Fourteen Tips For Travelling To China As A Clued Up Tourist

August 3, 2015

Certain parts of the world aren’t common for most travellers and it’s hard to get more different to Western life than in China.

When you head there, what should you know? What should and shouldn’t you do?

We’ve come up with top tips to help you know what to expect so that you get the most out of your adventure!


First of all, don’t be surprised if you see people wandering around in the evening in their pyjamas. That’s quite accepted here and is an amusing reminder of the relaxed Chinese attitudes in certain towns.

women in pjs

Times have changed quite quickly in China and laws and attitudes continue to change all the time. In the last thirty years parts of the country have become completely unrecognisable. If you’d visited China before you might find it completely different country to the one you left in terms of attitudes of the locals and the restrictions placed upon them.


laws in China

Make sure you buy a lock for your suitcase on internal flights. Its common practice for most people to do this anyway but in China it’s actually a requirement and not everyone is aware of it… but it will stop your bag being tampered with during internal security.


suitcase lock

Toilets are known as “the happy room” so remember to ask for this when you’re desperate! When you’re visiting these happy rooms, make sure you’ve come equipped with your own toilet paper as public toilets won’t have any as a rule.


Beijing toilets

You may hear a conversation that sounds very heated… but it’s probably just the local dialect! Certain tongues, for example the dialect in Xi’an, sound very aggressive but that’s simply how they speak. So don’t be afraid that you’ve stumbled upon a heated argument unless someone’s gestures match their tone!


Two female students having an argument.

You should also be aware that you won’t be able to access certain parts of the internet in China. Most of us go on holiday to get away from the real world but if you’re someone that constantly checks social media it’s worth knowing that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other sites won’t work. This is due to Chinese censorship of media and can’t really be avoided.


internet censorship

A slightly less pleasant fact to note is that in some busy cities you may well see people… relieving themselves… in the street! This isn’t a rule and certainly isn’t commonplace – but if you’ve never been to China before it might give you a shock!


Shocked couple

The top safety tip is to remember your bug spray and not to drink the local water, only bottled water. This might seem an obvious tip but there’s always someone who forgets!


bottle water

Next, try not to get freaked out by the crowds. Certain cities are very overcrowded due to the fast development they’ve undergone but if you travel expecting this you won’t be surprised or dismayed at the number of people around you. Go with the mentality that it will be busy and the areas of peace and quiet will be all the more welcome (and you can find plenty of these as any major city has a series of parks to relax and chill out in!)


crowds in china

If someone pushes in front of you in a queue, make sure you speak out! It’s embedded in a British brain to simply stand and mutter when someone cuts in a line – but in China, where queuing isn’t commonplace, you need to be firm. Locals will think nothing of cutting in line, so simply wave at them and put yourself in front of them again.


line in china

Try to embrace the culture – for example have a go at the language, because a little will get you a long way. Even if all you can manage is to learn how to say hello (ni hao – which is pronounced knee-how) this will usually make whoever you are conversing with beam and more inclined to help you.


tips for travelling to china - learn chinese

The same goes for eating utensils as well. Have a go on your chopsticks – don’t immediately ask for western cutlery! You’ll probably surprise yourself with your chopstick skills and your servers will always commend your effort.


tips for travelling to china - chopsticks

Don’t be alarmed if you ask for a cold drink and it is served warm. The Chinese believe that very cold drinks are bad for you, so often keep sodas out of the fridge. Although frustrating, it’s just custom to serve them lukewarm. Make it clear when you order if you want a drink from a fridge or ask for ice cubes (as long as you can be sure that they are made from bottled water.)


Tips for traveling to china - beer


And lastly… Accept that everything you thought you knew about china is probably wrong! It’s a country of crazy contradictions and customs so sit back and get ready to enjoy a country like no other.


So there you have it! Do you have any tips for those travelling to China? Have you been there before yourself?

Do you have any tips for travelling to China you would like to share?

Let us know in the comments below!