[TRV Compass] China

— Updated on Feb 8, 2018

I. General

The first impression of the country is the energy with lots of people. Wherever you go, you see people, lots of them. You would encounter some rude people who spits on street and cut the line but be patient. Look for the beautiful side of the country. Because it is a large country with long history, you will encounter lots of historical architecture, as well as distinctive objects. If you can talk to the local people, try your best to interact with them. They have very different ideas about the world, and some of them may inspire you. Do not afraid to be a foreigner but try your best to follow their customs. It will be an eye opening experience.

II. Transportation

Short Distance
1. Uber – in major and mid-sized cities, Uber would be the most convenient mean of transportation.
2. Taxi – Drivers can take longer route to charge you more so be specific as to which route you want the driver to take, but at the same time, the driver maybe taking the route simply because the shorter distance route is just too jammed. Be generous and be patient, unless if you know the geography and the language.

Long Distance
1. Bullet train (“Gao Tie”) – this would be the fastest and less expensive way to travel long distance in China.
2. Bus – very convenient in China.
3. Airplane – more costly there are several domestic flights available.

***You cannot drive in China, unless if you have Chinese driving license. IDP (International Driver’s Permit) is not effective in China.


III. Accommodation

Most franchised hotels are available in China.
However, there are several domestic hotels that are descent, as well. The only recommendation that we have here is not to leave your belongings on the floor.

Many hotels in China have draining problem, even in some of four-star hotels.
You may ask the front desk to change the room but most rooms have the same problem, and it is probably too late to change the room, anyways.


IV. Food

Different regions have different kind of food. As a general rule of thumb, northern food (eg. Beijing) is salty, eastern food (eg. Shanghai) is sweet, western food (eg. Chongqing) is spicy, and southern food (eg. Guangzhou) is tasty. As people say, Chinese people eat anything. Some people may be disgusted by what Chinese people eat but it is just the way not to waste any food. You should try as much as possible, as some of them are surprisingly good.

In major cities, various international restaurants are available, and many are good at affordable prices.

Water – tap water is NOT drinkable. You can use tap water for brushing teeth.


V. Safety

In general, very safe.
However, you should always use common sense. In bigger cities, there are petty crimes, that can, sometimes, go extreme. Listen to what other travelers and locals tell you.


VI. Climate

China is a large country. You should check the climate of the places that you visit before you travel.  >>> CHECK WEATHER <<<


VII. Power Plug & Voltage

Power Plug: 1) Type A
2) Type C
3) Type I
Voltage: 220V, 50HZ (Hong Kong is 200V; Taiwan is 110V)
Get universal socket
Get step-down converter


VIII. Language

China has 7-10 major Chinese dialect groups, including Madarin (official language of China), Cantonise, Hokkien and so on. In addition to these major languages there are hundreds of dialects. What connects most of them are the writing system. Anyways, if you are to learn the language, start with Mandarin, since it is the official language, and most people, especially millenias, learn it in school.

You may meet English speakers but expect to see none outside hotel and airport.


IX. Currency

National Currency: Chinese Yuan (CNY or a.k.a. RMB as in Rem Min Bi)

Quick currency conversion:
USD 1 = RMB 6

General sense of the cost in the currency
1 can of coke: RMB 5
1 bowl of noodle: RMB 20
1 meal in McDonalds: RMB 30
1 meal in restaurant: RMB 100 – 300 / person
Tips (supermarket / street): no tips necessary
Tips (restaurant): no tips necessary


IX. Visa Requirement Check

—– Business —– —– Tourist —–

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