Giving 10 Tips to Westerners traveling in Beijing2016-11-25 11:07:10Share:
If you are a westerner who is visiting China for the first time, there may be a few customs or ways of life that you will find peculiar. Of course, this is true with any unfamiliar culture, so your best option is to learn as much as you can before traveling to your new destination. We hope the list below might help you with your China adventure and minimizes any unpleasant surprises.
1.Basic Words to know
Mai dan – Check
Cai dan – Menu
Xiexie – Thank you
Ni hao – Hello
Bing – Ice
Shui – Water
Bu yao – Don't want it.
Besides, remember to learn the numbers 1 through 10 in Chinese.
2. Watch out for umbrellas !
In contrast to the west's definition of beauty, the Chinese value fair skin. So, regardless of rain or sunshine, a typical Chinese female is equipped with an umbrella. With a population of approximately 17 million, however, these ornate accessories quickly become hazardous to distracted eyes.
3. Beware of massages !
A traditional Chinese massage varies greatly from a traditional western massage, so make your research before you opt for the first place you see. Chinese massages emphasize healing, and the techniques used are often peculiar to a western observer. There are a number of methods used, but many involve tools such as wooden hammers, suction cups and needles. If you are searching for a traditional western massage, a western hotel is probably your best option.
4. If you need a taste of the West, go to Sanlitun
Sanlitun is located northeast of the Forbidden City between the 2nd and 3rd rings, Chaoyang District. Although very expensive by Beijing standards, Sanlitun offers a variety of restaurants, bars and nightclubs which foreigners frequent. You can find anything from a McDonald's to Turkish cuisine out there.
5. Be open but cautious when it comes to food !
Not all restaurants in China receive a sanitation score for cleanliness and food preparation, so you should choose where you dine carefully. Street food is probably not a good idea, and it is also wise to bring some antibiotics, probiotics, and other stomach relief medicines.
Even properly prepared food may not sit well with a westerner's stomach. Be patient with the adjustment and be willing to try authentic Chinese cuisine. Be sure to try Peking duck and hot pot before you leave.
6. Taxi tips
Remember to print the address of your destination in Chinese characters if you do not speak Mandarin. Do not assume that the cab drivers might understand your broken Mandarin navigations, the majority of them speak no English and Beijing is a big city, so to describe your destination can often be a challenge.
Late at night some cab drivers attempt to bargain. If they do not turn on the meter get another cab. Be aware that 2 to 3 yuan will be added to the final meter amount for gas expenses. Taxis are the most expensive way to get around in Beijing, so the subway is a great choice for travelers. The bus system, although inexpensive, is extremely complicated for non-Mandarin speakers.
7. Pollution protection
The pollution in Beijing is not only unsightly, but may affect your body in adverse ways. Be sure to bring plenty of lotion and eye drops (especially for those who wear contacts) as the pollution tends to irritate and dry out your skin and eyes. The U.S. embassy regularly posts a pollution report on its website. On days that are categorized as “hazardous,” it may be best to stay inside.
8. Watch where you step !
In contrast to popular belief, a lot of Chinese are proud canine owners. Unfortunately, grass is a rare commodity in Beijing so the sidewalks are where man's best friend does his business. Don't get too distracted or you will regret it for the rest of the day. Also, be on the lookout for traffic as pedestrians in China do not have the right of way.
9. Always have toilet paper and hand sanitizer
Most public toilets lack western amenities in China. If toilet paper is available it will be on a role next to the entrance, so be sure to grab some before going into the stall. However, it is sometimes common for public toilets to lack toilet paper, so it is a good idea to always have a pack with you.
In addition, there will definitely be no paper towels and often no soap, so hand sanitizer is your best bet for achieving clean hands. Lastly, get those legs prepared for the squat toilets in China – they are everywhere.
10. Don't be afraid to bargain
When shopping at the various markets in Beijing do not be afraid to counter a high offer with a much lower price. Start your bid at around 10 percent to 20 percent of their first offer. Having the exact amount you are willing to pay in hand is often a good tactic. If they do not accept, walk out. They will most likely call you back. A good rule of thumb is to never pay more than half of their initial asking price.
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