5 Jan 2020


THERE's more to China than red lanterns, dragons and noodles – in Conquering Northern China, popular vloggers Winston Sterzel @SerpentZA and Matthew Tye @laowhy86 traverse the vast nation’s northern region, which is home to diverse cultures and landscapes. 

Armed with little more than their precious hand-built motorcycles and fluent Mandarin, their 40-day journey across 10,000km takes viewers into local homes and businesses, introduces unique cuisine, and presents unexpected sights and breath-taking beauty – it’s China as it’s never been seen before!

As expatriates who have lived in China for over 10 years, Winston and Matthew offer a unique perspective, being foreigners yet familiar and respectful of Chinese culture and traditions. Their mutual passion to experience more of China’s diversity takes viewers for a captivating ride through little-known sub-cultures, fast-fading traditions and local specialities for an immersive and enlightening experience.

Their journey begins in the coastal town of Qingdao. Once a German concession port, it’s reputedly the home of beer in China, with a famous local brew that’s served in plastic bags, and where the spoon worm aka ‘sea penis’ is a delicacy.

Moving on to Rongcheng, famed for its mantao and oyster farms, they experience the warmth of local people while witnessing their daily life, from delivering food to fishermen to dining in traditional homes roofed with seaweed.

“The hospitality and generosity of people here is spectacular,” said Matthew. “This is what I absolutely love about China – after travelling 3,000km on bikes to a village we’ve never heard of, we were on a boat with a local villager to get some oysters.”

Spanning four episodes, ‘Conquering Northern China’ showcases wide-ranging terrain, from coastal towns to vast grasslands where nomadic tribes roam. In addition to breath-taking natural landscapes like the Red Sea Wetlands, the northern region is also home to unique man-made sights like the border town of Linjiang where North Korea lies literally a stone’s throw away; the ghostly, uninhabited Fushun City; and the bustling Russian-inspired architecture of Harbin, close to the northernmost point where descendants of ethnic Russians and reindeer reside.

“We just wanted to show people what Northern China is like,” said Winston. “When people travel around China, they usually fly or take the high-speed rail or travel in a car or bus on the highway. 
But it’s boring – it’s a straight shot to your destination, you don’t stop anywhere. For us, we were forced to take little roads, went into villages and got lost but I think we’ve shown people a part of China no one has ever seen before.”
“I didn’t expect that I would come across so many different types of people in Northern China. All the different cultures and minorities and languages that we got a glimpse of was absolutely incredible. 
The people that we met were some of the nicest and most generous people we’ve ever met,” added Matthew. “This trip has made me fall in love with China all over again.”

Don’t miss the adventure of ‘Conquering Northern China’ when it premieres on 8 January, Wednesday 9:55pm on Blue Ant Extreme (Unifi TV Ch 474) with new episodes on subsequent Wednesdays for 4 weeks.


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