China is an incredible country with an even more incredible history, and it’s definitely one of the places in the world that you must visit at least once during your lifetime. It’s one of the oldest nations on Earth and is even known as the cradle of Eastern civilization. And the best thing is that, since they’ve been pretty much isolated from the Western world until the 15th century, their culture is completely different from ours, and there are many things to see and experience that you’ll never come across in the West.
However, since the Chinese are so different from us, it might be smart to prepare yourself for a couple of scenarios that you might be running into for the first time. For that purpose, we present to you the 10 things you absolutely must know before setting off to see this strange eastern land.
1. Get Cash
Credit cards are slowly becoming the default method of paying for stuff in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that this counts all around the world. In fact, Chinese people are rather skittish around credit cards and almost always prefer real cash, so make sure that you do get some bills together. If you only have cards, be prepared that you’ll end up being rejected by certain merchants.
2. Don’t Try to See Everything
China is a massive country and there’s so much to see, to the point that it’s virtually impossible that you’ll be able to visit every sight during just one trip. Instead, choose a part of China that appeals the most to you and stick to it, trying to see as much as possible without having to take another flight. Rest assured that no matter which part of China you visit, there’s always a ton of new stuff to see, so you don’t have to worry.
3. Internet Blockades
China’s government is notorious for implementing one of the most strict internet censorship laws to date, and because of this it’s not that easy to get on certain popular websites such as Facebook or YouTube while you’re in China. If you want to be able to access these websites, a quick and easy solution would be to just get a good Express VPN and install it to your handheld device. This way you’ll be able to fake your IP address and make it seem like you’re browsing from outside of China, which will, in most cases, be enough to bypass the blockade.
4. Mind the Weather
Since China is so large and mostly a continental country, weather conditions are going to vary significantly from one part of the country to another. Even during the same season, the weather is going to be lovely in a certain part of China and downright unbearable in another, so make sure that you take this into consideration when planning which cities you’re going to visit.
5. Must-Haves: Polarizing Filter and Camera Bag
If you’ve read up on China a bit, you’ve probably heard of the country’s severe air pollution issue. Most Chinese on the streets these days are equipped with face masks for the benefit of their health, but this problem doesn’t stop there; if you have a good camera and are planning to take a lot of photos with it, you’re going to need two things: a quality camera bag to protect it from dust, and a polarizing filter to make your photos look vibrant despite the constant smog. Without it, there’s a chance that all your pictures will end up grayish and bland because of this environmental issue.
6. Always Haggle
The Chinese are excellent merchants and excellent hagglers, and they expect the same from their customers, including tourists. This doesn’t count for large establishments and shopping malls, of course, but a lot of street vendors are going to set their prices much higher than what the merchandise is worth, because they expect you to attempt to lower it. So don’t be afraid to offer as low as half of their original price, chances are that you’ll end up lowering it significantly.
7. Chinese Food
Chinese food is very popular around the world and chances are that you’ve tried it before, but don’t think that just because you have Chinese a few times a month that you can’t gain anything from trying the traditional cuisines. The truth is that traditional recipes differ even depending on which part of the country you’re in, so you can bet that there’s always something new you can try – and trust us, it’s all simply fantastic.
8. Accept Diversity
If you aren’t acceptive by nature and don’t like diversity and change, chances are that you’re going to be a bit surprised by China, and not in a good way. You have to understand that their culture is completely different from ours, some of their customs and traditions might outright shock you, but the right thing to do when that happens is to realize that we’re all very different, and that’s a good thing. If they welcomed you into their country and offered you their hospitality, the least you can do is respect their customs and attempt to learn something about their culture. And if you play it right, you’ll come out of it a richer person with a ton of new experiences, and that’s probably why you came to China in the first place.
9. Knowing the Language
The Chinese language is regarded as one of the hardest to learn, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t pick up on a few basic, helpful phrases. You don’t have to learn their massive complex alphabet, but you can certainly teach yourself how to ask for directions, or where you can find a toilet nearby.
This is an important one. If someone comes up to you on the street, speaking fluent English and offers to be your guide for the day, get out of there. Chinese people are generally very friendly, but few of them will actually approach a stranger on their own initiative. If this happens, it’s most likely a scammer that plans to take you to fake sights and persuade you to buy overpriced foods, drinks, and souvenirs – so don’t fall for it.
About the Author
Adam Ferraresi is a successful web developer from Dallas, Texas and one of the writers of wefollowtech.com. He is twenty-three years old, and when he isn’t working on some interesting new article, he enjoys listening to music and watching old movies.