Nowadays it is actually very difficult to find an exotic destination in the world where people rarely travel. This is all due to the big demand of traveling, and people often visit the most distant and exotic destinations, not only trying to experience some of the most unique and different cultures of the world, but also to see some of the world’s hidden beauties and landscapes. This being said, Asia is also a continent that is becoming more and more popular with tourists.
When you mention Asia, though, one can think of many different countries to visit, as each one is different from the previous, so this continent is indeed a lot of fun to experience. But, if you are not going to choose India, Thailand, UAE or something else that is popular right now, you can always turn to the good old China, a place with thousands of hidden gems. However, if you have plans to travel to China and see what it has to offer, these are the most important things to know:
China is a vast country and it is so rich in history and culture that it would be a huge shame to go there and not see some of the most important landscapes from their own history. The best way to do that is to consider a group tour, as this will, first of all, save your time on doing research, and secondly, you will have a tour guide that is completely familiar with the things that you want to hear.
Another reason why this is a great idea is the fact that speaking Chinese is quite difficult, so it is not only enough to take a phrasebook and go around trying to find the place you were looking for.
The most important tip before traveling to China is not to forget about your visa, as without it, you will not be allowed to enter this country, especially if you are a USA citizen (if you are from another country, make sure to find this piece of info online as not all countries have the same requirements).
So, what you will have to do is fill out an application where you will give the most important info – which means that this is not difficult to acquire, but you will have to go through the process. If you have a connecting flight in China, you will have to apply for a 72-hour visa.
There is probably not a place in the world where pollution is not taking its toll, but you need to bear in mind that pollution in China is a bit different. Linfen is, for example, the biggest environmental mess in China to the extent that it had problems to recruit mayors as people didn’t want to become involved in this problem or think how to solve it.
This is why it would be very wise to learn about China's pollution and the ways they are trying to fight it before actually going there. China is really doing a lot to minimize the pollution in their own country and the world as well, by adopting tougher regimes, such as the one where citizens are encouraged to recycle rubbish at home, or encouraging the use of renewable energy.
Of course, one of the biggest reasons why plenty of people travel to China is because of its cuisine. Chinese food is completely unique, and you either love it or hate it – there is nothing in between. It is also important to mention that real Chinese food is a bit different from that in Chinese restaurants in your hometown.
But, if you do not like Chinese food and you do not want to try these bold dishes, most of the American restaurants have their own premises so you will have the chance to try something familiar.
This might sound unusual, but toilet paper is not available anywhere except in your hotel room, so it would be very wise to have a roll by your side at all times. The same goes for napkins – have some in your bag and take them out when you finish your lunch or dinner. Another thing that you might want to have in your bag is a hand sanitizer as well, which can come in pretty handy if you opt for street food.
These are perhaps the most important things to know before traveling to China, but there are also some other minor tips such as to know just a bit of Mandarin, to know that the weather can be a bit unpredictable or to know that there might be places where cards are not accepted. But, China is indeed a place that you have to see and experience as you will love it. Have a great trip!
Fiona is a lifestyle blogger based in Melbourne, Australia. She's in love with good coffee, croissants and fashion magazines. In her spare time, she plays tennis and travels around the world. You can read more from her on her blog High Style Life.