Old-School Songs Everyone in China Knows

These old-school Chinese songs that have touched the hearts of many generations
These old-school Chinese songs that have touched the hearts of many generations | © Charles O Cecil / Alamy Stock Photo
Fran Lu

It’s hard to say why some songs become classics while others are forgotten. What we do know, though, is that these old-school songs have touched the hearts of generations in China. So whether you want to boost your local knowledge or just fancy listening to a classic, here are the timeless tracks that everyone in China knows.

夜来香 – ‘Evening Primrose’

Li Xianglan was the original singer of ‘Evening Primrose’

The Evening Primrose, written by Li Jinguang in 1944, is a classic representation of old Shanghai music. The song was originally sung by Yoshiko Yamaguchi, a Japanese actor and singer who was active in China during World War II under Chinese stage name, Li Xianglan. The most famous version is by Teresa Teng, a Taiwanese diva who was popular in Asia in the 1980s. The song was banned for political reasons, but that didn’t stop it from being circulated among Chinese people.

speech icon man in bubble

Destinations Unlocked:

Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip

Looking for an expert's perspective?

Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
speech icon man in bubble
left arrow trip map

CentralAmerica

GORGEOUS GUATEMALA

Gorgeous Guatemala

5 days . Mini
speech icon man in bubble

1. Guatemala

An express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

CentralAmerica

BEACHY BELIZE

Beachy Belize

5 days . Mini
speech icon man in bubble

2. Belize

A quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

CentralAmerica

COLONIAL MEXICO

Colonial Mexico

5 days . Mini
speech icon man in bubble

3. Mexico

An exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

SouthAmerica

ADVENTUROUS ECUADOR

Adventurous Ecuador

8 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. Ecuador

A remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

SouthAmerica

ANCIENT PERU

Ancient Peru

9 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

2. Peru

An alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

Europe

SEDUCTIVE SOUTHERN ITALY

Seductive Southern Italy

10 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. Italy

The ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Europe

EDINBURGH AND THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS BY TRAIN

Edinburgh And The Scottish Highlands By Train

7 days . Culture
speech icon man in bubble

2. Scotland

Embark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Europe

COMPLETE PORTUGAL BY TRAIN

Complete Portugal By Train

8 days . Culture
speech icon man in bubble

3. Portugal

A wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

Asia

SOULFUL SOUTH KOREA

Soulful South Korea

10 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. South Korea

Discover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Asia

THAILAND, CAMBODIA & VIETNAM

Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam

11 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

2. Thailand

From Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Asia

SECRETS OF SRI LANKA BY TRAIN

Secrets Of Sri Lanka By Train

10 days . Culture
speech icon man in bubble

3. Sri Lanka

A fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

Africa

EPIC MOROCCO

Epic Morocco

11 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. Morocco

An epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Africa

ULTIMATE EGYPT

Ultimate Egypt

9 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

2. Egypt

From Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Africa

IMMERSIVE KENYA

Immersive Kenya

8 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

3. Kenya

An immersive blend of culture and wildlife for first time travelers to Africa. Learn about Nairobi, sample local coffee in the Aberdares and finish up with a fantastic safari stay in the Masai Mara.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

最浪漫的事 – ‘The Most Romantic Thing’

“The most romantic thing I can think of is to grow old unhurriedly with you. We collect the happiness in our life bit by bit, and save it for future talks on rocking chairs.” This melodic verse, sung by Taiwanese singer Cyndi Chao, has moved thousands of people ever since the song, which expresses an ordinary person’s yearning for eternal love, was released in 1994.

同桌的你 – ‘You Who Sat Next to Me’

This song is a sentimental message from a man to the long-lost crush who sat next to him at school. The lyrics are nostalgic, and touch on the man’s heartfelt wishes for the woman’s happiness. The song was written by Gao Xiaosong, a famous musician and intellectual in China, who was inspired while combing his first girlfriend’s hair. It was an instant hit following its release in 1994, and is a landmark of Chinese folk music.

一无所有 – ‘Nothing to My Name’

Cui Jian is known as the father of Chinese rock

Cui Jian wrote this song in 1986, portraying the disillusionment of a lost generation as a result of the rapid economic changes in China. The song struck a chord with the crowd when he first performed it at the Beijing Workers’ Stadium, and began a new chapter in Chinese rock music. Though Cui insisted the song was written for fun, and was dedicated to his then girlfriend, the track was interpreted as a declaration of the people’s desire for personal freedom and self-expression. Danish band Michael Learns to Rock adapted the song into an English version in 2007.

阳光总在风雨后 – ‘After the Rain There’s Always Sunshine’

This Mandarin song by Singaporean singer Mavis Hee is loved for its positive message, especially after it was used as the team song for the Chinese female national volleyball team. It reminds us that sunshine and rainbows always follow the rain, so we should never lose hope.

茉莉花 – ‘Jasmine Flower’

You may have heard the instrumental version of Jasmine Flower performed by orchestras, or the piano version on the Piano Tiles mobile game. However, you probably don’t know that it is a Chinese folk song, believed to have originated in today’s Jiangsu Province during the Qing dynasty, under the Qianlong Emperor’s reign. The song is known by just about every Chinese person, and is widely used internationally to represent the Chinese people.

难忘今宵 – ‘Tonight Is Unforgettable’

Chinese singers Jiang Dawei and Li Guyi perform at the CCTV Spring Festival Gala in 2020

It’s not only tonight that is unforgettable: it’s difficult for any Chinese person to forget this song, as it’s used as the finale of the CCTV (China Central Television) Spring Festival Gala every year. That gala is the most-watched show in the world (partly due to the huge population here). The song and gala have become symbols of the festivities and family gatherings that take place during the Chinese New Year.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider

Hanna

women sitting on iceberg

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?

2 years.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?

It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.

WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?

I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

X

Holiday Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article