china has nearly everything to offer troubles as some of the biggest cities in the world our culture spanning three thousand years and landscapes ranging from towering mountains to endless deserts but too many all this can seem pretty impenetrable what with the language barriers cultural differences or just simply the sheer size of the place 1.3 billion people call home it can be a daunting place for travelers we all know China’s got a lot of people but it’s also got a lot more of these things smartphones than anywhere else it’s changing the way people trouble so in this trouble show special we’re going to try something different I’m hoping to make my way through China with an unusual tour guide my smartphone I’ll be letting my phone tell me where to go turns out it’s not quite the tranquil get away the app originally suggested I’ll test out the apps designed to help you on your way your can’t believe it for the first time in my life I understand shiny and even fine locals through social media to give me a taste of the real China well you love brain I can tell at times it’s bound to go horribly wrong I could be anything to open them in the know it and I’m probably gonna have to use this to contact the BBC and get them to pick me up but whatever happens it’s going to be an adventure I’m starting my journey in Hong Kong it’s just a few miles from mainland China but in terms of Internet freedom it’s another world once I cross the border I’m planning on using the internet to meet the locals and to help me get around so Chinese censorship will have a very real impact to find out what challenges await me I’ve come to Mong Kok a neon bathe shopping district okay so this is pretty what you are they loudest brightest and busiest places I’ve ever been in my life and I’m on my way right now to meet a man who’s gonna explain to me how all this is gonna work when i get to mainland china that man is professor Jack geo a guru in modern Chinese communication it’s a different universe okay you’re Hong Kong compared to mainland China it’s because of the Great Firewall of China in my opinion this Great Firewall of China is the worst possible invention in the history of the internet in the world the great firewall is basically how the Chinese government controls what information citizens can access on the internet Twitter Facebook even Google are generally an accessible on the mainland so they won’t be of much help when trying to get around to try to experience the great firewall of china is definitely a okay punishing process in the beginning otherwise you get used to it there’s some strange fun when you are no longer disappointed by what you cannot access you get surprised by the new things you found so if pretty much accepted thing is going to get a lot more difficult one to leave Hong Kong but luckily I have figured out where I’m gonna go next and that is this place the jungle GGA park I think it’s pronounced I found an app that allows me to explore the park riding a horse which everyone does when they explore national parks and even though it’s virtual it still looks incredible so I’m gonna go and see what it looks like I’m real life the park is 500 miles to the north in hunan province but with no direct flights I’ve flown into the city of changsha English no no English you speak English no no English I have arrived a chunky our train station slightly nervous had a lot of our Chinese trains so let’s see how it goes ahead of me is the jewelry of a six-hour night train okay good news is minus to make onto the train bad news is it ends up Jack was right and Twitter doesn’t work facebook doesn’t work and even youtube doesn’t work so this may be the big move to chinese social media I was expecting and for now though it’s bedtime so the next day and I’ve made it to Zhang Jia shan national forest park but it seems like a lot of other people have had the exact same idea turns out it’s not quite the tranquil get away the app originally suggested and it’s actually a complete opposite which is completely rounded domestic tourists but when you take the trip to the top it’s easy to see why they come

so I want to go to a few of the quiet set more hidden places and to do that I’m gonna use we chat which is kind of like an amalgamation of facebook what’s up and Yelp to find myself an English tour guide we chat or weixin as it’s known in China is huge here there are over 500 million monthly active users as well as being used for messaging it’s full of local companies and services it does use mobile data so I’ve bought a local sim card for the job whoa a few messages later and I’ve managed to track down an English speaking tour guide called Nicki with your car okay hey hello hey nice to meet you how you doing I don a path I’m on a path near the Hallelujah mountain and you okay yeah we chat works successfully found me a tall guy we told Nikki though he wanted to film her arrival but hadn’t quite it in just how quick she’d be oh no I did not expect you to be standing behind me dude that was very terrifying of you thank you for do that let’s go hallelujah monster okay let’s go our first stop is the one kilometer tall hallelujah mountain this was actually the inspiration for the floating mountains in the highest grossing film of all time avatar so avatar gave you a job anyway yes more beautiful place but I found nickey to help me escape the crowds so after a few sneaky shortcuts and some lesser-known paths we finally found ourselves with a bit of peace and quiet if you come to here by yourself of this just a rock rock rock big rock small rock but if you have got this is look like monkeys this looks like a fairy mater it had been a successful first day in mainland China it would have been all too easy to get lost in the huge crowds here but thanks to the power of social media an english-speaking guide I’d found the tranquil corner to enjoy the landscape the next day I’m on my way to Feng one AKA phoenix ancient town it’s a beautifully preserved ancient city again I’m hoping to use my smartphone to get the most out of my visit but it’s time to up the ante this time I don’t have a tour guide to show me around this crazy place but why do you have is some translation apps on my phone that I’m gonna try to use to hold my face conversation in Chinese I find out what is good to do in this place this is gonna be interesting we’re gonna start out by trying google translate an app that knows 90 different languages and it isn’t long before I found an unsuspecting guide for the miao ethnic minority group to try it out on let’s see how i do so you cannot speak English now okay breathe that’s cool hello what is your name Rooney what is your favorite color ownza red very nice oh cool as that is my favorite color as well ok brilliant this is working I like your heart very much and and it has jingles what does your heart mean it’s changed heart to heart which is a whole new different type of meanings I like your heart very much it has jingles what does your heart mean basic translations can be done offline but your phone will need to access Google servers for the admittedly slightly sketchy voice recognition function Google’s generally blocked in China but as we’ll see later in the show the Great Firewall isn’t impenetrable how would you rate this up is it good is it bad should I now throw my phone into the river yes I got a smile boy you’re an ugly woman and saw the fish are you guys okay okay she says do not cooperate with us very happy I appreciated that what you see mijo time to try something else high five high five no this is a high five okay

know where I have an app on my phone called Wego which allows me in real time to translate from Chinese letters to English that is let’s go for an easy one toilet do we have toilet beef ears it just seems that we going crazy they got restroom legal restroom high genic or ones like one number all right not a strong start but actually they did seem to be one type of translation the app Excel that food so I now know they have tofu with rice pickled radish appetizing pickled vegetables that’s actually amazing it’s definitely good with food it translates food very quickly which is good because I’m very hungry my time in yunnan province has come to an end my smartphones definitely made it a fun experience I would like to buy a ticket to tongeren but there’s no denying of the places I’ve been to were a bit touristy now it’s time to go off the beaten track coming up I visit a small village the to the center of a social media experiment they are and discover the authentic situations een isn’t for the faint-hearted fight through the morn like it’s not there ok ok I’m trying to travel through China using my smartphone as a guide and my next stop is torn one a village in gray geo province I managed to stumble across this place on the internet and despite the fact that I’m pretty much in the middle of nowhere in China I’ve come here because Tong one is the center of what is a very interesting social media experiment Tom Guan is a dong minority village the dong are one of 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by China their fame for their carpentry with wooden houses and covered bridges I’m in one of the poorest provinces in China but this is actually one of the best connected villages in the country it’s all thanks to a project run by 10 sent a communications company they’ve given the villages over 100 smartphones and have even installed the 4g mass nearby why you might ask well Tencent claims it’s helping to preserve dong culture having heard that was going to be in town ten cents have sent along the beautiful looming to show me around we’re currently outside some form of a factory where some of the ladies I believe have being given phones too they have mobile phones okay sorry to interrupt you in your beautiful garments and what is it that you use your phone for here Williams ology to make phone calls sands you use for each arts especially for some information we like to share with others do you not think that could potentially make you lose bits of your cultures you take in bits from everywhere else from the internet for you for you usually we just get the information of our own culture so I don’t think it’s a problem she wants a photo with me so she can share it on moments which is part of the weed shut up it’s done shortest okay try-try I’m not even told by visiting here it’s clear that dong people are extremely proud of their traditions and it’s hoped that by having these phones this culture can be strengthened dong produce can be sold online an information can be shared with each other including with family members who live far away but I did not work with a car down Yung shaoyang works as a cook in the village so what what do you use your phone for she told me she uses her phone to video call his son who works in a factory hundreds of miles away in guangdong province and as luck would have it he was just on his lunch break he’s calling right now oh yeah dad Meola he and gladion as I would be if I called my mom and there was a random dude sitting next to it her son is very confused but and this this is clearly a good way to keep in contact with him damn for a moment seeing her soon all gets a bit too much for young shall ye it’s easy to be cynical about this project Tencent may well have just given out these phones as a bit of a PR stunt but it’s clearly having a huge impact in the people who live here and changing the way the small village interacts with the vast country around it I was gonna give a hook sissy JC it’s almost time to

leave tong one but before I go I can’t miss out on a chance to hear one of the songs that the dong ethnic group is so famous for who knows what impact the internet will have on the culture here but certainly at the moment the people of Tong Guan seem happy to be part of this experiment seeing as I am in a rural village there are no hotels to stay here so amazingly enough I’ve managed to find myself a local home to stay in and someone who’s very nice to put me up for the night so I’m just on my way there now I think this is the minor hello nice to be I do me help I’m gonna get a nearly one tonight tomorrow though I’m heading north and although I’m not completely sure what I’m going to do i do have a plan for now though it’s better chengdu is the capital of sichuan province most tourists know this place as the place to go and see pandas but i’m hoping to find something a bit more off the beaten path this time I’m using Weibo China’s answered the Twitter and a sitch ones famous for his food I want to find somebody in Chengdu who can take me to some authentic chinese cuisine way Bo’s got nearly 200 million monthly active users most user to communicate in Mandarin but my little message in English still got a healthy response it’s had over 30 shares over 65 comments and there’s a specific one which looks very very good from a girl called and she’s an English undergrad here in Chengdu which is good because she speaks fluent English and she’s giving me like a specific restaurant and we should go to a specific food she should eat which seems very very good let me see if I can pick her out to a crowd through the power of Weibo I can reign you silly unen Chengdu’s Tiananmen Square but just to make things a little harder the local police wouldn’t let us film them come on before we get arrested I hope she stays on hey nice to meet you I think your honor thank you very much thank you for me with me hello okay can we stand here step least on Donna restlessness and offered to show me some truly authentic sichuan food she’s chosen a trench run electrons 21 is basically all kinds of meat fruits and veg saved on skewers but there are some items on the menu that I definitely not seen down at my local Chinese takeaway so what why is this freak so I was thinking it may be a brain because it looks like a ring but I was hoping it wouldn’t be a break how do you feel when I see everything because not many people eat right oh I will just think how delicious okay we are different people okay I said let’s get some rain it’s just a text ya oh it’s bitter as well God’s bitter bitter bitter yeah Oh God oh no that that was very difficult to eat okay at least you try and now you know that you can handle this but my trials wouldn’t open oh it smells delicious time for a tour of the kitchen oh that looks very scary hell I’m not scary the tone yeah let’s hang of the deck yeah oh sounds nice I’ll just fight it just bites with a bone like it’s not there okay okay oh yeah it’s very hard it’s nice this is a rabbit head Roberts head Wow things had just escalated very quickly up in here I’m not gonna lie i would never usually eat a dog’s tongue or a rabbit end but you know when in one in city one just split it oh to be honest the process of eating rabbits head is quite unnerving hey facespace delicious a nice bit of face okay cheers guys actually delicious yeah tastes a bit like chicken yeah just a few hours ago I had no idea what I was going to be doing today oh you love brain I can tell but thanks to Weibo have explored the inner workings of a situation and tried some food that’s about as authentic as you’re gonna get I’ve got one more night left on my journey my smartphone has definitely shown me another side of China so far but thanks to censorship I’ve mostly been sticking to Chinese apps but it’s not hard to get access to

something a bit more familiar being stuck behind the Great Firewall of China can be amazingly frustrating but one thing you’ll quickly learn is that getting around it is very easy using something called VPNs or virtual private networks for example was a blog here in Chengdu called Chengdu living this guy has twitter he’s got facebook he’s clearly using a VPN he also lists all the cool things that are happening in the city as let’s go only do and see what’s going on the blogger is Charlie he’s basically the expat kinghood hey Charlie how’s it going there are millions of people in China who use VPN a VPN tricks the Chinese Great Firewall into thinking that you are accessing a different website than Facebook or a different website from google you’re accessing some website that they’ve never seen before whilst most Chinese people don’t use them VPNs of pretty much a necessity for any foreigners looking to keep in touch with the people back home and it turns out that tonight was something of a big one for the experts here Charlie and some of his friends were hosting a huge house party and who doesn’t love a good part the party’s got everything visual artists live graffiti and more djs and seems completely necessary so is this a place that tourists would go to is it just like or not at all generally not tourists are welcome obviously but it would be difficult for tourists to find out about it might not be a tourist spot but many of the guests here are a long way from home where you from us us to Kazakhstan double up to you and I look knew it I have to move it’s a surprising place to end my journey surrounded by people from all over the globe but it’s fascinating to see what’s brought them here and to find out what they love about their adopted country i started my travels a thousand miles away in hong kong back then I had no idea what I was going to be doing okay I was gonna meet I certainly had no idea I was gonna end open a random house party in the middle of China this is the way traveling should be meeting the locals are thrown all your plans out the window on my journey I’ve seen some breathtaking landscapes and started to unlock a language that’s totally alien to me but it’s the people I’ve met along the way who have made this trip truly unforgettable yeah so they’ve told me absolutely none of these notes and I’ve got one thing that I forget me here something a lot of people take for granted my smartphone phones are so often seen as a distraction making us look down ignore the world around us but they don’t have to be come here with an open mind and a good data package an adventure can be just around the corner you

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