Some of you may be familiar with the term “karaoke box” if you have been to Japan or Hong Kong, or even simply the idea of a “karaoke bar” in the Western world. This kind of establishment is flourishing in China, as well as in Taiwan, and has been given the moniker Karaoke TV, or “KTV” for short.
KTV venues usually have 10 to 20 varying-sized rooms that can be rented out for defined time periods, usually by the hour. The price per hour can range anywhere from 50RMB to 300RMB based on the size of the room you need to accommodate your party.
In my personal experience, I’ve usually spent about 120RMB (USD $20) for a night out at KTV that includes a few hours of singing time, several snack dishes, and some alcoholic beverages. Going in a group helps cut down the cost for each person, and will also increase the energy in the room.
From Chinese and Korean songs to English and Western tunes, KTV offers a wide variety of options for you to choose from. If you’re learning Chinese, take a shot at singing a popular Chinese track. The lyrics will probably disappear from the screen somewhat quickly and are often written in traditional characters, but definitely give it a shot if you’re up for the challenge.
Food & drink
Refreshments and snacks are available for purchase, and are a critical element of the KTV experience. If you’re just in the mood to eat snacks and casually drink, order some popcorn and sunflower seeds as snacks, as well as a few cases of beer. You can also often find appetizers, and perhaps even full meals if you didn’t grab dinner for the night yet.
If you’re not interested in drinking alcohol, no need to worry. KTV venues have a wide variety of teas and sodas on the menu – try them out and enjoy a nice beverage while listening to your friends sing.
KTV is more than a chance to sing your favorite songs and relax from the stresses of life. To Chinese people, it is a social outing that brings together friends, whether new or old. Agreeing to partake in a KTV night commonly involves staying out relatively late, so prepare for that. Some groups may sing into the hours of 3 or 4AM…yes, that late.
Don’t be shy, just have fun
One of my favorite parts of KTV is the willingness of Chinese people to grab the microphone and belt out a tune, regardless of their singing abilities.
Western cultures, especially American culture, seem to make people unwilling to sing in front of others, even people we may consider close to us. Chinese people have zero inhibitions when it comes to singing in public, which is really interesting.
As a foreigner, if you are experiencing stage fright, shake it off and 入乡随俗 (rùxiāngsuísú), meaning “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” or when in China, do as the Chinese do. KTV is a relaxed environment for the sole purpose of having fun and everyone should take part in this exciting event at least once while in China.
Apply now to work abroad, begin a new journey, and get the chance to experience KTV.
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