Most people have a visit to China on their bucket list, and we do too! While travel is complicated with this destination, there are many things to consider and know before you go. Check out our list below and when you're ready to check this off your list, give us a call. We'd love to help you see the land of the rising sun.
You will have a great first trip to China if you follow these tips before you go.
1. Pack the Essentials. You will need your passport and visa, cash, debit, and credit cards, appropriate attire (check the weather before you go), medications (you might need a note from your doctor to get the medicine through customs), cell phone, and adapters for electronics.
2. VPN Needed. Some social media and other websites are blocked in China, and you may need a VPN connection to access email and some apps on your phone. Free and paid VPN subscriptions are available.
3. Be Knowledgeable About Pollution. The Chinese government is working on reducing air pollution. Still, the air quality could negatively impact the trip for people with respiratory illnesses—the Chinese combat it by wearing dust masks. Tourists might prefer to travel to China in the spring when there is less pollution.
4. Best Seasons to Travel. Speaking of spring, it's one of the best times to visit China. Fall is also an excellent time to visit China. Fall temperatures are temperate and dry in China.
5. No Holiday Travel. Avoid traveling to China during holidays, which is when the locals travel. Costs for flights and hotels will be higher during the holidays.
6. Train Over Plane. The country's new high-speed trains are an efficient option for intercity travel. You might find them quicker than planes because some train stations are closer than airports to the city centers.
7. Consider Private Transportation. Taxis and buses are cheap ways to get around in Chinese cities, but they are not convenient if unfamiliar with the area. And some taxi drivers are unlicensed and might try to overcharge you. Private transport services are a more convenient and reliable means of touring China.
8. Sidewalk Safety. Cars and motorbike drivers like parking -- and driving -- on sidewalks. Be on the lookout for them zooming past you as you walk on the sidewalks.
9. Personal Space Rules. Public affection is uncommon in China; a verbal greeting is enough. But you might find your space invaded on public transportation, where it's common to see locals shoving for space.
10. Mandarin Helps. Before traveling to China, try learning a few key phrases in the language. It'll go a long way in enhancing your travel experience.
11. Love From the Locals. The locals like to interact with tourists, but those in some parts of the country are not accustomed to seeing foreigners, so they might stare and ask many personal questions. Don't be offended.
12. Be respectful. Don't offend them. It is disrespectful to speak loudly in temples and touch statues of deities. Politics and religion should generally be avoided in conversation.
13. Indulge in the cuisine. The food is delicious! Try it!
14. Use chopsticks. But never stick the chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice, which is a symbol of joss sticks at a funeral. And don't try to use chopsticks as a fork by "stabbing" your food.
15. A New Restroom Experience. Public bathrooms may be void of toilet paper, paper towels, and soap. So bring your own! And most public restrooms are equipped with squat toilets.
16. Tips Not Needed. While tipping in Hong Kong and Macau is common, it is not customary in mainland China.
17. Gifts Are Accepted. Gift giving is a sign of respect among the Chinese. You should bring gifts when visiting Chinese families.
18. Beware of Tourist Traps. Avoid scams for overpriced services and products. It would be best to bargain for the best price when buying souvenirs.
19. Beware of Budget Tour Groups. They are large, noisy, and rushed to cut costs, which inconveniences you.
20. Choose a Good Guide. China Highlights has well-trained guides who provide you with a highly personalized experience. The tour will be tailored to suit you.
We know this seems like many things to learn and remember, but that's why we're here. We will help you through the planning process. We will also let you know the customs and traditions of the places you visit, to ensure you don't make a miss-step with the locals. Ready to chat? Click HERE to schedule a call.