China. Land of Mao, Yao Ming, Confucius, Jackie Chan, and roughly a billion more and counting. I do admit, it took us at Single Dude Travel a long time before we sent our our fist scout team to China, but I finally packed off for a couple months in China and have had very promising results to report so far.
First I need to disclaim that this article only refers to Shuzhou, China. Suzhou is a city of about 8,000,000 about 2 hours drive from Shanghai. I’m sure there are many places in China that are radically different just like you might notice some minor differences between say… Detroit and Beverly Hills.
Suzhou, China is a very good single dude travel destination. Suzhou is a large industrial city that really caters to foreigners largely due to the fact that there are many foreign businessmen living here. Suzhou is beautiful, modern, clean, well organized and doesn’t have the feeling of overcrowding that you would expect from the world’s most populous country. Pretty much everything I expected from China was wrong, at least in Suzhou. First of all, the people are extremely friendly and polite – especially to foreigners. They really seem to have a genuine desire to see that you are comfortable and well taken care of and it’s not because they expect a large tip, there is little to no tipping here!
If you can live like a king in Eastern Europe on a small budget you can live like a god in China. Here’s a sampling of the prices of stuff here:
Ride in a taxi for 5 km / 3 miles for – $1.53
Eat lunch in a nice restaurant – $6
Haircut and a half hour upper body massage – $6 (I’m told I overpaid)
One hour full body massage – $9.25
Dinner in a fancy high class restaurant – $13
All you can eat hibachi and all you can drink beer, wine and sake – $23
Dental exam and cleaning in a high quality clinic catering to foreigners – $46
Private Chinese lessons with the teacher coming to my location – $13 / hour (I’m told this is expensive)
Enough groceries to to make 4 or 5 good meals for 2 and 2 decent bottles of wine – $21 (note more than half of the price was the wine)
Drink in an upscale club – $3
All you can play pool and non-alcholic beverages in a pretty nice pool hall – $4.75
All you can eat Chinese “Hot Pot” and all you can drink beer – $11.25
Hookers* – $22.50 “eat in” & $45.00 “take out”
Tailored suits $100, tailored shirts $10, tailored pants $30, tailored jeans $40
And all of this is happening while I’m hanging out in the rich part of town where all the rich Chinese and foreign businessmen live. I can only imagine what the prices might be like out in the countryside.
Suzhou is absolutely jam packed with nice restaurants, bars and clubs. There are places of all types that cater to locals and others that cater to foreigners. Both are fun. Pravda is an example of a “western club” and Scarlet is definitely a “Chinese club” in the area of town known as Li Gong Di. The only problem with the Chinese clubs is that sometimes it’s harder to find people that speak English. Chinese is an extremely difficult language – you should learn some basic pleasantries but don’t plan on learning enough to have a conversation. It’s almost impossible for native English speakers to learn although there are those rare few that manage to pull it off.
If you’re looking for gringo hunters in Central and South America then you’re definitely looking for round eye hunters in China. The foreigner bars and clubs are jam packed with them. You will find plenty of round eye hunters in Li Gong Di but also in Phoebe’s and In Pub down town. While not in Li Gong Di or downtown, Blue Marlin is another western bar mainstay. Be sure to also check out bar street (Shi Qian Jie) a long street that has nothing but bars. About half are just regular bars catering to foreigners and the other half are hooker bars.
Chinese girls are great, very feminine and some are absolutely drop dead gorgeous. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are no where near as conservative as I was expecting. In fact a lot of the hot little Chinese chicks that frequent the clubs dress surprisingly similar to Eastern European chicks (read: tight skimpy clothes and high heels).
El Matador adds the following gems of wisdom on China & Chinese girls:
German is actually a language worth knowing in China there since many Japanese and Chinese speak it to some degree. After WW2 there was still a strong alliance and German is actually the language for many kinds of engineering which the Asians are particularly strong in.
Chinese girls: They don’t have the religious barrier to sex but there is still the cultural purity thing. They are Commies, a bit tough and they attempt to be domineering. Don’t buy it for a second though. Major issue: Xenophobia. They think we are from Neptune or something so they need time to get comfortable with guys like us. You do have to get your head around the fact that you are extremely high status for any girl there. You could find a daughter of a very wealthy factory owner and she would still think of you and a step up from her social place. Some girls will eliminate you because your perceived value will seem so much higher than
theirs. They are very beaten down and feel like puny cogs in a machine.
China has a middle class for the first time in history and they also have disposable income. But they are such newbies to leisure time and wealth. You can teach them. Asian girls are very obedient if you command them as such. Just try commanding a girl you don’t care about to see if it works. They literally can’t say no.
Hate to say it, but Asians are the biggest shopaholics in the world. Go to the mall to find cleaned-up polished girls who take care of their appearance to our standards here. You can walk around with an oxygen tank and offer them whiffs as there isn’t much breathable air there.
Go to Japan! They are FaREEKS but finding hot ones is much harder. Chinese are better looking due to more genetic diversity.
I have to say that I found El Matador’s comments to be right on the money so far. We tend to think of El Matador as the Obi-Wan Kenobi of single dude travel – there’s little he hasn’t seen and little he hasn’t done.
If you have absolutely any ability to play pool at all you better brush up on your game before you come to China. Pool is a serious pass time here. Most bars have a tournament size pool table that you don’t have to pay to use but you’ll have to play whoever is currently running the table and they will be good. There are a lot of hot little girl pool sharks in China too so it’s a great way to make “friends”. But seriously you better be good.
Be sure not to miss our article on KTV.
*Charlie, Raul and I aren’t really huge fans of paid sex. I personally just don’t like the idea of paying somebody to be with me when there are so many willing participants in most places. However you simply can’t visit this place and not talk about the hookers, the whorehouses, the “special treatment” bars, KTV clubs and massage parlors. I have never been to a place that has more hookers. (UPDATE: Thailand definitely has more hookers but I had not yet visited as of the original writing!) Amsterdam, eat your heart out! And many of them are really pretty hot too. Figures quoted above are if you know where to go (i.e. you have a local friend), the fancy “special treatment” massage parlors may try to take you for 100′s of dollars (hell maybe even thousands). The absolute funniest thing that has happened to me so far was visiting the local’s whorehouses with a local friend. He drove me by rows and rows of little shops with beautiful girls just sitting inside waiting. He asked the madam of the shops “How much?” and she said “For you 150 RMB (~$22.50), for him [pointing at me] no way, he too strong.” I asked him what she said and he explained that she said I was “too strong”. “Too strong?” I asked, “I don’t get it.” “Your penis too big!”, he replied. I guess the stereotypes are true… or at least Chinese people believe they are.