EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHINA.
After opening its doors to the world in the 1970s, China has been going through a period of rapid growth and change.More and more visitors from around the world visiting China are flocking to the ancient country these days to witness its rich history and perhaps see its bright future.Although modernization has ensured that there are now many western services available, there are still a few obstacles that could catch the unprepared unaware.Since living and working in China for two and a half years, I've gathered some top tips for going to China I wish I had before I got there.Ideally, these will help you discover what a wonderful and daunting nation this is.
01.PLANNING A TRIP TO CHINA.
Planning a trip to China soon? Let us help you find out what to do and when. Our pre-departure checklists should appear at the right stage of the travel planning process in your inbox and will remind you what to look for. We are free of charge.
We have been traveling for 17 years, and have come to rely on a few reliable websites that save us time and money while booking hotels, transportation, and touring. See below for more
!Booking.com has more than 50,000 assets in China including hotels, condos, and hostels. On most rooms you get free redemption and a fixed best price.
Flights to China Skyscanner is a website for comparison which searches millions of flights. They can assign you back to the airline or agent to book until you choose the best deal (no additional charges).Download the new Skyscanner App that facilitates finding the best travel deals for you.
It is an all in one flight, a search engine app for hotel and car hire!Get Your Guide Tours in China is the world's largest online booking site for tours, attractions and events. Click here to view all of their tours in China. Experience China Tours, here with G Adventures.
02. ORGANIZING TRAVEL DOCUMENTS TO CHINA.
One of the most critical things to know while going to China is that, on arrival, they don't sell visas. Therefore, you need to schedule your visa well in advance before you fly to China!When applying for a tourist visa, you will have to either provide an invitation letter from a Chinese friend or relative, or provide a comprehensive itinerary for your planned journey. It involves return flights and verified hotel reservations.Visas may be applied for in person at the Chinese consulate or requested via fax.
If you want some versatility with your itinerary, using places which do not include an upfront payment to make reservations.Booking.com has more than 50,000 assets including hotels, condos, and hostels in China. You get cancelation on most rooms free of charge. And their book now, pay at check-in later, helps you to lock with some versatility into that pace. Test hotel prices as they are.Chinese sites such as C-Trip need no deposit to book accommodation, and once your visa is accepted you may cancel without charge.
Although China is a very safe country with relatively low violence, preparedness pays off. So just don't leave home without travel insurance one of my best China travel tips!If something unexpected happens and you're not covered, you can be in for a lot of money Because mishaps. You get peace of mind for a small price to pay-if you can't afford insurance, you can't afford to travel. Consider a big brand like Alliance Travel Insurance that is a world leader in the business and respected by millions (and TravelBlog are ambassadors) for American's.World Nomads often protects visitors from around the world, to make sure the valuable items like phones, computers, etc. are covered.
03. TRAVEL AND TRANSIT IN CHINA.
Regarding international flights to China, it is best to arrive at the airport three hours early and for domestic flights two hours early. Chinese airports can often be overcrowded and chaotic, so you'll be grateful for the extra time.
China is serviced by a fantastic bus and train network including the high-speed G-Trains that can whisk you across the country in a matter of hours. Western standards make the prices incredibly competitive.
I can count on one hand, in my two and a half years in China, the number of flights that departed on schedule. When flying from a Chinese airport, be prepared to wait at the airport (or even on the plane).
Taxis are cheap and plentiful in China. Most drivers won't speak English so it's a good idea to have someone at your hotel write your destination address in Chinese.
If this is your first ride to China, you can quickly see that the Chinese roads can be rather wild, so for the particularly brave, self-driving is really only advised!
Chinese reservation websites like C-Trip and eLong frequently offer better prices than Western booking websites. While preparing your travel make sure to check everything.
When making a reservation you will need your passport and can only book one seat per passport.
04. FOREIGNERS ADOPTING WITH CELLPHONE TECHNOLOGY IN CHINA .
The China Telecom and China Unicom are main carriers. You can purchase SIM cards at the airport or at most corner stores and the credit is quite cheap.Many Chinese SIMs are locked into the province they are bought in, so you will incur roaming fees anytime you email, dial, or use data outside this province.The cost is still much better than international roaming, even then.
China's main messaging app is Weixin (WeChat in English) and will have it for everyone you know–expats and locals alike.Install and set up the free software, because it's a perfect way to keep in touch with people who may not have social media.Above all, don't be scared to get off the beaten track. While Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi'an deserve their international fame, China has so much more to give than these cities and their cultural sites.This is a massive country with a rich history, over thirty distinct cultural communities, and a vast array of environments to discover–don't just restrict yourself to the same few places that everyone else does.
Keep in mind when you visit China that their' Huge Firewall ' prevents places like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and most of the Google list. If you want to use these while visiting China, you will need to buy a VPN.Test if they protect China while searching for VPNs-as many free options do not.
05. USING MONEY IN CHINA.
China's official currency is the yuan, better known as RMB or as' quai' colloquially.Notes: 1RMB, 10RMB, 20RMB, 50RMB, and 100RMB. There are also 1RMB coins eligible for the Chinese dictator who adorns them, as well as smaller fractions of the recognized as' Mao.'Chinese companies, including the US dollar or Hong Kong dollar, do not recognize any other currency.
While many Chinese banks do not accept foreign cards, larger chains such as HSBC can be used to withdraw foreign bank accounts from the local currency. This generally provides a much better exchange rate than providers like Travelex.Foreign ATMs can be located in all major cities but may be more difficult to find in less tourist-friendly regions.
The Chinese do not tip, and you aren’t expected to either.
It's totally possible to exercise your haggling abilities outside of the chain stores and boutiques. Never accept the price indicated or the bid first. With shrewd negotiating, you can get souvenirs for a fraction of the quoted price, and so on.
Make sure your bank knows you'll be using your credit or debit card over there before you go to China. For irregular purchases you do not want your card to be cancelled mid-trip.
If you need to face-to-face banking, you might need to bring in a local to help translate. Very few bank employees will have enough English to support you, though they should have an English speaker on board in bigger cities such as Beijing or Shanghai.
06.ADOPTING TO CHINESE CULTURE.
Chinese street food is pretty tasty and everywhere! Check to see where the locals dine while deciding which vendor to purchase from. If you see a line, that's probably a safer option.
China is a crowded place, so local people have become used to a much narrower personal space than normal in the West.
The Chinese enjoy taking photographs, and don't be fooled if a local tries to take a sly shot of you or even comes up with you to pose for a picture. It always pays as in most other countries to ask for permission before photographing a person or a government building.
The Chinese aren't using handkerchiefs and pads to clean their eyes and spray instead. Though this can be a bit confrontational when you first enter China, when they see us blowing our noses and maintaining it, they are likewise affronted.
Shopping streets like Nanjing Road in Shanghai are a great place to find a discount, but be mindful that when you return home, knockoffs of famous labels can be confiscated at the airport.
Chinese waiters and waitresses aren't as attentive as you might be used to, so don't think about putting your hands up and calling for the fuyian if you want support. Be mindful also that modern western operation is challenging to get through. Don't be shocked when all of your starter, middle, and dessert come at once while your buddy is still waiting for their first meal.
07.MANAGING YOUR HEALTH IN CHINA.
It can be crowded and overwhelming in Chinese hospitals, but most major cities also have specialist clinics for foreigners living and working in the country.
Chinese pharmacies sell drugs both to the West and to the North at very reasonable prices. Generally, prescription medication can be obtained without a prescription (within reason), merely by presenting the documentation to the pharmacist.
One of the things that can't be done in China is drinking water.For the most part, tap water is not drinkable in China. Bottled water can be bought cheaply in most restaurants and stores.
Larger cities in China have serious air pollution problems, particularly in Beijing. Most locals swear by masks on days of dangerous air pollution, but it is better to avoid exertion on days of especially bad pollution.
One of the unusual things to know before going to China is that most Chinese toilets don't have toilet paper. Hotels and nicer restaurants will have it available, but it's always a good idea to carry a roll of toilet paper or a box of tissues!
Hand soap is not standard in many Chinese bathrooms. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you just to be sure.