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Going to China..what should I know?

Travel Forums Asia Going to China..what should I know?

Last Post This thread is marked as being about China
1. Posted by TimAndes (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I'm not going on my own to China, too young. I'm 17 and going on a basic immersion program for 18 days and I was wondering what types of cultural/traditional things I should probably know--such as ettiquette, I just don't want to piss anyone off. I'm guessing that I'll be pretty sheltered by the chaperones and guides, but still.

Anything basic about what I should be wary of? Including pickpockets and scams and stuff.

Maybe there is a website somewhere that'll fill me on everything. Help is appreciated.

Here is my agenda-

Day 1 > July 01 > Start Tour
Fly to Beijing, China

Day 2 > July 02 > Ni Hao Beijing

Meet your Tour Director and check into hotel

Day 3 > July 03 > Beijing Landmarks

Beijing guided sightseeing tour
Tiananmen Square
Great Hall of the People
Imperial Palace
Summer Palace

Day 4 > July 04 > Great Wall

Travel to Great Wall of China
Ming Tombs visit
Peking Duck dinner

Day 5 > July 05 > Beijing--Xi'an

Fly to Xi'an
Xi'an city walk
Ancient City Wall
Greater Wild Goose Pagoda visit

Day 6 > July 06 > Xi'an Landmarks

Xi'an guided sightseeing tour
Huaqing Palace
Hot Springs
Banpo Village Ruins
Terra Cotta Warriors Museum
Tang Dynasty Singing and Dancing Show

Day 7 > July 07 > Xi'an--Shanghai

Fly to Shanghai
Residential Quarter walk
Residential quarters
Local families visit (seasonal)

Day 8 > July 08 > Shanghai Landmarks

Shanghai guided sightseeing tour
Yu Yuan Garden
Jade Buddha Temple visit
Shanghai city walk
Children's Palace
Nanking Road
Acrobatic Show

Day 9 > July 09 > Chinese Immersion Program

Cultural and Language lessons in Shanghai

Day 10 > July 10 > Chinese Immersion Program

Cultural and Language lessons in Shanghai

Day 11 > July 11 > Chinese Immersion Program

Cultural and Language lessons in Shanghai

Day 12 > July 12 > Chinese Immersion Program

Cultural and Language lessons in Shanghai

Day 13 > July 13 > Chinese Immersion Program

Cultural and Language lessons in Shanghai

Day 14 > July 14 > Chinese Immersion Program

Cultural and Language lessons in Shanghai

Day 15 > July 15 > Chinese Immersion Program

Cultural and Language lessons in Shanghai

Day 16 > July 16 > Shanghai--Hong Kong

Fly to Hong Kong

Day 17 > July 17 > Hong Kong Landmarks

Hong Kong guided sightseeing tour
Victoria Peak
Tai Po Man Mo Temple visit
Repulse Bay
Stanley Market

Day 18 > July 18 > End Tour
Fly from Hong Kong, China

2. Posted by tashidelek (Budding Member 4 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Oh, lucky you! I spent a semester in China and loved it. The Chinese people will be very friendly and sure to return their hospitality with smiles, many thanks, and even small gifts (when appropriate). Many people will want to practice their English with you, but don't hesitate to reply in Chinese...they'll appreciate any attempts you make to speak their language.

The Chinese don't typically hug, and will get embarrassed if you try to hug them, although both men and women hold hands when they are walking places. Please don't be offended if a Chinese guy grabs your hand!

One important phrase to know is "bu yao" (pron. boo yow). It means that you don't want whatever the something is that is being offered. Vendors will often approach you trying to sell items, tours, etc. Just keep saying "bu yao" and walk away. They will be persistent, so don't think you are being rude! Learn the art of bargaining, and you will get great deals in the markets! The Chinese expect you to bargain and not pay full price for things in markets...of course in department stores, you must pay the actual price.

I'm sure your program will give you an orientation with any other info you need to know. Best of luck- have a great time! Enjoy the amazing food!

3. Posted by gemduncan (Budding Member 10 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

It sounds like you are going to have a fantastic time in China! I am also going to Beijing this summer (also Seoul and Tibet). This is my first trip to Asia. My brother, who currently lives in Korea and has also lived in China, told me that the culture in Asia is to put others before yourself. For example, if you are out to dinner with a group of friends and your friend's tea cup is are suppose to refill their cup for them and they are suppose to do the same for you as well. In addition, there is no tipping. Food is normally put in the center of the table - you do not have to ask to share the food. As the above poster said, according to my brother the Chinese do not show a lot of physical emotions (hugging, kissing, etc) in public. My brother also told me that Asians may stop and point at me since I am American. Or little kids may come up and touch my hair since I have long, light colored hair.

Have fun!

4. Posted by tashidelek (Budding Member 4 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Oh, haha! I just noticed that your itinerary includes the Banpo "Village Ruins", I remember that place! There aren't acutal ruins there anymore- instead it has been converted into a replica of an ancient village. I won't spoil it for you, but it's not what you might expect. Um...enjoy? It will definitely be a memorable experience, if they haven't changed it too much since 2003!

5. Posted by kighf (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

hehe ,i am Chinese ,welcome to chengdu ,this is a wonderful city

6. Posted by lissaa (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I am a Chinese and I just wanna tell you: don't worry too much and just enjoy your time in China.
But just as tashidelek said, there are usually some vendors try to sell things. If you want to buy some, just bargain with them and if you have no interest, just say"no", almost everyone knows what "no" means.
Remeber: We Chinese regard Tibet and Taiwan as part of our country, so donnot surprise when some people show their anger when you express different opinions.
Since the places you are going to visit are famous cities and there are many foreigners working or travelling there, people won't point at you except you are a celebrity. ^_^
I am in Beijing, so I know much about it. If you have time, I strongly suggest that you look around the Hutong(old narrow typical Beijing street).
I've been to XI'an and shanghai, both of them are great places, in Xi'an you can see many historical things and in Shanghai you will know how China develops.
Just have fun!

7. Posted by beckysh (Budding Member 20 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I believe that you will enjoy your trip in China. You will find that Chinese are friendly to foreigners, especially when you can speak some simple Chinese. Don't worry about too much the culture conflicts, as people usually will assume that you know little about China and will accept your mistakes easily.

I notice that you will spend most of the time in Shanghai, so I'd like to remind you that it is very hot during summer in Shanghai. Shanghai is a very exciting city, and I highly recommend the night view of the bund area.

Last caution: you may gain some weight during this trip if you like eating. There are so many delicious food in China. :-)

Wish you a nice trip!

8. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Day 4 > July 04 > Great Wall

Travel to Great Wall of China
Ming Tombs visit
Peking Duck dinner

In my personal opinion, you should drop the Ming Tombs, because that really was a waste of a trip. Instead, you should keep the Great Wall part of your day only make it really great instead of just OK. The part of the wall that you'd see near the Ming Tombs (Badaling) is just OK and nothing that I'd say is spectacular. If you do the day trek which is a walk from Jinshaling to Simatai (18km), that is totally spectacular and it is 100x better than the Badaling. It is the part of the wall which has parts falling to pieces which make for really good photos, some parts do not really even have a wall on it. But then in other parts it has the wall at the full thing you see pictures of. Forget the Ming Tombs, that was the biggest waste of a trip I did, especially considering I had to endure a motor mouth chinese woman speaking at 200 words a minute for about 3 hours with hardly a breath. Seeing I didn't understand mandarin, and the only word I could understand was Beijing when she said it about every 10 seconds it really was terrible. Even if she had of spoke English she was talking so much and so fast without a break that it would still drive you mad. Even the Chinese tourists who could understand her were starting to talk to themselves to give her the idea to shut up for a while. After getting back from the Jinshaling to Simatai walk, you could then do the Peking Duck dinner you have on your itinerary.

Day 3, you are going to be so rushed off you feet it is not funny! I caught taxis to all the attractions in Beijing and close by, and in the one day I saw Summer Palace, Old Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. I walk very fast and I really didn't see them at all properly but got plenty of good photos and great memories of the places.

One tip I can give from my personal experience in Beijing, is have you hotel/hostels address written down in Chinese characters. Some people on the street speak a bit of english, but taxi drivers have about as much english as I have chinese (none). I only had it written in my address book along with the phone number in english like the website had, and on one night I reckon I hailed down at least 30 taxis. Only a couple of drivers even knew the words yes and no, and no one had a clue where the hell I was staying. The only way I ended up getting back, was by getting a driver to use his mobile (as I didn't have one), and call the hostel as I had the phone number and then them giving directions in Chinese.

If you want anything in the way of souveniers, do not accept the first price they offer, they are ripping you off. Haggle the price down. This man was trying to sell me this packet of postcards and the price dropped 90%, by me say no and walking away and then keep doing it and they'll keep following you. On the Great Wall 18km hike, I had a very determined woman who followed me for about 15-16km of the walk trying to sell me this book that I didn't have the money for and I told her at the start I didn't. So they are very persistant sales people in Beijing.

If you sit at a table and have Chinese men sitting next to you, dont get offended by them spitting right near your feet. I went to this dinner function and had this guy who spat a bit of a mouthful of food right below my feet, and that was just sickening to think that is the way Chinese men go about things at dinner functions.

The Chinese acrobat show is a really good night out and is worth every bit of the entrance fee. They are just so flexible, some of the things they do make you hurt just at the thought of doing it!

Have a great trip.

9. Posted by kevstump (Full Member 123 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

There is lots of cool stuff to see, but the people are disgusting!!! Keep away from Nanning, it is the biggest hole on earth!!!