If you are planning a trip to China, don't let various cultural differences deter you from your precious travel experience. How can you avoid this?
Try to learn more facts about China to help you understand the answers to some common questions. Read on to discover the helpful information we have listed below that will enable you to make adequate preparations before your trip.
1. China's Visa or Visa-Free Transit Policy
The first thing you should be aware of before booking your trip is China's visa. Without it, you can't visit the places you want to in China. However, depending on where you want to visit, you can have the option as to whether you need to get a China visa or not.
Most famous cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Chengdu, and Guilin, can be visited without a visa if you have booked a transit flight there. If you want to experience the most interesting and authentic parts of China though, a visa is a must. Read more about China's visa:
2. Payment Methods
Chinese people like to pay for items using their cell phones in most cities in China whereas this form of payment method is not convenient for foreign travelers. Paying in cash is acceptable in most circumstances. You can make sure you withdraw enough cash when you see ATMs on the streets.
- Read more about the three main payment methods in China.
3. Surf China's Internet
It’s not possible to surf the Internet in the same way as you do at home when you’re in China, and many popular social media sites are blocked, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Buy a VPN before your trip as this will help you to enjoy all the apps in China.
- Read more about how to surf China's Internet.
4. Overcome the Language Barrier
Chinese is totally different from English or other foreign languages. It's a real challenge to communicate with local people. Prepare a useful translation app (such as Google Translate) by downloading it on your phone.
5. Tipping Is Not Common in China
Chinese people don't tip and don't expect tips from others, except in Western restaurants or 5-star hotels. Learn more about tipping in China.
6. Haggle When You Go Shopping in China
It's possible to haggle when you go shopping in China, especially when you purchase souvenirs. A general rule is that it’s acceptable to haggle in small shops but it's not possible in some big shopping malls.
- Read more about bargaining in China.
7. Chinese Squatting Toilets
Different from Western toilets, squatting toilets are common in China. You may not understand how to use them so try to read more information about them before your trip in order to be able to use them properly. Don't forget to take toilet paper and soap with you in case you can't find any.
8. Arrive at the Airport Early
China has a huge population. It's common to see long queues wherever you go, including the airport. Going to the airport early is the best way to ensure you catch your flight on time. Generally speaking, you should arrive there 3 hours before an international flight and 1½ hours before a domestic flight.
9. High-Speed Rail in China
High-speed rail is a popular and convenient form of transportation in China. You can arrive at almost all of China's major cities by high-speed trains, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, and Guangzhou. Fast trains make your trip easier and it's an exciting experience if you haven't taken such fast trains before.
10. WeChat Is the Most Popular Chat App in China
Like WhatsApp in other countries, WeChat is the most used social app in China. Download this free app and set it up as it's very convenient for you to contact local people, such as your trip advisor or guide.
11. Don't Travel to China During Public Holidays
It’s hard to imagine how crowded it gets in China during public holidays, such as China's National Day. With 1.4 billion people traveling at the same time, major traffic jams are caused and travel prices are expensive. Try to avoid these days when you make your travel plans.
- Learn more about China's public holidays.
12. Pay More Attention When Crossing the Streets in China
There is a topic on Quora: how safe is China? Many people who have visited China before all support the fact that China is very safe because of the low crime rate. However, many people complain that it's dangerous to cross the streets in China. You shouldn't expect the vehicles to give way to you. They will sometimes bypass you even when the traffic lights are red.
13. Don't Drink Tap Water in China
Chinese people never drink tap water and prefer to drink hot water, even in summer. The good news is that it's cheap to buy bottled water in China, with most bottles usually costing 2 yuan.
We Can Help You Avoid Any Travel Issues
Join our mini group tours and our professional guides and drivers will ensure you have a better stay in China:
- Join our 2-Day Beijing Highlights Tour to discover the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Summer Palace
- Join 1-Day Xi'an Mini Group VIP Tour to explore the Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an City Wall, and Muslim Quarter.
- Join 1-Day Yangshuo Tour to enjoy one of the most stunning landscape in Guilin