Chinese Apartments: Quirks and What to Expect in Your New Home

Chinese apartments are equipped with just about everything you might find in a Western home. There are TVs, cookers, washing machines, Western style toilets and of course fridges and freezers amongst many things that would be familiar to Westerners. However, Chinese apartments do have a few quirks that it’s best to know about and prepare for before you arrive- here are a few to get you started!

The beds are hard!

Chinese mattresses aren’t the squishy cloud-like marshmallows that we in the West are used to sinking into at the end of a long day. Instead, mattresses in Chinese apartments come surprisingly firm.
This is said to be due to a variety of reasons from many believing a hard surface is better for one’s back to sleep on, to historical reasons and tradition, likely it’s to do with what those growing up in China are used to. While this can be pretty uncomfortable initially, your body can adapt in a week or two and you won’t even notice.

However, if you find it’s a little too tough on you and it’s not working out, it’s not a bad idea to get a mattress topper and get some extra winks of sleep. A mattress topper is an extra cushiony layer to go on top of your mattress and soften your bed. Mattress toppers can be several inches thick and are typically made from fabric, foam or memory foam; they can be bought online or in some larger department stores from 99RMB- 250RMB (Approx £10-£28).

Image of a mattress topper on top of a bedImage from: Here



There’s air con!

Particularly in the south of China where summer sees temperatures soar and humidity rise; air conditioners are essential for comfortable living. Each InternChina apartment comes with air conditioning which can be true life savers- just make sure you turn them off when you go out, they use up a lot of energy!

Air conditioning unit

Image from: Here


There is no oven!

Chinese cuisine doesn’t traditionally utilise ovens, as such they’re extraordinarily rare in China’s houses and apartments. While those of you who love to cook may miss your oven for baking and all the foods you’re used to making in it, China does give some great ingredients and opportunities to experiment and expand your culinary skills; Theres the option of frying, boiling, poaching and steaming. If you find yourself missing cooking, its a great time to start learning some basic Chinese recipes, starting with stir fries you can make your way up to more complex meals and even attempt a steamed cake if you’re feeling brave! For the curious: heres a blog with a few recipes to get you started.

Gas stove top, like one you can expect in a Chinese Apartment

Image from:Here


You can’t flush toilet paper….?!

All InternChina apartments have Western style loos, however they’re still linked up to Chinese plumbing. Chinese pipes are narrower and block more easily than those in the West, so instead all loo roll, once used, must be placed in a little bin to the side. If not you’ll end up with a blocked and backed up loo with the possibility of water spilling onto your floor! This also stands with sinks. So if you’re cooking, careful not to let anything fall into the drain or again it’ll clog!

Image from: Here



There is Wifi!

All InternChina apartments and homestays have Wifi, however they can struggle a little in peak hours.  While Chinese/ non-VPN needing sites will work perfectly, if you’re trying to use a VPN it could take a while to load or in some cases not load at all.

Unfortunately this is just one of those China quirks; you may need to spend some parts of your day without Netflix. My advice? Have a DVD or a book to hand for times when you want entertainment but your Wifi cant manage Netflix. Or have a movie night with your flatmates! Sometimes the Wifi can’t manage three people separately streaming Netflix but it can often manage one.

Just as a little extra info, popular sites that may struggle to load at times as they need a VPN include: YouTube, Facebook, some parts of BBC, Instagram and Netflix.

Wifi Symbol

Image from: Here



Hot Water in Chinese apartments!

Don’t worry! Hot water is absolutely available in Chinese apartments! In some apartments though, you have to remember to turn the boiler on as it’s on a timer. It’s very easy- just a touch of a button and a minute or two and you’ll have hot water. You’ll get shown where it is when you move in (usually the kitchen) but if you’re not sure how it works or anything, just ask your InternChina team- we’re here to help!

Hot Water is available in your Chinese Apartment

Image from:Here


Chinese apartments aren’t so different from what you’d be used to in the West, they have kitchens, bathrooms and all the modern day technology we have but with a few quirks. Most of these quirks are something you can get used to in a few days, and others can be harder for some people and need a way to work around them. The main thing to remember is that your InternChina team probably knows how to fix it and are always at hand when you need us!