What is life like in Chengde?

Chengde is 100% China, with Chinese culture, language and history running through every vein of the city.

There are still very few cultural influences from other countries.

While this can be a challenge, it is also fascinating and with its warm and friendly people, cooler climate, mountain scenery and incredible history you will want to come back again very soon.

Folk dance performance in Chengde, China

  • Experience the real China
  • History everywhere
  • Mountains & clean air
  • Safe and friendly
  • Great local Chinese cuisine
  • Friendly locals to meet everyday

Life in Chengde is also very different to a big Chinese city and of course even more different to life in another country. Many foreigners and students studying abroad talk about their experiences in Beijing or Shanghai, but they actually never saw the real China.

They only experienced the westernized and international parts of China that in reality make up a very small part of the country. You will not be one of them.

For a first-hand account of living in Chengde, check out William’s story here!

  • History


    The Qing dynasty - China’s imperial summer capital until the last emperor
    UNESCO - Chengde is an official UNESCO world heritage site
    The Old Summer Palace - the Kangxi emperor’s biggest project
    Sights - Wooden Buddha, Putuo Temple, Great Wall and many more

  • Clean environment

    Clean environment

    Mountains - the city is surrounded by mountains, with great hiking options
    Clean air - Chengde is far away from China’s industrial areas
    Beautiful Winter - with plenty of snow, Chengde even has a ski resort
    Not congested - no traffic jams and easy to get around

  • Fun


    Actually not that small - with half a million people, this is still a proper city
    University life - four big universities with more than ten thousand students
    A sports city - football, hiking, badminton & many other outdoor activities
    Eat & drink - people love big and long dinners with a lot of friends

  • Relaxing


    A slower pace of life - people even walk slower than in Beijing or Shanghai
    Relax - here a high quality of life is more important than money
    The mountains - the next mountain is never more than a few 100m away
    Simple - life here is much more simple than in China’s big cities

Learn Mandarin in Chengde

Chengde city with a lake in the foreground
Chengde – A world apart from Beijing and Shanghai

Life in Chengde is much slower and more relaxed than in China’s big cities. People here value their high quality of life, with a lot of sports and outdoor activities around and less pressure than in other parts of China. If you come to Chengde after learning Chinese in Beijing or Shanghai you will immediately realize the difference in pace and lifestyle.

From Monday to Friday you will be taking Chinese classes during the day, for either four or six hours depending on which immersion program option you chose. If you booked the discover Chengde option you will also be going outside with your teacher to explore the city while studying and practicing your spoken Chinese.

Students usually eat lunch with their teachers in a restaurant close by or with their homestay family.

After class you will usually eat dinner with your homestay family or flat mates. This might be followed by going to the park for some square dancing with your host mother and friends, getting a beer in a restaurant in the old town or meeting local friends to watch a movie or sing karaoke together. During the weekends there are many different options available.

Chengde is smaller than Beijing or Shanghai, but as a city of half a million inhabitants – including more than ten thousand university students – there is a lot to do. You can find people who are into pretty much any activity you can imagine from music and sports to playing chess or cooking.

Popular activities for students on weekends include hiking, horse riding, exploring the gardens of the summer palace (get a multi-entry ticket) and trips with your homestay family.

The Pre-Chengde Meeting

Before you go, we will have a pre-Chengde meeting with you.

If you are going after a Chinese course in Beijing or Shanghai this will be at our language school, but if you are going directly to Chengde – only suitable for already China experienced students – we will do it online via WhatsApp or Skype.

During this meeting you will let us know your preferences regarding your homestay family and what you enjoy doing during your private time.

This can be anything from playing football or running marathons to playing video games. Once you are in Chengde we will connect you with people who have similar interests and welcome a new foreign friend to join.

Chengde Survival Kit Standard

  • Transport from Beijing to Chengde and Back – We will provide you with train tickets for your journey from Beijing to Chengde and the return journey
  • Train Station pick-up – You will be picked up from the train station in Chengde and taken to your accommodation.
  • Chengde Mountain Resort Ticket – We will give you an entrance ticket to the famous Mountain Resort in Chengde.
  • Chinese Culture Class – You will be able to take one Chinese cultural class such as calligraphy or Chinese paper cutting for free.
Price: 1,815 CNY

This package can be upgraded to include transport from Beijing to Chengde by private car for an additional 750 CNY.

Discover Chengde Upgrade

Don’t spend your classes just studying inside, but go out with your teacher to use and practice your Mandarin in real life with the help of a professional Chinese tutor. This is a great way to quickly lose your fear of speaking, explore the city and make classes a lot of fun.

This option is especially useful for people who come to Chengde for a relatively short time.

Note: this is an upgrade and you need to already have a Chinese course booked to be able to use it.

Price: 1 week 1,000 CNY and then 800 CNY per additional week

Chengde Connection Kit

While people in Chengde are very friendly and welcoming towards foreigners, it is not everyone’s thing to just walk up to the people on the next table in a restaurant and start a conversation. We will introduce you to and take you for dinner with a language exchange partner and a student ambassador who will show you around town on a weekend or evening. This is a great way to quickly meet people in Chengde and make friends.

Price: 900 CNY

Life in Chengde: Going to the Market and Making Dumplings

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  • LTL Avatar Irene Magnosi
    Irene Magnosi , Student Advisor

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