China is an extremely diverse country with lots of adventures to be had. While it is exciting to think about all the places you’ll visit, you want to keep in mind that this is a country where English is not widely spoken. Despite that, there are lots of tips and tricks that will help make navigating through China easier so you can spend your time enjoying all that this country has to offer.
Keep in mind the following tips when planning your trip:
- If you have loud noises, bring ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones. China is known to be a pretty loud country.
- Most local places do not accept international credit cards. The ones that do are 5 star hotels and major stores, such as Wal-Mart.
- A phrasebook will become your best friend. Many locals might be able to speak Chinese, but are too shy sometimes. If you can show you are making the effort to speak their language, they will be more comfortable with you.
- When bargaining, be firm but not rude. It sometimes helps if you joke with them, or explain why you don’t think their price is fair. You might also want to consider telling them your price and leaving the store. If they don’t chase after you, it means you went too low, or that they don’t really care for your business. Don’t fret, there are plenty of places that probably sell the same item.
- It helps to ask for the price of something a few times, even if there is a price tag. Sometimes storeowners change their prices within a few minutes to see if you notice, and if they can get a higher price for their items.
- If you ask for tissues at a restaurant, they will charge you. Some places also charge you if you want some ice water. Make sure to ask.
- If you choose to travel by train, purchase a sleeper ticket. It will be a much more comfortable ride, particularly if you’re riding for long distances. If you can’t get a sleeper ticket right away, consider buying a seat, then upgrading once you’re on the train.
- If you’re traveling long distances via train, you are allowed one stopover at any towns on the way before your final destination. Ask for details at the ticket counters before purchasing your tickets.
- When taking a taxi, provide the exact address in Chinese. If you don’t have one, find the nearest 5 star hotel and ask for a business card. That way, you can get dropped off there and walk to your destination.
- All major cities have metered taxis. Insist that they turn on the meter once on the road.
- You pay your fare on a public bus after you get on the bus. There is usually an attendant that asks where you are getting off, then charges you a fee based on the distance traveled.
photo credit: Sprengben [why not get a friend] via photopin cc