10 Things We Don’t Miss About China

As you know, we loved living in China, we loved our job and everyone we met was great. We’re always so incredibly positive about China and rave about how great it is. There are many, many things we miss about living here. However, as with every place, there are some downsides to living in this country.

Here’s a list of 10 things that we don’t miss about China:

1. The Air Quality. I’ve never been somewhere with such horrible pollution. Some days we literally couldn’t see out of our window. During different times of the year it can be really good, or really bad. We had a “China cough” almost every day.

pollution in china
A view from our apartment on a particularly hazy day

2. Smoking. One thing we didn’t know before travelling here was that almost every man in China smokes. Even though there are “no smoking” signs on trains, in restaurants and other areas, it doesn’t matter, they still light up. And of course, no one complains.

3. Peeing On The Street. This one we’ll never get used to. Children have a slit cut out of their pants for easier access to going to the bathroom (a number one or a number two). The only thing is, they just go on the streets, into garbage cans, in supermarkets, in train stations…where ever. Even if a bathroom is just a couple of steps away.

cons of living in china
For easier access to doing a #1 and #2…slits are found in the pants of Chinese kids aged 7 and under

4. The Spitting & Farmer’s Blowing. We now understand the need for clearing of mucus out of one’s lungs. But that doesn’t mean we enjoy hearing and seeing it. Nor do we enjoy a farmer’s blow, get some tissue!

5. The Driving. The driving in China is horrendous. We’ve been to many countries and seen some pretty bad drivers, but I think they’re the worst here! No one shoulder checks, pedestrians don’t have the right-of-way, they speed and swerve all over the street and then yell at each other when there’s an accident – when clearly both parties involved were at fault! We’ve seen so many accidents here, it’s insane.

6. Our Bed. Our backs have thanked us since leaving here. No amount of padding could help this board of a bed.

downsides to living in china
The dreaded bed in China!

7. Yelling At Children. Parents and Grandparents scream at their children and smack them all the time, which is something that we personally don’t agree with.

8. MSG & Oily Food. We LOVE the food in China, it’s so delicious and there’s so much variety. However, there are large amounts of MSG used, which adds flavour but the sodium content is so high. The food is also quite oily and usually fried.

downsides to china
Even though we love the food in China, it’s full of MSG and is a bit oily

9. Their Hatred For The Japanese. We had no idea how much animosity the Chinese people have for the Japanese. I think it’s more so in our area of China. During WWII the Japanese tortured and murdered many Chinese people in Nanjing, the capital of our province. Our students were always making racist remarks and as non-racist people, it was hard for us to tolerate.

cons of china
Chinese people (in our area at least) hate Japanese people – a bumper sticker in our apartment complex and a restaurant sign in Wuxi

10. Being Too Tall For This Country. Now this isn’t China’s fault, but we are tall people (I’m 5’10” and Nick is 6’0″), so it’s nice to be able to buy clothes that fit us and not have to hunch over to use our kitchen counter and our bicycles!

living in china
Short counter-tops aren’t ideal for tall people.

With every country there will be some cons to travelling or living there. For China, we struggled to come up with these ten downsides. There are so many great things about living abroad, and living here in China has been a wonderful experience. One  we will cherish and never forget!




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10 Things We Don’t Miss About China

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Written by

Dariece Swift

Dariece is a co-founder of Goats On The Road, and an expert in saving money, finance management, building an online business and of course... travel. She loves meeting new people, trying new cuisines, and learning about the unique cultures of our world. She has over 10 years of experience helping others to realize their travel dreams and has worked in numerous jobs all over the world to help pay for travel. Her advice about long-term travel, remote work, and location independence has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider and Forbes. Learn more about Dariece Swift on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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