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the_overthinker's avatar

Tips for travelling to China?

Asked by the_overthinker (1527points) November 30th, 2011

I’ll be participating in a language program at my university. It includes travelling to China for about a month, learning their culture, language, going on field trips, and tours as well!

I’ve never been out of North America before. I wanted to hear some personal experiences about travelling to Asia. Or maybe even stories about exchange programs. I’m sure this trip will be a highlight of my university days!

Maybe some tips for travelling to China as well. I’ve never been there, although I do have friends who are Chinese, or have traveled to China as well, I think experiences will differ.

I’ve already been told to bring my own toilet paper around, and about their traffic, and their different resources (drink bottled water).. Any other words of wisdom anyone would like to share with me?

Thank you!

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11 Answers

babybadger's avatar

I’ve never been to China, but I did travel on two programs to Italy, Greece, and Australia through the program People to People International. You’re already on the right track – when traveling out of country always drink your own water. It will be an incredible experience you will never forget, mark my words. Spend time drinking in the culture and small things, not just the monuments and obvious tourist attractions. Be very careful with your money and where you put your valuables – if you look like a tourist you’re more likely to be mugged.

As for my own experiences, I got to hold a koala bear in Australia. They’re heavy and smell really bad. They also like to dig their claws into you. Not what I was expecting, but I cherished the experience even more because of it. In Australia, the sky at night is the darkest black you can possibly imagine. Blacker than any black you’ve seen before. And it is covered by more stars than you will ever ever ever see in North America (I’m American). The trip was worth it for the sole experience of lying under the stars at night. I met with local Aborigines, who tried to teach my peers and I to breath through our noses and breath out our mouths in order to play the didgeridoo…try it; it’s much harder than it looks. I failed at throwing boomerangs, and a kookaburra stole one of my peer’s breakfast when his back was turned… funniest thing ever.

I could go on and on – that was only a part of Australia. But I’ll conclude here; good luck in China, I’m sure you’ll have an extraordinary time. :)
P.S. Welcome to Fluther!

the_overthinker's avatar

@babybadger, wow, sounds like a very memorable experience. :) I am very excited for my trip.
You’ve already went on two programs! I’m missing out! :P. Yes, I’ll try my best to blend in… I’m not sure how well that will work with my not-so-very fluent mandarin. haha. ;)

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Where in China are you staying in? I’ve been to Beijing, Shanghai (for a day), Xi’an, Shenzen and Guilin. I’ve also been to Hong Kong and Macau.

the_overthinker's avatar

@Michael_Huntington, I’ll be around Shanghai, also Hangzhou. Perhaps other cities as well.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

From what I remembered about Shanghai, the people were pretty rude. I was only there for the Shanghai expo and I remember a lot of shoving and pushing in the lines and the people were pretty nasty in general. This shouldn’t scare you from going to China, though, it’s just their customs. I sincerely hope that you enjoy your time in China.

the_overthinker's avatar

@Michael_Huntington, oh boy… haha, thanks for the tip! I’ve already bought my airplane ticket, so I’ll for sure be going. Overall, it should be a rather interesting trip, anyways. :)

JLeslie's avatar

My parents just got back from China. They absolutely loved it, said it was their best trip to date, and they have travelled quite a bit. My grandmother loved it there also, she went twice.

Definitely bring tissue or toilet paper as you mentioned. My parents brought a zpack in case they got sick, their doctor was willing to give them one. Remember don’t take it for a regular cold. If you take medication daily, if you can get enough for two months I would. Keep half with you and half where you are staying, so if you are robbed you have some more. I don’t know if you are a girl or guy, but do the normal prudent things when in a city. Keep your purse in front of you, or across your chest. Do not have valuables in backpacks in crowded cities. Pocket books should zip closed or have a flap that covers so no one can just stick their hand in and grab. I don’t tell you this because China is much more likely to be mugged, I would tell you this with all travels.

Large cities are large cities, if you live in a small town you might find the people rude in Beijing, Shanghai, or Hong Kong, but if you live in NY or Chicago, I don’t think you will have that impression. My parents did not mention any negative interactions, only positive ones.

They said the tea is amazing, especially the compressed tea.

They had young children come up to them amd ask them questions in English for an assignment they had. Seems in the city they were in at the time all children take English as a requirement plus another language of their choice. My parents were both wearing red jackets, just happens to be the color of their lightweight jackets they own, and several Chinese people commented they liked the jackets.

Welcome to fluther.

Aqua's avatar

I haven’t been (yet), but my friends who’ve gone say not to wear any white clothes/shoes/etc. They won’t come back white.

JLeslie's avatar

Also, remember on long flights to stand up every so often and stay hydrated. If they give you a mask on the plane wear it, especially while you sleep. It will help you not dry out.

the_overthinker's avatar

@JLeslie, ooh, thanks! I appreciate your comment. I will refer to all of those before my trip!

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