Things to know before you come to China

So the first time arriving in China can be a bit overwhelming even for the most seasoned traveler. Everything is different; the language, culture and food. I have created a list of the things that I wish people had told me before I got to China.

  • Leave the manners at home: I have always grown up being taught that being patient and well-mannered are good qualities to have, in China that is just not the case. You have to be aggressive when getting on the train and shrewd when bargaining, if you won’t other people will.
  • Language difficulties: Although almost all young adults and kids have studied English almost none want to use it. In most Chinese cities, besides Shanghai, you will be hard-pressed to find someone that will speak English to you. Luckily even in smaller cities, signs are also posted in English. Might be a good idea to check out a Chinese book before you come over.
  • Getting around: Shanghai offers a ton of different ways to travel around; metro, buses, taxis, bikes, Maglev, car, and scooters. The two best ways to get around if you aren’t allowed to get a scooter are bikes and the metro. The metro is the fastest means of getting around with a network that stretches across the entire city. The downside is that it can get very crowded. Unable to move crowded. If your destination isn’t too far, take a ride sharing Bike. Shanghai does a fantastic job of making bike lanes all across the city.
  • The food: Shanghai has more food than you can ever imagine. Shanghai has some of the nicest restaurants in the world and right outside of those restaurants are some great street food. If you don’t have the budget to eat at nice restaurants or prefer the authenticity of the local restaurants there is one big thing to keep in mind, food safety. Food poisoning hits the best of us. But what took me a while to figure out is that every single restaurant has a food safety rating posted in the restaurant. Give it a look.
  • No Cash: If you are spending a lot of time in China, set up a bank account. The fees for constantly pulling out money adds up. Another issue is that some places will only accept money through WeChat. The hassle of pulling out money and then finding someone to else to exchange the money and getting WeChat can get annoying.

Hope these will help you in your travels to China.

Michael