As with my travel tips to China this article covers them and is a great review. Also this website China Daily is an excellent site for up to date news as well. If you see their newspaper at your hotel grabs a copy because they have very funny crazy stories in the opinion section.
Let’s review their list and I will make my comments
1. Travel Light:
a. You should always pack light and most hotels have the basic needs of soap and you can find anything you need to travel in China, they have major stores and their smaller stores are a fun way to see the culture and most items are bought from the ma and pa stores. Always buy from ma and pa stores which supports the local economy more directly than the big box stores.
2. Don’t Travel during Holidays
a. I agree and you should NOT travel during major holidays. It is crazy busy and all the trains and buses are usually sold out in advance. The hotels book fast well and many businesses close down so the employees can travel back to their family homes.
3. Always carry Tissues
a. This is my number 1 tip for China, most public toilets do not have tissues and you should always carry them with you. I learned the hard way and had to use an article of clothing to clean when there was no tissues to be found!
4. Translator Device
a. The smart phones are a great tool for travelers as long as you do not put our head down in them constantly, look up and smell the culture. I stopped bringing my translating book and just use an APP on my smart phone.
5. Always buy bottle water
a. Yes, you should always buy bottle water and or drink boiled water. I use local water but it is always steaming hot even in the summer months
6. Learn some basic language
a. I love this tip because it shows that you respect their language and culture and I can tell you it goes a long way, even if you miss pronounce the words, I do it all the time, it is about trying. It is a great ice breaker! This tip is good for any country.
7. Travel with Friends in Country
a. If you can travel with friends locally and or know true locals, you will see things and eat things that the real locals eat. Just always tell them you want to eat what they eat NOT what they think you want to eat. At times in China they think you want western food and will take you their instead of their local food, so state your case strongly you want to eat what they eat.
8. Try Food
a. Yes, you should try as many different types of food and NOT what you would eat at your home. This is the essential part of travel trying different foods and street foods are the best if you eat where the locals eat and when they are crowded with locals. If a place is busy with locals then it is the best bet to eat there.
b. Do not eat that carnival food, I hate seeing the scorpions on a stick in Beijing, locals do not eat them, it is carnival food.
9. Take Trains
a. China has a great train system and each year adding more and more high speed trains which maybe faster than airplanes (with all the logistics) so research your travel arrangements. I love the trains because you get to see the country side and they are efficient.
10. Get your Destination written in Chinese
a. Again research before you go to China and yes get your travel places translated in Chinese. Also, at your hotel get a business card with their phone number and address on them written in both Chinese and English. This is convenient to get to taxis.
11. Lodge in Hostels
a. Unfortunately I do not have any recommendations on this because I have never stayed at hostels, but I do highly recommend Chinese brand hotels than US brands for the great value which many times includes breakfast. Many of the Chinese brands are new and very updated.
12. Learn to Bargain
a. This is a must if you plan on buying souvenirs and items for yourself. Most everything can be bargained in China. Especially when at a tourist site they will have the same item in several different locations so bargain for the price you’re willing to pay, always walk away and they usually call you back.
For more tips check out my site and if you have specific questions contact me.
Travel Smart and Sage
Passionate for everything related to China travel.