Traveling to China is bound to be an all-around fantastic experience. Once you have the trip planned out and have done all the necessary packing and itinerary planning, you will want to note a few things not to do while out in this fantastic country.
1. Don’t forget to take off your shoes.
In the Chinese custom, you should not enter a household or temple while wearing shoes. The reason for this is to show respect and because of hygiene. It is the norm; however, if you are unsure about doing this in a specific place, you should watch what the other local people do and follow their example.
2. Don’t expect people to understand you while speaking English.
It would be best to purchase a phrase book or to download a few helpful apps such as WayGo before landing in China. You will want to put forth the effort to learn things like salutations, goodbyes, thank yous, and such, at the very least.
3. Don’t get too close.
For most Chinese people a handshake is not the standard practice when meeting, unlike other cultures where this is accepted, as well as perhaps a hug or kiss. It is best to avoid physical contact when meeting a Chinese person for the first time. A nod and a smile are sufficient when meeting someone in this country.
4. Don’t resist getting your picture taken.
If you are planning to go deep into the less accessible parts of China, outside the major cities; don’t be surprised if people you don’t know want to take a picture with you. They may not have had many people from other parts of the world visit their towns or villages, so be kind, smile and try your best to interact and learn from the local culture. You won’t regret it. These interactions make for great pictures that you will remember long after you have returned home.
5. Don’t tip.
Beware! In China, it is a very traditional country, in essence, and is not accustomed to tipping. It may easily be perceived as rude or out of place. A simple verbal thanks, is good enough. Adding to this, if someone offers you a place to stay in China do not try to pay them to show your thanks, this is considered to be rude, and you may inadvertently offend your host.
6. Don’t stop offering gifts
So, in case you are unaware, in China, one thing that is commonly practiced is giving and receiving gifts to show honor to the people whom you meet. It means that you may want to prepare a few gifts that you can carry around with you for the people you are planning to encounter while in China. Unlike in Western culture, the present is not always received first time around. It is because the receiver will want to avoid appearing greedy. However, you should kindly insist on a second or third time to show your intention to honor the receiver.
7. Don’t be in a rush to get anywhere
China, being as vast as it is, can be hard to get around if you are planning to cram lots of destinations in a few days. The territory is an expanse, and you will want to have plenty of patience before taking buses or trains; these can be hours and hours long. Always check to see if there is a plane you can choose to go to the distant regions.
8. Don’t wander off into uncomfortable conversation topics
It can include Chinese history, politics, personal questions. It’s always better to be a bit more reserved in traditional countries rather than going 20 questions. It’s better, in any case, to ask about common tourist questions than personal ones. Religion and death are also topics you will want to avoid. FYI in Chinese culture death is symbolized by the color white, so avoid giving gifts wrapped in this color.
While there is a lot to get used to before feeling quite at home in China, it is part of the charm of being in a place unlike your own. Some good advice is to ask your hostel or hotel host or tour guide about anything you are unaware of so they can give you recommendations regarding specific questions. Ready to book your trip? Click here to discover some fantastic destinations. Safe travels!