This blog post is all about 10 Things to know before your trip to China.
I have to admit, when I first found out I was going to China, my first impressions was China is this big scary unknown place that blocks Facebook.
All of which I quickly discovered to be untrue about China (Apart from Facebook really is blocked).
That’s why I asked my friends who had been to China what it was actually like and got a load of very good feedback and suggestions.
This was the main reason for me putting together this post to help get over those first worries and tell you hey! China is not a half bad place. It’s actually awesome!
By the way, the cover image of this blog post is Chinese potato art. You literally can’t make this stuff up!
Here are my top 10 tips to know before you visit China for those first timers who need a bit a reassurance.
1. Go to China with an open mind and when you see something Crazy, just say the words: “CHINA”
This is my number one tip and it helped me a lot through the whole trip. You’re going to see a lot of crazy stuff!
China is almost like its own continent when you look at it by land mass. Not every province is the same and will drastically vary from city to rural areas.
Just accept that things just are not the same, the moment you land you will notice it’s a lot different. Embrace this difference.
Take China how it is for what it is and enjoy your visit to the full.
After all, live a little on the edge and try something different. It has it all!
2. Take your pants off when you use the squatter for the first time.
Let’s face it, China shits differently and after you’ve taken your digestive system on a roller coaster of spices and hot pots.
your safe western hotel toilet will be way out of sight when nature calls.
Welcome to the great squatter!
If you have a door, you’ve actually hit the luxury jack pot of Squatters.
If this is your first time, I suggest that you remove your pants as you don’t want your number 2 to create a sort of hanging hammock in your joggers.
Once you’ve mastered the squat you can go on to rule the world! Go forth young adventure! Go forth!
3. Ditch the coffee, embrace the tea.
You’re in China’s playground now, no coffee here! Drink and enjoy the awesome tea that China has to offer.
Despite Starbucks Suttle try of breaking into the coffee market in China, if you want to avoid the squatter at all costs.
I’d say lay off the coffee and enjoy what China have been crafting for generations, they do a pretty good cuppa!
4. Always pack a set of tissues, you will use them all the time.
China has this inside joke with westerners of not providing tissues I swear! You simply can’t find free tissues anywhere, even in the toilets!
Pack packets of tissues where ever you go.
It will be a matter of minutes before you need to grab one again.
I think the locals have a joke about westerners always needing tissues in the same way we think China eats a lot of rice.
5. Get a VPN before you travel!
The great firewall of china, nothing gets in, nothing gets out. It actually doesn’t bother locals that everything is blocked as they have their own Chinese copy of popular services which is funny.
– Google (Gmail, Maps, translate)
Get around this blocking problem by downloading a popular VPN. I normally use Tunnel Bear, but had issues accessing blocked sites.
That’s what brought me to VPN Express, it’s actually designed specifically for use in China and worked fantastically well for both my smartphone and laptop.
Was extremely easy to set up and activate. Super awesome and I could happily connect to all the blocked sites and share content of my trip.
6. Hot water. No cold water, get used to it.
Even at fancy restaurants you will struggle to negotiate bottled or cold water.
The Chinese love tea and hot water.
It’s not very common to have water with a meal, unless it’s hot.
Best to bring your own bottled water when eating out which places don’t mind at all.
Otherwise you will be negotiating for ages like a Chinese tourist in London trying to get green tea with your meal (Funny when it’s the other way around).
7. hhhhhhawwwwwkkkkkkkk Spit Ball!
Gross! Get used to it, this is China!
Almost every minute you will hear a local from China creating a vortex of spit in their gob before projecting it out onto the kerb.
It’s horrible and I was warned about this prior to going to China, just have to get used to it.
Funny because now all those “Please, no spitting here” signs around Singapore now start to make sense. Oh China!
8. Language will be an issue, be prepared.
It will be a difficult challenge to find a local who speaks English in China. Well after all, you are in China!
In many cases not even hotel staff may be able to help you.
Best to be prepared for these type of situations.
Before you depart for China, download a translation app or bring a translation book.
Funny enough sometimes the signs don’t even make sense!
If you can travel with someone who at least speaks the local language, such as a guide this will really work wonders for your trip as many situations ended up being confusing, very funny I might add, but confusing.
And hey! If you really loved learning the local language and want to learn more, China is always on the look out for English teachers! (What an adventure!) You can check out how on my friends Richelle blog, Adventure around Asia, Guide to teaching in China.
9. Don’t ask what you’re eating, just eat it.
Funny enough many dishes in China are good for women’s health, the more odd the item is, the more wisdom it will contain (Magic!).
I learned that it’s best to eat first, then ask later or you might remain hungry after every meal.
Once the meal was interesting as we later on discovered that the establishment we was eating in was a vegetarian restaurant only after we had finished the meal.
Yep, even the vegetables taste like chicken.
This is China! Enjoy and embrace its differences and have fun with enjoying all the different foods, its a great laugh.
But China pretty much has all the same stuff any way, just with a dab of China of course:
10. My most important tip about China.
Chinese locals are super friendly!
I first heard horror stories about how the locals where mean and not friendly towards tourists, this was simply not the case.
I found China to be a very friendly place with locals more interested in what you’re doing there.
Embrace your visit to China, take photos on every occasion, learn a few basic words to allow a connection and a smile, randomly hold babies for selfies and be prepared for friendly nods and smiles.
China is awesome and you have to take it for what it is.
After all, this is China!
Thank you for reading my blog post about China.
Thank you for reading my post about China, I hope you took a lot of great tips away and I do wish you a wonderful trip on your next travelling adventure to China, all the best!
Feel free to leave some additional tips you might have to offer in the comment section below or feel free to ask questions you might have about China, Thank you in advance your for the feedback.