Traveling to China? You will love it! Kim and I spent two months traveling across the country and barely made a dent. There is still so much to see. China is the official first country on our 60×60 tour and what a way to begin!
If China is not on your list of must get to countries put it on the list. Kim was not super excited to visit China. (It’s true, I wasn’t.) She only came because I was working here. (Also, true). After a few days in China, she fell in love with China. (Again, true. China completely took me surprise – in the very best way!)
What’s so great about traveling to China?
Panda’s, The Great Wall, Terra-cotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square … Not to mention, 5,000 years of continuous history (the longest in the world).
What You Should Know When Traveling To China
Super Friendly People
Not only are they super friendly, they genuinely want to help and want to make contact with foreigners. But the best part of China is the people. I’ve been to about 30 countries and the Chinese are the most friendly and helpful to foreigners. I’ve been escorted by a subway worker to my hotel because I was lost (that’s so not his job). When I walk down the street I’m greeted with smiles and ‘halloh’. This actually gets a bit annoying as do the number of strangers who want a picture with you, but they are genuinely excited to have contact with a foreigner. When I need help with a ticket or am lost, someone not just provides immediate assistance, they see you all the way through. Random people help you, even when you don’t need help. One thing I’m never worried about in China is needing help, there’s always someone there for you. The language can be a barrier, but a good translation app helps.
Honest to at Tee
The Chinese are honest. There’s no hustling or getting taken advantage of because you are a foreigner. Prices are posted and everyone pays the same. Even the street hawkers are polite. Give a polite ‘no’ to what they are offering and they move on. Feeling as if you are getting taken advantage of is one of the worst parts of traveling in some countries, but never in China.
Tipping – Don’t Do It!
If you are an American in China you will want to tip, a lot and often, because service is so good and genuine. But don’t do it. It is a real insult to the Chinese, who feel they are doing their job and they are paid to do their job. I tried to tip the maid at a hotel I stayed in for a month, she was not happy, to say the least. That’s where I learned my lesson. You don’t want an older Chinese woman made at you! If your taxi fare is 19 RMB and you hand over a 20, wait for the 1 RMB (15 cents) change or they will run after you to get it to you.
China, Developing or Developed?
Urban China is rich. Plenty of yachts, expensive luxury cars, and sports cars. Coffee is popular as is craft beers (a surprising number from Colorado) and these like most imports are all at U.S. and E.U. prices. The freeway system bests Europe’s and the Highspeed Rail Network is the newest, largest, and most used in the world, and endlessly expanding. China is inexpensive to get to. It’s counter-intuitive, but the farther you fly the cheaper it gets, to a point. Kim got here from the U.S. West coast for just over $300. Our eldest son paid $289. Once you are here it’s inexpensive. Accommodations are inexpensive, food is inexpensive, travel is inexpensive, living is inexpensive. Kim and I like to stay at nicer hotels and here in China, we are paying $60 for 4-star accommodations. We also like to eat well and China has some of the best food in the world. We ate a delicious ‘burn your face off’ spicy hot pot in Sichuan for $10. Typically, I spend $2 to $3 at a restaurant for more than I can eat, high quality, good tasting food, and a beer. Often I’ll grab three baozi for lunch on the street for 45 cents total. Boazi is pork (or other meat) steamed inside a ball of bread. Three is all I can eat and it is delicious. The inner-city bus fare is 30 cents. A 20-minute taxi ride is $2.90. The Fast Train to Beijing from Jinan, 2 hours, is $29.