With a Backpack

Date archives February 2016

China / Destinations

Visiting Xian City Wall

“Build high walls, store abundant provisions and take your time in proclaiming yourself emperor” -Zhu Sheng, Advisor to Emperor Zhu YuanZhang   Although Xi’an’s biggest tourist attraction is obviously the Terracotta Warriors, visiting the Xian City Wall should definitely make its way onto your list of things to do here! Xian City Wall is one… Continue reading

Travel / Travel Tips

10 travel safety tips

Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands. -Jeff Cooper, US Marine and Firearms Instructor Making sure you are staying safe whilst travelling is one of the most important things for you to consider when planning a trip or holiday. Although most countries are just as safe (sometimes… Continue reading

China / Videos

My First TEFL Chinese Apartment – Hangzhou


This is a video of my first TEFL Chinese apartment. It was kindly provided by the school for me and my two colleagues, although that does mean I’m not sure exactly how much it would cost for a similar quality apartment if you are renting yourself.

The apartment is on the top of the building, the 6th floor. This provides a fairly decent view, however, it comes with the price of having to walk up six flights of stairs as there are no lifts/elevators.

I’m pretty sure this is not the typical style of Chinese apartment given to TEFL teachers, but it should give you a general idea of the potential of the kind of accommodation you can expect out here if you do decide to come over to teach.

TEFL Chinese apartment breakdown


  • Open plan Living room/Dining room
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom with Shower
  • 2 Ensuite Bedrooms
  • 2 Smaller Bedrooms
  • Washing and drying room


Not applicable – this Chinese apartment was provided by the school.


Good. Very close to the school – just a few minutes walk. The community is good,  plenty of shops, supermarkets and services. Conveniently, one of the recently opened Metro stops is just outside the community which makes access to Hangzhou city centre much easier. This is useful as the area is not very lively with things to do, especially in the way of nightlife.


Ultimately this is great accommodation, it has pretty everything we need and is a high quality of Chinese apartment.

The fact that is so big means that in the winter it is expensive or borderline impossible to heat meaning the tile floor gets very cold. The size also means cleaning is just a little bit harder. Some of the decorations and fixtures are made quite cheaply so aren’t as robust as you would expect but, that is common in China anyway.

Other than the previous negatives it is a good place to live and the fact that we pay no rent makes it so much better. Just one of the benefits of Teaching English as a foreign language!

Travel / Travel Tips

Backpack or suitcase?

I’ll tell you what I love doing more than anything: trying to pack myself in a small suitcase. I can hardly contain myself. -Tim Vine, Comedian Backpack or Suitcase: Which is better? A completely unbiased guide to why suitcases suck   This article is going to cover a question that will have faced all travellers… Continue reading