Tips for China Travel - China Travel Story
China Travel Tips
Embassy & Visa
Tips for China Travel
Going to China was a complete shock. I knew about it from a decade and a half of my uncle's storytelling. My friends, and teachers had given me advice. But the only way to experience something is first-hand.
To make a long story short, or at least concise, here's what I learned about China (and overseas travel in general).
1. When traveling make sure what you are going to see is open. I was completely nuts about going to see Tiananmen Square. I had read books, written reports, and knew it was the one place I really wanted to see. It was closed for "repairs". I saw it from across the street, and it totally ruined one day of my trip.
2. One would never think about air quality as a health hazard. You always hear "don't drink the water" or "remember to peel the fruit." While those things are important, the air was horrible. We had sore throats and burning eyes throughout the trip, and I was coughing up wierd colored stuff for two months afterwards. I know that was gross, but it's true. Bring bottled water, handkerchiefs, cough drops (Chinese cough drops are um...different), and any medicines or inhalers you can con off of your doctor.
3. Don't take pictures in temples, and remember belts are also made of leather. I became quite the anti-American myself after realizing that members of my tour group where completely clueless as to how to respect another culture. That's really another opinion and a half in itself. They took pictures of a cremation by the Ganges (would you want strangers at your mothers funeral snapping photos?), pointed out every peasant urinating by the roadside, and drew quite a crowd of tourist kitsch sellers to our bus. Read about the culture you are going to, even if you are surprised when you get there, act like you've been Chinese forever.
4. Don't make phonecalls home. Period. My friend got homesick and called from Beijing to Washington state. Her fifteen minute call cost her 75 dollars US. If staying in a five star hotel use the computers for email. Otherwise, hunt down one of the Internet shops in the streets. They're really plentiful and much more economical.
5. Wander the streets some. Seeing just the "sights" is mundane. Get in a large group with at least one person who speaks the language and explore street markets, shopping areas, or at least a five block radius around your hotel.
6. Strike up conversations at the Great Wall. There are many students sent there to practice whatever language they are studying. We met a Chinese boy there who talked with us for two miles. We were able to talk about politics and learn things ungainable from a tour. He was able to practice. It was very refreshing.
7. Lastly, bask in the difference. You're paying for exotic, you're getting it. Stop moaning and complaining about the food, the roads, the smog, the weather, the noise, etc. and enjoy it.
Story Courtesy to Cami101