Traveling to China can be a rewarding experience. It can also be part of the challenge. Traveling to China with the right expectations and little preparation can be an amazing experience. Many people travel here for a visit. The challenges of travel, transportation, hotels, and food preparation are ignored. As we know, you can travel independently in China. It will not be easy for anyone to travel around the world. Most people like to find their own way and be alone. Obviously, in those times we make mistakes and sometimes get lost. But independent travel is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture. Rather than traveling in the “safety” of a large tour group with a guide, we are able to interact with the people of the area by traveling by ourselves. The people of China are the most friendly people in the world, and the history and sights here are world-class. For those who are thinking of an independent trip to China, here are some Chinese travel tips to make your trip a little easier. Many of these are ones we have identified with ourselves as we travel.
1. Obtain your visa before entering China
This is the most important step in planning a trip to China. You will not be allowed to enter the country without a visa.
In the application, you will be required to provide proof of your travel dates, route, and future travel. The application should be typed without handwritten corrections. Or it will not be accepted. For full details on how to fill out the application and the visa application, visit the Chinese Embassy website. For travelers planning a vacation or short stay in China, you may be eligible for a 72-hour visa.
2. Buy a VPN before coming to China
The Great Firewall in China blocks all access to Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube. Losing access to the websites you use to stay in touch with people at home, especially during long-term travel, can be incredibly frustrating. One way to avoid this is to buy a VPN or a virtual private network. A VPN disguises the computer’s IP address, so even if you’ve in China, it looks like you’re connected from the US or Australia. There is a small monthly fee (about $ 10) for this service. It worked quite well, but it may not be perfect. However, it is worth getting this service. Otherwise, you can spend a month in China with no access to the outside world. You should especially make sure to buy a VPN before you go to China. If you are already in China, you will not be lucky enough to try to buy that VPN as China is blocking access to VPN companies.
3. Knowing the basic language is an advantage
Knowing the basic language here is not essential, but it will help you a lot on your trip. If you only plan to visit big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, you can go in English. The younger generation here can speak basic English, and many are eager to help with our experience when needed. If you plan to visit small towns outside of major tourist attractions such as Zhangjiajie and Yangzhou, speaking the primary language is invaluable. If you do not know the basics, you will have a very difficult time here. In addition, the use of words like simple ni hao (hello) or Xie Xie (thank you) is highly appreciated. It makes you have many friends in China to speak in full sentences and try to have a simple conversation. This is a country where people really appreciate your efforts to speak their language. There are many language learning applications and computer programs for you to choose from. It also helps to have a Chinese translation app on your phone. It allows you to use this to communicate many times.
4. Prepare menus in Chinese characters
It offers a menu with Chinese characters only countless times when you are sitting in a restaurant. This can cause you to randomly choose dishes in hopes of the best. This is a Chinese gamble. Because it’s very common to have all kinds of zoology on your plate here. Once upon a time in big cities, menus with pictures in English or at least became more common.
5. Bring your own napkins
A napkin is a very simple thing. But it’s very rare in Chinese restaurants. Eating a large bowl of noodle soup with chopsticks can be like spilling broth on our chin. So make sure you take your own supplies with you.
6. Carry your own toilet paper
The bathroom here is seldom stocked with toilet paper. So don’t forget to take them. Also, be prepared to use squat potties. Nepal and India are not far behind so you have to use more squat potties here than any other country. The bathrooms will not be clean either. So carrying a hand sanitizer will also not hurt.
7. Bargain for everything you buy
With the exception of high-end stores, even Chinese retailers can bargain for everything. In most places, you can expect to pay between 10 and 25 percent of the starting price.
If you do not like their price, you can leave. But then you can when they make sure they drive you down the street. Here it is a shopping sport and if you like something like this it is fun.
8. Your credit card will not always work
There are many cases in China where your credit card is not accepted. China has its own credit cards and is not yet open to using Visa or MasterCard. Be very prepared to approach the ATMs to get the Chinese Yuan for your purchases.
9. Use CHINA DIY Travel to purchase train tickets
If you plan to travel by train through China, this is an invaluable service. This company, which is run by an Australian-Chinese couple, can help you book your train tickets. They respond very quickly via email.
DIY Travel sends pickup instructions in both English and Chinese, which you must print yourself. At the train station ticket booth, you can show your printed ticket to the Chinese Adviser and hand over your tickets. Having these tips is a huge bonus. DIY Travel also provides information on how to read train tickets, how to locate a train at the train station, and landing procedures. This information is very valuable to you like everything at the train stations is in Chinese. We highly recommend China DIY Travel to travelers.
10. Hotels in China
Be sure to state clearly that you need a non-smoking room. Many people in China smoke. Even if you ask for a smoke-free room, it can still smell like smoke. It also helps to make sure the hotel has English-speaking staff.
Undoubtedly, Chinese food is very different from what you see in the United States. There is almost no similarity between these. Some of the things you like (noodles and soup) you will not be able to eat here. Most Chinese restaurants have more flavor in the food but more oil than you think.