Dos and Don'ts - China Pt. I
Travel hacks for travelers in China
Ok, so you’ve decided that you will visit China? Here is a short list of things you should consider before your arrival!
1. Bargain: I can give you an example with a small statue in a shop next to the TerracottaWarriors site. I only took a quick glance at it and the person there offered to sell it for 400 Yuans. By the time I was shutting the door, I heard his final bid for less than 80 Yuans. More tips on bargaining here.
2. Learn a few phrases: Yes, Mandarin is definitely a complicated issue. However, in mainland China not everybody speaks decent EnglishJ. Spend some time on the tones and the Pinyin (transcription). Certainly, you should make a note of the full name of the city (street/ sight) so that you can show it to the taxis or the passers-by.
3. Try the hostels unless you are on a business trip or want to spend money. You can meet interesting people from all over the world and exchange contacts. Typically, the hostels are situated close to the city centre, therefore you have a good base for exploring the area.
4. Use a taxi in the cities. Most of them are legal and their prices are set by the government (advantage of the centralized economy).
5. Enjoy the outdoor activities in the parks. You will be accepted if you would like to join the group practising Tai Chi or stretching.
6. Visit the local museums. Great numbers of them charge a small fee or are actually free (Xian), just check beforehand.
7. Try the local cuisine. The Chinese also have, in my opinion, great sweets ,which somehow don’t get their deserved fame.
8. Marry a charming Chinese lady (not sure about that one).
1. Buy from the street shops, gift shops near tourist attractions or open markets without comparing the prices or at least negotiating the price.
2. Discuss political affairs concerning the Communist Party. Well, you won’t go to jail but still it is not a good idea. Instead, you can stick to neutral topics such as the economic growth of the country or the rich heritage.
3. Show cash money. This is just common sense; China is a relatively safe place to travel except for some southern provinces and dodgy quarters.
4. Open a wrapped gift in front of the giver. Don’t ask me why.
5. Avoid using number 4 (in Chinese si) during conversation or bargaining. It is due to the fact that its pronunciation is similar to the word death.
6. Brag about anything. In their tradition it is considered rude. In China being humble is a virtue.
7. Get offended if you are asked about your salary.