From Asia to Poland: A Couple of Differences (and a Few Similarities)
Say hi to Agness and Cez – best friends and the creators of eTramping who have been traveling the world since 2011 visiting over 50 countries including mysterious North Korea. Originally hailing from Poland, these two simply love intense and unique travels full of adventures and spontaneous decisions that usually take them to discover places not everyone has a chance to visit. Follow their journeys on Instagram, Pepo, and Facebook to get insider tips and tricks on how to explore the world like pros.
If you follow us on Pepo, you know that recently, we’ve made the move from Asia to Poland, where we’re going to spend a while settling down before we head out on our next big adventure. It’s great being back, and Gdańsk is a brilliant place to be, but we’ve started to notice a lot of differences between the two places. We thought it might be a good idea to let you know. So, without further ado, here are some differences between Asia and Poland (and a couple of similarities).
The Biggest Difference: People
One of the biggest differences is the people. Not just the culture of the people (we will get to that), but the sheer number of them.
The Number of People
When we were staying in China in Asia, there were people everywhere. What else would you expect from the most populous country on the planet? Everywhere you go, you can expect people to be there. Unless, of course, you head right out into the countryside. But even then, it can be a challenge to find somewhere without people!
In Poland, a good walk through the countryside can lead to many places where you can’t see anyone else. It’ll be just you and nature! Moreover, cities are much less packed.
The Culture of People
Then there are the differences in culture and tradition. Obviously, we’re a lot more comfortable with the Polish culture, especially considering that we grew up here! Chinese culture is pretty great though! The people there are really friendly and incredibly welcoming of foreigners. We were in a place called Dongguan, which is a bit of a small city compared to some of the greats like Shenzhen, Beijing, and Shanghai. Consequently, we ended up getting a lot of attention. People liked us being there! It was the same in other places in Asia.
It’s the same in Poland, for the most part. People are very welcoming, and really like to share their own culture with others. This is especially true in Gdynia. The people are so proud of their own country and their own heritage.
Obviously, both countries have very different histories. However, both countries have protected parts of their history so that anyone can go and see them today. Here are a few of the best parts.
This is one of the best things about Poland: its history. Head into Kraków and you’ll find yourself immersed in a load of history. One of the best things about the place is to explore the Royal Way for a whole day (or a few). It’s a great walk, and depending on how you do it, you’ll end up at Wawel castle.
There’s also the old town and Kazimierz – an area of Jewish heritage. These three areas are part of what is known as the Kraków historic centre, which was actually one of the first areas of its type to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, way back in in 1978. If it’s UNESCO it’s the besto!
China also has a load of really good history and historical buildings. This is especially true if you head to Beijing. The Forbidden City is still one the most iconic palaces in the world, and who could forget about the Great Wall?
A walk through the countryside
Everyone likes a good stroll through the countryside. The sun shining, the birds singing, the wind blowing… But there are some quite stark contrasts between the Polish countryside and that of China.
The Polish countryside is unforgettable. It’s incredibly quaint and quiet. You’ll find it dotted with farms, cute little villages, and cottages. It’s perfect for picnicking, going for a walk or spending Christmas or traditional Easter in Poland. Make sure you pick a sunny day, pack up a blanket, and head out. Depending on where you are, you might be able to see mountains in the background. The scenery is just… well, unforgettable.
China’s countryside is really a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have some great old towns which you can explore to your heart’s content. Places where you can buy local food and produce, or other specialties. Many of these places have special crafts which are unique to them or at least had originated there. Visiting places like this are really great for exploring a certain type of China. The problem is that some of these places are very ‘fake’. They aren’t always as genuine as you might like them to be.
However, if you head to some of China’s big national parks, you’re almost definitely going to be met with spectacular views. Take, for instance, Zhangjiajie. It’s where parts of the movie Avatar were shot all those years ago. It’s just incredible. Really unlike almost any other place on earth.
A Good, Stiff Drink
When it comes to beer, China’s is not quite as strong as Poland’s. Most beers you’ll find in China are only rated at 2%, less than the average 4-6 % you’ll be able to find in Poland.
However, our final comparison is a similarity. Whilst beer is widely available in both countries, they both have been known to drink things which are much stronger.
In China, that drink is Baijiu. Baijiu is the drink of business, used to quell first time nerves and make transactions easy and fun. The Chinese believe that a good night of drinking Baijiu will lead to friendships which will last forever, and so partnerships which keep on thriving. Look out for the special drink of Moutai. This drink is often served at banquets with foreign guests.
In Poland, that drink is vodka. Drunk by many and loved by all. Whilst you might associate vodka with Russia as well, there has long been a competition over which country it originated in. We’ll let you be the judge. Vodka is much more common around the world than Baijiu, and it has about the same level of ‘kick’. The taste is different than the Chinese alternative, but it’s really down to you which one you think is better. Keep an eye out for the Polish vodka Zubrowka. It’s said to taste great and is flavoured with long grass from the Białowieża Forest.
Which country do you want to visit first? Let us know in the Comments.