6 China Travel Tips That Don't Make Sense Anymore

Category: Travel Tips & Guides

Even for the most seasoned travelers, China can abate their confidence for its complex geography and cultures. So that's why China travel tips are extremely essential. But do you know that some tips you find on the Internet are actually out-of-date and meaningless? If you don't, then you should take a look at these 6 China travel tips that don't make sense anymore.

1. Don't tip in China. -Really?

Though it is not a traditional practice for Chinese people themselves, tipping is quite common in Chinese inbound tourism industry. But it has been widely distorted in some travel tips that tipping is inappropriate in China and could even be considered as an insult or disrespect. In economic terms, China has been inclusive to most of the Western custom including tipping. Almost all the service workers in China understand and would like to appreciate your generosity. They will politely decline your tips if being prohibited the employers, so there is no need to worry about offending them. Hence, if you want to show your satisfaction and gratitude to your tour guides, drivers, attendants and bellboys by tipping them, just go ahead. 

2. Take as much cash as possible. -Is it necessary?

In the past, when China was still poorly equipped with ATMs for international money transfers, the overseas visitors had to exchange enormous amounts of money at the hotels and take it with them to the jam-packed tourism attractions where they had to beware of the pickpockets. But now, things have changed. At present, many Chinese cities have installed international ATMs that are applicable to Visa and MasterCard. You can directly withdraw money from the ATMs at the real-time exchange rate with a small number of transfer fees between $3 and $5 depending on the banks. In major cities like Beijing or Shanghai, you can even pay by card at some tourist-friendly shopping malls.

An ATM in GuilinAn ATM in Guilin which is applicable to Visa, MasterCard, Plus, and so on

3. Pay attention to the taboos when giving gifts. -Take it easy, OK?

It is undeniable that China has many superstitions on colors, numbers, and substances. These beliefs also permeate in giving gifts. Chinese people don't give clocks because “giving clocks” has the same pronunciation as “passing away” in Chinese. Green hats refer to men being cheated on by their unfaithful wives and chrysanthemums are usually for the deceased are inappropriate. Besides these widely known ones, some taboos not only perplex overseas visitors but Chinese themselves. In reality, Chinese people, especially the youngsters have been gradually indifferent to superstitions in comparison to their ancestors. Before giving a gift, you can simply ask what your recipient likes or just give them something that can you think is special. Don't pay excessive attention to these old-fashioned conventions or they will only be a burden to you.

An knitted baby outfit given by our clients Barbara and Kathy to their travel consultant LibbyA knitted baby outfit given by our clients Barbara and Kathy to their travel consultant Libby

4. Decline several times before accepting a gift or compliment. –Seriously?

One of the most typical differences between China and Western countries is the way of accepting gifts and compliments. Unlike the Westerns who tend to directly express their joy and gratefulness; Chinese will decline several times before accepting them for the purpose of being modest and polite. But it doesn't mean that the overseas visitors have to conform to this culture shock because Chinese people understand and embrace this cultural difference pretty well. You can simply accept the gifts from Chinese friends with a big smile and thank them just as what you do at home.

5. Leave some food to show your gratitude. -Excuse me?

This tip is actually not doable and even misleading. In Chinese culture, thriftiness is a traditional virtue. Kids grow up being educated by their parents not to waste food, which is also one of the most important table manners of China. Moreover, the Chinese government and official media have been advocating this virtue in everyday life since years ago. If you are treated by a cordial Chinese family with some really delicious food, just eat it up as long as you are not too full, the hosts will be happy to see you appreciate their cooking skill. Just to remember one thing, don't ask for too much food unless you are sure you can finish it all.

6. Fight for footing the bill? -Come on! 

At restaurants, it is not uncommon to see a bunch of people quarreling with each other around the table. Don't get them wrong, maybe they are just fighting for picking up the tab. In Chinese tradition, people see it a way to get a reciprocal relationship with others: I pay the meal for you and you should help me if I'm in trouble because you owe me one. But this idea has been weakening over time, particularly among the young who are more willing to go Dutch instead. So, when you have a meal with your Chinese friends next time, you can offer to go Dutch without worrying about offending them. But usually, they will do the honors because they see you as a precious guest coming from afar.

China has been increasingly open-minded to different ideologies and custom. Also, the Chinese know how to keep what is good and abandon what is bad in their tradition. This is a country that embraces difference and advocates mutual respect. Any overseas visitor who comes to China will feel like home but can still find the funny culture shocks between the east and the west. So are you ready to be shocked? Just let Odynovo (formerly Odyssey) customize you a wonderful journey.

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