China. The Red Dragon. A country so vast that even beginning to comprehend it seems a momentous task, but I thought I’d tackle it head on anyway to give you this guide. A trip to China isn’t like travelling in other countries. Everyday mannerisms and customs differ throughout each individual province, but if you do it correctly, few things top discovering this great nation.
Visit Cultural Landmarks
The Great Wall of China is one of the country’s most iconic landmarks. It’s 13,170 miles long, starting in Jiayuguan and stretching across the country to Shanhaiguan in the east. Unless you have thighs of steel, walking the wall in its entirety isn’t an option, but you can always take on small segments at a time. After a hard day’s walk, you’ll have worked up quite the appetite – but all the menus are in Mandarin! Fear not, by downloading the language app Pleco you’ll be able to translate local delicacies merely by pointing your phone at the text.
How To Behave In China
Despite what you may think, rice isn’t always the standard side dish to every meal. If you do wish to have it with your mains, you can do so by asking the waiter for “mifan”. Whilst you’re in the restaurant, it’s also important to bear in mind that not all Chinese restaurants have toilet paper, so I’d recommend bring your own! After you’ve refreshed, you might want to take a cab to your next destination of choice. You guessed it, there’s a protocol for this. too. If you’re in Shanghai, don’t bundle your driver with small notes, they’ll prefer to be paid in coins. The opposite is true for northern and western China, where you should always use notes to pay.
Discover The Forbidden City
No trip to Beijing is complete without seeing the Forbidden City and the Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Quing Dynasties. Here, you’ll experience traditional Chinese culture, and explore the many rooms adorned with art and furniture from as far back as the 14th century. When you’re visiting sacred sites in China, dress respectively. This means ensuring that your shoulders are covered, and if you’re wearing a hat, take it off. Most temples don’t allow flash photography, so if you do feel the need to Instagram your experience, remember to be courteous. For your nature fix, go to the Dujiangyan Panda Base. This is the best place to see the endangered giant panda, and you’ll take back memories that’ll last a lifetime.