China is one of the most exciting and unique countries in the world, and it’s no surprise that so many people choose to visit! But before you jet off to explore the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and dozens of other amazing sites, there are a few things to keep in mind. To make the most of your trip, it’s important to understand the culture, customs, and language of the country. In this article, we’ll be sharing insider tips for traveling in China, so you can make the most out of your experience without getting lost in translation. From the best places to stay, to the best ways to get around, to the best local dishes to try, we’ve got you covered! So read on to get the inside scoop and start planning your China adventure!
Understanding the culture and customs
Chinese culture is incredibly complex, with influences from a variety of East Asian and non-Asian societies and traditions. However, it is also uniquely Chinese. Chinese people are known for their deep respect for their ancestors, which is expressed in many aspects of their culture, such as their traditional funeral practices, or the extensive family traditions that often bind people together. You’ll also notice that many Chinese traditions are rooted in the concept of Yin and Yang, which plays an important role in daily life. You’ll find that many traditions and practices in China are different than what you’re used to back home. While this might be a little overwhelming, it’s important to try to understand the customs and culture of the country, so you can experience the country and people to the fullest.
Knowing the language basics
Traveling to China is an excellent opportunity to learn a new language! While Mandarin is the official language, many people speak a local dialect such as Cantonese or Hakka when visiting smaller cities and rural areas. Knowing a little bit of Chinese can be extremely helpful, as it can help you communicate with the local population, learn about local culture and traditions, and can even assist with getting around, as Chinese characters are used in place of English in signage and on transportation tickets. If you’re interested in learning Chinese, there are a number of resources that can help. Programs like Duolingo, Memrise, Babbel, and Learn Chinese Have There, are all excellent options, as they all offer a combination of video lessons and gamified techniques to help you quickly learn the basics of Chinese. You can also get a head start by brushing up on your Chinese grammar, as this is essential in order to understand what you’re being told.
Figuring out the best places to stay
This is where things might get a bit tricky! There are so many incredible places to visit in China, and it can be overwhelming to decide where to go first. Thankfully, you don’t need to make a decision right away; you can get a good idea of where the best places to visit are by looking at some key factors. For example, you can find out what types of activities are most popular in a certain region, and what the weather is like during certain times of the year. Popular activities in a certain region might include hiking in the mountains, visiting scenic spots, or going on boat tours. Popular times of the year might include the Spring Festival or Lantern Festival, when thousands of lanterns are lit across the country. If you’re interested in learning more about different regions and deciding where to stay, one strategy is to choose a few regions that are appealing to you. For example, if you’re really interested in the culture and traditions of China, you might want to choose a few regions that are popular with tourists, like Beijing, Shanghai, and Yangshuo. If you’re interested in the food culture, you might want to choose a few regions with a rich local cuisine, like Sichuan or Shaanxi. You can also choose several regions with common themes like seeing the Great Wall, visiting the Forbidden City, or visiting a famous natural landmark.
Navigating the transportation system
This is another area where it’s helpful to have some general tips for navigating the transportation system in China. Chinese cities are extremely crowded, with many people living in urban areas. In order to accommodate such a large population, public transportation systems are very extensive, with buses, subways, trains, and even ferries available for most major cities. Getting around can be a bit challenging, as it can be hard to navigate public transportation routes and figure out which ticket to use on the different modes of transport. It’s also important to keep in mind that most public transportation systems are not connected, so you’ll usually have to change between buses, metro trains, and subways at each stop. If you plan to travel outside of major cities, it’s also important to keep in mind that most cities in China only have one main airport, so you’ll have to make sure to plan your transportation accordingly. If you plan to visit more than one city, it’s often a good idea to rent a car or use public transportation. In addition, while most cities have bike-sharing programs, these systems are often quite limited, with only one bike per person.
Exploring the local cuisine
This is one of the most popular things for travelers to do in China, and it’s easy to see why! Many of the best-known Chinese dishes are either Asian-inspired or are made from local ingredients, such as soy products, mushrooms, rice, or vegetables. Of course, you’ll also find many traditional Chinese dishes, like dumplings, potstickers, and stir-fried noodles. You’ll also find plenty of inventive modern creations like Chongqing hot pots, Sichuan ma la chickens, and Hunan beef buns. Asian-inspired dishes are a great choice for travelers looking for local flavors, as many of these dishes contain ingredients that many Westerners aren’t familiar with, like fermented soybeans, mushrooms, or seafood.
Shopping for souvenirs
For many travelers, shopping for souvenirs is one of the highlights of their trip to China! While many countries focus on selling traditional, handcrafted souvenirs, China has an incredible variety of affordable and authentic items. From traditional scrolls and calligraphy, to hand-crafted clothes, to modern-day artwork, there’s something for everyone in this section. If you’re planning on shopping for presents, it’s also important to keep in mind that many of the best-selling items are sold at the tourist spots, so it’s recommended that you visit your favorite spots first! If you’re not sure where to start, you can use the tips we outlined above to help narrow down your search. You can also look at some of the best-selling items and compare them to the local dishes you want to try, to help you decide which souvenirs are most representative of the local culture. You can also use the internet to research some of the most popular items and see what authentic products you can find for sale back home.
Staying safe and healthy
This is another area where it can be helpful to have some cultural context before traveling to China. Chinese society places a great emphasis on family and tradition, and there are many cultural practices that are passed down from generation to generation that can be overly strict. For example, you might hear about a “confucian” marriage practice that requires a woman to obey her husband, even if this means that she wears the same clothes everyday and does not leave the house unless her husband allows her to do so. While it’s important to be respectful of cultural practices, it’s also important to understand how these practices can be harmful and even dangerous.
Tips for making the most of your trip
Make sure you challenge yourself while traveling. While you should definitely focus on exploring the most popular sites and experiencing the local culture, you should also be sure to challenge yourself to try new things and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Try hiking the Great Wall, eating at a new restaurant, or trying a new activity.
Use helpful apps. You can use helpful apps to help your trip to China more enjoyable. For example, you should know that many websites, including Google and Facebook etc., are blocked in China. Local people use VPN to bypass this types of blocking. You should find one of the best VPNs for China and install it on your phone and computer before visiting China.
Make sure you eat a good breakfast. Breakfast is often the most important meal of the day, as it is when you get the most nutrients and minerals. While you can eat at any time of the day, it is especially important to eat a good breakfast before you fly. Anything that you eat for breakfast should be something that you could eat for dinner too, as your body will break down the food during digestion and you will need to replenish these nutrients
Hope this tips will help you have a nice trip to China!