OK, on this one, I have to pipe up. Really, on many points, I have to wonder if The Frenchman visits the same China that I do. Or, perhaps it is just that he breezes through too many cities too quickly to actually get to know the place.
The Frenchman does not, apparently, like the look of Chinese women. Flat noses? He does not like flat noses yet holds up Thai women as an ideal of beauty? Flatter nose bridges are the norm in Thailand and in China. They all think western noses look better
over there, even when the mixed girls have honkers that would make an Arab proud.
White skin? Actually, I like that. Southern Chinese are browner. I do not rate women on skin color though, but rather on the quality of the complexion. There I find Asian women in general to be just wonderful. Matters not a whit to me where they come
from. Oh, and that softness to the skin…
Ok, Frenchie’s preferences, fine. Me, I see stunners over there all the time and rate the average young Chinese lady as being as pretty as any average young lady in any Asian country. Of course, I just flat out prefer Asian women and do not care
that much which country they come from. For me, Beijing, in particular is nice for seeing and meeting lots of pretty young women. As in Thailand, age (mine) is not as much of an issue as it is in the West, so I can meet many more young ladies
than I do in the West. For me, as a married guy, it is just to chat.
Still, as in Thailand, if I were not perceived to be wealthier than they are, or if someone is not interested in practicing English, then that would probably not be the case. Laowai or Farang, matters not what they call you, there will always be the impact
of perceived economic advantage to being a westerner. Overall, though, I think the average Asian is just more friendly. Of course, New York City wins many polls for being friendliest to tourists, so I suppose the being from somewhere else is a
very important part of how easy it is to meet the locals in both countries.
Your average Chinese woman is very much like your average, traditional Thai woman. At the risk of causing offence, and despite what many of you think, my experience living and traveling in Thailand and in reading this site has me firmly convinced that
most of the contributors really have very little experience with traditional, educated, Thai women as partners. Most are, frankly, there for the P4P and few are dating college grads. Those of you that do would find the Chinese much the same. Lots
of smiles, similar attitudes, not wild partiers, rarely drink, don’t smoke, etc. Things are changing with the younger generation in both countries, but mostly you will meet some really nice women in either place if you are a really nice
guy and get clued into the local culture, learn some language, etc.
I spent six years working in New York City. While first there, I hung out with Koreans, dated Chinese and Japanese (met my wife) and generally focused on Asian women. I find them all a breath of fresh air. I have no reason to cast aspersions on Asian
women from anywhere. Too many good experiences.
There is something about those cute little wais that I miss. Nothing like a pretty little woman smiling while waiing you. Do miss that.
Other things, so much more same same than anything. Be wary of the women that target western men in either country.
Is it a problem that many people socialize in the context of eating together? Wow, isn’t that true in Thailand too? In fact, in every country and culture in the world? I am not sure what Frenchie means there, but I guess he is mostly saying there
is nothing else to do.
There is just as much alcohol abuse among men in China as in any Asian country. Not a good thing. Drinking games, another part of Chinese social life, are very common there. More so than in Thailand. So, it is not all eating out. If you like drinking,
plenty of that going on in either place.
The major cities (and most Chinese cities are pretty major) are full of nightclubs and bars. Active music scenes, if that is your thing. Plenty of freelancers in the bars and clubs as well, if that is your thing. If headed to Beijing, check out TheBeijinger.com
for local music events, restaurant and bar reviews, etc. Beijing and Tianjin, the two places I know best, have lots of places to go out at night. So the idea that there is “not much else” other than eating or shopping is ludicrous.
Guess Frenchie does not know how to Google.
Bars stay open later in Beijing than in Thailand, of course. Technically, I do not believe they have to close at all, but most tend to when there are not enough people left to justify staying open. Depending on the bar, this is generally around 2 – 4
There is plenty of nightlife in China. At current prices, comparable in cost to Thailand. Of course, Thailand is not so cheap for booze anymore. Unless you are drinking Tsingtao, do not expect a real bargain for alcohol in China. For me, I like Tsingtao
and know nice places where they are 15 – 20 RMB a bottle (even one where they are 7 RMB in Tianjin, but though popular, it is not that nice). That’s around US$2.50 – $3.30, so a good price to me.
One of the things that amuses me is that in Beijing there is a counterpart for each of the high-end Thai clubs (Bed, Supper, Q-Bar, etc.) with the same name and theme. Either they are the same owners of the Thai places or the Thai ones are direct copies.
No idea which.
China is, of course, an older culture than Thailand. There is an awful lot more than the Great Wall to see. I think everyone but Frenchie knows that. Like Thailand, it is a great place for exploring. Unfortunately, though the trains are great, China is
huge, so you are not going to see too much of the country in a single trip. Thailand, as it is smaller, is much more manageable and affordable for going from Southern islands to major city to trekking in the North. China is more like seeing Europe
or America. You can take a great deal of time doing it.
I go with my wife and son. For kids, there are great parks (most have kids rides), science and technology museums and the like. Nothing like the elephant show at the Rose Garden and Elephant Park which I would love to take my son to. But, kid oriented
culture, so plenty of things for them.
Bootleg DVDs, though I hate to advocate them, are excellent quality. I frequented a bar with nice recorded music in Beijing. Before I left the owner let me copy 18 gigs of his music onto my computer. I am hard pressed to find much music in my home that
was not acquired at little to no cost somewhere in Asia.
For me, the best thing about socializing in Thailand and in China is all the great expats I have met. I really enjoy chatting with expats and trading tales over a few beers. I have met some very interesting people in China and in Thailand. Always enjoy
I enjoy The Pool Bar in Beijing, shooting pool and chatting to the locals and expats. In Tinajin, I like Hank’s for the expats (great group there) and western food and Golden Bar to sit up on the roof and chat over beers with the expats and local
Chinese. Sitong Music Bar is nice to listen to some live music and look at some pretty women.
To say China is boring I think means someone has been there too long, knows too few people, or just does not know what is out there. I have a blast there.
All in all, just as social in China as in Thailand in terms of meeting locals with the possible exception that I meet more Chinese guys than I ever did Thai guys. Bit of a difference there.
Hey, it is Asia, so there is plenty. From “barber shops” (200 – 400 RMB; but need to speak Mandarin), to massage places and saunas, escort services, to freelancers (800 – 1200 RMB in Beijing). Pricier, on average, than in Thailand.
I have not partaken, as I travel with my wife, but have seen some stunners. Drop into Maggie’s in Beijing, colloquially referred to as the Mongolian Embassy. Nice look, those Northern Sisters. I went as a tourist for a look-see.
There are a few places, easy to find, with freelancers in any Chinese city that gets western visitors.
GFE? I doubt any place can match the old Thailand on that one, other than the Philippines. Even Thailand is having trouble matching the old Thailand. Get it while it lasts.
There are quite a few police crackdowns at present, driven in part by efforts to root out official corruption. It is not clear where this is going as no-one, anywhere, has ever wiped out prostitution, but the current crackdown appears to be ongoing.
Anyway, I do not rate places for P4P (did not even see Nana until my second year living in Thailand). If you do and like Chinese ladies, then China is best. If you are gong for value or are a cheap Charlie, it is not. More like Hong Kong or Singapore.
The Isaan there are the Mongolians. The locals are the locals and the girls from the countryside. In western oriented bars they will speak English, in Chinese they will not. Avoid KTVs and be cautious of bath houses unless you know the costs in
advance. Either can be quite expensive if higher end.
Lots of inexpensive, two star Chinese hotels that are fine by me. Shop around and there are lots of good deals. I do best by booking a place online initially, then walking the area and finding a place to move to that is better situated and less expensive.
Western hotels are pricey. Overall, I think Bangkok is a bit cheaper than Beijing, but you can do OK at around $US40 a night or a bit less. For the backpacker types, lots of hostels to choose from at budget prices. For the high end, they have as high
as you want to go, just like Thailand.
Well, yeah, it sure helps if you like Chinese food. Chinese food is quite different depending on the region of the country you are in. Beijing style food is not common in the West, so you are probably unfamiliar with it, but what is on offer will always
include Sichuan options or hot pot places pretty much anywhere in China.
Western food? KFC? Are you kidding Frenchman? There is tons of Western food in Beijing (or most other major cities) that does not require stooping to KFC or McD’s, which are all over the place, alas. Lots of websites with restaurant reviews –
just Google your city for expat websites.
Chinese food can be very cheap or quite expensive. Me, I always splurge on a high-end Beijing Duck place (Da Dong) in Beijing as it is just so worth it!!!! Western food is pricey (think around US$10 for a good burger and fries, more for anything else)
and easily available.
Crime is not a major issue for visitors, same as in Thailand. Same concerns in not pissing off locals in bars as in Thailand. You will get the crap kicked out of you. Muggings, robberies and the like are pretty unheard of.
Scams are big. Big. Familiarize yourself with them online before you go. Do not go to tea houses with locals. If it is cheap, it is fake. No, they do not make 200GB thumb drives, but you can buy them there. If you bargain for it, you can get whatever
it is at half price. Generally, that works out to twice what you will pay for it at Carrefour or Walmart over there. Try one of those places first for anything other than tourist trinkets.
If you die it will be in a car. Watch out for the electric bikes. They are silent and fast.
Industrial safety is the same as in Thailand. It simply does not yet exist.
Pollution? Well, who went to Bangkok for the air? A windy day in the Northeast (Beijing in particular) is like getting sand blasted. The air sucks in Beijing, but most days it is not so noticeable.
Food safety is a serious issue. I think that is mostly more pressing there as it is reported on in the press. I do not recall reading in Thailand that they are a leading country for food poisoning (but they are, according to the travel insurance industry),
but I have had food poisoning four times in Thailand; Should have seen it coming twice (my fault for not) and caught by surprise twice. Like Thailand, the Chinese cities are clean, but who knows really about the food in the kitchen. Is it yesterday’s
chicken, old oil, etc. Issue, I think, throughout the general region.
Hey. You can walk on the sidewalks in China in the dark and not break your leg. I like that. What is it about the Thai that they have such an aversion to fixing the friggin sidewalk? I did not see any big holes in the middle of the road either. Chinese
buildings are often shit and might fall down, but they do the roads and sidewalks better. Have not seen the crazy wiring in China either, but that does not mean I would trust it. When it comes to cutting corners, Asians do seem to excel in general.
That is clearly the corruption as inspectors cost less to pay than standards do to meet. True all over Asia at present.
I do not go to Asia for safety or health reasons. I am not stupid. I am safer here at home and the air quality is better (though the closest city to me is not so good). I just suspend judgment in Asia and have fun.
Like most of Asia, it is nuts. I find the drivers slower than in Thailand, they just kind of a dance on the road as they nudge in front of each other. It seems there must be a law requiring frequent lane changes as they do it every few hundred feet for
no apparent reason. Somehow, they manage it, but I think it would be very hard to drive there without an hourly fender bender. I declined the offer of borrowing a car. Taxis are cheap.
Seat belts in the back, or clean ones to use in a cab in the front (Beijing is a dust bowl), are not common. Car seats? Have seen them in stores, but not in cars. Really, I try not to think of road safety (or food safety) in Asia. If I did, I could not
Traffic can be hell at peak times. Beijing has a great, and cheap, subway system. Use it and take taxis, but avoid the roads in peak hours. Bangkok traffic downtown, Beijing, same same.
India is by far the worst I have seen in that part of the world. Reminds me of bumper cars. Everywhere else seems tamer in comparison.
Educated Chinese, of which there are many, all speak some English. Younger ones often quite well.
Educated Chinese do not tend bar, unless they own the place, wait tables, or work in shops and supermarkets. They do not drive taxis or buses, sell train tickets, or engage in most customer facing jobs.
So, communication is a real issue in China. There is no comparison to present day Bangkok where it is so easy to get by in English. It can be a real challenge in China.
My wife is Chinese. I cannot underestimate the number of times I pull out my local cell phone in China and call her so that I can hand it to a Chinese person for her to tell them what I want. It is my translator there as I often travel on my own while
she hangs out with her family.
In short, English language skills among customer facing people in China are extremely limited to non-existent, with more of the latter than the former.
The government is introducing programs to change that, but it is going to take a long time.
Hanging out in a bar, meeting people, you will meet many an interesting expat and many young Chinese who speak English. It is just the day-to-day getting around and little things you need to do where the lack of English will drive you nuts. Plan what
you are going to do and where you are going and print it off the internet in Chinese to take with you. I keep a little notebook with key addresses and print sheets of tourist locations in Chinese for taxi drivers. When all else fails, try another
taxi or, in my case, I call my wife.
I love Asia in general. As we all know, lots of touristy things to see and do all over China. Spring and fall are best, as noted elsewhere. This is true in most of the world. Do check the weather where you are going. It is a big country and some places
can be quite cold or quite hot. Gee, I bet you all knew all this stuff already.
For beaches (and no, Pattaya is not a beach, it is a whorehouse), Thailand beats China hands down. Who can beat the islands?
Crowds are an issue in China. Avoid tourist places on major holidays unless you are very tall. The Chinese love to travel internally and any place you would like to see is high on their list too. It is hard to convey how crowded it can be during Chinese
national holidays. Outside of them, and especially right after them, is a good time to be there.
Anyway, China and Thailand both justifiably fill tour books. Plenty to see in both countries.
China v. Thailand
Hey, they are different countries. So what? Do I have to compare everywhere to my country, your country or Thailand? Alright, will do a little.
Thailand is still a bit better value and a bit easier. To me, Thai food trumps Chinese, hands down. Western food is much more available and better now in Thailand than it used to be. China has plenty of western restaurant owners as well. Just look on
I like Chinese women. I like them a lot. I could get in serious trouble over there if I am not careful…
For P4P, still a better deal in Thailand or Angeles city than in China. Really, what other countries have places like Nana or Soi Cowboy at Thai prices that are filled with young Asian women? In China it will cost you more, but there are many guys out
there who think it is paradise too, just as you do Thailand.
Looking for a wife? Chinese tend to be more adaptable than most people from most cultures (which is why they run so many Southeast Asian economies) and have all the advantages of Asian women. They have more of a future focus and a stronger work ethic
than the Thai, by far. Of course, you all know Thai-Chinese, so you already know this too. Whether this will be preserved in the younger women raised as only children with more money is a current question.
So many guys marry Thai women with few marketable skills in the West. My wife and other Chinese wives I know here in the States often earn around a 100k a year, which beats hell out of bringing a bar girl or a house maid home. But, educated Thai women
work hard as well (all educated Asians do), so there really are no meaningful differences off of the farm. Off the farm, I think you would still find Chinese to be hard workers, though I do not have experience there as I do with Isaan women, some
of whom do work hard, and others are just plain so much fun. Still, are the ones I have met in tourist hang-outs representative? I think probably not.
Bride prices are pretty much a thing of the past in China, but the guy still has to bring a lot to the table. Typically, a Chinese woman will not consider a man ready for marriage until he has a home, a car, and a career. They expect you to work hard
for the family and all that stuff. You get nailed for wedding costs and celebration, gifts to family, etc. I married in the States and avoided all that, so I am not really expert there.
Really, where did the idea of a subservient Asian woman come from? Olden times. Modern Asian societies seem rather matriarchal within the home. Chinese women are not different in this regard. Strong Thai women can be much the same. I have no problem with
being equals and I will go a long way to keep a woman who need not shave her legs.
Bangkok is often rated the number one tourist destination in the world. Cost is a big part of that. Thailand is a great place to visit or, in my mind, to live if you have a decent job. China is the same. Either place will drive you crazy at times. Few
western males escape living in either place without picking up a local wife. All in all, the two places are much more alike than they are different.
I read so much black and white thinking on this site. Thailand and Thai women are so great, everything and everywhere else sucks. Well, that is certainly not my experience in any area. I enjoy Thailand. I enjoy China. I am happy in America. I know guys
with nice Asian wives and I know happy guys with nice western wives. I have met guys who have been burned by women from anywhere. Certainly more in Thailand than anywhere else, but that is only because I meet more guys there than I do at home
(expats attract each other like magnets). I love to travel and I prefer Asia. All of it, any of it. I no longer choose to live there and my travels, due to the family, are now to China rather than to Bangkok, but I love going to China and always
have a soft spot in my heart, if not my head, for all things Thai!!
I just had to jump in there as I see so much negativity, at times, towards China from those who like Thailand. Come on, they are different places, but have much in common. Enjoy the differences. China is a great place to visit and if you like Asian women,
you will find they have more of them than any other country in the world.
So, grab your camera sometime, Stick, and head to China. Wander the Beijing hutongs, go into cardiac arrest climbing the Great Wall (wow, they must have been fit to build that sucker), take pictures in the park, visit some expat hang-outs, and just try
something a little different.
You paint a rather inviting picture of China. Many thanks for putting this comprehensive article together!