Tips for Travelling to China- Things to Keep in Mind While Visiting China
There are a few important things that you should be aware of before travelling to China. These tips for travelling to China will help you be better prepared for the unexpected and will make your trip much simpler. Please look at our China Travel Tips to ensure that your vacation goes off without a hitch and reduce the likelihood of unpleasant surprises.
Tips for travelling to China # 1– Before your arrival
Your journey will be much smoother if you take care of these matters before you get there. This is only a quick summary; the specifics will be discussed further.
- Install a virtual private network (VPN) on your device so you may browse the internet freely.
- Download a translation app on your mobile device.
- Ensure you have all the addresses and logistics written out in Chinese and English. Both of these should be mentioned on the website of your hotel.
- Get some money in the Chinese currency ready (CNY).
Tips for travelling to China # 2 – Maintain Your Connection While Utilizing VPNs And The Great Firewall
You would indulge into trouble if you try to use a website or app in China that logs users in using Facebook or Google without a virtual private network. This includes well-known travel sites like Airbnb and TripAdvisor. In China, access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google (including Gmail and Google Maps), and even Netflix is restricted.
This indicates that you will require some preparation to gain access to these websites and applications while you are on vacation. If you use Google products like Gmail and Google Maps, you should be sure to save crucial information in a separate location as a backup. It is also important to remember that many websites use Google and Facebook plugins, which causes these websites to run excessively slowly or not at all in China.
Using something known as a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, to conceal the location of your computer or device so that you may access these sites is the easiest way to do so. We utilize ExpressVPN because of its dependability in China and straightforward configuration (including an app for your phone).
Tips for travelling to China # 3 – Various Methods of Payment
In case you do not have a bank account in Mainland China and a WeChat wallet or Alipay account, cash is your best option for purchasing from Chinese shops in big cities. However, it is quite probable that you will not have any of these things. Cash is your best option.
Outside of hotels and large department shops in touristic locations, the only places that often take major credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are those that specifically cater to tourists (especially outside of Beijing and Shanghai). We recommend you exchange cash before arrival or use an ATM shortly after arriving at the airport. In general, the cost charged by the ATM should be cheaper than the fee charged by the currency conversion service if you are withdrawing a significant quantity of money. The automated teller machines (ATMs) found within the larger banks will, without fail, take international bank cards; you must, however, verify that they display the Visa or MasterCard logo prominently. The majority of banks do not accept American Express.
Not all automated teller machines (ATMs) in China will have an English language option; if you need a suggestion, ask the concierge at your hotel, or keep a look out for larger banks such as Bank of China, China Merchant’s Bank, or ICBC.
Tips for travelling to China # 4 – Mobile Devices and SIM Cards
A local phone number is required to use many of the wifi hotspots and services available in China. For instance, many public wifi hotspots need you to submit your cell number to get an SMS message with a code that enables the wifi. If you do not input your mobile number, you will not be able to access the wifi.
Because using your phone when traveling overseas and roaming may rapidly become quite expensive, you should always check with your carrier to see what choices they provide for foreign travel before departing on your trip. Several carriers provide good bundles that allow you to make local phone calls and use data.
When traveling to China, obtaining a local SIM card is typically more cost-effective once you have arrived in the country. However, purchasing SIM cards in China is subject to government oversight and requires a valid passport for registration. You may get them at any store that sells China Mobile or China Unicom products. Remember to carry your passport, and of course, you’ll need to check that your phone is unlocked and able to accept a new sim card before you go.
Tips for travelling to China # 5 – Assistance in the Target Language
Get ready for your journey by having all of the addresses you’ll need to be written down in both English and Chinese. Hotels, for instance, each have their unique Chinese name, which does not correspond to the English name of the hotel. For this reason, it is usually a good idea to maintain names and addresses with you in both languages to prevent complications with cabs or to get instructions.
You need to be prepared with some fundamentals of Chinese even if your proficiency in the language is low or nonexistent. Outside of big tourist attractions and hotels catering to international guests, it is quite unlikely that residents in China will speak English with you. This is in contrast to the situation in many other countries that are popular tourist destinations. Even less common in other cities except for Beijing and Shanghai. While you are travelling in China, here are some helpful resources that you may make use of:
You may still use Google Translate even if you do not have an online connection since it has a download option that lets you access its translation dictionary even when you are not connected to the internet. Because of this feature, Google Translate is an excellent tool to use. In contrast to Pleco, Google Translate makes it possible for users to insert and translate whole sentences. Additionally, it is the only Google app that may be used in China without being prohibited.
The app that is now dominating the market for translation is called Pleco. Because it is an offline dictionary, you may use it even if you do not have an internet connection. It permits you to search in both English and Pinyin (the official romanization of Chinese characters based on their pronunciation.).
Students are sometimes your greatest hope for assistance because they have spent their whole lives studying English in school. Be aware, however, that many of them were not instructed in English by a native speaker, and hence they are likely to communicate most effectively in written or read.
Tips for travelling to China # 6 – There’s a Mobile Application for That
There is an app for everything, including the many means by which you may make your journey more convenient. To get you started, here are some fundamentals to keep in mind:
Having a WeChat account is an absolute need when talking with anybody in China. Everyone in China uses this instant messaging service, which has usage figures that shame those of WhatsApp and Skype. Those who live in China permanently or temporarily call another country home are equally likely to use the program. In China, communicating via email is not nearly as prevalent as via WeChat.
MetroMan maintains up-to-date copies of every subway map in China, including the capability to plan and calculate point-to-point routes and fares.
After the sale of Uber’s Chinese operations to a local firm known as Didi, the DiDi ride-sharing platform has through a few transitions in China. Because of this, your Uber app will not function properly in China. You will require downloading an app called DiDi, which performs the same function but has an English user interface and can take credit cards issued in other countries. Remember that for this to operate; you will need to obtain a local phone number.
Bing is an underutilized search engine in the Western world, but it is not prohibited in China. It provides an English search engine as well as a mapping tool that is comparable to Google Maps. Microsoft Bing is the younger brother of Google (yet still inferior). If you don’t intend to utilize a virtual private network while you’re away, you should become comfortable with the app.
Tips for travelling to China # 7 – Toilets
You can find Western toilets at most hotels, malls with well-known brands, and tourist spots with five stars, but you should be prepared to squat wherever else. Even though public restrooms are rather widespread in residential areas (such as Beijing’s Hutongs and Xian’s Muslim Quarter), these restrooms will never offer toilet paper and only have squat toilets. Because of this, you should make it a habit to have a box of tissues with you at all times (which can also serve as napkins which are uncommon in local restaurants). Also, be aware that public restrooms might not be as clean as you would want. In Xian, we strongly advise against utilizing them for anything other than a true emergency. When taking a stroll through the city, suitable spots to stop and use the restroom include big shopping malls and well-known fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, KFC, and Starbucks. Instead of the toilet bowl, tissues should be placed in the wastebasket that is located nearby. Because the pipes are smaller and were not designed to accommodate toilet paper, most people are unable to flush it through.
Tips for travelling to China # 8 – Electrical Outlets
Two distinct types of electrical outlets may be found virtually everywhere in China. The first kind is the two-pronged American outlet, the type most used for day-to-day activities. The three-pronged outlets typical of Australia are occasionally required for usage with larger appliances. You won’t have any problems if you arrive ready to use any of the two formats. You will need to carry a converter with you to use a plug that has three prongs in the United States.
Tips for travelling to China # 9 – Manners
If you are a frequent traveller, you are probably aware that manners, customs, and traditions can differ greatly from one region to another. People in many parts of China, especially outside the major cities, are not accustomed to seeing outsiders. This indicates that there is a possibility of people pointing, gazing, attempting to have discussions, or taking photographs. This is not said in a hostile manner but rather out of a genuine and childlike sense of astonishment or interest. Spitting in public is rather normal, so you shouldn’t be startled if you see or hear it while you’re traveling. Public demonstrations of liquid removal are typical.
Last but not least, when you are standing in line, don’t be scared to elbow them a little bit. When waiting for public transportation like the metro, train, or bus, it is not always necessary to form lines in the Western sense. We recommend you join the mob just like everyone else and push forward to ensure you are not left behind.
Tips for travelling to China # 10 – Locations of Interest to Visitors in China
One thing that visitors sometimes overlook is the proportion of the population of China that also goes on vacation. Destinations in China, which has a population of over 1.3 billion people, attract more visitors from within the country than from outside the country. It indicates that it will be quite difficult to avoid crowds at famous sites, regardless of how hard you attempt to avoid them. Here are some common tips…
- Plan your trip for the shoulder season. This often refers to November through February, requiring working around public holidays such as the Chinese New Year.
- Get your morning start. Because the large tour buses don’t leave the city early enough, it is advisable to visit destinations that are located outside of the city early in the day. Examples of such destinations are Beijing’s Great Wall and Xian’s Terracotta Warriors.
- Put an end to business as usual. Near the end of their operating hours, the city’s attractions sometimes have no visitors left inside. For instance, our favorite time to visit the Lama Temple in Beijing is exactly one hour before it closes, so we may be the last people to leave.
- Just try to soak everything up. You won’t always be able to get away unscathed from large groups of people, just like we said before. Therefore, kick back, relax and take in the locals’ way of life when you cannot. Observing the locals in China is one of the fascinating things to do in the world.
Tips for travelling China # 11 – How to Get Around in China
The best way to travel in China is by using the subway system. The subway is cheap, clean, fast, and safe. However, it is not recommended to use the subway during rush hour (7:00 am-9:30 am and 4:30 pm-6:30 pm). During these times, the trains are packed with commuters who are rushing home after work. In addition, the subway stations are very crowded, making it impossible to find a seat.
The second option is to use taxis. Taxis are everywhere in China, and they are relatively inexpensive. They are easy to hail, and most drivers speak English. However, taxi rides can be dangerous because of the high number of traffic accidents. Also, many taxi drivers are dishonest, so make sure to negotiate the price first.
The third option is to rent a bicycle. Bicycles are great for sightseeing since they are affordable and allow you to see the sights without having to worry about parking. Make sure to bring along extra water and sunscreen.
Tips for travelling in China # 12 – Tips for Visiting Ancient Sites in China
For those who want to experience the ancient culture of China, there are several places where you can go. One of the most popular tourist spots is the Forbidden City in Beijing. Located near Tiananmen Square, this palace was built in 1420 and served as the residence of emperors until 1912. Today, it houses various museums and galleries. Another place worth visiting is the Mogao Caves. These caves were used as Buddhist monasteries between the 7th and 13th centuries. There are many beautiful carvings and paintings inside.
Another interesting site is the Terracotta Army. This army was buried around 2200 years ago by Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China. His tomb is now under excavation in Xi’an.
General Tip – How to Avoid Getting Sick When Travelling Abroad
Traveling abroad means being exposed to new germs and diseases. It is important to know how to avoid getting sick while traveling. Here are some tips on how to avoid getting sick when traveling abroad.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread through contact. Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use hand sanitizer if soap and running water aren’t available. If you don’t have access to a sink, rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
Be careful what you eat and drink. Food handlers should wear gloves and wash their hands frequently. Don’t consume food that has been sitting out too long.
Drink only bottled water. Bottled water is safer than drinking from the tap.
If you get sick, see a doctor. Even though you may feel better quickly, it is still important to visit a doctor. You could have an infection that needs antibiotics.
China is a vast land with diverse cultures and landscapes. The best way to experience this diversity is by visiting different regions and experiencing local culture. If you want to travel to China, then you should know about its geography, history, and culture. In addition, you need to learn about the language and customs of the people living in the country. These best tips for travelling to China will help you prepare for your journey to this Country.