This guest blog post comes from Kristin Savage, a freelance writer at Studucis and GrabMyEssay and does some editing work at BestEssayEducation. Kristin is thirsty for knowledge and is always on the lookout for tips to share with her readers.
If you love traveling, you probably know that every country has its peculiarities. China is no exception to that. So before you visit this amazing country, here are ten essential things you must know about it.
The first thing you must do before visiting Russia is to prepare your travel documentation beforehand. You have to arrange your tourist visa well in advance. You will need to prepare either an invitation letter from your friend or relative in China or the confirmation of all of your trip schedule such as airplane tickets, booked the hotel and so on.
At the same time, you will need to remember about travel insurance. Don’t leave home without it. If something happens in China, you could end up paying a lot of money, so you want to be ensured in order not to pay anything later.
Your best bet is websites that do not require an upfront payment when you book your accommodation. This will ensure that you can cancel your booking for free at any moment and you only need to pay for the room once you arrive and see it for yourself. You will need to use your passport while making a booking and you can only book one place per passport.
Booking.com is probably the most known platform of such kind with millions of properties available to users through it. You can also check some Chinese sites such as eLong and C-Trip which often have better rates than their Western counterparts.
In China, they prefer using cash rather than a credit card. Visa and Mastercard are usually accepted by large hotel chains and restaurants, but the most popular card scheme is the so-called UnionPay. You will also need to make sure that you warn your bank that you will be using your card in China so that it doesn’t get blocked for unusual transactions.
Chinese businesses do not accept any other currency except for the official Chinese currency – yuan, abbreviated as RMB and known colloquially as “quai”. You can exchange your currency at local ATMs. When doing your banking face to face, bring a translator with you as not many bank employees know sufficient English. When buying souvenirs, there is a fair chance that you can purchase them at a fraction of what they are usually sold for.
Travel and Transport
Chinese airports are known to be chaotic and crowded, so getting early to the airport is highly recommended. You should also be prepared for delays as you will often have time to wait in the airport or even already on the plane.
Along with the high-speed G-Trains, China has an amazing network of buses and trains with extremely affordable rates. Driving by yourself is not recommended as the roads are rather chaotic, but catching a taxi is still pretty easy. Chinese taxis are abundant and cheap, but most drivers do not know English.
Pharmacies in China offer both eastern and western medicine and prescription medication can be purchased even without a prescription itself. All you have to do is provide the pharmacist with your identification. Many doctors at the public hospitals speak English, but the facilities themselves are often quite crowded.
Air pollution is a serious problem in China, especially in bigger cities like Beijing. Make sure that you have a mask with yourself all the time. You should also carry toilet paper and hand soap as neither are provided in most Chinese toilets. You can also grab a hand sanitizer.
Culture and Traditions
Culture and traditions in China are somewhat different from the ones in Europe or North America. Here are some things to remember:
- People in China do not blow their noses and spit instead. They don’t use tissues and handkerchiefs.
- Don’t get surprised if you are shoved while standing in a line. The Chinese have grown accustomed to a much smaller personal space as the urban areas are usually very crowded.
- Locals love taking photos and they may even try to snap one of you carefully or come up to you and ask for a picture directly.
- If you end up buying too much (there is a wide variety of things for very affordable prices), you can always use the China Post’s surface mail to mail the items home.
Once you arrive in China, you will have to get a local SIM card. The major carriers there are China Unicom and China Telecom and the SIM cards can be purchased at the airport. Most cards in China are locked to the province where you purchase them so you will pay additional fees if you text, call, or use data outside of the province.
All of the biggest sites such as the Google pack, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter are blocked by the Chinese “Great Firewall”. Purchase a VPN beforehand if you want to access these sites. You can also install WeChat which is the primary messaging app in China.
Eating Local Food
Look for where the locals are dining. Chinese street food is delicious so you don’t want to miss out on that. When you are at home, however, do not drink tap water. Purchase bottled water and drink it instead.
When you visit a local restaurant, you don’t need to tip anyone as the Chinese do not tip and do not expect you to do it either. Also, don’t be shy to call the waiter or waitress as they are not used to being proactive as their western colleagues usually are.
Remembering About Weather
It can be very hot in China during the summer and the temperature may go up as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius. At the same time, it can get as cold as 4 degrees Fahrenheit or -20 degrees Celsius in winter. Be prepared to face cold or rainy weather as it may change pretty unexpectedly sometimes.
Be Prepared That Your Bag Will Be Scanned
You have to be prepared that your bag will be scanned a lot. Wherever you go, you will most certainly get your bag scanned for security purposes as China takes safety very seriously. Your bag will be scanned in airports, bus and railway stations, major attractions, and other places, so don’t carry around knives or other suspicious objects.
In conclusion, China is definitely a must-visit for any travel enthusiast. Just remember to get ready and take all the necessary measure before setting out on your journey. Make a to-do list and follow it.