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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 8 Essential things to know before travelling to China - Make sure to remember these!
Joanna James Joanna James
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8 Essential things to know before travelling to China - Make sure to remember these!

Traveling to China can be one of the most rewarding experiences ever, especially absorbing its art and culture, However, let's look at some things to know beforehand.


Get a VPN for China

Most websites and applications that you're accustomed to are blocked in China by what is referred to as the "Great Firewall" in jest, so sites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and most of Google's offerings are all blocked. There, however, exists a workaround to this. You'll have to purchase a VPN, however, note that when purchasing one to make sure that they cover China, as most free options don't. If you're looking for accommodation, there is many a hotel in Kunming to choose from when you're visiting China, like the Grand Park Kunming for example.


Get a local SIM card in China

It is always advisable to purchase a Sim Card when you're in China, as credit is affordable and the rates are definitely cheaper than roaming charges. The major carriers in China are China Unicom and China Telecom. You'll be able to purchase a SIM at the airports itself, or you can find them at most corner stores. Do note that the most Chinese SIMs are locked to the province you purchase it from, so if you're looking to travel outside any province you'll be applicable to roaming charges when calling, texting, or using data. This is still considered cheaper than international roaming charges.


Don't be shy in restaurants

If you visit any food establishment in China, you will note that most of the waiters and waitresses aren't generally as proactive as you're used to elsewhere. Definitely don't be afraid to throw your hands in the air and call over a waiter if you want service. The service too may be quite different as you'll sometimes have all the courses of your order delivered at once while you're friend still waits on his dish.


Mailing things home from China

This is an interesting option to free up your luggage space on your flights. When visiting China, you're bound to do a lot of shopping as you'll find a whole huge variety of products that are quite cheap. While this can add on to your luggage limit, you can simply post some of your goods back home using China Post's Surface (sea) mail as this is much more affordable here. While your things may take as long as 2 months to arrive, it is nevertheless a cheap alternative than trying to purchase extra baggage space on your flight.


Taking photos in China

Most of the locals here love to take photographs, especially of new visitors and tourists. Don't be surprised if someone takes a photo of you or asks you for your picture to be taken. As for the other way around, it is generally always a nice gesture to ask for permission before you take a photograph of a person or government building.


Personal space

China is an extremely crowded place, and this shows. Having to deal this on a daily routine, you'll find that most locals have become used to a much smaller personal space than you're used to. So don't be surprised if you get shoved or jostled about when moving in crowds or public spaces.