Traveling to China is a very rewarding experience. With a history which is around 5000-year old, China is a large and complex country. The land of contrasts has a population of over more than 1.3 billion.
Ranked among the top five tourist destination in the world, more and more people are visiting the Celestial Empire these days.
The Internet is flooded with information on how to get prepared before visiting the land of pandas. Just not to feel like a fish out of water there are things to know while traveling to China
Along with being a global production hub, China has many things to offer to its visitors. Starting from the impressive architecture, exotic culture and spectacular natural wonders China will surely make your visit worthwhile.
Apply for your Chinese visa as early as possible.
The most important step once you plan to visit China is to apply for your tourist visa as early as possible (unless you are from Japan or Singapore). You can apply for the Visa in the Chinese consulate or can be ordered by a post as well. Unless you have an invitation from a Chinese relative or friend, you need to provide a detailed itinerary of your planned trip.
Renminbi or Yuan (RMB or CNY) is the official currency of China. Many Chinese banks don’t accept foreign cards but few banks like HSBC, local currency can be used withdrawn from foreign bank accounts. Don’t be scared if your credit card is not being accepted a few times. As China has it’s own chain of the credit card system and is not always open to using Visa or Mastercard. Always make sure traveling with ample cash when traveling to remote places. You should let your bank know that you will be out of the country.
Hotels in China
In China, there prevails a law concerning the compulsory registration of foreign visitors. Therefore not all the hotels in China have the right to host foreign travelers. Therefore when you are booking a hotel for a stay in China always check the small print for the phrase “Only for citizens of mainland China.” For an easy stay make sure that the hotel has some English speaking staff to assist you. The hotel rates for a four-star or even a five-star hotel is much lower when compared with the US or Europe.
Google? Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? Youtube? Not in China
This is one of the crucial things to know while traveling to China. The Chinese government monitors every activity on the Internet. The Great Firewall Of China makes sure that nothing gets in and nothing gets out. There is only one way around this problem while your travel in China is to purchase a Virtual Private Network (VPN). You can also download free VPN’s but they are not always strong enough for China’s “great firewall”
In China carry your passport and Visa 24*7
While you are booking tickets or checking in a hotel your passport is a must. Only when you show your passport they will let you in. You will need your passport in many tourist destinations as well
Toilet paper is a precious commodity.
In China, most toilets don’t have toilet paper or soap. Therefore you should always carry ample toilet papers while traveling.
Use a translation app
Though English has been integrated into the Chinese education system most of the population in China don’t understand English. Therefore you always download a translation app while traveling in China. Just a small recommendation is to learn some basic Chinese words like “Hello”, “Thank You” or “Goodbye. This will help you a lot.
A top tip is to remember is when you are having soup in China always make a slurping sound – a sign of satisfaction, and compliments both your host and the chef.
Always use bottled water
Locals don’t drink tap water in China as it tends to contain an unhealthy level of heavy-metal particles. Therefore you should always buy bottled water which is really cheap.
In China, road rules do not exist.
Putting on a seat belt is not a common practice in China and the traffic is chaotic as well. Cars don’t make way for pedestrians. Even buses and trucks do not give way to cars. Be careful when walking in public and always try to cross the road with other people only.
According to Chinese culture, refusing gifts and compliments is a sign of humility, gratification, and thankfulness. The principal of saying “thank you “doesn’t exist in China. Some restaurants in China may include a gratuity on the bill but will never accept any tip on the table.
Buses and Trains in China.
China has a fantastic network of buses and trains, including the high-speed G-Trains that can take you across the country just in few hours. The rates are low as well. But the only problem is at night subways and buses stop the services early.
Food in China
Chinese food includes different types of sea vegetables, fungi, turtle, frogs, snakes and what not. You should forget about your western version of Chinese food. The spices are quite intense. One may have a problem adjusting with the food. If you want to taste authentic Chinese food you should try to find a place where the local people eat. When In China eat smart or you may end up in a hospital bed.
Trip to China is worth experiencing and can be challenging as well But when you are traveling to China with all the necessary tips then your visit can be beautiful and relaxing. Don’t forget to visit the countryside as it has its own beauty. Mentioned above are a few of the things to know while traveling to China to make your journey a little more stress-free.
China is a beautiful and developed country with its own set of uniqueness. To experience the authentic Chinese culture where else to visit other than China itself.