China Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know
China is an amazing country that combines rich ancient history and modern technological advancements. That’s why this country became a top tourist destination. If you don’t like group tours and decided to travel to this fascinating country on your own, there are a few things to know before hitting the road.
Your trip to China will probably be the most exciting yet challenging experience. There are some drastic cultural differences that you have to be prepared to in order to make your dream trip not just thrilling and breathtaking but also smooth and comfortable. In this article you will find out all the basics every tourist has to know before their trip to China. Down below we will cover such aspects as:
- Best time to visit the country;
- Language and communication;
- Internet connection;
- Other cultural differences.
- So let’s get started.
When Should You Go?
The best time to visit the country will be in spring (end of March till May) and in autumn (September till the beginning of November). These are two periods when the weather is the most comfortable and inspiring. The lowest prices will be during December, February and June so hurry to make reservations. If you don’t like when it gets very crowded then you should avoid 3 main public Chinese holidays. These are Chinese New Year (the end of January and the beginning of February) May holiday (the first week of May) and National Day (the first week of October).
Before going to China, you have to take care of your Visa. It’s the most important document that you have to obtain. Without it you won’t be allowed to enter the country. The most common type of tourist Visa lasts 30 days but there are 60 and 90 days options as well. It will cost you approximately $75.
In China Visa Application you have to indicate dates you will travel and provide authorities with your itinerary as well as with a ticket back to your home country. With this Visa you will be able to visit Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu for 72 hours with no additional Visa required.
Language and Communication
It will be recommended to learn some basic words and phrases in Mandarin as not everyone speaks English. All signboards, menus in restaurants will be also in Chinese. You can purchase a phrase book that will help you during your trip.
But to make English to Chinese translation easier for you, you can use online translation services which will help you communicate better and find bearings faster. You can use an online translator while traveling. Technological advancements allow you even to translate Chinese citizens’ real time speech. In addition, some translation services has a useful function of image translation. It means that you can upload a photo and it will get translated into English. It will come in handy with signs and menus translation, for example.
Keep in mind that China blocks access to all popular social media such as Facebook, Twitter as well as Google and YouTube. This fact is very frustrating especially when you will stay there for a long time. If you are planning to use these platforms during your stay in China then you have to purchase a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in order to get easy access to all social media and other platforms forbidden in China.
A VPN hides your IP address so it will seem that you are using connection from the US, Europe or Australia when you are actually in China. Make sure to purchase it before travelling as you won’t be able to do this after arrival.
Exchange your dollars for national Chinese money (yuan). In the country you won’t be able to use any other currency, even Hong Kong dollars. So make sure you have enough cash for your staying in the country. Keep in mind that credit card can be used only in hotels, for example. It will be much easier to use cash instead of credit cards. There are plenty of ATMs throughout the city so you will be fully covered.
One interesting peculiarity of Chinese culture is that you can rarely find toilet paper in their bathrooms. It will probably sound funny but you will have to bring your own toilet paper with you. Moreover, you have to be mentally prepared to use squat potties. Usually, toilets are not as clean as we would want it to be so make sure you carry hand sanitizer with you. Same here with napkins that you won’t find in restaurants.
Other Cultural Differences
Make sure you ask person’s permission before you take a picture. Also , keep in mind that you are not allowed to photograph at such public places like an airport, museums and military installations. In some popular tourist places you might even have to pay video camera fee, so be prepared for some minimal charges.
Another interesting fact that in some rural areas tourists are not that common so Chinese people can get very curious and stare at you. It’s completely ok as some people can even ask to take a picture with you. It’s not rude it’s just their cultural peculiarity.
Before going on trip to China you have to be prepared in order to make it an adventure of a lifetime. The tips provided in this article will facilitate your life and will help you get ready for the upcoming trip as well as to make it as smooth as possible. We hope these tips will come in handy. Have an amazing trip to this breathtaking country and you can be sure you will remember it forever.