China is a country that is rich in every manner. Let it be for the culture, food or history, and the place has so much to offer anyone who is stepping on to the land for the first time. However, to many international travelers, China seems a little far-fetched because of the cultural shock. Yes, everything is different in China, but it's not something you cannot tackle even if you are a westerner.
To help you forget the worries you have about traveling to China, we have some expert tips here that came from experienced travelers. It will help you heaps to plan a trip to China and everything that comes with it. So grab your notepad and be ready to find out how to be thorough for your China visit.
To enter China, you are most probably required to have a tourist visa. The first thing you should be doing even before booking flights is to see whether you need a visa. Few countries are exempted from requiring a visa to visit China.
There are many categories of Chinese Tourist Visa. This varies from single entry, multiple entry and with different durations expiring in 6 months to even 10 years.
China is a vast country, so the climate tends to change drastically from region to region. The northern part of China that includes Beijing, Mongolia, etc have weather similar to the west, with hot summers and cold winters. Towards the south, the winters are mild, but summer gets extremely hot and humid.
To enjoy dry and temperate weather in China, your best choice would be mid-April, beginning of June of mid-September. If you are planning to visit China during the Chinese New Year to take part in the festivities, know that almost all restaurants and attractions will be closed as locals like to spend time with family. The date changes every year depending on the lunar calendar, and the transportation will be very crowded by migrants trying to get back their homes for holidays.
Try to avoid summer as the season might be accompanied with rain. This would lead to landslides especially in mountainous regions. So in short, the best time to visit China is highly dependant on the region where you are visiting. So make sure to get a forecast for the particular region rather than just China.
The official currency of China is the Renminbi (RMB), and there the government controls the exchange rate. The best and safest place to get your currency exchanged would be at the airport. , and there might be a small fee per transaction.
Apart from that, you can also go to banks in China , but it might seem a little hectic to find banks when you are on a visit.
Few companies also provide charge free debit cards that you can use in China. You can simply withdraw the money in the ATMs in China as you wish. If you want to avoid the hassle of currency exchange, this is also a good option.
But do not hope to change your currency at the accommodation. Not all hotels offer this, and they charge a higher fee too.
Depending on whether you are visiting the cities or the inner villages, there are different means of transportation that you can choose. In cities, there are trains, subways, buses, and taxis. Make sure to carry your passport everywhere you go as you will have to show them almost at every transport station.
You are most likely to go to a city from your airport. There are subways that directly go to the city center or even bus shuttles from the airport. If you have luggage, it is much easier to choose the buses as you can just load them in the bottom compartment. You can find information about these shutters in the information centers at the airport.
You can also find taxis outside the airport. You just have to make sure that the driver turns on the meter before you start the trip.
Transportation in China is efficient and well connected. Subways are the easiest and most efficient. Depending on the time of your stay, you can buy tickets on a transit card for the subway.
The second option is the buses. But the main problem with the buses is that there are no English signs or announcement which might be a problem for travelers to figure out their stop.
Then there are, of course, the taxis. It would be much easier for you to download a taxi app rather than to flag one down on the road. There is no Uber, but similar apps like DiDi Chuxing, link your credit card and it works more or less like Uber. Otherwise, you could also ask your hotel to arrange a taxi for you.
To travel within China, you can opt for long distance buses or high-speed trains. Trains are the best choice; these leave from a different train station, and you need to book your tickets in advance. Websites like Ctrip offer train tickets and you might have to check your luggage and passport in the station.
Keep in mind that you cannot drive in China with a foreign license. So you probably won't be able to rent a car. If you choose subways, you might have to get down at the station and get directions for your destination.
But Google is blocked in China, so you won't be able to use Google Maps. But China has its own version for almost every app. Your best alternative would be Baidu Map or Gaode Map. If you can't find the English version, copy paste the Chinese name in your app store.
Almost everywhere you go, you will be able to find free wifi. Most of the cafes, restaurants and public places have free wifi. The passwords are usually 123123123 or 00000000. If they are not correct, feel free to ask the owners for the password.
If you don't have international roaming, it is best to get a local sim card in China. The two major tele companies are China Unicom and China Telecom. Both offer excellent packages for prepaid sim cards. You can either get them at the airport or from the many stores spread across the city.
But keep in mind that if you are using a local sim card, you will not be able to access Google, Instagram or Facebook, etc in China. While on international roaming, it might be possible. The only way to fight back the Chinese firewall is by using a VPN. But these days, not all VPNs can get you connected. So make sure you do a good search from your home and download it (maybe just the trial period would be enough for you) before you board the flight.
There are many accommodations that you can choose in China depending on the region and your budget. If you are looking for hotels, you can go straight ahead to booking.com. From upscale luxury hotels to budget hotels, you can easily find the suitable one and get the booking done right away.
If you are looking to save some bucks, then hostels are the best. Backpackers mostly tend to choose hostels, so you are sure to find some company there. Check in hostelworld.com or hostelbookers.com to find your hostel.
The third option is websites like Airbnb. You will definitely find a home to your taste and depending on your budget too.
Many would be boarding flights to China just to taste the authentic world-famous Chinese cuisine. Trying the street food is unquestionably among the best things to do in China. The flavors and delicacies vary from region to region so you will never get bored of the same thing. The best place to experience the Chinese food is undoubtedly at the street food centers. Every city, town or village will have these destined streets for food. The food here would be made fresh, so you don't have to worry about sanitation. It is even better if you have all three meals from such places. A quick search on the Internet can help you find the street food centers in the places you visit.
Even McDonald and KFC in China has adapted its flavors to the local one. But you can still find your home flavors there.
Cities like Beijing and Shanghai have quite a lot of upscale restaurants too. Your best shot at finding Michelin starred fine dining would be at one of these cities, but you might have to make a reservation even before you get your flight tickets.
China is a very safe country even for solo female travelers. There is always police patrolling in tourist sites and other popular places. The only thing to note would be to look out for pickpockets. As long as you keep your belongings close, you don’t have to worry about them.
China is a very fascinating country. The more you explore, the more you will fall in love with it. Planning a visit to the might China? Book your cheap flights to China at FareDepot at rates you never imagined possible. Our insanely cheap deals for international flights and business flights will fascinate you as much as China.