Understanding a country as vast and diverse as China can be a tricky business, especially since the amount of available information on the country is seemingly just as infinite.
This is why we love to travel, as it allows us to share our China, the real China, through real-life experiences and human-to-human interactions. However, while we’re not traveling, we’re always continuing to seek out more knowledge and stories from Middle Kingdom, and one of our favorite mediums is podcasts!
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best Podcasts on China to share with you, and if you have one you think deserves a spot on the list, let us know, so we can have a listen!
- The best podcasts on Chinese history
- The best podcasts on Chinese culture
- The best podcasts on China’s current affairs
- The best podcasts on travel around China
The best podcasts on Chinese history
1. The China History Podcast
Presented by veteran China hand Laszlo Montgomery, The China History Podcast delves deep into the country’s 5,000 years of history. The podcast has been going since 2010, and has more than 270 episodes to explore, covering a wide selection of topics ranging from eunuchs to the history of Chinese immigrants in Thailand. And, if you’re looking for more, Montgomery has four other podcasts, including the newly launched Tea History Podcast, which we already love.
2. Chinese Characters
Chinese Characters is a BBC Radio 4 podcast hosted by renown China history scholar, Rana Mitter. The podcast tells the history of China through the individual life stories of the personalities who shaped it. Each episode is the story of one person, with names like Wu Zetian, Confucius, and Bruce Lee among others.
3. Peking Noir
A BBC Radio 3 Drama of the Week, Peking Noir will have you wondering why more English-language period dramas aren’t set in Beijing. Created by historian Paul French and dramatist Sarah Wooley, Peking Noir tells the life story of the mercurial Shura Giraldi, a Russian émigré to China in the wake of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, as she navigates her way through the underground world of old Peking. To say any more would ruin the mystery — you’ll just have to listen for yourself!
The best podcasts on Chinese culture
NüVoices is an international collective of China voices – writers, journalists, translators, and artists. The organization’s podcast features diverse personalities, highlighting the influence of women and minorities in China. Expect in-depth interviews with women based both inside and outside China, from academics to philanthropists.
2. Mosaic of China
Mosaic of China spotlights entrepreneurs and business professionals who are blazing their own path in modern China. The podcast is hosted by Shanghai resident, Oscar Fuchs, and true to its name offers a comprehensive array of the many unique personalities and professsionals who make up China. Look forward to interviews with entrepreneurs of a Tibetan yak milk beauty brand, a solar energy firm, a Shanghai metal bar, and more.
3. The Wŏ Men Podcast
Hosted by Yajun Zhang and Jingjing Zhang, The Wŏ Men Podcast is a platform telling diverse, on-the-ground stories of contemporary China. The content of the episodes varies widely from week to week, covering topics like China’s education system, the experiences of Chinese female entrepreneurs, and even host Jingjing’s personal experience of giving birth in the time of COVID-19.
The best podcasts on China’s current affairs
If you only have space for one general China podcast in your schedule, make it the Sinica podcast. The weekly discussion hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn has been running since 2010 and covers a wide range of current events in China, including new book and movie releases, international relations, and social and economic trends.
2. Bottled in China
China’s food and drinks industry is thriving, and this podcast talks to the people who make it tick. Host Emilie Steckenborn has lived in China for more than a decade. Having worked with numerous top beverage brands and hotel groups, she decided to bring her passion for food, wine, beer, and cocktails to life in the form of a podcast. The podcast is China-based, but Emilie often branches out with talks to F&B industry professionals from around the world addressing cutting-edge topics in the industry.
3. Environment China
China sits at the center of global environmental issues, and although the country faces its own set of environmental challenges, it has positioned itself to be a testing ground for innovation. This bilingual podcast (the podcast alternates between Chinese and English episodes) from members of the Beijing Energy Network, explores environmental issues through the lenses of policy, technology, and entrepreneurship, with the goal of inspiring local and international listeners to become more informed and active environmentalists.
The best podcasts on travel around China
1. The China Travel Podcast
WildChina’s newly launched China Travel Podcast is hosted by Mei Zhang and Kendra Tombolato. Each week we travel to a different place in China to talk travel tips – food, hotels, experiences, and of course, our “you won’t find in a guidebook” local recommendations. Our first two episodes took us on a sunrise run to Erhai lake in Dali,
2. Amateur Traveler
For the curious traveler, this podcast is a wonderful pick for endless travel inspiration and insider tips. The 400+ episode collection takes you to a different destination around the world each week, where host Chris Christensen speaks with locals or longtime residents to unpack reasons to visit and the must-sees. The series offers a solid range of popular destinations around China, for those looking to plan their first journey. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself booking travel reservations after.
Got a podcast you love about travel around China? Let us know – we’d love to listen!
Written by: Robynne Tindall