Being a Chinese Tourist in India!

Posted by Roberta Mazzoni • Friday, September 16, 2011 • Category: People and Places
Lili Jiang, 23, is a Chinese student from Sichuan Province, China. In July she went to travel in India and she has decided to share her experience with us.

KM: So, first of all, Lili, how come you decided to go to India? Isn’t it still a quite unusual destination for Chinese tourists?

Lili: Well to be honest, I think you are right, there aren’t many Chinese tourists in India (yet!), and on the plane I had a hard time explaining to the Chinese hostesses and passengers why I was travelling to India as a tourist. Most of the Chinese people on my flight were going to India for business purposes and they didn’t understand why I was going there just for fun! The hostesses were actually worried for me, telling me things like: “Why are you going to India? Are you mad? If you need help you can stay with us, here’s our Indian phone number!” Despite their concerns though, my experience in India was great! The main reason why I decided to go was that I’ve always felt an attraction for India! We’re neighbours, yet so different!! My friend (who was flying from Hong Kong, while I was flying from Beijing) and I were scared we would miss each other in the airport. Luckily enough, I guess I looked too different from my Indian sisters and brothers and my friend recognized me right after I got out of customs!

(c) by Lili Jiang

KM: Well yeah…I guess you look pretty different from your Indian “sisters and brothers”! So, what impressed you the most about India?

Lili: Oh wow, this a tough question.. there are so many things that I can’t really think of only one answer.. I’d say that I was really impressed by the people in India. For example, in Delhi, we saw a lot of villagers coming to the city and some of them didn’t even wear shoes! Then…I guess I was also a bit shocked by the poverty I could see all around and the amount of street boys and girls who’d come to us to ask for money… On a completely different note though, I was also really impressed by the feeling I had about myself! For the first time I had people staring at me, and I was the LAOWAI [foreigner]! I know now how awkward you guys feel in China! (LOL)

(c) by Lili Jiang

KM: So, now you understand how strange being laowai is! What’s the most amazing place you’ve visited while there?

Lili: For sure, the most amazing place I visited was the Taj Mahal in Agra. Even though we had to travel several hours to get there from New Delhi, it was totally worth it. “Nah-mah-STAAAAAAAAAAAAY” I couldn’t help myself from using my broken Hindi saying hello to everyone I met there. I especially loved their confusing head-shaking while they said yes or agreed with you.

Another great place we stayed at was the Lotus Temple! It’s a Baha’i house of worship which is open to everyone regardless of religion, race, gender or any other distinction. There, I met different people from various countries volunteering in the temple and I was so happy they shared different stories of their life with me over there. Most of all, I felt so welcomed in the temple. There, was the first time I felt the power of spirits and I ended up spending the whole night meditating and praying.

Lotus Temple in Delhi
(c) by Jeremy Vandel

KM: And what about other Chinese people? Did you meet any other Chinese tourists or students in Delhi?

Lili: Mmmm…there were not many tourists. I can’t recall seeing many Chinese tourists. As I was saying earlier I met some Chinese businessmen going to India and I also had a couple of other interesting encounters with Chinese people in India. For example, I randomly met young students from Shanghai volunteering in Delhi (while learning English) for ASIC, an NGO that helps Indian school educated kids about AIDS and other diseases. And I also came across a guy from Liaoning who is studying computer engineering in Delhi! He’s the only Chinese student in his university, but his parents decided to send him to India, because it’s not as expensive as Western countries, but at the same time the quality of the university is very good, and he has to practice his English in India...actually he’s also learning Hindi now!

KM: Interesting! Do you think that in the future more and more Chinese people will choose India as their “study-abroad destination”?

Lili: Yes, personally, I think it’ll will become more and more popular in the near future, as going to study there has a lot of pros for Chinese students!

(c) by Lili Jiang

KM: And what about food? I’ve heard Indian food is supposed to be very spicy…but you’re from Sichuan, so not a problem at all for you, I guess?

Lili: Well…actually…food is a great shame of my trip, since I am from Sichuan province of China, I should be able to handle any spicy food…but unfortunately it wasn’t as I expected! Food really did give me a hard time in India…it’s amazing but way too spicy! Sometimes I just had to give up and ate in some KFC or Pizza Hut to survive! What a shame!!

KM: It sounds really tough! Especially if a Sichuanese person says so! But, Lili, overall, how would you rate your trip in India?

Lili: I spent 10 days in India in total and I enjoyed every single minute there. I appreciate that I got the chance to sample the local culture there and met different cool people in India, because it’s always the people that make the place. I think Indian people are amazing and spiritual. Travelling like this really cheers me up: It’s not just sight-seeing, but communicating with locals that I find the most interesting, and in this way I enhanced both my understanding of and respect for their culture and traditions.

KM: Thanks Lili for sharing with us this great experience!

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  1. Ni hao Lili. It was interesting reading about your experience in India. Being an Indian who has traveled a lot around China, I can understand many of the concerns and inconveniences Chinese tourists might face in India. It is admirable that you saw the positive aspects of the trip and kept a cheerful attitude.

    If you ever plan to visit again, a couple of places I would like to suggest are Kerala and Goa which have a large number of foreign tourists visiting.

    Hen gao xing ren shi ni. Zai jian.
  2. hey xiao he, thanks! I would like to visit India again when I have time and money!

    Hope you have great time in China!

  3. Hi Lili, that is an interesting story / experience of yours in India. Thanks for appreciating Indian tourism. And hope you will have greater time when you visit India next time :-)
  4. Well its cool places. Amazing resource. Our Country is so beautiful and heavenly.....

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