Little Oddities in China on #UTC11 21

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best mcdonalds location in the world, china mcdonalds

Pretty much the best McDonald’s location you could imagine, heh?


One of the things that I love about China is the slightly off English that you see in signs and hear from people. “Clinglish” or “Changlish” or whatever one calls it (similar to Spanglish, which was supposedly an actually good Adam Sandler movie, though I’ll never know),

China was one of the last stops on our crazy 30-day Ultimate Train Challenge. The folks at China Odyssey Tours we kind enough to help us on this part of the journey and they were really invaluable, considering on how tight a schedule we were on. They scheduled up some tours for us on the few off travel days we had (Bejing and Guilin), but one of the big things they did was provide drivers and guides at each arrival and departure we had.

China is not the easiest country to get around in. While I had been there before, during my round-the-world trip, it still is not the easiest county to get around in. Off the sixty or so countries I have been in during the last three years, China is right up at the top of “least use of English from the locals.” One of the places I wished I’d been able to see was Shanghai, if only to take pictures of the Bund.

While China is currently embarking in a massive effort, like most effects on any topic they embark on, to teach their citizens English, it has seemed to me that there are few people over 30 that speak any English at all.

Most cabbies are over 30. Ergo some of the difficulty of traveling there.

My Chinese visa is good for an unlimited number of entries for a 12 month period. I really enjoy China a lot, so expect to see me back there before that visa runs out in 2012. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a few amusing signs that I saw while I was there.


no occupying while stabling sign on china train

Loved this sign on the high-speed train



success in life from learning english in china

Perhaps success in life in the next few decades is learning Mandarin



common people glasses sign in china

don’t be going and getting and rich people glasses for me



california noodles sign in china

because when I am in Beijing, I want… California food



relics sign in china

Striding apparently is inconsistent with respect. Remember it. Live it.



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About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.

21 thoughts on “Little Oddities in China on #UTC11

  • Reine

    The first sign has to be the oddest one…what is “stabling” and why would you do it in the washroom?! 😐

  • Mica

    These are funny. I especially like the last one. Mike says the funniest Chinglish is in the tech manuals. We can discuss further funny Chinglish over beers when you get here!

  • Jenna

    lol. I always enjoy reading signs like these. Well, at least they try to post things so others can understand! In many places, there are no English translations.
    I haven’t been to China, so I can’t comment on how much the general population speaks English, but I can comment on the Chinese people coming to the U.S.– their English is overall much better now than it was even 5 or 10 years ago.

  • Amanda

    Hahaha, stabling? Still stumped on that one. But I love posts like this! Things getting lost in translation will never cease to be funny, no matter how many times I see them.

  • Sally

    Where is that McDonald’s? I want to go to there.
    P.S. When are you coming to Wuxi to visit? We have the THIRD LARGEST LAKE IN CHINA! And there’s me. Surely, this is a must-see location. SURELY.

  • Jenna

    I worked in an apparel company and we had to be so careful of our French-Canadian translations on clothing hangtags. Once we were trying to say a material was impervious to moisture, and it came out sounding like impervious to urine! Language mishaps are always good for a laugh – thanks!

  • Audrey | Uncornered Market

    I secretly hope that the Chinglish and corresponding signs in China won’t go away anytime soon. They do add to the travel experience there 🙂

    As an aside, I’m jealous about your 12-month multiple entry visa. How did you manage that??

  • Ayngelina

    I read prior to the Olympics Beijing went around and fixed all the signs, it was kind of sad as that is one of the light-hearted moments in travel – and we all need them.

  • Camels & Chocolate

    I’m in China right now and I will echo the not-being-able-to-get-around-easy sentiment. Also, I feel like I’m in a minority here, but I don’t really like China one bit. I’m ready to get out of here and move onto Japan!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I think China can be tough on travelers for sure. I had some “hate it” moments there also, especially with the crowds and sometimes, shockingly, with some of the food.

  • California traveler

    LOL! My daughter and I used to have the MOST fun by writing out blocks of text (how to do something) or putting in descriptions of movies or sometimes song lyrics, translating them into Chinese with a translation program, then translating the results back into English. We literally laughed for hours …

  • Ilya

    Ha. Great pictures. Very similar to what we saw in China. You can see these fun things throughout Asia. In Malaysia we noticed a sign that said “Closed for 1 day”….yup :).

    And another great one was a street sign in Chinese (on Penang Island) where they showed an official translation that said “Street of the lowest grade prostitutes”….well, so you know :).

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