Travel Tips for First-time Visitors to China

Does the first travel to China make you a little nervous? As it is vast and mysterious and totally different from your country? No worries, there seems to be hundreds of thousands of advice and tips for China first-timers on guide book. However, here we offer you some common and practical tips that will save you from awkward situations and something unpredictable while traveling. 

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(Beijing Forbidden City)

1. Carry toilet paper everywhere

Despite that you are most likely get free toilet tissue in the restrooms of most airports, upscale restaurants, clubs, or pubs, generally toilet paper is not supplied in all China’s public restrooms. Therefore, make sure that you always travel with toilet paper. 

2. Learn some simple Chinese phrases

Though Chinese children are learning English from primary school onwards today, the language barrier reminds the number one hurdle to overcome. You are suggested to learn some simple Chinese words and phrases before departure, or at least prepare an English-to-Chinese pocket dictionary. Ask the hotel for a Chinese-language business card, so you can show it to passers-by, taxi drivers or bus conductors.

(Yangzi River)

3. Beware of pickpockets

Keep a close watch over your personal belongings, such as purse, camera, and even bags, and luggage everywhere – near ATM machines, in the metro, train station… as pickpockets and thieves are hardly preventable. And your carelessness may result in loss.

4. When connecting wifi ...

In the era of mobile internet, it is difficult to live with wifi. If you have 10 days or more in China, you can buy a SIM card with credit for data, it is the best choice as it is safe and not expensive. There are many free wifi for connecting, which need to be caucious and better not to connect for safty. Most wifi in hotels are free now and safe to use. 

(Yu Garden in Shanghai)

5. Be aware of fake money

China also suffers from counterfeiters like other countries; so when you receive 20, 50, or 100 yuan bill, check the bill, which is not considered rude. How to tell apart the real one and fake one? Read Money Matter (the last part). Nowadays, most Chinese people use alipay or wechat pay instead of cash, but cash is acceptable and can not be rejected according to the law.

6. Take care of your passport 

Carry your passport when necessary. You’ll need it to check into hotels, for security check at airport and train station. Some sites like the Forbidden City, Terracotta Wariors Museum require passport to enter. So it is important to ask your guide or travel organiser for details. If you just go for a walking or shopping, it is suggested to lock your passport in the safe. Always take care of your passport and prevent having it stolen.

(Traditional Chinese Cuisine)

7. Food safety 

Chinese cuisine is world-famous, you are encouraged to try everything. But be careful of the unusual foods. And some street foods, usually regarded the best part of a city's culinary experience, may be “dangerous” too, if you happen to have a weak stomach.  

8. Bargaining 

Bargain in small shops and market. It is common and interesting to bargain. Don’t be shy, start by offering one third of the asking price. However, for luxury brands, bargaining is useless. 

(Wet Market in China)

Recommended China tours for first timers:

  • 10-day Affordable China Tour
  • 11-day China Highlights Tour
  • 8 Days China Golden Triangle Tour to Beijing, Xian & Shanghai
  • 16 Days China Impression Tour with Yangtze Cruise
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