China


tobymillington:

There I was, bored shitless on my break at work, when Nye asked if I wanted to go to China, so naturally, I booked my ticket there and then, on my break at work.

Fast forward 4 months and we’d just landed in Guangzhou, with no plans or arrangements and our possessions on our backs. China was much hotter than I imagined, and the humidity was hard to adjust to. Sleeping rough in China isn’t exactly legal, however we didn’t get in any trouble for doing it. 

Travelling for a month with three people I barely knew was an incredible experience that I’d recommend to anyone interested in travelling. And a massive thanks to the Parkour community who helped and hosted us along the way.

Here’s a day by day account of what we did

Day 1 – We flew out of Heathrow to Helsinki, but we had a 16 hour stopover to get out the way before our flight to Guangzhou. We headed straight for Helsinki central on the train and went to look for something to climb. After a bit of walking we saw the Helsinki Cathedral and ticked it off the list. We moved on to bum maccies free wifi, then got a free train back to the airport.

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Helsinki Cathedral, suuuuh bro

Day 2 – We chose Guangzhou as our first stop in China purely because it was the cheapest option for getting to mainland China. We landed at about 7am local time with absolutely no idea where to go or what to do, so we hopped on the metro and just headed to the centre (it’s Zhujiang New Town on the metro). Coming out of the metro we were all blown away at the size and scale of the skyscrapers. We decided to look around for a tall building to climb, and saw one which looked climbable from the outside, so we got in the elevator and made out we were going to the restaurant on the 44th floor, pretended to be lost and headed for the fire escape, we got to the top of the building inside a glass spire, so we climbed this huge ladder to find the trapdoor on the top was padlocked shut and couldn’t be persuaded to open. We climbed down and tried a few of the bigger buildings and found that security didn’t really care if they caught us. After a few hours trying and getting to 6 locked doors, we finally got up a building just out the centre. Afterwards we sat and bummed starbucks wifi, then headed out to try and climb the IFC. We got halfway up the IFC before we got caught, which wasn’t a bad effort at all. We decided to head over to the Ritz hotel to give it a try, got upstairs and onto the top few floors, which were used as housing for the security personnel. We managed to sneak out onto a balcony and got some good shots of the skyline, we decided to try the roof and walked straight into a guard on the stairs, who kindly showed us out. Feeling slightly accomplished and knackered we headed off to our hostel for the night.

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Inside the glass spire

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View from the Ritz before we got kicked out

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A nice Chinese lady took this photo on the first rooftop we conquered

Day 3 – Managed to sleep in the hostel until 2pm. Went to get some street food at culture square then headed off to meet some guy we found on Facebook by searching ‘Guangzhou Parkour’. Our guy said he’d take us to their gym and show us a place to crash. We headed to the Cityspanker gym and had a light session, then headed off to a watertower to sleep for the night.

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Morning in the water tower

Day 4 – We headed back to the Cityspanker gym to meet Afan (our guy at the gym) but got there before him, however Ella showed up, an Australian girl who could also speak Cantonese, she promptly sorted us out with a host, Carmen (cheers Ella). Ella told us a good dish for all of china is egg, tomato and rice, and that we’d probably live off it (she was right). I encountered my first hole in the floor shitter and it’s safe to say I wasn’t phased by this challenge #masterofmultipletoilets. Feeling adequately full we headed off to the city to climb some more buildings, we headed up one and found the door locked at the top, but unscrewed the window with the lockpick set (turned out to be it’s only use on the trip). Got one snap and then security came up and shouted at us, Nye hid and got a photo on the timer of his camera whilst some angry Asian guy shouted at him. We headed down and then went back to cityspanker (Nye managed to leave his phone in a taxi), where we planned to meet climb a bridge in Guangzhou at 4am the next day. Headed over to Carmens, booked our flights to Shanghai for 6am on Day 6, then grabbed some sleep.

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Nye snapping a quick picture of himself whilst an angry Asian man shouted at him

Day 5 – Me and Nye stayed in bed whilst Petar and Jack headed off to climb the bridge, the taxi driver dropped them in the middle of nowhere and they got lost, but somehow found the bridge. They got back, we slept and then headed off to get Chinese pizza then Nye went to buy a phone, which he smashed in Beijing. Decided to head out to a club for our last night in Guangzhou, we met loads of sick people and had an absolute sick cunt time, then headed back to Camrens at 3am, had to grab our stuff and get a taxi to the airport, Petar nearly lost his passport in the airport, we got through security okay then got to our flight just in time, then Jack threw up all over Petars blanket.

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Petar mastering his superpowers.

Day 6 – We landed in Shanghai at 8am local time, Afan had given us a contact in Shanghai, a guy called Kyle, who runs Link Parkour in Shanghai. We decided our best bet was to set up our hammocks in a park on some bamboo and have a nap, I woke up two hours later in an ants nest. Nye had disappeared off to get food about so we had no idea where he was. We headed off to the nearest starbucks to try and locate Nye. He got in touch and told us to meet him at Hotel Indigo, so we headed there, met him, went to the roof, used the lockpick to unscrew a door, took some sick photos. Headed off to meet Kyle at pizza hut because he was showing us a place to sleep. On the way I managed to drop my phone in the middle of a main road, it got ran over a grand total of four times and somehow still worked. Kyle showed up and chatted to us about life in China for a bit, then he showed us to a nearby abandoned brothel headed to the roof, which happened to be an abandoned brothel, we only sleep in the classiest of establishments.

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Shanghai was pretty sick

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Me taking in Shanghais views again

Day 7- Woke up on the roof at 7am sweating my balls off, Petar got heatstroke so we submitted ourselves to defeat and booked a hostel for the day, decided to powernap and headed out at 3pm to find some food, climbed a metro stop mall. Then went to the fake market and got some fake shorts, which I didn’t take off for the rest of the trip. Headed back and got some sleep.

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Sat ontop a metro stop, looking at a temple which had been turned into shops

Day 8 – Went to meet Kyle, then went to link parkour gym, had a chill training session there then headed off to the Link office/apartment where Kyle said we could crash until we left. We booked our trains to Beijing for day 11.

Day 9 -We woke up late, cleaned our clothes (much needed). Then headed out to try and climb stuff, but we failed miserably. Ate out our local restaurant and the owner got a photoshoot with us, then we all went back and slept.

Day 10 – Went to the train station to get our train tickets, ended up on separate trains, which means I had to get a six hour train all by myself. We headed into the centre to try and crack some rooftops, got caught by security a couple of times, then got to a door locked by a small by which was luckily unlocked. From this building we spotted an even higher one which we somehow managed to stroll into. We got some sick shots then headed back to the apartment, said goodbye to kyle, packed our stuff, then slept.

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Nye flexing in Shanghai

Day 11 – managed to get up early to head off to do a climb before we got the train to Beijing. Got to Beijing, got ripped off by a taxi driver and then got in touch with a local who Afan gave us, Jason (our Beijing contact) sorted us out with directions to a gym called Overflow, we arrived at about 12pm and fell asleep on the airtrack.

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My favourite picture from the trip

Day 12 – We woke up early because a class was starting in the gym, we met Jason who took us for something to eat, then we jammed at the gym for a bit. Planned to head out in Beijing with Jason. Nye fell over doing a handstand and completely destroyed his new phone, stayed out till late then headed back.

Day 13 – Woke up late in gym, got some food then went to see the forbidden city, which happened to be forbidden because it was closed. Nye bought his umbrella hat. Went back to the gym to chill and watched a pole dancer film a video. Sat and chatted to a guy called Bayonnet.

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The forbidden city

Day 14 – woke up late again in the gym, went to Jasons friend’s restaurant and ate a big fuck off burger, didn’t do much else.

Day 15 – managed to wake up early, headed to get some street food, booked flights to Hong Kong via the Philippines for Day 17. Met a really sound Russian MMA fighter. Sorted plans out for great wall trip next day.

Day 16 –Headed to great wall at Jinshanling. Climbed up to wall and snapped some sick shots, then the security guard tried to fine us one hundred RMB for climbing the guard tower, which we managed to avoid paying. Went back to the gym and eating 6 ice creams a day for the last 3 days had destroyed me, so I stayed in bed whilst Nye and Petar went out.

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Petar doing his thing on the great wall

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Got in a wee bit of trouble for this one

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Climbing the great wall

Day 17 – Nye and Petar got back at 6am, having taken a nap beforehand on a pillow in the street. Trained in the gym with the locals, got given free shirts and wristbands. Then we headed off to the airport to get our flight to the Philippines, I managed to sort us out a host in Manila who would meet us at 6am when we landed the next day, top geezer.

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The locals who hosted us, top geezers.

Day 18 – Met Zoilo at the airport, then got a taxi to his and headed straight to sleep. Woke up at 2pm and decided to explore Las Palmas. Met some kids and played basketball with them, got a picture with a big group of locals. Then a big storm started coming our way so we went back to Zoilos, very glad we had somewhere to sleep because it absolutely pissed it down.

Day 19 – woke up at 6am to go and train. Went to spots in Manila and had a pretty average session. Then the rain started so we went back to Zolios, got ready to go out and hit the strip. Found out there’s a lot of ladyboys in Manila, then got home at 6am.

Day 20 – slept until 2pm, so we headed straight to starbucks to leech their wifi for a few hours. Then we headed to climb a building in the bay and got caught instantly, Filipino security was so much more on it than Chinese security, they threatened us with arrest but we used our witty charm to talk our way out of it (nah jk they just let us go). Went to sleep.

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Petar snapped this incredible picture from the building we climbed in the bay, the comparison of living quality is unreal.

Day 21 – Zolio cooked us some food, Petar and Nye headed off to get a massage whilst me and Jack went to a run down part of Manila to take some photos. Went home, watched the purge then slept.

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Picture Petar snapped in the run down bit of Manila

Day 22 – woke up and headed off to the airport, said goodbye to Zolio (sick guy, thanks for hosting!). Arrived in Hong Kong and met a local called Tifenn, we got some food and spoke about Hong Kong for a bit, then climbed a nice building to sleep on.

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Photo I snapped from the rooftop we slept on 

Day 23 – Woke up and caught the sunrise, went to meet Tifenn, who took us out to the country park to do some cliff jumping, we met Soggy Cyrus at this point, to get there we had to take a bus, then a taxi, then bribe another taxi to sneak us through a police roadblock to skip a ‘three’ hour walk. Did some cliff jumps, swam in the sea, shat in the sea, built a fire, ate spam in a can and then went to sleep on the beach.

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Snoozing in HK

Day 24 – Sleeping on beaches is a fucking shit idea. It’s the most uncomfortable sleeping experience, you get covered in sand, crawled on and bitten by crabs. Take it off your bucket list. However I did catch an absolutely incredible sunrise and had a nice morning dip in the sea. Then we decided to session the cliff diving spot and Nye did this manly Gainer layout off the highest bit. Then we realised we had to walk for ‘three’ hours to get back to somewhere we could get a taxi, so we trekked back off to the city. We managed to get back to the city intact, then headed off to a cool trampoline park called Ryze, now I’ve never been to a trampoline park, but I now completely understand the hype behind a room filled with bouncy things. Feeling pretty knackered we decided to find a place to crash for the night, climbed an apartment block and got some sleep.

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Camp shitsleep

Day 25

Woke up pretty early again in the sun, then headed to meet Tifenn because we wanted to go see big Buddha. Nye, Petar and Jack climbed big Buddha and got accused of being Muslim (how?!). We went back to Hong Kong after snapping some lush pictures and everyone else wanted to go out, but I headed off to a rooftop to sleep.

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Ma boi big Buddha

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Sup

Day 26

The others rocked up at 5am, slept for three hours then had to leave at 8am because the sun was unbearable. Managed to blag our way into a 4 star hotel infinity pool for 10 minutes, then got booted out. Still a free bath though. We headed off to times square and found a building to climb, but the alarm went off and we got split up, the others snapped some brilliant pictures though. We met back up after having a close call with the police, Then found a nifty 60 storey building to send, found an unalarmed door at the top and noted it for tomorrow night as Cyrus had sorted us a martial arts studio for us to sleep in for that night.

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Jack throwing shapes infront of times square in HK

Day 27

Had a sick sleep, grabbed some munch then headed to the ‘Brewman and friends’ jam Cyrus had sorted for us, we trained with the locals for a bit at a couple of cool spots. After training we all headed to a korean restaurant for a group meal, blagged free bottles of champagne and vodka using our charm and overkilled the green tea. We then headed off to the 60 storey rooftop to sleep but security stopped us on the way in, we went outside and asked a woman if she’d say we were with her and let us in, she complied (sound gal) and we got in two seperate lifts, Jack got out first and hit the wrong fire exit and set the alarm off, so we all bolted it to the top and laid down hoping security wouldn’t see us. We managed to avoid security and got some kip 60 storeys up, it was pretty good.

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60 storeys up was pretty nice

Day 28

Woke up later than usual, decided to grab some photos on the roof, then all piled into a portaloo to avoid security when they came to check, standard procedure. Headed off to see the Hong Kong street markets, had our first brush with the police and then checked out a mountain top view of Hong Kong. Got some okay shots then went to Ernies to watch a film, chilled out then went to get some kip on a roof nearby which we managed to skezz the code for.

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Nye popping a dive roll over a 60 storey drop. Standard.

Day 29

Woke up early in the sun again, then we headed off to the maze spot, where Nye got a decent run filmed, then we figured we’d try climb the biggest building in view, set off an alarm at the top but got some sweet shots, then when we were climbing down eight police officers showed up, wrote us up then let us go off on a our jollies. We went to see the Bruce Lee statue then went to sleep on the same rooftop as the night before.

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Getting in trouble in Hong Kong. 

Day 30

Woke up and headed straight for the train station, trained around the university then got our train to Guangzhou. We headed straight to Carmens and met Petar there (he got the bus instead). Got a solid sleep finally.

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Nye hanging out in Hong Kong

Day 31

Woke up late, then headed to do a climb in Guangzhou. Nye got his fire car tattoo.

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Last group climb was incredible.

Day 32

Did sweet fa, Petar left to go to Bangkok.

Day 33

Got a taxi at 6am to the airport, ran from the taxi driver because he was trying to overcharge us, left a great impression…

Day 34

Flew back to Helsinki, then to the UK, slept a lot. showered for about an hour, and ate a lot.

So that was my experience travelling China, thanks for reading!


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