Hi,myself and my girlf are heading into China in about a week or so, for 2months all going well. What are the sort of things we should stock up on in Bangkok before flying in, that we will struggle to get (or atleast be able to recognise) once inside
Shampoo and shower gel?
Thanks for any advice
Depends where you are going, perhaps some wilderness resort with no shops; then you would need to stock up.
Otherwise, the four hygiene/cosmetics items you mentioned are widely available in small shops all over Nanning (the biggest city between Guangdong/Canton and Hanoi) where I have been for the last few months.
There is possibly 45 types of local toothpastes and probably 15-20 types of foreign ones (i.e. made under licence in China).
Mosquitos here will have a preference for Chinese people, as they have acclimatised to their skin type, body odour etc, and bite Caucasians and Blacks relatively rarely -- at least in comparison.
Like everywhere, toilet paper is usually sold in bulk, but here they tend to have 24 rolls and larger packages, so you may want to bring 1-2. They also have the one without a hole in the middle here.
Again, shampoo and shower gel is available in a wide variety of brands, including international ones, and sizes -- but you may want to bring along something you are familiar with and like.
You can get most things cheaply enough. If you need any special medicenes (i.e. that will be hard to explain if you can't find an English speaker), bring them. Malaria tablets can be tricky to find in certain places as well depending what you are after - many places only offer Chinese equivalents with only Chinese text, so you never know what you are getting. Places like Shnaghai etc tehy can be got, outside it's hit and miss.
Loo Roll can be got in single rolls in all convenience stores, and most supermarkets. If in doubt, head to the big local supermarkets (in Nanning, try Walmart, in Kunming, Carrefour). And bigger packs of 4-24 rolls are cheap enough that you won't loose a lot of money if forced to getthem.
One thing which can be very hard to find is deodorant - Watsons (a HK based chemist shop) has a few branches in China and sells it, and sometimes the bigger foreign owned suprmarkets do, but otherwise it can be impossible to find. Smae is true in Japan and Korea.
Mozzie repelent is widely avaialble, BUT we found it impossible to find any wih DEET in it. Lots of local stuff and herb varities, some of which are very good, but if you want DEET, stock up beforehand.
And if you like decent coffee, bring that with you as well....
I've had an impossible time getting sunscreen in China, so best to bring some with you. have a great trip, and maybe I'll see you there on my trip to Yunnan in May!