15 Top Tips for Visiting China

Traveling over the last couple years from my Shanghai home-base, I have picked up many tips from others experiences and my own. This has made exploring China a bit easier and much more rewarding. 

Here are tips to help you get started:

1. Scoring Extra Beds 

The hotels in China are not too fussy in regards to matching the number of people to beds, especially when additional people include children. This translates into saving for families. For example, instead of choosing 2 rooms, a family made up of 4 people can easily share twin rooms, where the room features 2 double sized beds. 

2. Follow The Correct Currency Protocol 

When you visit the north part of China save your coins. Avoid insulting a taxi driver in Shanghai with the smaller bills that include5 jiao and 1 yuan.They prefer coins. On the other hand, in western and northern China, it is common that coins are rejected outright. These areas only prefer paper money regardless of the denomination.

3. Use Language Apps For Travelers

Currently one of the better Chinese language apps for travelers would be Pleco. This is an app with a free basic dictionary. You can pay $14.95 for an optical-character recognition which is compatible with iPhone 4 or 5 camera. All that you need to do is point your iPhone at a menu in Chinese and it produces an immediate translation. 

4. Customize Your Gifts 

Have items hand made to order, riding boots, a neon-sign made in your name, an oak cabinet, sheets, a cashmere coat or silk quilt. China is truly endless when it comes to possibilities. If you want it, there is surely a person who can produce it for you. For example, the company known as  Shandong Juancheng Neon-Plasma Tech are skilled at producing signs within a week and they are prepared to ship to any country in the world. 

5. Use Guides That Offer The Best Tips For Offbeat China Destinations 

China Little T(r)ips involve various guides for people who want explore the off-beaten tourist paths of China, yet lack the knowledge, information along with language skill in order to proceed. The guides are focused on Inner Mongolia, Gansu which will soon include Qinghai and Sichuan feature detailed maps and itineraries that detail every stage of your trip. 

6. Order Rice In The Correct Manner

If you would like rice with  your meal, you need to state it out loud. Rice is not commonly served with meals in most Chinese restaurants,which is regarded as one of the cheaper ways in which to fill-up when your meal is coming to an end. If you would like rice served with your meal you need to tell the waiter mifan which means rice and mashang which means straight-away. 

7. Reminder For Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is rare in Chinese public restrooms, which means you should be carrying your own supply. 

8. How To Sidestep The Difficult Breakfasts 

Outside international branded hotels and large cities, the breakfasts are exclusively catered to local markets. This may not be a problem to people that like pickles and congee, but is often problematic for picky eaters or children. Bring along you own cereal and milk cartons to ensure everyone gets off to a good start. 

9. Don’t Worry, China Is Safe

China is not anywhere close to as scary as most guidebooks suggest. Yes traffic may be chaotic and air pollution is not great, yet China is still regarded as a country that is very safe for solo travelers, female travelers along with families.

10. Give And Get = Instant Gratification 

People that travel around rural parts of China often feel obliged to offer gifts that are small to the locals that they meet. Yet they are not sure what is regarded as appropriate. Portraits instantly delivered from a Polaroid camera are highly appreciated as an instant gift. 

11. Trespass With Ease

For those who are well versed in the ideas associated with private property are often reserved when it comes to straying off public footpaths, while fearing intruding. Yet this is how Chinese people see things. Any outdoor space is regarded as a public, and alleys and lanes often feature highly captivating scenes when it comes to the big cities in China.

12. Don’t Be Alarmed By The Loud Noises

Chinese people are known for speaking passionately and loudly at times, which can be mistaken for arguments or fighting. When I listened in on a discussion that I thought was heated between a taxi driver and his friend in Shanghai I thought it was going to end in a physical fight. They went onto to tell me they were just discussing the devastation of the Sichuan earthquake.

13. Need Assistance? Ask A High School Student

There are a number of Mandarin variations and dialects in China which makes communication extremely difficult. Yet there is always help available. People under 25 years of age will usually speak English and standard Mandarin. Students that have studied English, yet have had minimal contact with a native English speaker are usually able to understand your written questions. 

14. Visa 

Get your visa sorted for going to China in advance – it’s not hard but it’s good to be prepared and you can read more here.

15. Enjoy A Backstreet Breakfast 

To enjoy the local fare on your next business trip which would otherwise usually be spent in a boardroom and taxis, venture into backstreets just behind the hotel you are staying in for sunrise noodles or dumplings while you watch the area wake up for the day. This is a suggestion from Matthew Tobin, an Australian business traveler who really makes the most out of each visit to China. .