Aspiring Backpacker - Just read up and set off! Showing you how to backpack around the world. Sat, 10 Oct 2015 06:48:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Gi2C Guide for China Travelers: How does a typical scam happen? Wed, 23 Sep 2015 03:33:32 +0000

Gi2C offers an important warning and advice on how to avoid scams in China

Traveling in China is exciting and interesting, yet every year thousands of tourists and expats get taken advantage of while visiting and living in China. At Gi2C, our goal is to make sure our Gi2C interns and China expats have the best experience possible in China. The last thing we want is for Gi2C interns or any foreigner to fall prey to scams while out and about in China.  Here is some advice from our Gi2C staff and long-time Beijing and Shanghai expats about what to look out for in order to avoid being scammed:

 What do scammers look like in China?

They often look very nice and seem friendly. The person wanting to scam you of your money may be a middle-aged woman, a good-looking guy, or a couple of cute college girls who approach you and start talking to you in good English.

How do they start the conversation with you?

They most likely will offer to help you with something such as directions, bargaining, reading some sign in Chinese or help to take your picture. They may come up to you and ask if you speak English or what nationality you are.

What type of foreigners do they target?

Most scam artists will look for foreigners who look lost or confused or who are carrying a backpack or luggage with them. They may also look for people from specific countries who may generally be more friendly to strangers than other countries. Lastly, they’ll look for foreigners who appear to be somewhat wealthy or at least those who might be carrying all of their travel cash with them at that moment.

How do they get you to trust them?

They talk about things that interest you and are very knowledgeable or curious about your home country. They explain a little about themselves and may have a story of hardship such as struggling to come to Beijing or Shanghai and feeling very lonely to cause you to feel like you’re helping to cheer them up by befriending them.

They may say they are also tourists and just got to town a few days ago and are staying nearby. They will often flatter you in every other sentence and make you feel good about yourself.  When is the last time a stranger said you were beautiful, hilarious, cute, fun, brave, strong, handsome, smart and cool all within 15 minutes? Don’t fall for it.

Where do they want to take you?

They ask you to go join them in having some tea, coffee, beer or a meal at a place that just so happens to be very close by but most likely is not a legit or legal establishment. They will then escort you to this shady location in the back somewhere that has little signage and no prices on the menu.

What happens when you get to the destination?

After a usually enjoyable lunch, you’ll be ready to leave in order to get back on schedule. When you ask for the bill, you discover that the total amount is several hundred dollars or RMB. Your escorts may offer to pay 50%; however, in the end, they won’t pay a dime and you will have been seriously overcharged.

Why can’t you refuse to pay and just run out?

Sadly, most foreigners don’t even consider this an option because they either don’t know they are being scammed or simply because this would never be an option in their home country. If you did refuse to pay, most likely scary looking fake security guys who are also in on the scam might appear to try and frighten you into paying.

To be on the safe side, should I just not talk to any locals?

Of course not. The majority of Chinese people are very friendly and kind and have no agenda. However, every country has black sheep and simply due to the sheer size of China, China has more black sheep than other countries. Our advice at Gi2C is to be friendly, but only up to a point. If you are on your own without a trustworthy China tour guide, then don’t go anywhere with a stranger. An alternative might be to take them to a place of your choosing. If they say, “Come with us” you can say instead, “Let’s have coffee at the Starbucks right there”.

Why do foreigners often get scammed in China?

Chinese people know foreigners are usually kind-hearted and think the best of everyone. As a result, certain scams are prevalent to take advantage of this naivety. You should be wary of anyone who approaches you for anything other than wanting to take a picture with you. People offering you a hotel, transport, or entrance tickets may deliver, but you will never know how much more you paid for that service than a Chinese person paid.

Also foreigners, especially those on vacation, are easy targets. They are clearly just passing through and may be carrying all of their belongings with them along with a good deal of cash. Try to blend in more with the crowd and leave extra money, fancy clothes and possessions at the hotel instead of carrying your backpack with you. Even if you don’t fall prey to a China scam, you may fall prey to theft. There are a lot of sticky fingers in China’s big cities. Keep any expensive belongings in front of you where you can see them at all times.

If China scams are so common, why even come to China?

Read any reviews about China and you’ll discover that it’s a place you have visit at some point in your life. Not all Chinese people are out to scam you, and just by reading this article, you’ve done about all it takes to protect yourself against being scammed. Although scams in China exist, they shouldn’t discourage you from missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime.

Over 3,000 Gi2C interns have been brave enough to leave home and come to China and the majority have had an amazing and extremely positive experience. Now that you’re aware of this particularly common China scam and if you prepare well for the unexpected, you’ll have nothing to worry about. China is a fascinating and exciting place for visitors, expats and foreign interns. Don’t waste a second longer waiting to come over to China!

This how-to guide in avoiding China scams is brought to you by Gi2C Group. Gi2C has been an internship provider in China since 2008 and has become a leader in the internship industry. Gi2C’s goal is to help students and young professionals not only safely get into China without falling prey to any scams but also to help them understand China and Chinese business culture. Gi2C interns write honest reviews of our programs which can be read on a variety of online third-party sources. Gi2C provides tailor-made opportunities for interns to work for a variety companies in multiple industries based in China.

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The Smartphone Goes Camping Fri, 11 Sep 2015 09:16:43 +0000 Eighty-four percent of people state that they couldn’t survive without their smartphone for a single day, and two-thirds of the population own such a device. This means that wherever you are, odds are good that you want to check your phone. Even when you’re on vacation in the middle of nowhere, you’ll feel the urge to surf the web to keep up with the news of the day.

That’s not the only reason you’ll want to keep your phone handy, though. A growing segment of campers simultaneously get back in touch with nature while giving in to the urge to grab a 4G LTE capable smartphone like the reinvented Galaxy S6 from Samsung. The explanation is that any type of outdoors adventure, whether you’re roughing it or glamping, is better with a phone handy.

There are 1.5 million apps available for download via Google Play, and thousands of them will add a personal touch to your camping experience. Before you leave, some programs will provide suggestions about packing items that you might have forgotten or never even considered. You’ll even discover some of the best unheralded camping areas thanks to a cellphone download. Once you’ve picked the destination, mapping apps will provide directions to your campsite, no matter how remote the location is.

After you’ve arrived for your rustic vacation, you can learn how to cook the best campfire fish and s’mores, impressing your camping friends in the process. Then, you can master survival skills in the woods. At night, there’s even a selection of stargazing apps to guarantee you have the best view of the breathtaking night sky.

If you’re interested in having the best camping experience possible, carefully study the following infographic. It’ll open your eyes to new vacation ideas via your smartphone.


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Traveling around Denmark away from the main attractions Sun, 30 Aug 2015 15:23:32 +0000 Denmark is a beautiful country and offers many sights for tourists to explore. There are the picturesque castles and palaces around the capital, Copenhagen, as well as the clean beaches and stunning forests if you choose to travel further afield. If you’re looking for a different tourist experience, you’ll find a great range of attractions away from the main tourist sites.


Off the beaten track

For those who want to see the real Denmark, you need to look further than the general guidebooks. For instance, when you’re in Copenhagen, you could visit the neighborhood of Christiania, where you’ll find an eclectic mix of workshops and organic cafés, alongside the freethinking residents. They even provide guided tours throughout the year.

The country is renowned for its natural beauty, and one of the most picturesque areas is Northern Jutland. This offers fantastic landscapes, and the stunning beaches make it popular with locals and tourists. While you’re there, you can visit the spectacular sand-covered Buried Church.

Many tourists spend all their time in Copenhagen, but Aarhus, the second biggest city, also has plenty to see. It has an extensive range of nightlife and restaurants, as well as cultural and historical attractions such as the Aarhus Cathedral.


Sticking to a budget

Many people think of Denmark as an expensive country, but if you know where to go, it doesn’t have to be. The North Sea landscape is one of Denmark’s greatest sights. The cliffs and sand dunes are all free to explore and stretch along the west coast.

For getting around Copenhagen, you can hire a bicycle, which is an extremely popular option and very cheap. There are lots of routes that you can follow, and there are many cozy cafés where you can stop for a rest. While you’re cycling around, you can admire the country’s stunning architecture. Some of the buildings in Denmark date back 400 years, including mansions and castles. Many of these are open to the public, and entrance is often free.


Where to stay

Denmark offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes. You can opt for one of the hotels in the cities or main tourist destinations or choose to camp out in the amazing countryside. If you want to go for something different, there are a range of apartments in Copenhagen and across the country that are available to hire on a short-term basis. These provide you with all the home comforts and are a great option if you want to stay together as a family. You can come and go as you please, and you don’t have the same restrictions on mealtimes as you would with a hotel. There are some delightful residencies to choose from.

A vacation to Denmark doesn’t have to be the same as every other trip or city break. There is so much to see and do in the country that you can spend your time away from the main tourist sites without feeling that you’re missing out.

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Have a picnic in Paris Sun, 30 Aug 2015 01:17:00 +0000 picnic1


Having a picnic in Paris in the summer sun is an experience that you won’t soon forget, especially since Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world. Can you imagine spending a leisurely afternoon with friends or loved ones in Paris drinking wine and eating cheese? Well read on to find out how to have the perfect picnic this summer in Paris.

Pick your base

The first order of business is to pick your place to stay, there are a number of great places to stay, like Premier Inn, but it doesn’t matter where you stay as long as you can easily get to a good park to enjoy your picnic.


This is of course one of the most important things to consider about your picnic, you will want to take your friends and loved ones of course. However you may want to take that someone special for a romantic afternoon in the sun, it all depends on what you want from the experience.

Pick your location

There are an unbelievable number of parks scattered throughout Paris so there is no issues with finding a place to have your picnic, but the question is where is the best place? Perhaps your ideal picnic is not even in a park at all, but rather on top of the Eiffel tower or underneath the Arc de Triomphe. If you do want to stay traditional you can of course have your picnic in the park and one of the best ones is the Champ de Mars, which is the gardens that house the Eiffel Tower. Wherever you do choose in Paris you surely can’t make a mistake!

The equipment

First and foremost it is ideal to have a good picnic blanket or mat that you can sit on, it is not essential though, but it certainly does add to the experience. Another item of interest for the picnic goer is the humble picnic basket, which again is not essential but can really add to the authenticity of the experience.picnic1

It is also a great idea to bring a pair of sunglasses, a hat and some sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.

The supplies

Once you have everything else sorted out it is a good time to go and buy your supplies, and it is always best to do this last because you know that everything you buy will be fresh. Your list of supplies should, at the very least, include baguettes, cheese, ham, wine and pastries, and these are the staples of a proper Parisian picnic.

Lastly, enjoy!

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Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru – Two birds with one stone Fri, 28 Aug 2015 08:20:49 +0000 By Burnham Arlidge

Standing at almost 6,000 meters, Kilimanjaro is the highest free standing mountain on earth and draws thousands of tourists a year, all with the dream of reaching the roof of Africa. Its rugged beauty, stunning vistas and changing landscape make for one of the best treks in the world.


However, standing 70km South-west of the mountain is Kilimanjaro’s little brother – Mount Meru. The fourth highest peak in Africa, Meru is an active volcano (although dormant) with a rim-lined crater extending across the entire East flank of the mountain with a drop off of 1,500 meters, making it one of the highest cliff faces in Africa.  Standing just over a 1,000 meters shorter, Meru is often overshadowed and overlooked by its larger brother.  Meru though is an incredible trek in its own right and there are a number of reasons why people looking to climb Kilimanjaro should seriously consider climbing Meru first.

Why climb Meru

Firstly, as mentioned above, thousands of tourists descend upon Kilimanjaro every year – this is not the case with Meru. Although Meru is beautiful and offers a lot of things Kilimanjaro can’t, it still experiences only a tiny percentage of tourists compared to its big brother. This fact makes for a far more relaxed and authentic trek with none of the wild magic being lost by the hordes of climbers.

Another reason to climb Meru is its wildlife. For any animal lovers out there Meru is the place to climb! The lower reaches of the mountain are so abundant in wildlife that it is mandatory for an armed park ranger to accompany you on Meru. You will almost certainly see buffalo, monkeys, warthogs and a wide array of African birds and, if you get lucky, zebra and giraffe also!

The Meru trek is a beautiful one. The jungle landscape on the lower reaches looks like something out the Jungle Book with its gnarled trees and criss-crossing vines. However, one of the main reasons people trek this route is for the crater rim walk near the summit that is very narrow, sharp falling and exhilarating – especially if it’s windy! Once on the summit you’re rewarded with some truly incredible 360 degree views of the surrounding landscape, including Kilimanjaro.


One of the most notable reasons for climbing Meru is to use it as a warmup for Kilimanjaro, almost like a taster session. This is mainly for acclimatization purposes as altitude sickness can be a real problem on Kilimanjaro. Don’t underestimate Meru though, at 4,566 meters, it is a tough trek and easily high enough to induce altitude sickness – I was gulping for air up there and I’ve done my fair share of altitude trekking. Meru is useful in that it is high enough to force your body to acclimatize to the altitude, making the necessary changes it needs in order to account for the lack of oxygen. This makes trekking Kilimanjaro a much easier task as your body has already adapted before you ascend the larger mountain.

On top of the acclimatization, Meru prepares you for the same tour operation as Kilimanjaro. You have a guide and porters to carry your luggage and cook your meals. You move up through several climate and vegetation zones in 1 day and we summited the mountain in the dark – just like Kilimanjaro. We also descended over 2,000 meters in the same day which is a process followed on Kilimanjaro.

To summarize

I would strongly recommend anyone looking to climb Kilimanjaro to first consider trekking Meru. For myself, the trek up Meru almost eclipsed my trek up Kilimanjaro. The wildlife was highlight for me as we saw several zebra on top of the regular suspects. The landscape was similar to that of Kilimanjaro, but the lack of tourists made the trek feel slightly more special. The crater rim walk was one of the best bits and the views we had on summit morning were breath-taking. Therefore, I believe Meru is a must for any serious trekker who is venturing to Kilimanjaro.




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A Backpacker’s Guide to Melbourne Wed, 05 Aug 2015 15:46:19 +0000 Melbourne is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, where tradition meets modernity. If you’re thinking about backpacking around Melbourne this year, then the city is also the perfect adventure holiday too, not least because of it’s fantastic array of attractions! Home to over 4 million Australians as well as people from all over the world, Melbourne can be found standing proud on the banks of the Yarra River, and it one of Australia’s top vacation destinations.

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The city is also home to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a spectacular example of amazing architecture and design. Nicknamed ‘the home of sport’, all major sporting events in Australia are held here, this is a stadium that simply can’t be missed. Let’s take a look at some of the other top attractions you simply can’t miss out on when backpacking across Melbourne this year!


Melbourne Museum

Entry to one the best museums in the world is only $10, and it’s open every day of the year meaning it is perfect for families, with kids even getting concession prices. Located in the north of the Melbourne Central Business District, Melbourne Museum is very easy to get to, and it’s surrounded by loads of restaurants, parks and shopping too.

No matter what time of year you visit, this museum will always be busy, however sampling the fantastic range of exhibits early before 11am will help you to beat the crowds, with the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre a tourist favourite. For the kids, the complete skeleton of a large blue whale is a particular highlight, and don’t forget to visit the cafe which offers some great local cuisine!


William Ricketts Sanctuary

William Ricketts was a great Australian sculpture born in Victoria, and this sanctuary is dedicated to his works. Not only is this public park open all year round, but there are beautiful pieces everywhere you look, making this sanctuary perfect for a romantic walk with your loved one. Purchased by the Victoria Government from private owners, the William Rickets Sanctuary is one of the most iconic places to visit in the city, and you can even have a picnic here with the family.



Brunswick Street

Brunswick Street is the activity center of Melbourne, where Australian lifestyle blends with unique fashion. From sampling some of the city’s best coffee houses to touring the local markets and stores, you could easily spend an entire day on Brunswick Street, not least because of the great tourist atmosphere. The shopping here is some of the best in Australia, and there are plenty of places to buy suitcases if yours isn’t going to fit all your purchases in! Brunswick Street is also very accessible, and there are great transport links at both ends, from busses to trains.


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