China travel tips: how to get around
This article contains some (hopefully handy) China travel tips. China is a huge country filled with surprises from the Great Wall of China to the Terracotta Army! You will never get bored with the sounds, smells and taste when you are traveling in China.
However, if you are from a western country, you may face some difficulties in China regarding language, food, customs and culture. You may find the country is very different from your own. However, turn this contrast into a positive, so you feel you want to explore even more to get a feel for it. We have some China travel tips for you today. They should make your visit the best it could be!
1. Use the best translation app available
Prepare a ‘travel to China checklist’ and put a dictionary or translation app on the top of that list! Many Chinese people don’t know English much at all. Communication can be a headache if this happens a lot. If you don’t download an app, carry an English to Chinese dictionary with you.
2. Check twice before buying
China may be the largest producer of goods worldwide, but when you are buying from a local shop, you need to be on your toes. Don’t hesitate to ask the shopkeeper questions about what you’re buying. Check over whatever you want to buy at least twice before you buy it. You may not get the chance to return or replace it.
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3. Don’t hesitate to haggle
Just like in other countries, some shopkeepers in China see travelers as an opportunity to earn some extra money. It may be that the price offered to you is far more than a Chinese citizen would pay. They may even ask for 10 times more than the normal price. If bargaining is something you are bad at now, then you’d better start learning before go shopping in China!
4. Avoid visiting tourist areas at peak hours
This might be one of our hottest China travel tips! Usually, the morning and mid afternoon are peak hours for visiting any spot in China. As you know, China is the most populous country, and travelers add more numbers to this! So you can imagine a crowd at a tourist destination during peak hours. Avoid these hours so you can enjoy all the famous spots without jostling.
5. Make a checklist of tourist spots of your own
The guides in China may lead you to some ‘not so interesting’ tourist spots. They may be inconvenient and expensive as well. This means you lose precious time and miss out on the more interesting places. Research well before you come to China and decide which places are on your ‘must visit’ list. You can also buy city guides from most local bookstores in China that will tell you a bit about the local area.
6. Learn a couple of Mandarin words
Local people love it when a foreigner talks with them in their own local language, even if it’s just a couple of words! Trust me; this is a worthwhile China travel tip. Learning some Mandarin words is a great way to make friends in the local community. It will also break down the barrier between you and seeing the real China!
7. Decide what you are traveling for
If you are a tourist and just want to see the famous monuments without spending time on research, you can join a group tour. If you are a traveler and want to see the real China, you should take a chance and travel alone. However, traveling alone in China can be difficult. The risk is worth taking! The real China is very different from what guides show you or what you see in the media.
8. Choose the right restaurant
Chinese people are very welcoming, and they do anything they can to make a traveler feel at home! In restaurants, they may change the recipes of classic Chinese cuisines to make them more western. So you may miss out on real taste of China. Another China travel tip is to eat in crowded restaurants. The popularity if the restaurant is a way of measuring the safety and quality of food.
Also, it is a good idea to know a few things about Chinese customs and food. They prefer rice right at the end of their meal. So if you want to have rice straight away make it clear that you want the rice as part of your main meal.
9. Be prepared to pay for the internet
What do you do when you have a question? Do you Google it? Guess what! China travel tip number nine: Google is banned in China. That means there are no Google Maps or Google Playstore. Things get even worse if you are using a local sim without VPN. Some three-star hotels may offer you free WiFi, but others charge heaps for the internet.
10. Carry your own toilet paper
Public toilets in China have no toilet paper. So carry a roll of toilet paper or sheets of alcohol wipes in your backpack. It is pretty different, but then you are not at home.
11. Avoid drinking tap water or eating random street food
You really don’t want to spend your whole time in China on the toilet! You can get serious diarrhea or worms if you’re not careful about what you eat and drink. This may appear like a general measure against hygiene-related infections, but when you travel in China, you can get sick. Don’t let this spoil your trip.
12. Use Chinese currency
The official currency of China is Renminbi. Chinese laws say no foreign currency can circulate in China. So China travel tip number twelve is: get your currency in Renminbi well before you arrive in China. You can convert any leftover Renminbi into your currency of preference at the end of your visit. Always change your currency at the government bureaus or established banks because they offer a better rate.
13. Take the necessary vaccines and medicines
Although you don’t need any special vaccines for China, you should have taken routine vaccines like typhoid and rabies. This region has a comparatively high prevalence of malaria. You can start a course of chloroquine for this after consulting your doctor.
I hope that these China travel tips make your journey to our country a safe and a memorable one!