Livable Chinese cities

Hey anons, I'm looking to study in China for a year now that it's open. I can pretty much go anywhere. My criteria for cities are:

>has mountains nearby
>interesting architecturally/geographically
>pollution not beijing-tier
>not anywhere in the north china basin (boring)

Yunnan and Sichuan are most interesting to me, so I've pretty much narrowed it down to Chongqing and Kunming. Does anyone have any experiences with these cities? I talked to one expat who lived in Kunming and he said the surveillance wasn't quite as intense there since it's relatively small and far away from Beijing. Chongqing seems interesting because of the food and crazy geography, and I love Sichuanese food.

  1. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Stick to a tier one city over there. Everything else is hard for non-local.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      The reason I'm looking to avoid the big east coast cities is I think they're a bit too big and shiny. I prefer more undeveloped, grungy places. I already speak passable Chinese, by the way.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Chongqing seems really interesting

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Can you read/write as well? Then Chongqing is fine with a better prostitution scene than Chengdu, but Chengu has a better food scene.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Yep I read and write better than I speak in fact. Which is one of the reasons I'm going.

          Chengdu seems even bigger than Chongqing and less unique. Anyone lived there before?

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >Chengdu seems even bigger than Chongqing and less unique. Anyone lived there before?
            Weird that a 15 million city "seems" even bigger to you than the largest city in China at 30 million.

            • 2 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              Chongqing sprawls so much that it has multiple city centres, Chengdu less so, making it feel bigger somehow.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Yep I read and write better than I speak in fact. Which is one of the reasons I'm going.

        Chengdu seems even bigger than Chongqing and less unique. Anyone lived there before?

        I lived in Chongqing for three years and speak Chinese so if you have any questions feel free to ask.
        >I speak passable Chinese
        Your first month will be horrible. Chongqing people have a very thick accent and many don't even speak 普通话 but 重庆话. Even Chinese people have trouble understanding them. However being able to speak Chinese is better than not being able to speak.

        Chongqing sprawls so much that it has multiple city centres, Chengdu less so, making it feel bigger somehow.

        All the CBDs (central business districts) are located relatively close to each other. Chongqing is definitely not a city I'd consider to be "sprawled". Far from. Literally the opposite. You can't find a more closely nit city than CQ on this fucking Earth.
        >What about (insert district)?
        I'm talking about just the main CQ city area. Not the boonies that are considered part of the city for some reason.

        Yep I read and write better than I speak in fact. Which is one of the reasons I'm going.

        Chengdu seems even bigger than Chongqing and less unique. Anyone lived there before?

        Both are fine. Chengdu has WAAAAAAAAY better food and food scene. Chongqing people just eat hot pot everyday and I am not exaggerating this by a lot. You can ask someone what they ate today, yesterday and the day before and it's not unlikely that it was all hot pot. I've had days where ichsd trouble finding a restaurant to eat at cause it's all hot pot.
        >What about Chongqing noodles?
        Carby garbage. Go to Chengdu if you want to eat right.
        >What city do you recommend?
        Depends what you are looking for. I love Shanghai but I'm sure it will be looked down here as too cliche.
        >Why Shanghai?
        Money. You can make money everywhere and there are jobs every fucking where. It also has its balance of seedyness and high endess.
        >What about clubs and parties?
        Both are comparable but I heard from some of my foreign friends in CQ that the clubs got noticably racist against them. Before it was literally never a problem. I never experienced racism in China (I left before COVID). Some would discriminate against Indians at the most but that's it. Now some won't let whites and blacks in. Also the club scene in China has turned to shit due to covid (allegedly).

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          NTA, but if I only studied Chinese for a few months, should I only stay in tier1 cities? Also, which areas of China are best to live in during the winter months?
          I'd like to try staying in China for a couple months, depending on the visas available later this year or next year. Originally I thought about staying in CQ for like a month but from what you're saying, that might be difficult for me?

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I have a Russian friend in CQ right now and she's complaining that it's cold as fuck right now. CQ weather is super cold in the winter and super hot in the summer. I think last summer it was hot enough to boil an egg or something ridiculous, it was a meme in CQ.
            >Should I stay in CQ?
            It really depends on what you want in a city. I've lived in China for 6 years, speak the language and have been to almost every major city. What exactly are you looking for? Be more specific and I'll help you. Will you be working there? Do you have money? What's your age? Etc.
            >What did you do?
            My first year in China I was in a dead but beautiful tier 4 city/town. I hated it but looking back on it I loved it.

            • 2 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              I am in my mid 20s and I have a remote job that pays relatively well. I am looking for a city where the cost of living is relatively cheap and where I can get by with very little Chinese (I plan on studying Mandarin this year but obviously I won't be even close to fluent by the time I go). I'm mostly interested in nature and culture/history, but I think cities like CQ are cool and aesthetic as fuck. I would like my "main base" city to be somewhere where I can easily reach most other cities and locations. Also I'm planning on going either during the winter or spring. I've heard that the cities have varying levels of air quality depending on the season.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >Get by with little Chinese
                Honestly it would just be Shanghai, Beijing and MAYBE Guangzhou. Guangzhou has good air quality, kino aesthetics, VERY good good, nice girls (for me) and lots of culture/history. Only problem is that it's a little more expensive than most Chinese cities. Rent will be expensive. Food costs are low.
                What visa would you get? They don't digital nomad visas.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                I would just get whatever tourist visa they have later this year or next year and not tell them I'm working remotely. Before covid how long did their tourist visas last?
                Also how much do accommodations go for in these tier 1 cities? Is it possible to rent month by month for around 700USD or less?

  2. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Although it's the only place in China I've ever set foot, I can confirm Kunming is comfy. And it's definitely undeveloped and grungy.
    I have nowhere to compare it to though.

  3. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >China
    >livable
    Pick one.

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