Taking a trip to China requires a lot of planning.After all, we are not talking about a country so easy to discover for tourists.But with the 11 tips we’ve gathered here, your trip will be very smooth.
We spent almost 3 months traveling in China and even so, after all this time, we still had to face some daily difficulties.
So we decided to write this text completely with everything we wish we had been told before start our journey through China.
And on to the first big question:
1) Is it difficult to travel in China?
It is not easy to travel in China.But I wouldn’t say that “difficulty” is the right word to describe what a traveler faces there.I would say it’s more like “tiredness” and “frustration” in many moments.
Just as there are these negatives, there are many positives.After all, China is a super modern, rich country with an enviable infrastructure.
The transport system, both short and long-distance, works very well.There are great hotels in every city.The sights are wonderful on a level that will mark you forever.The food is super exotic and every meal is an adventure.China is easily one of the most incredible countries in our lives.
But all this comes at a price.Paying a restaurant or hotel bill in China is not as easy as we would like.Tourist sites are sometimes extremely expensive and crowded with people.Communication with the Chinese is almost always impossible.Internet access in China is a real pain in the ass…
Calm down, there is a solution for all this.If you’re prepared for the possible “difficulties” of a trip to China, you can be sure you’ll love these slanted people and their complications.
So here’s the warning: only trouble in China not ready!Keep reading so you don’t make this mistake.
2) How to get a Chinese visa?
The first step in traveling to China is obtaining a Chinese visa.
For this you will have to look for a Chinese consulate.There are 4 in Brazil: Brasília, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.Each one serves residents of specific states, so it’s important to get up-to-date information on where you need to go.
In addition to paying a high fee (almost R$500), you’ll need to fill out some forms and documents.This includes your travel itinerary, with airfare and hotel reservations for each city.
If you are not in Brazil, you can look for any Chinese consulate that serves foreigners in the country where you are.
We got our Chinese visa in Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia, as we were traveling the Trans-Siberian Route.You can read more about this process here:
If you are just passing through China, it may be that the transit visa is enough, depending on the duration of the trip and the city of entry/departure.The time allowed on your transit visa depends on many variables.
Read all the official information on the Chinese Embassy in Brazil website: click here.
3) Which Cities to Visit in China?
Setting up a travel itinerary in China is not an easy task.We’re talking about a country bigger than Brazil, with regions that are absolutely different from each other and the most diverse and magnificent natural landscapes.
Seriously!China is easily among our favorite countries in this whole crazy trip around the world with no end date.
Many people only travel to large cities (mainly Beijing and Shanghai) for lack of time, which is a shame.Each of these little parts of the country has something interesting for us to discover.
To help you plan a trip to China, we’ve written another full post with the most interesting provinces and cities according to the interests of every traveler.Check it out:
We got to know 18 cities in China, in 8 different provinces, and we could see how huge and heterogeneous the country is.
Click on a point from the map to see its legend
And we’re already thinking about going back there!We missed many places on our trip through China.There is no visa duration long enough to see all that China has to offer.When we visit the country again, we’ll come back here and update the post with the places we know.
As Google Maps doesn’t work in China unless you have a VPN, here on the blog we provide maps with points of interest that you can use offline in the Maps.me app.
If you don’t already know, in China all Google apps and tools are blocked, such as Gmail, Google Maps and Google Translate.
Not to mention Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, Whatsapp and lots of other websites and apps that you just won’t be able to use.
The way to avoid this problem is to install a VPN on your smartphone and laptop.Express VPN works well, allows cancellation in case of less than 30 days of use and still lets you connect 4 devices at a time.Click here to install and read our post on the subject to better understand: All About Internet, VPN and Apps for Your Travel.
Click here to see our offline maps of China.
4) How to Get Around China?
We are tired of repeating that China is immense, but above we also mentioned that the country is very well served by long and short transportation distance.
In addition to having many airports throughout the country, with many low-cost airlines between the main destinations, China is extremely well connected by roads and train lines.
Flights in China
The distances in China are immense, so for those who have little time, the plane is a great means of transport.
Although it is not a super economical option, considering the distance travelled, some flights are really worth it.
The main airline is Air China.
Remember that cheap flights have several baggage restrictions and issues such as taking a printed ticket or having to pay to reserve a seat.So pay close attention to the conditions of your fare.
Trains in China
Long-distance trains in China are basically of two types: the slow (older) and the more modern, the famous bullet trains.
We traveled with them both and wrote a very complete post talking about the advantages and disadvantages of each: coming soon!
Another thing that works wonderfully in China is urban transport.
The subway was the same in every city we visited.We had already learned to use the subway in Beijing, and when we arrived in Xi’an, another giant city that has a subway, we were relieved to see that it worked exactly the same way.
The same goes for buses.Once you understand how to pay for your ticket, ask for a stop and other things, you’ll see that it works the same in all cities.
Another really cool option to use on your trip to China is the Didi app, which works just the same. to Uber.
We wrote a very complete text on how to use subway, bus and Didi in China.Read here: coming soon!
5) How to Communicate with People in China?
This is one of the most complicated parts of a travel through China.Not just communicating with people, but reading menus, signs and the like.
It was very useful for us to learn a little Chinese.Knowing how to ask the price of something and understanding the answer is very useful.Say hello, goodbye and thank you too, because courtesy never hurts.