of a conversation.  Phrasebooks for those learning Mandarin Chinese are readily available at many local libraries and for sale in stores or online.  For under ten US dollars, one can purchase a good quality phrasebook from retailers such as Amazon.com


Why you should use repetition Flashcards to learn Mandarin

“Why you should use repetition Flashcards to learn Mandarin”

By Chinese Teacher Rachel chinese teacher rachel

Repetition is the key to learning and memorizing words, verb forms and other aspects of a new language, such as Mandarin Chinese.  However, it can also be an exceedingly tedious process if one uses the wrong techniques.  Some students choose to rewrite words and characters over and over again to memorize them or listen to audio clips repeatedly to achieve similar results.  Yet, this is a time-consuming and dull process.  Luckily, there is a much easier way to memorize words and characters efficiently and effectively.

Making flashcards with the desired word, phrase or character on one side and its definition on the other can help most students in their plights to learn Mandarin, or any other language.  The actual process of making physical flashcards itself is often something that students find useful.  Writing the phrases and characters out once or twice doesn’t take too long and helps one memorize them.  Of course, one fall back to using traditional paper flashcards is that they can be difficult to keep organized.  Use different colored pens and flashcards to separate vocabulary by subject, different verb forms or even different characters to keep from mixing them together.  You can even purchase flashcard organizers at local stores such as Office Depot or Staples.  Flashcards made of paper are also not very environmentally friendly.  Fortunately, there are alternatives to using typical, paper flashcards.

Online formats of flashcards that are just as useful, if not more user-friendly than paper flashcards, exist and are available for public use at any time.


Most online flashcards are free of charge and extremely easy to use. Simply type in the words, phrases or characters you want to study, then type the definition onto the opposite site of the virtual card.  Possibly the most well-known version of this service can be found at quizlet.com.

On quizlet, you can make custom flashcards as previously described.  These flashcards will both have the text one wishes to study and offer an audio pronunciation of whatever is on the cards.  If one learns well using a combination of text and audio, this is the perfect way to study.  Should you not wish to make a set of flashcards, that is fine!  Simply search for the type of vocabulary one wishes to learn  and sets of virtual flashcards made by other users will appear.  Anyone can choose to make their set available to public use, so there is a multitude of readily available sets on this site.

Additionally, you can use flashcards to learn Mandarin in almost any situation.  Virtual flashcards can be accessed on smartphones and paper flashcards are small enough to transport almost anywhere.  You can use cards to learn Mandarin when traveling, at work, at school or just in the comfort of you are own home.

Whether you choose virtual or paper flashcards, these study tools will help boost the progress made when learning Mandarin Chinese.  Flashcards are quite possibly the most effective way to learn a large number of phrases in a short period of time.  Since it is not always necessary to spend time making the cards themselves, as many are available online, more time can be taken to learn and truly know whatever aspect of Mandarin one chooses to study.  Flashcards make learning Mandarin Chinese much more efficient and incredibly convenient.

How to Learn Pinyin

How to Learn Pinyin

Learn Mandarin Chinese with Chinese Teacher Rachel chinese teacher rachel

Learning any new language comes withs its own difficulties.  For anyone trying to learn Mandarin Chinese after being fluent in a language that utilizes the Roman alphabet, adjusting to the character system can be troublesome.  However, it is possible to learn Mandarin Chinese without completely understanding the character system.

Pinyin is a tool that can help anyone interested to learn how to speak and understand Mandarin Chinese without memorizing characters.  This language tool uses the Roman alphabet to phonetically spell out Mandarin phrases, making them easier to pronounce.

There are thousands of resources available online and at one’s local library that will aid in the process of learning Mandarin Chinese by using Pinyin.  English-Chinese dictionaries almost always have the pinyin of a word or phrase included with its definition and characters.  It is easy to find a good English-Chinese dictionary online at stores such as amazon.com or at any local bookstore or library. Hundreds of publishers have versions of English-Chinese dictionaries, such as Webster’s English-Pinyin-Chinese Dictionary.  Copies of this particular example can be found at Barnes and Noble for under ten dollar, and are certainly worth the small investment.

Online resources are also readily available to anyone with an internet connection.  Tutorial videos, pronunciation guides with audio clips, charts and many more helpful tools are all online, often for no charge at all.  If one is just starting out with pinyin, it is recommended that one finds a good online guide to the pronunciation of each symbol.  The University of Oxford has a particularly user-friendly and comprehensive online guide to the pronunciation of pinyin letters available to the public.  This guide goes through the pronunciation of each consonant and vowel in pinyin using both text that explains the sound of the letter and an audio clip.  Guides that help to understand the full pronunciation of words and phrases are helpful once one has reached a general understanding of the pinyin alphabet.

Free Mandarin Chinese pinyin lessons are available at websites such as this one and learnchineseez.com, where both text and audio clips help to show the pronunciation of words .

On YouTube there is also a variety of tutorial videos that may be of use with learning the pronunciation of words.  Watching a video of someone speaking provides the added benefit of being able to see how one should move one’s mouth to pronounce certain phrases.

Of course, there are some pitfalls to learning Mandarin Chinese solely by using pinyin.  Pinyin only represents the way phrases in Mandarin sound and how they can be represented through the western alphabet.  Unfortunately, there are sounds in Mandarin Chinese or combinations of sounds that do not exist in English or many other languages that use the Roman alphabet system.  Hence, relying solely on pinyin to learn Mandarin can cause one to learn some phrases incorrectly.

However, using pinyin is certainly a good way to start to learn Mandarin if one does not have much experience with the language.  Proceed with caution when using pinyin alone to learn Mandarin, but also with confidence that for the most part, pinyin is an effective way to begin the journey to learning the language.


国庆节 – Chinese National Day


chinese teacher rachel

By Chinese Teacher Rachel

Listen to the audio here:


拼音 pin yin

Jīn tiān shì zhōng guó zuì dà, zuì zhòng yào de jié rì zhī yī——guó qìng jié!
Zhè ge jié rì shì wèi le jì niàn xīn zhōng guó chéng lì de rì zi——-10 yuè 1 rì. Guó qìng jié shì zhōng guó de fǎ dìng jià rì, quán guó rén mín fang jià 7 tiān, suǒ yǐ zhōng guó rén dōu fēi cháng xǐ huān zhè ge jié rì. Zài zhè 7 tiān lǐ ,wǒ men yě huì jǔ xing gè zhǒng gè yàng de qìng zhù huó dòng. Yǒu guó qìng dà yuè bīng; gè dì fāng diàn shì tái de lián huān wǎn huì; hái yǒu yóu yuán huó dòng, děng děng. Xiàn zài de zhōng guó rén dōu xǐ huān zài guó qìng jié shí chèn zhe zhè 7 tiān de cháng jiǎ chū mén lǚ xíng, suǒ yǐ zài zhè duàn shí jiān gè dì de lǚ yóu jǐng diǎn dōu jǐ mǎn le rén. Dàn shì yě yǒu hěn duō zhōng guó rén zài guó qìng jié bù dàn méi yǒu xiū xí, ér qiě hái shì zuì máng de, yīn wèi tā men shì zài shāng yè jiē gōng zuò de nà xiē rén, guó qìng jié gè dà bǎi huò shāng diàn dōu tè bié de máng, mǎi dōng xī de rén tè bié duō, suǒ yǐ zài zhè ge shí hòu jiā bān yě néng zhèng gèng duō de qián.

翻译 Translation

Today is China’s largest and most important festival —— National Day!
This festival commemorates the founding of New China days ——- October 1. For Chinese National Day holiday, the National People have seven days holiday, so the Chinese people are very fond of this festival. During the seven days we will hold various celebrations. National Day military parade; local television gala; There garden activities and so on. Now the Chinese people like to take advantage of this during the National Day holiday to travel seven days, so this time around the tourist attractions are crowded with people. But there are a lot of Chinese people not only does not rest in the National Day but also the busiest, because they are the people who work in the commercial street, the National Day of the major department stores are particularly busy, many people go shopping in these places, so at this time overtime may also earn more money.

词汇 vocabulary
节日 jié rì festival, holiday
纪念 jì niàn commemorate
成立 chéng lì establish, set up
法定 fǎ dìng statutory, legal
放假 fàng jià take a holiday
庆祝 qìng zhù to celebrate
活动 huó dòng event, activity
晚会 wǎn huì evening party
景点 jǐng diǎn scenic spots
商业街 shāng yè jiē merchandise street
各 gè each, various
加班 jiā bān work overtime
挣 zhèng to earn

测试 quiz

1. 中国的国庆节在几月几号?When is the Chinese national day?
2. 这个节日是为了纪念什么?What does this holiday commemorate?
3. 在这个节日会放几天假?How many days off does this holiday have?
4. 在国庆节会举办哪些庆典活动?  This holiday is celebrated with which kind of events?
5. 为什么有的中国人在国庆节不想放假? Why don’t some Chinese people want to take this holiday?


征婚 – Looking for Marriage


By Chinese Teacher Rachel

chinese teacher rachel
有一个单身的男人,他很想找一个老婆, 但是他一直也找不到。有一天他想到了一个办法,在报纸上登了一则广告。 广告上说:“ 我想找一个老婆,不需要太美,也不用太有钱,有意者请与我联系。我的电子邮箱是:xxxxxxxxx@xx.com”。 第二天他打开了他的电子邮箱,里面有100封邮件,都不是同一个人发的,但是都是同样的内容:“我的老婆,你要不要?”。

Listen to the audio here:

拼音Pin yin
Yǒu yí gè dān shēn de nán rén, tā hěn xiǎng zhǎo yí gè lǎo pó, dàn shì tā yì zhí yě zhǎo bù dào. Yǒu yì tiān tā xiǎng dào le yí gè bàn fǎ, zài bào zhǐ shàng dēng le yì zé guǎng gào. Guǎng gào shàng shuō:“Wǒ xiǎng zhǎo yī gè lǎo pó, bù xū yào tài měi, yě bù yòng tài yǒu qián, yǒu yì zhě qǐng yǔ wǒ lián xì. Wǒ de diàn zǐ yóu xiāng shì:Xxxxxxxxx@xx.Com”. Dì èr tiān tā dǎ kāi le tā de diàn zǐ yóu xiāng, lǐ miàn yǒu 100 fēng yóu jiàn, dōu bú shì tong yígè rén fà de, dàn shì dōu shì tóng yàng de nèi róng:“Wǒ de lǎo pó, nǐ yào bù yào?”.

翻译 translation
There is a single man, he was looking for a wife, but it’s been a long time he still hasn’t found one. One day he thought of a way, an advertisement on a news paper. The ad said: “I’m looking for a wife, no need to be very beautiful, or very rich. Interested, please contact me, my e-mail is:. Xxxxxxxxx@xx.com”. The next day he opened his e-mail, there are 100 e-mails.  They are not from a same person, but all with the same content:

“My wife, do you want her ?”.

单身 dān shēn single
老婆 lǎo pó wife
一直 yì zhí always, all the time
办法 bàn fǎ way, method
广告 guǎng gào advertisement
报纸 bào zhǐ news paper
登 dēng publish
有意者 yǒu yì zhě interested party
电子邮箱 diàn zǐ yóu xiāng e-mail
邮件 yóu jiàn mail, post
内容 nèi róng content

测试 quiz

1. 这个单身男人想到一个什么办法找老婆?What is the way that man found for looking for a wife?
2. 他找老婆的条件是什么?What’s the condition of his future wife?
3. 第二天他看到邮箱里有什么?What did he see in his e-mail on the next day?
4. 你认为这封邮件的意思是什么?What do you think of the meaning of the e-mail?