12 Things You Should Know Before Visiting China

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China is a country that has a wonderful culture and delicious food, not to mention a beautiful scenery. If you are an avid adventure seeker, China has a vast landscape to please your sight-seeing heart including grassland, desert, mountains, lakes, rivers, and more than 14,000 km of coastline.

The capital of Beijing mixes modern architecture with historic sites such as the Forbidden City palace complex and Tiananmen Square. Another breathtaking city is Shanghai, which was once a small village on the edge of the muddy Huang Pu River. It has become one of the world’s most modern and sophisticated cities and a skyscraper-studded global financial center.

The history alone makes it a hotspot for tourists from around the world. However, like any country outside of your own that you travel to, it’s important to familiarize yourself with certain cultural and societal customs before you set off on your adventure. You may think that it will just be common sense, but you’re wrong. Some of this stuff is just plain unexpected!

1. Plan out your trip: Be sure to know the significant dates of the country. They don’t have state-sanctioned holidays often, but when they do it can get immensely busy.

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2. Transportation: The transportation system in China is world class. It’s quick and efficient, however, it requires exact change so make sure you are prepared. Also, they frequently halt service early at night.

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3. Don’t bother keeping change: In China, waiters don’t accept tips. This means if you dine out, you don’t have to worry about extra charges. Just make sure you have the exact price.

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4. Meal time: The Chinese have set times scheduled for meals, so be sure to know these specific times so you are able to book your seat. Otherwise, someone else may book the seat before you.

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5. The language: It’s not all that common to find someone who speaks English in China. Even trying to learn the language is extremely difficult given the different dialects. It is much easier to download an app that can record what a person is saying and play it back to you in your own language.

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6. No Google or Facebook: These two online services are completely blocked in China so you won’t be able to access them. Unless you’re technologically proficient and know how to set up a VPN, you’re going to have to find other ways to share your adventure with friends/family.

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7. Hospitality: Like most big cities, people ordinarily keep to themselves, however, if you travel to the outskirts of villages, don’t be surprised if someone stops their car to offer you water bottles, cookies, and maybe even invite you to dinner!

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8. Police geese instead of police dogs: According to Chinese authorities, geese have excellent vision and can be very aggressive which makes them the perfect replacement for police dogs.

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9. Planning for a child: This might not affect you personally but the more you know, right? Couples in China must apply and be approved for a Family Planning Certificate either three months before or after the mother falls pregnant.

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10. Hire someone to help you avoid traffic: There is an actual service in China you can call that will send someone on a motorcycle to pick you up out of a traffic jam. You’ll zoom away on the back of the motorcycle and one of the people they’ve sent will sit in traffic for you. This is real life.

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11. Approximately 35 million Chinese people live in caves: The caves are called yaodong in Chinese. They are usually dug into the side of a mountain and have rice paper or blankets hanging from semicircular entrances to take the place of doors.

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12. Chinese Researchers wear panda suits to trick cubs: At the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Centre, workers dress in panda suits so that they don’t threaten Panda cubs in the wild.

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