I’m getting nervous about travelling to China. How can I ease my worrying?

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Mudassir Ali 8 months 4 Answers 261 views

Answers ( 4 )

  1. Shanghai and Hangzhou are relatively westerner friendly. Especially in Shanghai, you’ll find that a surprising number of people can speak English. However, if their English is TOO good, I would get a little suspicious, they MAY be trying to get you to take them to a “certain teahouse” and then scam you. While the converse is more common, (pretty local girl uses good english to charm flattered middle aged white man into teahouse), its not 100% impossible the other way around is done too. So use common sense.

    As for petty crimes and stealing and stuff, I would wear a money belt if you’re that worried. What I would do is only take out as little cash as possible. If you’re really really paranoid, you could take a disposable wallet and put 20 yuan or some low amount into it, and put it in a conspicuous part of your pocket so if thieves see that they’ll go for that instead. If they steal that, thats all they get, lol. Hotel front desks are generally safe to leave things (they get in BIG trouble if caught stealing). I even leave my hotel key with the front desk and go out without worrying about losing my key. Just remember to ask for the key when you return to the hotel! Nevertheless, violent crime is relatively rare. Don’t go to dark places alone at night. Same common sense as anywhere else really.

    The heat: There’s little you can do, yes it is very hot in Summer. Think of it like travelling to Mobile, Alabama or New Orleans in the summer. Stay in hotels with air conditioning. If necessary, head back to the hotel to rest in midday if you are feeling ill. Drink a LOT of (bottled) water.

    One issue for westerners you DIDN’T mention: Toilets! In cheaper hotels, the plumbing may not take toilet paper, so dispose of it in the bin provided. In better hotels its not an issue.

    However, in public, you may have to use the “Squatty potty”

    Woah! What the heck is THAT??? (and this is one of the better ones…)

    Well, you squat over it and do your business. There are some pros to this. Its technically more hygienic, because you never touch the bowl if all goes according to plan. But its a challenge to overcome.

    Make sure your pockets are as empty as possible

    Bring an umbrella to protect your privacy, as some of the crappier (pun 1000% intended…) bathrooms don’t have partitions or doors

    Use hand sanitizer, A LOT

    Bring tissue packs, for a girl I’d recommend at least 3–4 packs each time you go out, they’re also handy when eating.

    That said, I really don’t want to scare you off from travelling. Most Chinese are fairly friendly to foreigners. Shanghai is a breathtaking place and Hangzhou has a nice traditional vibe to it. Have fun and stay safe!

  2. When you worry about something, first you need to know what you are worrying about? then think about the solution, if there is solution, then you don’t need to worry, if there isn’t any solution, then worrying won’t make any difference.

    So what are you worrying about? safety or? When you go to a new country, you will definitely feel insecure, especially in the begining. Are people there friendly? is it safe? How do I get to the places I wanna go? Will I get food poison? What if somebody steal my money? If you have these questions in mind, that’s normal.

    When we see news on TV, we will always find a lot of negative news, because our mind is more attracted to negativity. You can see Beijing has alarming rate of pollution( will I get lung cancer?), there a lot of policemen on street (Will I get arrested?)… you know things like this. But you need to know what you see on TV is not the whole story. In reality, China is just like any other country, you can find good days, bad days, good food, bad food, friendly people, unamiable people…

    From my personal experience in China, as I’ve been living here for years, as long as you watch your bag in public transportation, don’t pick up fight with people, go to eat in a good clean restaurant, stay in a nice hotel (above three stars), you will be quite safe.

    There are also a number of foreign tourists in China, espeically in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, if you go to rural areas, you may feel a bit strange, but if you are in cities, you won’t feel that uncomfortable. China has been opening its door for decades, and the government just reaffirmed it’s commitment to opening policy.

  3. I am an African-American female who spent three months last year visiting shanghai as a solo traveler. I’d like to assure you that the crime rate for what is arguably the world’s largest city is extremely low. I rode the subways and walked the streets all times of the day and night and never felt anything but safe. The main issue I had was the oppressive heat during the summer months, the overwhelming crowds, the rather aggressive hawkers trying to sell you things on the streets, and frequent stares of curiosity. English is not widely spoken outside of the international hotels and tourist spots, so when out and about in public it helps to have directions, addresses and simple requests written in Mandarin. Your hotel concierge can help you with this. You’ll find that the level of literacy, at least in cities, is exceptionally high. People, by and large are willing to help and of course, learning a bit of the local language goes along way. Penalties for petty crimes that in your country might get a slap on the wrist may be severely punished in China. Needless to say, don’t do anything illegal! Anything. Drug use and trafficking are especially frowned upon and have sometimes resulted in the death penalty. Keep these things in mind and you’ll have a wonderful experience. People are much more open and friendly than you would imagine, and eager to get to know foreigners. Good luck with your trip!

  4. As a traveler in China, you really don’t need to worry about much except getting overcharged when you arrive.

    The best way to avoid that is to research the best way to get everything done before you, then do it. Don’t second-guess yourself and ask someone for help; everyone is in it for themselves (read: their wallet) and will “help” you by taking you some place for 200 RMB that should have been 20 RMB.

    This type of scam happens in every country. I once hopped in a taxi in Costa Rica. The driver said he’d take me there for $20. Halfway through the ride, he said “Nah, make that $40.” I told him to let me out; he wouldn’t. When we arrived to my hotel, he said “I am a police offer in my spare time. Here’s my badge. Now pay me or you will have more trouble.”

    This same scenario has happened in almost every country, but that incident in Costa Rica was the only time I felt dangerous in a taxi.

    In China, you won’t encounter this.

    It’s more upfront— a business negotiation—but they will overcharge you. That’s all.

    If you go to Hainan, maybe the driver won’t want to run the meter. They have an unspoken monopoly on airport to hotel travel. But everywhere else, you’ll be fine.

    General Tips: Keep your passport safe. Don’t talk to too many strangers. Metered taxis, never unmetered. Try not to accept rides from random strangers. Watch your drinks at the bar. Don’t drink the tap water.

    It’s not that China is notorious for scams and danger; these tips are just prudent solo-female traveling tips for anywhere in the world.

    In fact, China is crazy safe. Definitely the safest country I’ve been to, and I solo-traveled here.

    Don’t worry, hun. Just try to make your plans and enjoy your trip! You’re going to have a blast.

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