Everything You Need to Know Before Travelling To China
The People’s Republic of China is an ancient civilization that has existed for centuries. It is rich in history, culture and art. The country is also known for communism which was once a very strict and powerful regime. What’s less known is that China is exceptionally technologically advanced and it’s probably going to be the next superpower in 10 years.
As a tourist, this is a precautionary list of all the items and information you MUST have before travelling to China.
VISA: Some people may or not need to get a visa before travelling to China, but a large majority of people do. The regulations for a Chinese visa are complex. It is easy to be returned by visa officers until you have their documents in order.
BUY A MASK: A mask is crucial for your survival in China. You can do without it, but the air is very polluted, and it helps shield you from the winter cold.
DOWNLOAD A TRANSLATOR: A vast majority of the Chinese public don’t understand English but many of them have a Chinese to English Translator. It’s important to have one pre-installed on your phone. It will greatly reduce the communication barrier.
DOWNLOAD A VPN: If you’re using any Western apps, your technological devices are going to come to a standstill. Unless you have a VPN, that’s the only way you’ll remain online. There are VPN’s that work on Android but not iOS and vice versa. Download as many as you can before travelling to China because on arrival, some may not work. It’s good to have a backup.
Good Aspects of China
EXCEPTIONAL TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS: The level of technological advancement in China is the highest that I’ve ever seen in any country that I’ve visited. Chinese have stopped using physical money and instead use a QR code, everyone has a phone glued to their hand, everything is digital, and everyone is online.
IMPECCABLE TIME KEEPING SKILLS: In China, everyone and everything is on time. Their system moves like clockwork, its precise and very accurate. If you’re supposed to have a meeting with somebody, they’ll be there half an hour early. Never later.
IMPECCABLE INFRASTRUCTURE: From the roads to buildings, railways, malls, airports, offices are extremely organized and advanced. They are operating on a superpower model of innovation. Their systems and economy are a tier-one level of advancement.
EFFICIENT CUSTOMER SERVICE: Customer Service in China is very good. Since everything is on time, the hospitality industry has also adopted such a nature because they are efficient, fast and effective.
CHINESE PEOPLE ARE VERY KIND-HEARTED: In my experience in China, most of the people that I encountered were very kind-hearted. They were so willing to help and most of the time went out of the way to assist us. Despite the language barrier, they only had good intentions towards us. They are very warm and always eager to be of service.
Bad Aspects of China
COVERT RACISM: As a tourist of colour, I felt incredibly uncomfortable in China because everyone was staring at me. It may have been a stare of fascination but it was even more extreme because people would stop what they’re doing to look at you or pull out their phone to take pictures of you. It was extremely strange to me. While you walk past, people would laugh while you walk by like you’re the butt of the joke or mutter “chimpanzee” under their breath so that you can hear it. This is with young people who can speak English.
HOTELS & TRAINS OVERCHARGE YOU AS A FOREIGNER: Online, certain prices have been given for a certain train or hotel but when you proceed to pay for them, they overcharge by over 1500 Yuan – 3000 Yuan. This is very misleading and happened to me in several cities in China.
TAXIS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TOURISTS: Taxi Drivers are notorious because they often mislead foreigners. As soon as they realize you don’t speak mandarin, they will drive you around the same area for hours and greatly overcharge you. Sometimes, they can take you to the wrong destination which is further from the original destination just to make money off you. Many of them use this mentality. Use the maps app on your phone and search for the destination then always view it as you begin your journey so that you’re not travelling the wrong way.
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