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 Post subject: Training in Zhengding
PostPosted: 11 Nov 2018, 15:47 
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Hi guys...I've been away for quite a while (uni work, full time work, etc etc), but now that uni is finished I have a bit more time on my hands and will be more active on here. I'm a teacher and I have decided that I am going to China for 4 weeks over the end of December/mid January for some intensive training at the Zhengding table tennis base, in Hebei province. I've been exchanging many emails with the person from the centre, Julie, and she has been very helpful in getting everything organised, including the visa invitations.

I am just wondering if anyone on these forums has been over to that training base, and can tell me what to expect (apart from many hours of multiball and puddles of sweat). I understand it is going to be very cold over there ( lows of -10 C , top of 3 C cold). How did you go about arranging payment? I have heard that ATM fees are quite exorbitant over in Zhengding - did you take money over there? Or did you find a good bank to set up an account with before you went over?

I guess any information would be greatly appreciated! I'm looking forward to picking up some cheaper equipment and clothing (I use DHS equipment, which is perfect!)

Regards,

BoyFromCoburg :D

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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2018, 00:12 
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This thread might be helpful:

viewtopic.php?f=58&t=18471

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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2018, 01:54 
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I've been watching a couple of YouTube channels (ADVChina and LaoWhy86) that give a TON of information about visiting and living in China (as well as a lot of other stuff about China). No table tennis mentioned at all, though.. :lol: they're a couple of motorcycle enthusiasts and have travelled over almost the entire country. Where IS Zhengding in China?

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2018, 21:24 
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Thanks for the information guys!

Zhengding is about 2 hours south of Beijing, and the main (correct me if I am wrong) training base of the Chinese National teams before major tournaments!

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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2018, 23:15 
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BoyfromCoburg wrote:
Thanks for the information guys!

Zhengding is about 2 hours south of Beijing, and the main (correct me if I am wrong) training base of the Chinese National teams before major tournaments!


Please post your impressions here - this type of thread is one of the most popular on TT forums.

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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2018, 01:50 
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I visited the training place two-three times before (still have the photos in external drives somewhere), alas prior to my interest in table tennis, otherwise I would have had enrolled there too. I was spending around two years time in big city next to Zheng Ding at that time.

Zheng Ding is small city by China's standard, when I went there it's nothing much to see and do (which probably better for training purposes as it would offer less distraction). Now it should be much improved and modernized. Regardless, if you want to break routine and visit big city, go to Shijiazhuang, the next big city. Transportation is much better now, you can hop the bullet train and get there in 15 minutes or so.

Beijing to Zhengding is about 1.5 hours by bullet train. Time calculated from train station. Beijing is a very big city. From airport to train station might take 1-1.5 hours by car/bus.

Please lower your expectation in facilities and cleanliness. I've been to China for about 2 decades or so. While the improvement is substantial, but still not just there yet. Restrooms would be the biggest offender on this subject. If possible, when eating out, don't visit the restroom, or at least visit at the end, otherwise you might not have the appetite to eat.

I don't know your tolerance to dirtiness, but for slightly more cautious minded: If you opt for dorm housing I would advice to clean your own room. Don't be surprise to find they might use the same stuff cleaning the bathroom/toilet for anything else as well. Buy and use and wash your own utensils and keep them from open space. Carry your own spoons/forks/chopsticks everywhere in the travel bag or whatnot.

Don't carry a lot of ID/credit cards. You only need your passport while in China. Credit card is of fairly limited use. Many places don't accept this form of payment. Carry just one if you have to, just in case. Now, they will tell you to carry your passport on you everywhere you go. I don't do this. I only carry a photocopy of the first page of my passport where it has my name and photo everywhere I go while in the city (just in case). My passport, and credit card, etc stays in my suitcase. I only carry some cash, and phone everywhere I go in the city. Don't forget you will need your real passport when you go to other places by train/plane (also long distance bus). For example if you go to Beijing/Shijiazhuang by train you need your real passport. If you go round trip to Shijiazhuang by car/taxi with friends you don't need your passport. It's just much safer not to carry it when you don't need to. During my 1-2 years in china, I heard many cases of my friends and classmates who's wallet/bags/phones got stolen.

As for money, carry USD for the most part. Carry at most 1000 renminbi/chinese yuan in smaller bills (10x100 is okay) just for use before you get the chance to go to the bank. Tell Julie you want to open a bank account when you get there and have them prepare someone to accompany and help you opening an account. Exchange rate at the bank is fairly stable. Get the ATM card. Also tell Julie to help you in setting up a WECHAT account and tell her you want to link the bank account to the WECHAT account. This way you'll be able to use WECHAT app (kind of Apple Pay) as form of payment while in China. It's the most popular form of payment in China. You can even use it to pay 1 Yuan if need to. Even small food stall/hawkers at the side of the road nowadays accepts this method of payment. I would also remind you to bring cash at all time regardless. Sometimes, your phone is malfunction, ran out of battery, lost/stolen, etc. Don't bring to much cash. Don't carry your ATM card everywhere, take it out when you need to get some cash, otherwise leave it at home. Careful with your wallet and belonging. Lots of pickpockets, even more so in crowded area. Put your wallet in your pants' front pocket and not the back. In Winter you'll be wearing coats so making it you feel less when somebody is picking your pockets/bags. It will be cold outside BUT hot inside venues/establishments.

Another important thing, get SIM CARD and Internet monthly plan. They should provide WIFI at the facilities/dorms, but you will need it when you go out, mostly for payment using wechat, also for other stuff like translation, gps, browsing etc. Get either China Unicom or China Mobile, whichever offers cheaper for more volume. For general idea, when last I went to China in march, 2GB anytime plan is 38 yuan with China Unicom (with some free minutes for telephone and texts). Last I check for 1GB-2GB anytime plan with Unicom/China Mobile is about 38-58 yuan. Important to know/ask is one, you want an anytime plan. Two, they divide the phone/internet plan for use within the province and outside. If you go to the neighboring cities, like Shijiazhuang, it would count as within province. But if you go to Beijing your card/plan wouldn't work or if work you will be charged exorbitant fee. Geographically Beijing is still within the province of Hebei, but it's an autonomous city by itself. I use China Unicom and purchased the monthly plan for within province use as it's cheaper. When I want to go to Beijing I go to the China Unicom store and tell them I want to purchase single use plan to use in Beijing (10 yuan for a week/10 days for 500mb, more prices for more volume).

A lot of foreign sites and apps are blocked in China. Google: Great Firewall and read up. If you have many apps/sites you have to access while you're in China, subscribe to VPN service before you arrived in China. Go with top companies! I subscribed to one company, while I also installed two other companies apps as back up plans. Just in case the first provider is slow, I could use it to start/activate the others).
DON'T FORGET THIS!! Install the apps to all of your devices (laptop, tablet, phones, etc) and start the service before you arrived in China. DON'T FORGET THIS!!

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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2018, 02:08 
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If you have the chance to travel and sight-seeing you might want to plan it together before the training starts. Why before training starts and not after? Because of the big event of Chinese New Year 5th of Feb 2019. Usually about two weeks the commotion already started and get worse soon after and not a good time for travel unless nearby area.

Depends on your time frame/budget, the main attraction during winter is Ice and Snow festival up in Harbin (north China). You could google it up and see if you're interested. Otherwise, I would suggest you come earlier and travel in Beijing area including the Great Wall and get this done before training.

Saturday and Sunday is free time if the training schedule hasn't changed. You could use this time to visit nearby places. You can go visit Shijiazhuang (big city, capital of the Hebei province). You can do some local travel and sight seeing. I recommend going to visit a Cangyan Mountain which is featured in a scene in the movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon toward the end of the movie. If you're lucky and be there while there's fog/mist around it will be super!

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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2018, 15:49 
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pgpg wrote:
BoyfromCoburg wrote:
Thanks for the information guys!

Zhengding is about 2 hours south of Beijing, and the main (correct me if I am wrong) training base of the Chinese National teams before major tournaments!


Please post your impressions here - this type of thread is one of the most popular on TT forums.


I plan to share my trip on here! Will be an experience, that's for sure! :D

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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2018, 15:50 
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rokphish2 wrote:
If you have the chance to travel and sight-seeing you might want to plan it together before the training starts. Why before training starts and not after? Because of the big event of Chinese New Year 5th of Feb 2019. Usually about two weeks the commotion already started and get worse soon after and not a good time for travel unless nearby area.

Depends on your time frame/budget, the main attraction during winter is Ice and Snow festival up in Harbin (north China). You could google it up and see if you're interested. Otherwise, I would suggest you come earlier and travel in Beijing area including the Great Wall and get this done before training.

Saturday and Sunday is free time if the training schedule hasn't changed. You could use this time to visit nearby places. You can go visit Shijiazhuang (big city, capital of the Hebei province). You can do some local travel and sight seeing. I recommend going to visit a Cangyan Mountain which is featured in a scene in the movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon toward the end of the movie. If you're lucky and be there while there's fog/mist around it will be super!


Thankyou for your in-depth knowledge and shared information! That has helped enormously with my preparations!

BoyFromCoburg :D

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