China Travel Guide
Tribes: Who likes this place?
What the scores mean:
These scores tell you how well-liked a place is in each Tribe. Gogobot Tribes are groups who share a certain travel style, like Family Travelers or History Buffs.
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- 98%Green Travelers
- 96%Local Culture
- 94%Art & Design Lovers
- 75%History Buffs
- 74%Spiritual Seekers
Member Reviews (118)Write a review
China is huge in size, most people know China from medias talking about Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen etc. Some untouched places rarely get revealed. Culture and custom are very diverse from north to south, east to west. Not many know a tropical island in China called Hainan, and Sanya very resorty place like Cancun or Hawaii, Bali or Phuket. Ethnic tribes, minorities, farmers, fishery people, even maternal groups... Also has the world class luxury resorts, world championship golf courses, yacht. Fresh sea food and Chinese cuisine from fancy restaurants to yummy diners, make your trip a wonderful experience.
- ChinaMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget Travelers+ 13
Amazing country with millenia of history and culture to explore. The food is amazing and varied. Language is a challenge, but worth overcoming. I've only visited Beijing, but really liked what I have seen so far and I hope to return many times and continue exploring this huge and diverse country
- ChinaMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget Travelers+ 2
China is the first country I ever traveled to and despite my reservations regarding its government, I absolute love Zhongguo (it's China's name in Chinese and means "middle kingdom"). The food is diverse, varied, and delicious. The landscape is overwhelmingly vast and the people while reserved are very friendly and hospitable to foreigners.
My name is Elisabeth. I am a translator and guide. Im born and raised in Guangzhou. So i know the city well. I am business major with english Degree. I have been working on business translation for years. If you have any questions about my city. I would be glad to provide. firstname.lastname@example.org
- ChinaMember ofBudget TravelersBackpackers
China, once an exotic locale for traders and merchants is now one of the super countries of the world. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, China welcomes you with open arms.
Some notes on the country itself:
You will need a visa to enter into china. Get that done before buying your flight (essential) just to make sure you can enter and stay throughout your duration.
Water: The water that originates from lakes is drinkable. but due to construction and pipping in older buildings, it is suggested that you boil water before consuming. To avoid all this, just buy bottle water. (a 1L bottle should be priced around 4-5RMB) NOTE: It is safe to brush & shower with tap water.. its not that bad.
Shopping: If you stick to big malls in china, you dont have much power to price bargain. Step into a market and you can rest assured that you will NEED to bargain. Each city have different pricing yet same items (different manufacturers is the discrepancy for the price difference) so you will have to bargain carefully.
Manners: Manners are similar to that of north america except for food services (and depending on the city/restaurant)
In Beijing, when you are at a restaurant and you need something from the waiter/waitress, it is suggested that you call them out (Fu wu yuan). This is not rude in beijing but it is expected since they want to provide you with the best service.
Do not call out the waiter/waitress in souther cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou. It is rather rude down there. (weird right?)
Tipping: Usually if you are eating at a nice restaurant, they will add in the service charge. Many places in china do not require tipping so do not feel cheap by not tipping. If you decide to tip, a couple of RMB will be more than enough.
Taxi: Taxi service in the big cities like Shanghai and Beijing are predominately non negotiable and go by the meter. Stick to legitimate cabs services. Do not take the black taxi since they WILL rip you off if you dont negotiate before hand. Some will try to rip you off by taking the long way or pretending to be lost. If you do not speak a word of chinese then you might get ripped off (a couple of rmb's at best). Always ask for a receipt (fa piao) from cab drivers; this helps you track down a cab if you left something in the cab (getting it back is awhole other issue)
Crime: The big cities in china are safe. And chances are if you are sticking with the main tourist spots in china then you will be safe. The country is also safe for visible foreigners since you guys are the visible minorities in this country. As such, you might want to watch out for pick pocketers and scam artists in popular tourist spots. If a chinese girl approaches you and speaks english and is very friendly to you, then you should think about her motives.
Cash: your money management skills are tested in china. Restaurants, shopping and services generally take cash (or the chinese equivalent union-pay debit card) for transactions. Carrying sufficient amount is advised. Many big places also take VISA, just make sure you are billed in RMB and not any other currency
Cellphone: You get the choice between china mobile and china unicom for sim cards. I recommend chinamobile sim cards but they vary in price because you can pick your phone number. (just pick the cheapest one, you might need to negotiate, last checked, a prepaid phone card cost 40-50rmb) Once you get your card, you will need to top-up your card. You can subscribe to some services (txt packages, international dialing etc) but remember that they charge at the beginning of the month, so fill up before the end of the month to allow them to deduct the amount)
Hope these tips were helpful.
- ChinaMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsGreen TravelersHistory BuffsAdventure Travelers
I expect to like China, but haven't been there yet. Travel-Ticker.com recommends China as an international destination with great savings during the Spring. Travel-Ticker.com experts say: "Average temperatures during spring vary depending on the region, but overall this is one of the best times to visit China from a purely weather standpoint. Layer on the fact that there are also fewer crowds and stellar deals, and a visit to the Far East sounds even better. Business and leisure travel picks up in April, so try and plan your visit in March for the lowest prices and shorter lines. Package trips to China throughout March and April range from$1609-$1799, and travelers can save an average of $470/person, $940/couple, or $1,880 for a family of four just by going during these months compared to May and June peak season pricing."
- ChinaMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsAdventure Travelers
The world's oldest continually-existing civilization, China is huge. Geographically huge, culturally huge, culinarily huge, and -- increasingly -- economically huge. Relatively cheap and endowed with a great (and ever-modernizing) rail network, China is a great place to splash out for long-term travel, be it a month, two months, or more. There's fabulous mountains in Yunnan and Tibet and Anhui Province, pulsing nightlife in Shanghai, Chengdu and Beijing, and some of the tastiest food on the whole planet (get used to using the pointing system to order). It may at times be a rather coarse place (spitting! shoving!), and big swaths of it are positively unloveable (Changsha, anyone?), but a single day in the garden city of Hangzhou or trekking Tiger Leaping Gorge will make it all seem worth it.
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A friend and I would like to do a good hike through redwoods tomorrow, somewhere in the vicinity of Santa Cruz. We were originally thinking Big Basin, but due to time concerns, I was wondering if anyone had recommendations that might be closer to either Highway 17 or the town of Santa Cruz?
I lived in China for a year, teaching English at a university, and got to see a side of it that most people don't. China is safe. As always, in any major city, watch out for pickpockets and scam artists - as was mentioned in another review, especially beware of young and attractive English speaking students coming to speak to you. In Beijing, if you don't know Chinese or don't have the address of where you are trying to go written out in Chinese (characters) and also an idea of the rate you should be paying (meters can be tampered with, and once it gets dark most taxis forgo the meter in favor of bargaining) I would avoid taxis and go for the metro system, or walk. The metro is fairly straightforward and in understandable Chinglish, and stops at or close to the major tourist attractions.
For those travelers that are gun-shy, be warned. You will be getting attention, and lots of it when traveling in China, especially if you head out to more rural areas, or places that don't have some sort of Western-recognized tourist attraction. If you aren't in China for long, it will likely be unnerving the entire time you're there, but for those that are staying longer than a week or two, you'll learn that it's honest curiosity on the part of the Chinese people - they want to get to know you, but it manifests in slightly different ways than expected. I've had people want to touch my hair or tell me that I had beautiful hands.
As for table manners, spitting, smoking, slurping and burping is all acceptable at the table, at most restaurants, and generally in public. Unless you are at a very (very!) high end restaurant, tipping is neither expected nor encouraged. And if you go out with any Chinese people, consider it appropriate to put up a fight to pay for the bill, but concede after they fight for it harder. Also, if you go out with Chinese, especially if you are a guy, they will try and get you drunk. Very, very, very drunk. Be warned. Bai jiu (which literally translates 'white spirit (liquor) ) is very strong - reminds me of old man vodka times ten-ish. As for calling for the waitress, in the north, generally, fuwuyuan is a proper term - in the south, that same term is slang for a hooker - I believe, though can't properly remember, as I lived in the north and only visited the south, that the proper term in the south is 'shi zhe'
If you know any Chinese, have fun bargaining at the markets and with the street hawkers, otherwise, stick to malls and not-so-hole-in-the-wall shops. And even then, unless you have an idea of what you should be paying and what you're willing to pay, don't do the markets.
In terms of budget, outside of Beijing and Shanghai, a nice meal at a nice restaurant...I would say maximum 20RMB a person. When I was traveling I knew enough Chinese to eat at non-Western chains (you will generally find Starbucks, KFC, occasionally McDonald's or Dairy Queen - didn't see Burger Kings very often) or more Westernized Chinese restaurants which tend to be premium price.
As for carrying cash - it is a must. Most places, again, outside of Beijing and Shanghai, and even then within the cities, do not accept credit cards of any form at all, and debit cards only if they are Chinese. So carry cash. 100RMB, as the biggest bill, though the equivalent of about 15USD, is not a common occurrence outside of major cities to carry around in large quantities. So try and break those bills as fast as you can - maybe at your hotel or hostel. It will make you a little bit less conspicuous.
Best of luck, and enjoy my second home.
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