Ahhhh KTV. There are lovers and haters of this past time but if you decide to give it a try, you’ll be entertaining yourself in an authentic Chinese way. Leave your shame and dignity at the door and belt out your favorite song.

If your friends invite you to KTV but you can’t sing any Chinese songs, don’t worry. Most KTVs have a surprisingly large and diverse catalogue of songs: Chinese, English, contemporary and classic. Keep an open mind. If you were wondering what kind of songs Chinese people usually pick at KTV, I really can’t give you a definite answer. Many of my friends (mostly girls) prefer mellow songs and love to practice their singing technique. When hanging out with my bffs, My Chemical Romance is always the first choice!

Playing dice and other drinking games is a standard for Chinese KTV nights. Although KTVs provide food and drinks, keep in mind that they usually are quite expensive. As college students, my friends and I would often sneak our own drinks in.

They may provide you with drinks and even food for free. There may be instruments such as tambourines and maracas in the room and even a bar and toilet. KTVs will have Western songs, however the choice may vary from just famous pop songs all the way through to a vast collection of classics!

Despite how karaoke works in the West, KTV in China is a more private affair.While karaoke bars in the west are usually on a public stage in a bar, KTVs in China take it to a new level! They provide private rooms with comfortable sofas, flat screen tvs, stage lighting and more to help you let off some steam.

In my opinion, KTV is a really fun way to spend some hours doing something that is what millions of locals enjoy doing, so you can consider it an authentic cultural experience. I have many hours of KTV and karaoke under my belt so here are my suggestions for having a fun time, especially if you’re in a big group of people you might not know well.

We all have that one friend who sings one song after another. They refuse to give up the microphone We like calling them a 麦霸 (mài bà). 麦 comes from the first character in microphone 麦克风 (mài kè fēng) and 霸 stands for a person who is overbearing. Depending on the context, it could be taken as a joke or a compliment. Another great phrase is 跑调 (pǎo diào, literally running keys) meaning to sing off-key. 五音不全 (wǔ yīn bù quán), describes somebody who never hits the right key, like me! If you want to give some compliments, just say 你的声音真好听(nǐ de shēng yīn zhēn hǎo tīng), your voice sounds great! More activity to be continued…