Friday, 25 April 2014

Tips for Independent Travel in China

 Always get the business card from your hotel as you can just show it to a taxi driver.

 Taxis are cheap always insist the driver uses the meter.

 Sometimes this doesn’t happen no matter how hard you insist. If you have travelled in a taxi previously you can sense what the prices can be so don’t accept the first and usually exorbitant price.

 Chinese do not line up for anything it is one mad scramble to get tickets, get on buses, just act like a ‘native’ and you won’t be left standing.

 Four and five star hotels are great places to get a free map of a city as well as other information from the concierge even if you are not staying there. Many are extremely helpful.

 China can be frustrating at times sometimes something that should be easy and straight forward is anything but.

 Patience is important and shouting gets one nowhere but I must admit it can be hard not to at times.

 It is always good to take a phrase book (I’ve used Lonely Planet’s) if you don’t speak Chinese fluently. Even using this can be fraught even though words and phrases have Chinese characters written next to the pinyin.

 People are generally very helpful and friendly but beware of the ‘Tea House’ scam. Someone or a couple befriends you. ‘We/ I just off to have some tea would you like to come?’ Then you can end up being left to pay an astronomical amount. (yes some tea is very expensive anyway – but this is a con).

 Always use bottled or boiled water to clean your teeth.

 Eat in places where there are crowds food turnover will be quick so there is less chance it’s been sitting around for a long time ‘gathering bugs.’

 China is relatively safe to travel independently just be cautious with your belongings in crowds as with anywhere you travel.

As with any travel go with an open mind, realize it will be very different and that everyone you have contact will not necessarily speak English. Then you enjoy your trip and have some amazing experiences.

Enjoy your trip.