You may have read the travel tips the Chinese government has advised its citizens to adhere to, many of which are bizarre enough to deserve a mention and a chuckle or two. However, it isn’t only Chinese tourists who require travel advice from their government when travelling abroad, as most governments issue travel advice to their citizens holidaying in China.
Travelling in China can be an amazing experience, though if you’re to get the most out of your time in this remarkable part of the world, one that boasts an amazing array of sights in addition to a wealth of culture and history, there are a number of travel tips to adhere to, including the following seven.
Create a focused itinerary
China is massive and it’s for precisely this reason that you’re advised to create a focused itinerary, even if it means missing out on certain things because of the distances involved. This is a top reason for focusing your itinerary and you’ll need to do your homework to create an itinerary to rival one of the top China tours, which are incidentally worth joining even if only for a few days.
Take a phrasebook
One of the biggest obstacles you’ll face in China is the language barrier, so take a phrasebook with you. There are a number of popular phrasebooks on the market though pick one with Chinese script so you can point to a phrase to make yourself understood. Mandarin is tonal and can be difficult to get a handle on, though the locals will generally appreciate, and often derive great amusement from, your efforts.
Travel at the right time of year
Although we don’t always have the luxury of travelling at the most ideal time of the year, if you have the luxury of choosing when to go make the most of enjoying such a luxury as certain times of the year can be very cold and/or wet.
Bargain, inspect and bargain again
Bargaining is essential in China and as it’s a shopper’s paradise chances are you’ll be doing a bit of shopping whilst there. As a rule in China once you’ve bought something it’s yours, so be sure to inspect whatever it is you’re buying carefully, and once you’re sure it’s ok it’s worth bargaining a little more again. Many shoppers traveling to Malaysia enjoy doing bargaining and this has become a tradition.
Pick the right time to visit major attractions
Major tourist attractions can get extremely crowded and not only by foreign tourists but also by hordes of locals on tour domestically. As a general rule avoid mid-mornings and mid-afternoons which are the top time of day for multitudes of tourists arriving by bus with megaphone wielding tour operators leading the way.
Local transportation and restaurants for authentic experiences
Private transportation is generally expensive, as are restaurants packed with foreign tourists, plus you’ll never get to experience the real China this way. For authenticity and cultural experiences eat at local restaurants and catch local transportation – you’ll have a much more amazing experience.
Try everything on the menu … twice
Not only are local restaurants cheaper and the experiences you’ll have eating there more amazing, but the food is fantastic and for many visitors it’s the number one attraction. Therefore try everything on the menu and be as adventurous as possible, and if you don’t find a particular dish to your liking, which is unlikely, it’s generally cheap enough to push it aside and try something else.