34 Essential Things to Know Before Visiting China

Ever since opening its doors to the world in the 70’s, China has experienced a period of rapid growth and change.

These days, more and more tourists from around the world who visit China are flocking to the ancient country to experience its rich history and perhaps catch a glimpse of its bright future.

While modernization has meant that many western amenities are now available, there are still a few hurdles that might catch the unprepared unaware.

After two and a half years living and working in China, I’ve compiled some top tips for going to China I wish I’d had before I got there.

Hopefully, these will help you discover what a wonderfully challenging and beautiful country this is.

Things to Know Before You Visit China

Using Money in China

Load&Go China passport 1 (600 x 349)

1. Cash is preferred

Although more and more businesses (particularly large hotel chains and upscale restaurants) now accept Visa and Mastercard, the most widely accepted card scheme is UnionPay.

However, for the most part, when you are traveling in China you’ll need to pay with cash!

2. China recognizes only one currency – its own

The official currency of China is the yuan, otherwise known as RMB or colloquially as ‘quai’.

Notes are available for 1RMB, 10RMB, 20RMB, 50RMB, and 100RMB. There are also 1RMB coins available, as well as smaller fractions of known as ‘Mao’ for the Chinese leader who adorns them.

Chinese businesses do not accept any other currency, including the US dollar or Hong Kong dollar.

3. Exchange currency at ATMs in China

While many Chinese banks do not accept foreign cards, larger chains such as HSBC can be used to withdraw local currency from foreign bank accounts. This usually offers a far better exchange rate than services such as Travelex.

International ATMs are available in all major cities but may be harder to find in less tourist friendly areas.

4. Don’t forget to tell your bank you’re visiting China

Before you go to China, make sure your bank knows you’re going to be using your credit or debit card over there. You don’t want your card being canceled mid-trip for unusual transactions.

5. Bring a translator

If you need to do your banking face to face, you may need to bring a local to help translate. Very few bank employees will have sufficient English to help you, although in larger cities such as Beijing or Shanghai they should have an English speaker on staff.

6. Don’t tip in China

The Chinese do not tip, and you aren’t expected to either.

7. Use your haggling skills

Outside of chain stores and boutiques, it’s totally possible to practice your haggling skills. Never accept the marked price or first price offered.

With shrewd negotiation, it’s possible to get souvenirs and such for a fraction of the quoted price.

Tours in China – The folks at Get Your Guide are the world’s largest online platform for booking tours, attractions and activities. To see a list of all their tours click here

Organizing Travel Documentation for China

Forbidden city by Shutterstock
Forbidden city by Shutterstock

8. Visas for China

One of the most important things to know when traveling to China is that they do not offer visas on arrival. So before you travel to China you’ll need to arrange your visa well in advance!

When applying for a tourist visa, you’ll need to provide either a letter of invitation from a Chinese friend or relative, or provide a detailed itinerary of your intended trip. This includes return flights and confirmed reservations for your hotel bookings.

Visas can be applied for in person at the Chinese consulate or can be ordered via post.

9. Booking hotels in China

If you want some flexibility with your itinerary, make use of sites that do not require an upfront payment to make bookings.

Booking.com has over 50,000 properties in China including hotels, apartments, and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms. And their book now, pay later at check-in system allows you to lock in that rate with some flexibility. Check current hotel prices.

Chinese sites such as C-Trip require no deposit to book accommodation, and you can cancel without penalty once your visa is approved.

10. Travel Insurance for China

While China is a very safe country with relatively low crime, it pays to be prepared. So one of my top China travel tips is don’t leave home without travel insurance!

If something unexpected does happen and you are not insured, you can be up for a lot of money AND inconvenience. For a small price to pay you get peace of mind – if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel. 

For American’s, consider a big brand like Alliance Travel Insurance who are a world leader in the industry and trusted by millions (y TravelBlog are ambassadors).

World Nomads also cover travelers from all over the world, and be sure to insure your valuable items such as cameras, laptops etc.

Managing your Health in China

Photo: Chinese herbal medicine by Shutterstock

11. Drinking water in China

One of the things NOT to do in China is drink the water.

For the most part, tap water in China is not drinkable. Bottled water can be purchased very cheaply at most restaurants and stores.

13. Pharmacies in China

Chinese pharmacies offer both western and eastern medicine at very reasonable prices. Prescription medication can usually be purchased without a prescription (within reason) by simply providing the pharmacist with your identification.

14. Finding a doctor in China

Chinese hospitals can be crowded and daunting, but most major cities also have specialized hospitals catering to foreigners living and working in the country.

Even in the crowded public hospitals, many doctors will speak English.

15. Coping with air pollution in China

Larger cities in China have serious problems with air pollution, particularly in Beijing. Many locals swear by masks on days with hazardous air pollution, but it is safer to avoid exertion on days with particularly bad pollution.

16. Bring toilet paper

One of the unusual things to know before going to China is that most Chinese toilets do not provide toilet paper. Hotels and nicer restaurants will have it available, but it’s always a good idea to carry a roll of toilet paper or a box of tissues!

17. Bring hand soap or hand sanitizer

Like toilet paper, hand soap is not standard in many Chinese bathrooms. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you just to be sure.

Interested in teaching English to Chinese students? You can from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are)

Travel & Transit in China

travel in china
TonyV3112 / Shutterstock.com

18. Get to the airport early

It is advisable to get to the airport three hours early for international flights to China and two hours early for domestic. Chinese airports can often be chaotic and overcrowded, so you’ll be grateful for that extra time.

19. Expect delays

In my two and a half years in China, I can count on one hand the number of flights that left on time. Be prepared to wait in the airport (or even on the plane) when flying from a Chinese airport.

20 Catching buses and trains in China

China is serviced by a fantastic network of buses and trains, including the high-speed G-Trains that can whisk you across the country in a matter of hours. Rates are extremely affordable by western standards.

21. Bring your passport when making a booking

You’ll need your passport when making a booking, and you can only book one ticket per passport.

22. Make use of local booking sites

Chinese booking sites such as C-Trip and eLong often offer better rates than western booking sites. Be sure to check both when planning your trip.

23. Driving in China

If this is your first trip to China, you’ll soon see that Chinese roads can be rather chaotic, so self-driving is really only recommended for the particularly brave!

24. Catching taxis in China

Taxis in China are cheap and plentiful. Most drivers will not speak English, so it’s a good idea to get your destination address written in Chinese by somebody at your hotel.

Experiencing the Chinese Culture

Chinese culture
Photo: silhouette women fan dancing by Shutterstock

25. Eating street food in China

Chinese street food is delicious and it is everywhere! When choosing which vendor to purchase from, check to see where the locals are dining. If you see a queue, it’s likely to be a safer bet.

26. Spitting in China

The Chinese do not use handkerchiefs and tissues to clear their noses, and instead spit. While this can be a bit confronting when you first visit China, they’re similarly affronted when they see us blowing our noses and keeping it.

27. Personal space

China is a crowded place, and the locals have become accustomed to a much smaller personal space than we are accustomed to in the west. Don’t be surprised if you’re jostled or shoved when queuing – it’s just part of Chinese culture.

28. Taking photos in China

The Chinese love to take photographs, and don’t be surprised if a local tries to snap a sneaky photo of you or even comes up to ask for a picture with you.

Like in most other countries, it always pays to ask permission before photographing a person or a government building.

29. Mailing things home from China

With cheap prices and a huge variety of products, it can be easy to go over your luggage limit while shopping in China. Thankfully, it is very affordable to post things home using China Post’s surface (sea) mail.

This can take one to two months but is a very affordable way to get your belongings home.

30. Beware of Chinese knock-offs

Shopping streets such as Nanjing Road in Shanghai are a great place to find a bargain, but be aware that knockoffs of prominent brands can be seized at the airport upon your return home.

31. Don’t be shy in restaurants

Chinese waiters and waitresses aren’t as proactive as you may be used to, so don’t be afraid to throw your hands up and call for the fuyian if you want service.

Also be aware that conventional western service is hard to come by. Don’t be surprised if your starter, main, and dessert all arrive at once while your friend still waits for their first dish.

Technology in China

Photo: Guilin landscape by Shutterstock
Photo: Guilin landscape by Shutterstock

32. Get a local SIM card in China

China’s major carriers include China Telecom and China Unicom. SIM cards can be purchased at the airport or at most corner stores, and credit is quite affordable.

Most Chinese SIMs are locked to the province in which they are purchased, so you’ll pay roaming charges when texting, calling, or using data outside of this province.

Even then, the rate is far cheaper than international roaming.

33. Get a VPN for China

When you visit China keep in mind that their ‘Great Firewall’ blocks sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and most of the Google selection. If you want to access these while you’re visiting China, you’ll need to purchase a VPN.

When shopping for VPNs, check that they cover China – as many free options do not.

Get your vPN with NordVPN here. It’s what we use and is fantastic for China.

34. Download Weixin (or WeChat)

China’s premier messaging app is Weixin (WeChat in English) and everybody you meet – expats and locals alike – will have it.

Download the free app and set it up, as it’s a great way to keep in touch with locals who may not have social media.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to get off the beaten track. While Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an are worthy of their international fame, there is so much more to China than these cities and their cultural sites.

This is a massive country with a rich history, over thirty distinct cultural groups, and a huge variety of landscapes to explore – don’t limit yourself to the same few sites everybody else visits.

I hope my local insights and traveling to China tips help you have a memorable time.

Planning a Trip to China

Helpful Links

We’ve been traveling for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights, and tours. See below!

Accommodation in China

  • Booking.com has over 50,000 properties in China including hotels, apartment, and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.

Flights to China

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, they send you directly to the airline or agent to book (no extra fees).

Tours in China

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If you have already visited, do you have any tips for travel in China or other things to know before visiting China? Please share in the comments below!

213 thoughts on “34 Essential Things to Know Before Visiting China”

  1. I visited China several times in the past. Most of the times I had tour guide with me, so I rarely experience “lost in translation”. Once in awhile I traveled without guide. In such case I always take hotel card with me. It is usually written in Chinese and English.

    Mima || Tokyo Blogger

    1. My parents do much the same when they visit, Mima. It definitely makes it a lot easy if you’ve got a local guide to help you navigate the ins and outs.

      On my recent trip to Beijing I took a Mandarin speaking friend with me and found it opened a lot of doors for us. We tried hole in the wall restaurants, interacted with locals at bars, and managed to find some off the beaten track spots to explore as well.

    2. Without the tour guide, think it would be possible to visit there? I’m sure people speak English over in China

      1. It’s definitely possible to make your own way. I did most of my traveling in China with about 20 words of Mandarin to my name and lots of hand gesturing.

        Most people (particularly in the east) speak a little English. Between that and persistence, you’ll be able to do all of the important stuff like ordering food, booking a hotel room etc. You’ll just want to have a guidebook with you in case you need to show a taxi driver where you need to go.

  2. Cool post! Quite an informative and useful list. China is amazingly beautiful, but I am a little worried about the hygiene part. I mean if they don’t keep hand washes and sanitizers in washrooms, then how do they clean their hands?

    1. That’s a good question! Bars and restaurants do have soap usually, so it’s only the public restrooms I have my doubts about. Maybe they do as I did and just carry soap with them?

      I certainly hope so >_>

      1. Actually there’s only few young people who truly use public restrooms. Btw as a Chinese I usually only use restrooms in travel spot or hotel restrooms when I travel. Cuz I truly feel lots of public restrooms are dirty and I literally don’t know how people bare them… So I seldom get into the situation that there’s soup lol.

    2. A lot of Chinese people believe that all you need to wash your hands is water (not even hot water!) so many places will have a sink but no soap. This is slowly starting to change so you’ll see bars and restaurants with soap, especially in the bigger cities. Honestly, just bring hand sanitizer.

    3. Also another thing to know about before going to China is the current persecution that is going on right now,Many Practitioners of Falundafa (a Cultivation Practice,something a little similar to tai chi) and others with beliefs are being sent to labor camps and being tortured for their beliefs,its is all very cruel.

      There is even such a thing called Live Organ Harvesting where prisoners of conscience organs are being removed for transplants while they are alive.If you practice Falundafa you will be arrested.There are such cases when someone is just meditating in the park and then they are arrested illegally and will not be given a trial.But you can help by signing a petition to stop this at fofg.org.I hope anyone reading this will not ignore,because its been going on for too long and someone has to do something.

      Also to know what Falundafa is please visit Falundafa.org

      Thanks,

      Unknown

      1. I’ve been living in China for my whole life and I don’t know what the heck is wrong with you. Is it another one of these China Hategroups? WE DONT EAT PEOPLE AND WE DONT SKIN YOU ALIVE!
        Harvesting human organs are ILLEGAL! You get death penalty for that. AND NOBODY DOES THAT!
        People who practise taichi DONT GET ARRESTED! It’s what old people freaking do everyday in the park. It’s freaking harmless. Also good for your health.
        And have you even been to China…? Police are not like fascist hitting people on the head and shooting them. And a trial is ALWAYS GIVEN! What country don’t freaking have a trial…?
        I’m just getting excited over ignorant people…..haha,

      2. I believe you. The truth is out there. Some may turn a blind eye and deny the facts even when they are in your face. Thanks Google images. There isn’t anything that I alone can do but there is strength in numbers. For now I hope these kinds of atrocities blow over and come to an end someday soon.

    1. I’m glad it passed muster 🙂 I *love* WeChat, and still use it even now that I no longer call China home. The best complete package messenger app I’ve managed to find. Definitely better than What’sApp, LINE, and KakaoTalk in my experience.

      Good idea on the AQI app. I used to just assume if I couldn’t see the sun/sky, it was a stay inside and play video games kind of day :-p

  3. I used to say I never wanted to visit China. It is the only country I have ever said that of. I formed that opinion from reading travel memoirs, but lately I have been rethinking that stance. In Japan last year we met a French Couple who were living in China and loving it. Maybe it is best to settle in one place for a bit first to acclimatise before branching out. Anyways this list was very enlightening and encouraging. Never say Never 🙂

    1. I was very much in the same boat before I moved there. I had a vague desire to see the Great Wall, but that was about it.

      It can be a really challenging and confronting country, but there’s a lot of beauty there to be discovered both historically and from a natural landscapes view as you head farther west.

    2. As a chinese myself, your comment makes me really happy. Please do visit china, it’s not as bad as what most media portrayed it to be 🙂 there are lots of things to see out of Beijing as well. Have a nice day!

      1. my daughter is coming to China to teach for a few weeks English. She was told to bring gifts for her sponsors. What type of things would be good for her to bring? Also are most food items accepted in the country coming through customs check points.

        1. Some small gifts like chocolates are sufficient. Certainly gifts with strong features of where you come from are greatly appreciated. For example, if you come from New York, a small model of Statue of Liberty is a good choice. Meat and any kinds of living plants are not allowed at the customs check points. Hope your daughter have a nice trip in China!

  4. Hey Chris…great writing as always! Probably one of the best “China tips” lists I’ve seen in a long time. Here are a couple other things I would add to the list that I’ve had to tell people time and time again:

    – Beware the “massage” at cheaper 3-star hotels. It’s not what you think it is.
    – You might not need a plug converter for your devices. Check first.
    – Make a copy of your important documents (passport, visa, etc.) and keep it in a separate bag
    – China doesn’t recognize international driver’s licenses
    – Don’t take a photo of the military or police, particularly in sensitive areas (Tibet, Xinjiang)

    1. Ha! I’ve had that hotel one thrown my way quite a few times. I particularly like it when you play dumb and so they just get blatant about it. Rather confronting haha.

      I’m lucky when it comes to plugs, as Australia and China use compatible outlets. Totally forgot about making a copy of the documents. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Hi Chris,

    I’ve been a frequent traveller to China, mostly Shanghai for the last 13 years so it was a real pleasure to read this.

    With regard to point 7 and tipping, I’d like to add to this. Tipping used to be illegal in China not too long ago but that ban has now been lifted. However, it is not culturally expected.

    However, as a Brit I feel as though many Americans have potentially ruined it for us other Caucasians in the big cities. I find especially in Shanghai that at western hotels the bell hop will blatantly linger around in your room (when they’ve delivered your luggage even though you said you can manage without their help) and expect a tip.

    I’ve had people follow me into the toilet in public buildings so they can try to hand me a towel or soap in the hope of getting a tip. I’ve also had taxi drivers refraining from giving me my change because they think I’m American and automatically assume they can take the change as a tip.

    I think it is a shame that cultures can be diluted by the integration of other cultures. Not because it costs me money, but more that it removes the diversity and cultural identity of the place.

    I also can fully relate to no 33. First time visitors may not be aware that sites like Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China – otherwise known as the Great Wall of China. The last time I was there I tested out a few VPN services and quite a few came up short. I did however find one which won hands down for me. You can read my review of “Finding the best VPNs for China” on my blog.

    1. I’m glad you liked it!

      I have noticed the tipping issue becoming more of an issue, especially in Shanghai, as you say.

      I’ll have to check out your VPN blog. I’ve always found Astrill to be perfectly fine, after WiTopia proved to be not up to the challenge.

    2. Because maybe people in service sector should be tipped to offset their already low wage. Seems to me you “other Caucasians” are just cheapos and that the “Americans” (others tip as well) understand and reward good service.

      1. Working in the hospitality industry, I am very thankful for such a person who has an attitude as you regarding tipping matter. It is not about money, it is more of encouraging to give you a better service for what they go out their way to assist you.

  6. This is an actually incredibly informative article. I’ll be travelling to China later this year for school and i’ll like to receive some tips especially with what school and providence is good, communicating & socializing because i’m black and i wouldn’t want any racist demeanor. Thank you

    1. Whereabouts in China are you going to be, Romario? Feel free to shoot me a message (find my links above) if you’d like any tips. I’ve got a lot of contacts in Nanjing and Shanghai, and a few in Beijing and Chengdu I can put you in touch with too.

      1. Hi Chris!

        First of all, great article. I spent 6 months in Shenyang and I experienced many, if not all, of the things on your list! I am replying to this comment because you mentioned you had some contacts in Chengdu. My husband and I are taking a 2 week trip to China in April and we will spend about a week in Chengdu exploring. We are scouting it out for a potential place to live in the next few years. Anyway, could you get me in contact with anyone for tips and tricks for traveling in Chengdu? All I know is that the food is spicy and you need to go see the pandas. 🙂 I am unfamiliar with the south, since all my time was spent in the north east.

        Thanks for any insight you may have!

        Mackenzie

      2. Hi Chris,

        Amazing article my girlfriend and I are traveling to Beijing and Shanghai for 10 days. We’re excited for the trip, after reading your article I would love to get some additional information from you as you seem to be an expert.

    1. I have! Hangzhou is an absolutely beautiful city. I was there in August 2013 and spent two very lovely days cycling around West Lake and taking in the city’s cruisy, garden vibe. It’s one of my favourite cities in China.

      Where else is on your itinerary?

      1. Thanks Chris for the article, very insightful. Planning a business trip to Beijing for two week to procure textile and machinery. This will help me a great deal.

  7. Some great suggestions! We visited China at the end of last year and these are definitely in line with everything we experienced and they all point to one thing we felt – a huge culture shock. By the end of the first week we were settling in more to the differences and getting used to working through personal space issues to make sure we didn’t lose our spot in queue and tuning out the hoarking/spitting noises!!

    1. China can definitely be challenging, but it doesn’t take long to slip into the groove. I never did manage to block out the spitting noises, but I might have been of the ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ mindset.

      It was a hard adjustment getting back into the west where spitting is frowned upon, haha

  8. As someone that lives in Guangzhou, you are pretty much spot on with most of your tips.
    Travellers shouldn’t be scared off by the pollution, whilst it may be bad in Beijing, in the south of China there is normally very little air pollution. It has been months since I saw anyone needing to wear a face mask here!
    I also think there is a bit of a misconception regarding haggling. I never negotiate prices in day to day life, and I pay the same as any local. It may be necessary in a tourist shop, but I have seen traders that were most offended by rude tourists negotiating on what already was the best price. My tip – learn some of the local dialect and you will be treated like family.

    1. Glad the tips measured up! I’ve not made it into the south (aside from a weekend in Xiamen and a few weeks in Sanya), so I’m glad to hear the pollution isn’t so bad down that way. Beijing, Nanjing, and Xi’an have all had some truly terrible days in my time there.

      Learning the local language is such a huge plus. I did it when living in South Korea, but never managed to pick up more than a few useful Mandarin words. Next time around, I’m going to make a more concerted effort.

    2. In genera I’ve found that the prices are quite reasonable here in Guangzhou for tourists as well. Usually the vendors won’t add a foreigner price or at least it’s not too much. In wholesale markets you can often bargain a bit, but not too much. It’s totally different than in Beijing where in tourist spots you can get the last zero out of a price.

      1. I think it’s really only the big tourism markets where that extra bit of gouging comes into play. I’ve noticed it in Beijing, Hainan, and Shanghai – but never in less touristed regions like Nanjing, Qingdao etc.

    3. Thank you Chris and Everyone

      My wife will be travelling to Guangzhou in a weeks time. I was so much concerned about the pollution and other few issues. But the Tips have really helped me. Coming from Southern Africa where pollution is not a concern and being a first time traveller to China such information comes handy.

      We have secured a Agent to assist with procurement processes, we hope Agents in China are honest.

      Thank you so much!

  9. This is a great and really informative post. I’ve spent the last year in Wuhan, and can very much relate to many of these points. The spitting, queue jumping and all that was a lot to handle at first, but now I’ve at least joined the queue cutting wagon (not so much the spitting) and I must say I save a lot of time, haha.
    Also, not to be picky, but I think it’s spelled ‘kuai’ and ‘fuwuyuan’ 🙂

    1. Ha! Thanks for the spelling times! I never did come to grips with pinyin, especially since it so rarely followed the rules of the letters being used. I spent my first month in China saying ‘Xi’ as ‘Zi’, haha

  10. Great tips, Chris! You covered it all so well. I went to China prepared with a travel-sized Charmin toilet paper kit and hand sanitizer, and boy, was I glad that I did! And karaoke was a frequent occurrence in China. There’s a karaoke pub everywhere you turn! Definitely a fun way to experience the culture.

    1. Loved the KTV in China. It’s a bit pricier than noraebang in South Korea, but still a great night out.

      Glad you liked the post (and even gladder that you weren’t caught without bathroom essentials in a dodgy Chinese restroom, haha) 🙂

  11. Thank you for writing this post. I am wondering if someone post some things from China to your homeland? What is a price and where I should go (to the common post office, right?)
    As for the personal space, I assume this is common “problem” in all Asian countries, I could say the same about India and Nepal 🙂

    1. Yep, you can just post your things from any China Post office. They have green and yellow signs unless something has changed since I was last there.

      Take along your passport and be prepared to be patient in explaining (most post offices will have somebody on staff who can speak survival English), but it’s a pretty straightforward process. I sent home about 35 kgs for less than $200 at the end of my time there.

  12. Great tips guys! Not being shy is such an essential one. I consider myself to be quite a shy traveller but in China, oh my gosh, that is not going to work. I found I always had to be pushing myself out of my comfort zone, literally sometimes you have to push to get anywhere in a ‘queue’ and having to speak up all the time and having to speak in broken Chinese for the most part as well. Also, hand sanitiser? A total must.

    1. China really does coax the inner beast out of you from time to time. I’m generally a quiet, polite guy who is happy to go along to get along, but I had occasions in China where I just had to let my temper go else I’d have been stuck in a line all day as others pushed in ahead of me.

  13. Really nice Post very informative, really appreciate your time spent to share this with us. Thank you. I’m planning my first trip abroad to China, very exciting! Please Tell me what would constitute as a really good budget, How much money should I consider spending all in all? Hope youunderstand? 🙂

    1. It’s hard for me to recommend a good travel budget, as I lived there as an expat who had a regular income, my own apartment, etc.

      When I traveled there earlier this year I was a bit liberal with my spending (had lots of friends to catch up with haha) and spent around $1000 AUD. I could definitely have gotten by on half of that if I hadn’t been buying rounds and revisiting all of my favourite restaurants.

      I would say a decent rule of thumb would be:

      – Food: $10 a day if you’re eating local. Closer to $40 a day if you want western food.
      – Accommodation: Hostels are cheap and hotels can be had for a decent rate too. Maybe between $20 and $100 a day depending on quality?
      – Transport: Cheap! Cabs will run you $7 – $10 a day dependent on where you’re going. Buses are around $1 – $2 a trip. Long distance trains are around $20 – $30.

      Hope that helps!

  14. Awesome Chris!

    Haven’t been back to China in about 9 years now. Taking a group this time, flying into Beijing to visit the Forbidden City and then off to Wudangshan to hang out for meditation, Tai Chi, Qigong and just chilling with the Tao. Then back to Beijing and walk the Great Wall. I’m looking forward to seeing the reaction of people in my group.

    Your list is great! I totally forgot somethings like toilet paper and being blocked out from Facebook Youtube etc, traveled to too many other countries in-between to remember. So thanks again, now I will send out a group email to inform people so they will not be to shocked in regards.

    1. Glad I could help jog your memory some! I was lucky enough to revisit China earlier this year, so I was given a (sometimes jarring) reminder of things I’d forgotten after leaving last year haha.

      Your trip sounds amazing. Which part of the Wall are you/did you visit(ing)?

  15. I am planning to travel through China next year – I am not a youngster but am used to travelling as a single female – I wondered if hiring a guide would be a wise move and if you had any advice on the hows etc – thank you for taking the time out to write this Chris 🙂

    1. China is a *very* safe country to travel as a foreigner. I have quite a few female friends who have traveled there alone and had no trouble whatsoever.

  16. Hi Chris!
    Thanks for your article. It’s very helpful! My husband and I will be moving to Guangzhou in May, and I feel a lot more prepared and assured having a better idea of what to expect. I appreciate it! Having spent a lot of time in China, how would you suggest learning the language? Or at least learning several key “survival” phrases? I’m having a difficult time, to be expected.

    1. You know, I did a truly awful job of learning the language in my two years there. It’s embarrassing how little of the language I picked up >_<

      I imagine you'll be speaking Cantonese down there? I had the best success when I found a local tutor and worked with them. I'd then practice my new phrases and words with my students and my local friends.

      I think the biggest hindrance for me was that I didn't immerse myself as fully as I'd have liked in the local culture. I was so busy with side projects that I mostly socialised with my fellow expats. It's an easy trap to fall into, but if I had my time again, I'd make a bigger effort to meet and interact with locals.

    1. Hi Mae, you definitely want a visa before you go. While some nationalities can get a 72 hour visa on arrival at certain airports (Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou) – you’ll need a visa if you’re planning to go longer than that.

      Depending on your nationality, the process and cost varies. It’s best to contact their consulate/embassy in your country 🙂

      1. I have a visa for China that appears to be good for 10 years. Visited in April, this past year, wanting to go back in a few weeks…is it necessary to get permission to visit again?

  17. Chris, LOVE love love this article!! My husband and I are will be traveling to China for 4 weeks in July…CAN’T WAIT!!
    Quick question for you. I heard something about filling out paperwork or something online before we go to bypass the long line through security with tsa. Do you know anything about this?

    1. I’m glad the article has helped! I might actually be back in China around that time as well, actually.

      What’s on your agenda?

      I’ve never had to wait particularly long at immigration when entering China, so I’m not sure what paperwork that would be, I’m afraid. It’s always been quick and painless for me.

  18. Great tips for all first time travelers like me. But I’m just worry about theft problem when traveling in China. I hearded alot theft cases from my friends after they had a short trip in China. Did you face any problems like this? Once again, thanks for sharing and cheer!

    1. Further to what Caz said, I lived there for almost three years and never had a problem with theft. I didn’t hear about many in that time either.

      If you exercise normal caution (keeping your belongings with you, not flaunting expensive stuff etc.) you should be fine.

      In my experience, China is one of the safest countries out there.

  19. Wow! First time to China, July 2016. Thanks for all the good info. Going with Mandarin speaking friends, so hopefully will be a great trip. Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Great Wall, Terra Cotta Soldiers….so excited. Looking forward to reading more great comments. Thanks again.

  20. Even though China is not as bad as most of the westerners can imagine, well as a chinese i would say most part of this is true.
    “Sudden Rich” Chinese are so arrogant and would treat others like a bug, might because they once had a bad life and the blooming economic are bringing them to the higher social status and them and their children have started to forget who they are and be thankful.
    Most of them cant speak english, but most formalized corporations, hotels and restaurant staff are picking up and learning, so no worries.
    Tips for traveling cant run far from getting cheap products, since most of the products are made in china, but it doesnt mean that getting stuff from streets is safe, you might get a counterfeit product.
    Vape products is a must to collect while you visit china, you cant believe how cheap they were and most are in tip-top condition! Imitation too are 1 to 1 copy with the same materials and design, for vape juice, i’d suggest you to pick back American made for safety purposes.
    So using back a quote we often said, to describe all this “tips” placing upon us, its too tell all our people: 真他妈的丢脸!!!!!!!

  21. Hey guys! Have loved following you on IG for months and so glad this article came up in searching for technology questions for China. Other than VPN – any tips? I’m trying to plan ahead to make sure I can email and blog and just generally be free. (so put on your blogger/digital nomad hat on top of your traveler hat please)

    1. Hey Jessica – a good VPN is the only real essential. Don’t skimp and go for a free/cheap option unless you want to deal with regular and potentially permanent downtime.

      Most VPNs are not designed with combatting the Great Firewall in mind. I’ve had the most success with Astrill, who really should be paying me for all of the business I send their way 😛

  22. I prefer you recommendations of VPN in China. My suggestion is that you should download and set it up before entering China as most VPN providers’ sites are blocked in China. And besides, you should choose those who have a free trial policy. you can try it first when enter China and decide if you will pay later.

    1. Astrill. 100 times Astrill.

      I played with 5-6 VPNs in my time in China, but very few actively update to work against the Great Firewall updates.

      I’ve heard okay things about WiTopia and Strong VPN, but I never had more than a day or so of downtime with Astrill.

  23. I am visiting Beijing in March. I want to get off the beaten path, but I have a limited amount of time to do that. I really want to see rice paddies up close. I am also visiting Chengde for a day. I
    How would you recommend seeing some of China that is not as tourist-y?

    1. China can be a difficult place to do authentically, as the places that are the most authentic tend to be difficult to get to without navigating the Chinese language only bus and train systems.

      That said, it’s perfectly possible to have a more local experience even in Beijing. The hutongs district (near Bell & Drum Tower) is a great place to engage in some people watching, and there are sections of the Great Wall (such as Jinshanling) that are completely away from the tourist press. Go to Lama Temple in Beijing to see a temple without the usual crowds too.

      FWIW, the best place in China to see the rice terraces would be down near Guilin. Chengdu is quite nice (and not as touristy as Shanghai and Beijing), but if you have time – I’d definitely recommend getting up to Jiuzhaigou National Park in the north of the same province.

    1. Hello Jessica – did you travel for two months on a tourist visa, did you extend it from 15 days? If, as I am led to believe you have to show a homeward flight ticket upon entering, what did you do? just book another flight home? I would appreciate some advice. thanks, Tina

  24. I totally agree on haggling! There are times when you will have the price pumped up at least 4 times. I recall once, near Terracotta Army the shop owner asked for 400 yuan. By the time I slammed the door behind me the price had fallen to 40 yuan….

    1. Definitely! My younger brother got chased through a mall by a vendor who had reduced the price of the belt he’d been looking at from 200RMB to 15RMB.

  25. Thanks Chris Walker-Bush for your sharing. One thing you guys should know when travelling in China for lower cost is to bargain. If you do not bargain tactfully you will purchase products more expensive than itself. And more importantly, be careful with fake products which can be seen everywhere in China as well. Here is suggested website for useful tips and guides for Asia travel including China travel i want to share with you http://balotravel.net/

    1. Definitely a handy one! Depending on where you are (Shanghai, Beijing etc.) you should be fine, but if you’re hoping to get off the beaten track, it’s an absolute necessity.

      I’m in the process of trying to learn more of the language myself.

  26. thanks for booming of internet, getting around China is turning much easier and cheaper. We can now making booking of travel, hotel, transportation and etc online.

  27. Hi Chris,

    I’m living in China, and i have a doubt you may have the answer to. On the item 29, mailing things back home. I heard a lot about sending items abroad being inside China is very expensive. Usually every kg cost about RMB 200 to send abroad. I’d like to know where is your information based? Is there like a special license to send items abroad? Thank you very much

    1. Hi Dieter – I’ve always just gone in to the nearest ChinaPost and used their surface (sea mail) option.

      I haven’t posted anything home since mid-2014, but I’d be stunned if the cost had gone up so drastically. I paid around $200 USD to send about 40-50kgs home using this method, while airmail was considerably more expensive.

      If you’ve got enough stuff to send home, you can also look at renting space on a container ship through a private company. I considered this last time around, but ended up selling off the larger stuff I’d wanted to ship home.

  28. About streetfood: you can eat it on your own risk! Your stomac is that kind food not accustomed. So be carefully with what you eat.

    1. I learned this the hard way just last night! After two years away from China, I braved a bit of street baozi and have been regretting it all day!

    1. Glad to be able to help, Serhat! China’s a fascinating place to visit, but it can sometimes be challenging. Hopefully the above makes it a bit easier for you 🙂

  29. Wow,
    Really Superb & amazing post.Recently I have booked a tour package to China from Complete India & Asia.Your post making me more comfortable to start my tour. So thanks for sharing this.

  30. Any concern bringing my work laptop? Customs isn’t going to confiscate it and download all my files now are they??!
    Just checking.

    1. You’ve nothing to fear there. I’ve brought my laptop (and sometimes two laptops) as well as external HDDs and even an entire desktop through before without any trouble.

  31. Ahhh.. thanks for the tips. I am heading to Kunming on 10th June and its my first time to China. Specially worried because of language problem. Couple of queries if you guys can help me..
    1> As google is not working could you plz suggest any English to Chinese translator software
    2> I am from India, so what type of power adapter I need ?
    3> From airport should I take taxi for hotel ??
    4> I am carrying a chinese pre paid sim card. Can I get wechat using that sim ?
    5> Any suggestion what to visit in Kumning ?? Any half day city tour kind

    Thanks

    1. Hi mate! Happy to offer some tips.

      1. I just use a VPN (Astrill and ExpressVPN are good paid options, while RabbitVPN is a good iPhone app) and continue using Google Translate. Plecco is a good app for translating that works offline, but it only does individual words – not phrases.

      2. China uses the same outlets as Australia.

      3. Taxi should be fine. Just make sure you take a proper taxi, and not a regular car claiming to be a taxi.

      4. Should work fine

      5. I’ve not made it to Kunming so far, sadly.

  32. Hi there,

    I’m traveling to Beijing in August and would like to get some help while shopping in the Silk Market or Pearl Market area. Any haggling advice would be greatly appreciated. Or maybe I even need someone local to do the communication for me? I’d like to get some fitted clothing made…

  33. In reference to the water, I read tazaagua might be available in China soon. This would be beneficial to those that prefer to have their cup of coffee or tea in room prior to starting their day.

  34. Thanks for the sharing the list of do’s and don’ts in China. I have not any idea that one needs to care about these list of things while going to China. I think must to do thing is to get VPN for China. Some if websites blocked China and some of them blocked by China.

  35. Hi chris. We are traveling to china in 5weeks. We are so excited slightly nervous but mostly excited. We are flying into hong Kong getting a train to guilin and then flying to xian and then onto Beijing where we fly out of. The internal flights and train journey we have not booked yet as we like to decide when we are there. Is this wise or should i book in advance?

    1. Better you can have a Chinese friends who can help you . such as from skype or wechat. In China , you can book train at many websites. the national train book site is http://www.12306.cn/ but only support Chinese. better you book the train tickets if you need a seat. In China , mostly the young people can speak some English words, as they need to learn English from Mid school. if you need English website, there are many, just like someone introduced, http://english.ctrip.com/ .and China have very good public transport. such as if you want to go to Beijing from Shanghai , you will find there are so many trains from morning to the night , and you can arrive within 6 hours.

  36. I recently visited China Beijing, I found it difficult to get a cab to take me as they don’t like to take foreigners. I also ran into 3 young girls from Belgium that told me they had the same experience. I was stranded and a major mall after asking 4 cab drivers, they had for hire on the cab lit up. They refused to take me so the information both was so kind to send me with two employee’s at know charge, saying they would hate to come to Canada and be stranded and would hope someone would help him.

  37. I am seeking info about wahun China .
    I will be visiting there in December with my job. I won’t have much free time so I want to plan my time wisely. I will be staying at Wanda realm and I know Han street for shopping is behind hotel. I am seeking info thou hunting local street painting artist. My wife loves local artist that paints and has their paintings on sale as vendors on street. Do you know of a place close to hotel I can find these? Or do they have any?
    Also how do I order chicken fingers at kfc ? Do they speak English? And I hear there is a grocery store near hotel do u know if they speak English ?
    I was wondering if it will be hard to buy items there with the language barrier ? Thank you for your time

  38. Thanks for share this information. We are travelling in Nov,15,2016 to China. So if you could help us ? We are planning to go:
    1. Shangai. Arrive 17, Nov
    The most iconic place of Shangai, Local and Touristic.
    2. Beijing: Arrive 20, Nov:
    flight Shangai – Beijing ¿?
    3. Hong Kong arrive 23 Nov
    Flight to Beijing to Hong Kong¿?
    4. My wife leave on 26 and I will Have three more days until my Business Meetings in ShenZen.
    what is your recommendation?

    Thanks a lot

    Alfredo

  39. good tips…our company want to corporate with some firms or person to recruit some people from U.S. to china to teach english …of course ,we can provide free flights, working visa, traveling plans, free accommodation and so on ….

    1. Hi Ben – did you want to get in touch with me? I work with several people here in China and abroad who might be able to help. CWBush83 (at) gmail.com

    2. Hello Ben. If you are still looking for Americans to come and teach English, I would be happy to chat with you.
      Patrick

  40. What do you think about taking kids? 11 and 7. Is this a good age for kids? Also, what about peanut allergies? How do you manage that in China?

    1. I think so. I’d take my girs and they are 9 and 5. I’m not sure about the peanut allergies. I’d do a bit more research on that to ensure you are well protected.

  41. I am moving to Beijing in January and had to pack my life into 2 bags. I have one bag full of toiletries and vitamins like immuneboosters and vitamin c and then a lot of lotions and body wash that Im worried I might not get there…. How intense is customs? Are they going to have a problem with any of that?

    1. Hey Karla! I’m moving to Beijing soon (in March) too. My girlfriend and my brother were already based here, so it just made sense to relocate.

      Have you made it here yet? If so, did you have any trouble at all getting your stuff through customs?

    2. They never stopped me, I did not have much but never stopped me, in Canada on arrivals you must fill up declaration form in a A1 format double page..most of the time I was stopped . The Chinese have only 6X4 so little with basic questions about you and your fight..

  42. Hey there Chris, VERY good list of tips and I am trying to use my month wisely to prepare for everything for my first trip in March! I am pretty aware of everything to be done: bargaining, ordering food, different toilets, taxis, spitting, being asked about pictures (which will happen because I am very tall) , directions, a VPN, BUT one thing I’m wondering about is using Internet/data service when no wifi is available.

    Is this possible for travellers? I will try to get a VPN and a Chinese mate even said that some hotels provide some but still block Facebook…but just to use data and apps whenever I’m out and about, how could I do that? I read about SIM cards or phone cards, I would just need one for a week for data and not really any calls. Is that affordable or common?

    1. Hey Eric – hopefully this info doesn’t reach you too late!

      Most VPNs are a monthly subscription, but ExpressVPN has a one-month free trial that would be perfect.

      Failing that, BetterNet is a completely free option that isn’t as reliable.

      Both will let you access all of your favourite sites even when just using a local SIM.

    1. That’s a tough question, mate! That would all depend on what you wanted to do, where you wanted to stay, what you ate, and how you got around.

    2. Hi, did you extend your tourist visa in order to stay one month? What did you do about your return flight (I understand you have to show an airline ticket home upon entering) What did you do, any tips? Tina

  43. Great post, Chris! We’ll be travelling to Guangzhou next month and a lil bit worried since we really don’t speak any Chinese language but we know some few words. Good thing is we’re techie persons and I think downloading apps such as VPN, maps, translator is a good thing to do before you enter China. By the way, do you have a recommendation what local map can we use on our mobile phone so we can navigate China? (aside from Google Map) And when it comes to VPN, it’s better to pay rather than use the free ones, yeah? I’ve been to China before but only in Shenzhen so I am expecting more this next trip as we are also visiting Guilin. We’re very excited to see the beauty of this country!

    1. Update us if you will use any vpn service in China. Would be bringing in my Astrill but I want a few proven feedback first before really using it there. ave a happy and safe trip.

  44. Wow what an informative post! I am definitely planning on visiting China in the future and I will keep all of these tips in mind! I’d love to see a “Top sights to see in China” to help narrow down the best spots to see!

    1. I may or may not have written just that post!

      If you click on my username, you’ll be taken to my Ultimate China Bucket List with fifty awesome spots to inspire!

  45. Hey Chris! Thanks for this info. I’m visiting china for the first time in a few weeks for a holiday and have been looking into VPNs. Do you know if I can get a NordVPN for just a month, or are their plans something you have to commit to for 12, 24 months?

    1. I’m pretty sure you can get it for just one month. If you get longer terms they reduce the price. I think that’s the only thing that is different.

  46. HI, I am travelling to Shanghai on my own, leaving tomorrow. I’d like to travel to suzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing on my own. Do you think it’s a good idea or m I going to be hopelessly lost? I’d like to be adventurous but since I speak no Chinese Mandarin at all, I am also a bit scared. any advice?

  47. Hello, I’m going to China in a month, going to cross from Vietnam to china by land and make my way to Hong Kong through Macau, I was reading that Hong Kong and Macau are kind of independent and have their own currency… I was wondering if I need to apply a different kind or an other visa to visit Macau and Hong Kong??

  48. One of the reason I visit China many times, just you guess,,, I love it all.
    Arriving there at the airport the times as you said it is by the rule due to the security check but not because they can be chaotic. They are not more chaotic as the western airport can be but contrary they are very clean and modern, I repeat I love it all. Cheers.

  49. In december will be my first time going to Guangzhou china. I am a bit lost finding a way to get around but finding hotels is find for me it ok easy. The thing is i need to know about Guangzhou china. Anyone could help me about the information ASAP please?

  50. Some tourists find the beds in Chinese hotels very hard, they are by the way. Also the bin next to the toilet is for toilet paper. After spending 5 weeks in China , flushing toilet paper when I got home seemed quite a luxury. Also make sure to pack something for that upset stomach when you eat or drink something that doesn’t agree with you. Great list. I found some little places , not in major cities, reluctant to take your cash, Wepay or similar is so popular with locals , becoming a cashless economy fast.

    1. Hi Michelle, how did you manage a five week trip, did you extend your tourist visa? I plan to do this but am wondering whether my flight home will be wasted as I understand the homeward ticket has to be shown upon entry. What did you do? Tina

  51. China really worths a trip… or two and even more 😉 During my first trip in the South-East, I was lucky to meet a Chinese guy who is now like my younger brother. We have travelled together and even for him, it was not easy to communicate with the local people. For my second trip, although I was in the ancient Tibetan province of Amdo, I could hike everywhere easily as I had a very useful phrasebook where it’s both written in French and Mandarin. People only have to read and make a yes or no sign. Easy! A few years ago, I was reading the blog of a French girl married with a Chinese guy and she explained how Chinese people couldn’t understand her Chinese although she was graduated: they actually couldn’t believe she was speaking Chinese. I had the same experience with the word xu-xu (chu chu) – to pee – that my Chinese friend taught me. People couldn’t believe I was really saying that, ah ah.

  52. Caroline Boddington

    Hi there, I have a question about the Visa — does it matter if I cancel my hotel reservation after I get approved for my visa? I wouldn’t want to get there and get in trouble for not being at the place I said I would be on my application. I hope that this makes sense and that you are able to get back to me!

  53. Christopher O'Connor

    My wife and I are travelling to several countries over a 3 month period. We get to China in the first week. Our problem is that we both take prescribed medication. I take an antihypertensive and an antacid. My wife takes Codeine for arthritic pain and Diazapam for anxiety. We need 3 months supply which we will bring from the UK with us but I have read that the most a person can take into China is 7 days supply. Is this true? and if so do you have any suggestions as to solve this problem. Many thanks . Christopher.

  54. I have lived in China and taught English there and thus, I couldn’t agree more with anything you said, Chris! China is so magnificent and definitely worth visiting. Plus, there is lots to see and do there!

    1. I am planning to go to China to teach English in November…any suggestions to help me make it through the year?

  55. Richard Speckhals

    My wife, daughter,her friend & myself are going to China in May on a Grand China & Yangtze tour. We have never been to China before. With two teenagers going we will we will need internet. Your suggestion of nord vpn is what we should use even though we are going to be there 2 weeks?

  56. HI there,

    I come cross your tips before moving to China, as a service provider for lots of expats in China, I have found things that is out dated, or not very correct to say in the post, is there anything that we can suggest and make it better?

  57. Dear Ytravel committee,

    I am Hassan Yousif AlHammadi. I am born and raised in the UAE, and I am keen to be a Kung Fu master. I have asked my father for permission to travel to China and learn Kung Fu in the summer vacation. However, he approved under one condition which is that it should be an Islamic school. Therefore, I started looking for one, but unfortunately, I didn’t find any.
    Can you recommend any Islamic school that teaches Kung Fu? as soon as possible, please.

    Sincerely,
    Hassan AlHammadi

  58. Adriana Quezada Lopez

    I still have some questions.
    What is the correct way of greeting the Chinese in China, handshake or bowing?
    We have a sister school there and when they came to visit us they brought gifts. What kind of gifts are we to correspond back with? How much money does one need for a weeklong trip, for maybe just one meal a day for 3 if us, everything else is covered. Are meals expensive?

  59. Hello, I have read conflicting articles concerning the visa application process – some say I must send my passport in, others say it can be done online. I hope to be in India for a month before visiting China, I will need my passport – any advise?

    We have read it is easy to extend our stay from 15 days to one month, just at the end as the old one will become invalid – any advice about flights as I understand I have to show an outward airline ticket – will I have to waste this? Any advice?

    I look forward to hearing from you, Tina

  60. We are travelling to China on a guided tour in a few weeks & are wondering how much cash/Yuan to bring with us, & are atms easily accessable now in 2018?

  61. Beijing is also one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. 4.4 million Tourists every year come to the integral city to the history of the country has numerous things to do and see. The most attraction of Beijing is Greatwall Trekclub. Last month I had visited there with my friend by the help of Greatwall Trekclub travel agency with a very low budget.

  62. II would like to visit China but don’t know whether to use a travel agent or travel on my own. is it difficult to organise things by myself and travel the country without knowing The languages. Thank you Chris

    1. I researched for years. I ended up booking a budget-friendly tour with Chiantravelguide. Great reviews and super helpful customer service. I m flying Canada Air out of Chicago. Leaving in a few days…wish me luck. Getting excited! (I’d like to add that I was told to bring US cigarettes as some Chinese like these as tips or presents. Alss, US chewing gum.)

  63. Kerry Hartigan

    Hi, how much Chinese currency is recommended for a 6 day organized tour with day trips paid for.. Thankyou,,,

  64. Just to let you know, I am an American living in Bangkok and in order to get weChat, they require 2 people to recommend you that:
    are Chinese
    have been on WeChat 6 months with no violations
    can text you a code

    so, needless to say, I have not been able to get a WeChat account.

  65. I m going for abroad studies in china..in suzhou city near shanghai…i m little nervous, as i don’t know how to deal with them or talk to them..also there are no social sites for connection with my family..i think using VPN is risky and illegal

    1. VPN is not illegal. A lot of Chinese people use it as well. All you need to do is making sure your VPN is accessible in China.

      1. Yeah, people should definitely google it before traveling there. My friend just came back from China. He used Surf Shark and everything worked fine. Hopefully, its existence in that country will last longer than other VPN’s.

    2. VPN is not illegal. I was in Beijing a couple weeks ago and was able to use a free VPN for a short time. I recommend you us a good VPN and you may have to pay for it.

  66. Great article, thanks for the tips! As the world’s largest country, China feels like a hundred different moods, landscapes and countries rolled into one.. This is a very good article, and there are some great tips in here.

  67. I am debating taking a position teaching English for a year in China (probably Shanghai or Beijing). This list is very helpful! Any other recommendations would be appreciated.

  68. My husband and I are going to China in a few weeks on a 10 day trip. We have loaded up with what seems like a ton of citamins, imune system support supplements, antibiotics, etc., in addition to the prescription medication we take (we are in our late 60’s). Do we really have to take all these original bottles or can we simply pack in the Week-at-a-tme pill containers and then carry a form from doctor?

  69. I would like to travel to China , I need someone mostly a Chinese Christian , ,who can assist me there
    Is it possible to get one ?
    Thanks

  70. Just as an edit, if you can
    It’s “FuWuYuan” 服务员, not “FuYian”. Also, “Kuai” 块, not “Quai”.
    I mean, if a foreigner shoots their hand up in a restaurant and starts shouting literally anything, I’m sure the waiters would come over. Haha

    Great article though. I’ve been here for 6 years but need some quick resources to send to family who will be visiting for the first time this year. I’ll definitely shoot this article their way.

  71. China is not available in the NordVPN app. Wish I had known that before spending the money for the app. Now I will have to dispute the charges because of the false information you gave.

    1. I think you have possibly misunderstood how it works. There is no false information in this post Mary. Having China available is actually not what you want. You want to connect to the internet in China. For that you would use a VPN located in another country, for example the USA, which you can do via NordVPN. If you connect to the internet via the USA vpn then you can access all the internet sites that China would otherwise ban you from if you were to connect to China internet directly through China. I hope that makes sense

  72. I just spent two weeks in Hangzhou and it was the best two weeks of my entire 32 years on this planet. I loved every second of it, it was amazing. I arrived home two days ago when I type this, but I definitely want to go back to China some more!

  73. China offers excellent opportunities for native speakers who are interested in teaching English in public and private schools. At present, the Chinese people demand an improvement of their English language skills and are a priority issue for the Ministry of Education. Teaching English in China can bring a lot of opportunities (teachinchina.cn).

  74. I find this to be super useful! I am planning to go on a trip to China towards the end of next year with an English guided tour group since it will be my first time there. In your opinion, when do you think is the best time to travel to China? Will December or November be a good time to go?

  75. Dear Chris: I like your “34 tips” a lot. Just one typographical error if you can change (update) your post. You meant to say “fu wu yuan” (waiter or waitress) and NOT “fuyian” (#31) as in “call for the fuyian if you want service.” Am I correct? It is a minor thing though first-time Western visitors may want to know why they should use “fu wu yuan” instead of “Miss or xiao jie” etc. I’ll let you explain it. Best regards, James Chan, Ph.D., Philadelphia.

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