China is the fourth-largest country in the world, and its number one most populated, so it definitely has a little something for everyone. Many are drawn to visit because of its rich history, beautiful architecture and delicious cuisine, but before you take the leap and visit, there are a few things you need to consider.
Your first step in your journey to China: getting a visa
If you're from the US, Canada or any country in the EU and you're planning on being in China for more than 72 hours, you need a visa.
If you fall in love with China and want to study or work there, never do so on a tourist visa. Others may say it's okay, but China has been cracking down recently, and if you get caught, you could forfeit any chance to work or study in China in the future. If an organization is legitimate, they will help you obtain the correct visa.
For more information, Project Visa can help you find accurate and up-to-date information about visa policies all over the world.
Learn about the Great Firewall and your options
You might be thinking more about the other Great Wall as you plan your trip to China, but in today's tech-focused world, it doesn't pay to forget about China's restrictive internet policies.
The Great Firewall of China refers to the country's ban on popular western sites, such as Facebook and Instagram. You might survive if you're on a short trip, but being unable to keep up with social media and news might severely impact your social life and/or career.
Luckily, fixing this problem isn't so hard. With a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can create a secure tunnel between the source of data and its destination, meaning that you can also hide your location and dodge geo-blocking. Before you visit China, find a VPN that suits your needs so that you can continue to access the internet freely.
Remember to practice cultural literacy!
Eastern and western culture are surprisingly different, and you need to know a little bit about China's traditions and social expectations before you get there. A little cultural literacy will go a long way, so please take some time to research customs.
For example, being late is a major faux pas, and so is calling someone by their first name before they tell you it's okay. In general, Chinese people are much less direct than Americans, so declining an invitation might be much more complicated than you'd expect.
It's okay if you're not practiced with chopsticks because it's fine to ask for a fork or spoon, but don't be surprised if you're served “lunch” or “dinner” foods for breakfast, since noodles and dumplings are served all day!
Of course, these words of warning aren't meant to scare you! Many people fare quite well without deeply understanding the culture before they go traveling in China. However, the more you learn, the easier it will be to make friends and have a good time without worrying if you're offending your new acquaintances.
Figure out where are you going to go sightseeing
Sightseeing might be secondary to working or studying while you're traveling in China, or it might be first on your list! Either way, you've got to make the most of your time while you're there!
You may want to begin by touring the major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, but don't forget to head out into the countryside to explore too!
If you have a chance, Tibet is a wonderful place to delve into history and do some hiking, but you'll need to get special permits ahead of time if you're going to visit.
Remember, you're in for the trip of a lifetime!
Whether you're in China studying abroad, making business connections or just visiting, you can expect to have a fantastic time. Many people have been so entranced by China's unique landscape and fascinating culture that they have decided to stay!
If you're going to China, let yourself see the sights, have fun and make memories that will last a lifetime! Don't stress too much about packing, flights or logistics of the visit—it will all pay off in the end!
Is traveling in china on your bucket list or have been and have some extra tips to share? Scroll down and leave a comment below!
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