China is a beautiful country and contains some of the world’s most significant landmarks and natural wonders. That being said, one can’t deny that China’s culture can be very different from our own. There are several things that can take a person by surprise if they’re not prepared for it. To help you get the most out of your Chinese vacation, we’re sharing a few of our favorite tips for traveling to China, along with some of the most important attractions to check out while you’re there.
1. Prepare for a Long Flight
A flight from New York City to Beijing takes about twelve hours. That means you need to be ready for a long haul flight. It’s recommended that you wear comfortable clothes and bring a book or two to keep yourself entertained. It’s also a good idea to bring snacks, ear plugs, and toiletry supplies. You should also bring a travel pillow since you’ll likely have to do some sleeping during your flight.
2. Avoid the Holidays
China is home to over 1.3 billion people. Overcrowding usually isn’t too much of an issue, but it can get pretty intense during the holidays. Their National Day in October is especially hectic. This can make it difficult to enjoy your vacation. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find out when the holidays are happening this year. Most Chinese holidays don’t have fixed dates, so you’ll have to check ahead of time.
3. Find the Authentic Restaurants
Most group tours will take you to restaurants that aren’t quite authentic. Many of these restaurants have different recipes for foreigners, and they tend to be overpriced. To find the really authentic restaurants, you should look for places that are filled with Chinese families. This will give you a more legitimate Chinese dining experience. Also, keep in mind that tipping can be considered rude in Chinese restaurants.
4. Bring a Wireless Hotspot
One of the more notorious aspects of traveling to China is its internet censorship. This can be a major problem if you work online, and it can make it hard to get around since you don’t have Google Maps. The best way to avoid this problem is by using a Tep Wireless. A Tep Wireless is a small WiFi device that essentially lets you bring your internet access with you. It’s cheap and easy to use, and it allows you to use the internet virtually anywhere you go.
5. Be Prepared to Bargain
Bargaining is a normal part of Chinese culture, and shop owners will often ask more from foreign-looking customers. The exception is in large malls and supermarkets where everything will be a fixed price. You should expect to do some haggling everywhere else. A good rule of thumb is to ask for half the asking price and then negotiate from there. And of course, be sure to stay relaxed and friendly during your negotiations.
6. Take Toilet Paper With You
It’s worth noting that most public restrooms in China won’t have toilet paper or soap. For this reason, it’s a good idea to bring your own. It’s recommended that you keep these things with you in a backpack or purse whenever you go out. Bringing a bottle of hand sanitizer with you is also a good idea.
7. Visit the Most Beautiful Places in China
There are so many incredible places to visit in China—make sure you check out this itinerary from Treksplorer for more!
The Great Wall of China
Of course one of the most famous attractions in the world and is definitely something you need to see during your trip. It should be no surprise that there are a number of tours available when you consider the sheer size of the wall. The Badaling section is easiest to access while the Wild Wall is appropriate for more adventurous visitors. Tours come at different prices, and some last for several days.
The Forbidden City
A palace complex built in the 1400’s. Visiting the Forbidden City is truly like stepping into another world and is another must-see attraction in China. It’s also one of Beijing’s most popular attractions and is visited by 80,000 people everyday. For this reason, it’s a good idea to book your tour early. Otherwise, you might have a hard time getting in.
Although it’s not as famous as some of China’s other attractions, Wulingyuan is among the most gorgeous landmarks you’ll see anywhere in the world. It actually provided the inspiration for the floating islands in the 2009 film Avatar. The site consists of over 3000 stone pillars, some of which are 200 meters high. It’s a truly breathtaking natural phenomenon and something you absolutely have to see for yourself.
The Terracotta Army
A collection of 8000 sculptures depicting the army of the first emperor of China. This sculptures are life size and vary in height and uniform according to rank. It’s a startling vision that will be of interest to anyone who enjoys history. The full day tour from Xian also includes a visit to the Banpo ruins. This makes it the best way to view this incredible collection.
One of the largest public squares in the world that has been the site of many important historical events. As such, there are a number of things to see here such as the mausoleum of Mao Zedong and the Zhengyang Gate. You can get there either by subway or by public bus.
These are a few of the things you need to be aware of when traveling to China. Keeping these tips in mind will make your visit easier and more enjoyable. Above all, stay safe and have fun.