Travelling to China would be a fun and great experience to have. However, it will overwhelm you and can give you a headache if you are not prepared with what you will be facing there. Western and Asian cultures are like 2 different worlds that are miles apart. That are things that are common in US are unknown of in Chine and vice versa, so it would be better to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
Few weeks ago, I just got back from my 2 weeks trip to China. Let me tell you…it was a wonderful experience to be able to visit China. I love the scenery, the buildings, and the way people lives there. It really shows their thousand years of history.
I’ll try to share some of the pictures on my future posts. For now, allow me to share some things with you of what I learned when I was in China.
- First, choose your visit date carefully. This is really important. It’s probably the most important factor that will determine whether your visit would be pleasant or not. I went to China during the rainy season, which is between June-August and a not-so-good time to go to Chine. It rained 60% of the time I was there. Rain will prevent you enjoying your stay to the fullest, because you need to bring your umbrella everywhere and use it quite often. You can’t take a good pictures with your camera. Not just because of the bad weather, lighting, etc., but it also became kinda hard to operate your camera while holding umbrella on the other hand.
My suggestion is to visit China during Autumn, which is between September – October. The temperature would be just perfect, between 50-72F, and very little of raining, if any.
- Bring some cable extension (or splitter). If you have been following my blog, you would probably know that I’m a gadget freak. Especially when travelling like this, I’ll make sure to bring my tablet, 2 of my cellphones, and a camera. The bad news is that all of them need a charger of their own, so I brought 4 different types of charger. For this, I need power plugs, especially when I charged them all at the same time. The problem is that hotels in China have limited wall plugs.
It’s kinda ok if you were the only one in your room. But when you are sharing your room with 1-2 other people, it means that you need to share those limited power plugs with others, which will give you some headache sometimes. Therefore, please bring a cable extension/splitter of your own the next time you visit China, so you don’t need to “fight” for your own share of power plugs.
- Bring plastic bags. In my opinion, taking more plastics bags could never go wrong. You just never know when you will need them. I used them as a trash can while we were travelling in the bus, as a laundry bag, as a camera rain protector when it rains, etc.
- Bring a rain coat or wear a waterproof jacket. Since I went to China during their rainy season, I regretted the fact that I didn’t bring my waterproof jacket with me. If you were using a rain coat, you have no need to hold an umbrella the whole time you are out in the rain.
If you want, you can just buy a really simple rain coat from people on the street in China. Those sellers will recognize that you are a tourist and will offer you to buy one, especially when it was raining. They surely do understand that the right time to sell an umbrella is when it rains. LOL….
- Bring a rubber slipper/shoes. Again…since I went to China during rainy season, I would definitely recommend you to bring a rubber slipper/shoes, something like Crocs. Why? It’s for couple simple reasons. It won’t be as slippery and it will dry fast.
- Bring enough water and some can food/snacks when going up to the mountain. I went to Mt. Huangshan and spent 2 days there. O boy…it was the most beautiful mountain range I have ever seen.
However, its beauty will take its toll. It’s not easy for older people to climb Mt. Huangshan. When I say “climb”, it doesn’t mean that you have to rappeling through the cliffs. The Chinese government has paved the road and stairs for you to get to the top of Mt. Huangshan, but still, it’s not for the faint heart. My parents were having some hard time going up and down the stair there, so make sure you take a lot of rest along the way and bring plenty of water, since water is so expensive if you were to buy when you are up in the mountain.
Some can food/snack would be helpful too. Since you are burning a lot of calories when you are climbing the mountain, you will feel hungry more often, especially due to the cold weather. Some granola bar would be enough to give you some extra energy.
- Always bring some toilet paper with you, everywhere you go. Toilets in China are not the cleanest and the best toilet in the world. Most of them are just plain dirty and unsupervised. Many of them have no doors, no toilet papers and smell pretty bad. I apologize if I ruined your image of China here, but don’t worry the only bad part about China is their toilets ha3x…I’m not talking about hotel toilets here, but more of the public ones, so when you are in your hotel room, don’t worry. Everything will be very tidy and spotless!
Also…be prepared for using squat toilet. Although most toilets are the seating ones, you will find in some places that they only have squat toilets, so it will take some time until you get used to it.
Anyway…the most important thing is to have your toilet paper ready all the time. I had some pretty rough time looking for one in one instance Luckily I found some, otherwise I’m not really sure what’s gonna happen
- Bring a calculator. Language is definitely a barrier when I was in China. It’s really hard to even guess what they are saying. A calculator can be very handy when you are shopping. Since numbers are universal, both you and the sellers will understand each other when you are bargaining using a calculator to show what price the seller offers and what price that you are bargaining for.
- Lastly, pay attention to your baggage weight. We, Asian, are known for our shopping habit, so you can imagine what our tour group would buy during the 2 weeks period we were there. Most of the time, we don’t think about our baggage weught when we buy things. Well…you should have thought of your baggage weight everytime you buy something.
The tour that take you to China will bring you to certain shopping locations, whether they are government owned or privately owned places, so most likely you will do some shopping in China. Not to mention that goods in China are considered pretty cheap for most Americans, so you will tend to buy things there since they are cheap. Make sure you can bring those stuff you bought home, Ok! Unless you are willing to pay the ridiculously expensive excess baggage fees.
That’s all from me.
I hope my tips can help you little bit while you are travelling to China. There actually are a lot more tips I can list here in this post, but it will be too many ha3x so couple bullet points above from me would be enough for now.
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