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11 Important Dicas Before You Go

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.

Tianmen Mountain – China

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.

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Bird’s Nest Stadium – Beijing

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.

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Squid skewers in Xian – China

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…

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Sometimes you find a familiar word…

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:

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Chinese Visa

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.

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Zhangjiajie (Hunan), a park that it inspired the setting for the movie Avatar

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.

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Shangri-la, Tibetan city

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!

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Bullet train
Photo: Anthony Ivanoff [CC0]

Urban Transport

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.

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Subway in China
Photo: Daniel Case [CC BY-SA]

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.

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All in Chinese.

The Chinese are very used to communicating using translators, so don’t be afraid.

We’ve had a lot of contact with the Chinese, and after so many attempts to communicate, we wrote two posts that might help you a lot on your trip:

6) What is the Internet like in China?

Here’s a thing that bothered us and hurt us a lot in China.As we work online, we need good internet to access and update our blog and social networks.

The problem is that in China everything is blocked!All websites and apps from Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest… all blocked!

For us digital nomads, this was very inconvenient, but even for ordinary travelers it is very annoying.And it’s not just because you won’t be able to post photos of your trip to China on Instagram, but because you won’t be able to access your Gmail, use Google Maps, Google Translate, even Whatsapp is pretty buggy.

To bypass these blocks, you need to install a VPN on your cell phone and laptop.And you have to do that BEFORE arriving in China!

If you have no idea what a VPN is, which one to use, whether it’s worth it or not, read this other text where we explain in great detail how it works:

7) Which Currency to Bring to China?

Whenever you travel internationally, you need to know the currency of the country and how to make payments there.

In China, especially, it’s very important to know what currency to bring, how to withdraw money, pay with a credit card and other things.

The currency used in China is called Renminbi (RMB) or Chinese Yuan (CNY).

Quote (January/2022): 1 yuan = BRL 0.89

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Renminbi

The ideal is to travel to China with Yuan, if you can get a good quote in Brazil.If not, take dollars or euros to change when you get there.

Better to change at banks, as it is more expensive at airports.There are no exchange offices in China.

As for the credit card, please be aware that in China you will not be able to use it except to withdraw money.The Chinese make payments with QR Code reader apps, so no one accepts credit cards.

We’ve explained this credit card issue, which currency to take on your trip to China, and how to withdraw money there in another post:

8) Is China Expensive to Travel?

Since we’re talking about money, it’s good to get an idea of ​​how much things cost there to know how much money to take, right?

The first thing that is important to know: will you stay in the most famous big cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, or will you go to the countryside and to places less visited?

That’s because these are the most expensive cities in China, mainly in terms of accommodation and food.

While a private and single double room in a hostel in Beijing costs around R$230, a room with the same requirements, in traditional Chinese style, costs R$70 in the historic center of Pingyao, an incredibly beautiful city.

Compare yourself:

Hostel link: Peking Station Hostel
Hotel link: Pingyao Hongyuyuan Guesthouse

In terms of transportation, be prepared to spend a little extra on your trip to China.

Slow trains and buses can be a good alternative, but be aware of travel time and distances, which are very long in this immense country.

We have detailed our travel expenses and we talk more about how to save money in China in another post: coming soon!

And as we know that everyone loves to laugh at a traveling perrengue, be sure to check out this video of us super lost in China:

9) What are Hotels and Hostels like in China?

We’ve already shown that accommodation is quite cheap outside China’s most famous cities, but are they any good? places to sleep?

This was something that really surprised us on our trip to China.No matter how cheap you pay for a room, you’ll always have plenty of amenities.

We travel on a budget, but we still manage to stay in rooms with private bathrooms, in well-located hotels and generally with TV, electric kettle and the basics to prepare a cup of coffee.

We even paid an absurd R$35 to stay in this perfect suite in Lijiang (soon post about it here on the blog), one of the cutest cities we’ve ever seen.

Hostel link: Lijiang Bayou Hostel

We talk a lot about accommodation in China and show you everything (including the bathroom ) in this video here:

One thing that we really like, but that we almost never find in China, was a hostel and inn with a shared kitchen.

For people who travel, being able to prepare their own breakfast and a snack at the end of the day is very convenient.

But in China we end up having all our meals on the street.Which brings us to the next point:

10) What is Chinese Food like?

You have certainly had some contact with Chinese cuisine in your life.

We had already eaten in Chinese restaurants in Brazil and Europe, but when we arrived in China what we found was nothing like that.Nothing at all!No food looks familiar in China.

We’ve tasted a lot of things that were delicious and some that weren’t.We also tried a lot of weird things!

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Steamed pasta

The fact is, you need to go to China prepared to deal with too much pepper and too many spices in excessive amounts.Read it here:

If you don’t like pepper, here’s a tip: Take the following sentence on your cell phone and show it to the person serving you every time you go to eat something: 不辣

不辣means “not spicy” and it saved my life many times in China.The pronunciation of this word is “bùlà”, but the Chinese do not always understand what we are trying to say in their language, because of the tone of the words, so it is best to show it in writing.

11 ) How are the Chinese?

We never tire of repeating how good the Chinese are!They are among the cutest and sweetest people we’ve ever met, without a doubt!

From the bus driver to the fruit vendor on the corner: everyone will try to help you with a smile if you ask.

Even if you can only communicate with them through a mobile phone translator, they will talk and laugh with you.

If you’re walking around a touristy place, expect to take lots of selfies with Chinese too.They love taking photos with foreigners.

Who is the Chinese woman in the photo?

Anyway, enjoy watching the way they live their lives.We witnessed many curious things, such as the huge dance groups for the elderly that take over the public squares at the end of the day, and an insane stroll along Beijing’s Olympic Boulevard.

But it’s not all rosy.The Chinese have some very strange habits (and some really disgusting ones) that end up pissing off anyone who’s been traveling around the country for a while.

Don’t worry too much about this if you’re going on a short trip, because It won’t even give you time to annoy you so much.But if that’s not the case, be prepared.Read more here:

12) Is Traveling Through China Dangerous?

To conclude these tips that will help you on your trip through China, we would like to say that China it’s one of the safest countries we’ve ever seen.

We’re out on the street any time of day or night, with electronics on display, and we’ve never had any problems.

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XIan – China

Of course, you have to take all the basic precautions on your trip, but after a few weeks we felt really comfortable.

We went so far as to leave our backpacks, with notebooks and other valuables, at a little roadside market that we had just found.When we got back, everything was just the way we’d left it: on a shelf in the middle of the store’s merchandise.

Travel Insurance for China

China is a very safe country, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious.

One Travel insurance will help you in various situations, such as in case of accidents and even lost luggage, depending on the coverage you select.

A travel insurance in China will help you to overcome the language barrier in situations of need. .And most importantly, you can take out insurance with COVID-19coverage!It makes traveling much easier that way.

We recommend the Seguros Promo website, where you can compare prices and coverage from several different brokers.And the price is much lower than we think when it comes to travel insurance.

We’ve got a really cool partnership with this site from which our readers get a 5% discount on any purchase, and 5% more if you pay by bank slip.

Just use the coupon CAMINHOSMELEVEM and make the purchase using our link: Click here to see the plans available for China.

We’ve been doing Around the World since June/2016.Follow our blog and videos on YouTube.

How about making your next trip cheaper?We have several discounts with our partners, click hereto check them out.

Do you know where you’re going to spend your holidays?Get inspired by our Destination Index.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE POSTS ABOUT CHINA

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