Living community 小区

5 Differences Between Western and Chinese Apartments

When you first come to a china and look for an apartment, there’s a few things you have to take into consideration. Because there’s quite a few aspects that you wouldn’t immediately think of.  Here’s a list of 5 differences between Western and Chinese apartments.

1.    Living communities (小区 Xiǎoqū)

Living community 小区

nearly all apartments in in Chinese cities are located in in living communities, these are often closed communities with security men at the entrances where you need a key tag or card to enter. The living community takes care of things such as waste disposal, security,  garden maintenance, elevator maintenance etc. for this there‘s often a regular “management fee” that residents pay.

2.   Bathroom (厕所 Cèsuǒ)

Chinese BathroomFor all the things there are to love about life in China, there are unfortunately also things that aren’t as pleasant. For me this was the toilet experience. To people who have been to China before this doesn’t come as a surprise but this is what a typical Chinese toilet looks like. The toilet requires you to squat down to do your business. This can prove quite a challenge to for people who aren’t accustomed to squatting for an extended period of time. The drainage system in China also isn’t built to endure toilet paper, therefore there’s always a small trashcan next to the toilet where you can put your used toilet paper.  Unfortunately most Chinese apartments are equipped with a toilet like this.


3.    Beds (床 Chuáng)

Chinese BedWhen you first come to China you will notice that the beds are on the hard side. This bothered me when I initially came to China but as I didn’t bother to buy a new mattress I grew used to it and now I sometimes feel like some mattresses are too soft. However if you really don’t like hard beds you can always buy a new mattress or a cheap mattress topper on TaoBao(Chinese amazon). Or if you really want a western style soft mattress I recommend to go to IKEA.

4.   Home Decoration

Chinese Living Room

This is what an average Chinese rental looks like, The room will have white walls neutral furniture fluorescent light and no decoration at all. Usually it is up to the tenant to make the place look like a home. Next article I will talk about 5 things you can to transform your Chinese apartment to your Chinese home.

5.   Rent (房租 Fángzu)

In western countries the rent is often one month deposit and monthly payment after. In China however this is arranged slightly different. when you’re looking to rent an apartment in China you have to take into consideration that most Chinese rentals like western apartments ask for on month deposit, however the rent is often paid per 3 or 6 months instead of monthly payments. this was quite the shocker when I got my first apartment and I suddenly had to gather 8 months rent (including agency fee). so keep that in mind when you’re looking for an apartment.


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