If you are planning a trip to Asia, be aware that you are going to experience a culture shock. Unlike any other culture in the world, Asia has a lot to offer and is an eye-opening experience to see life from a different perspective. I spent four days in the bustling capital of one of the largest and most populous places on planet earth: Beijing, China. Prior to my journey, I honestly had no idea what to expect. China is a beastly country with their own customs and culture different from anything else in the world. After intense research and spending four days in Beijing (one day I will go back for more) I have compiled a list of things you should know prior to your own adventure.
Things to Know about Traveling to China
- travel documents
*you need a visa. unless you are special and somehow don’t. you will need to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. The visa varies in prices depending on your nationality and is valid for up to ten years. China does offer a 72 hours transit visa if you are going for less than three days.
*print your directions in Chinese to the hostel or hotel if you plan on taking a cab or taxi or show to the cab driver. Be sure to include the phone number of the accommodation.
*when you make a booking, make sure you have your passport to check in.
- money. money. money.
*most places in Beijing prefer cash. Although the world is expanding and becoming more technology friendly, people and markets and restaurants still prefer the usage of cash and in their own currencies. Beijing will not accept US dollars or Hong Kong money and anywhere else besides the Chinese currency.
*don’t tip. the Chinese don’t tip and you are not expected to either.
*like any vacation or trip you are planning, don’t forget to alert your bank that you are traveling to China so you don’t locked out of your bank.
- blocked internet.
*Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, and others are blocked all throughout China. Basically life. But in order to avoid a social media hiatus, download various types of VPN (virtual private networks) that will allow you access to these sites.
I would recommend going to the app store, searching VPN and downloading every free one that is available. especially if you’re only planning on being in China a short while. Because once you use up your free trial on one app, then you can move onto the next.
- yo bod
*bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The toilets in Asia might not be something you are used to, so start practicing your squats. Most toilets in Asia are a hole in the ground. It can be tricky I won’t lie. Especially if you are wearing layers and tights under your jeans. Most places will have one normal toilet, but be prepared.
*China has a pollution problem. I would recommend purchasing a mask (like the locals) and wearing it throughout the day. Especially if you are planning on staying a while in the city. The pollution is VERY bad and could have damaging effects on your health with long exposure.
- cultured lifestyle
*spitting; Chinese people spit anywhere and everywhere. Watch your step.
*the population of China is busting at the rim, meaning your personal bubble is going to be popped, jabbed, poked in every which way.
*Chinese people were fascinated when they see something out of the ordinary; meaning you and your tallness or blondness or skin color. they will most likely try and take photos of you or with you.
- your flight I found a great flight through CTrip, and was able to go from Beijing— to Kuala Lumpur— to Bangkok, all for a VERY reasonable price. I highly recommend Ctrip for your China flights. If you’re traveling within China, it’s also really helpful.