Browse Our Travel Ads
Receive Our Newsletter
Use Our Search Engine
Discover Hermail.Net
Where's Journeywoman?
Her Travel Tales
Her Cities of the World
She Travels Solo
She Loves to Cruise
The Older Adventuress
She Travels to Learn
Her EcoAdventures
She's a Biz Traveller
She Shops the World
She Travels with Kids
GirlTalk Cyberguides
Men Have Their Say
Travel Love Stories
Tour Guides Worldwide
Restaurants Worldwide
Books She Suggests
We Love Our Sponsors
She Visits Spas
JourneyDoctor Advice
Letter to the Editor
Send a travel tip
Media request
Speaking Engagements
Want to Advertise?
Bloggers We Recommend



She Shares Her Knowledge About China


Journeywoman Sonja Seifert is an Australian English teacher (from Melbourne) currently living in Foshan, China. She loves traveling, experiencing new cultures and lives for fabulous food. Sonja writes,' I have been living here, in Foshan, for six months now and find China to be a challenging yet intriguing place. So you’ve decided to travel through China, that mysterious, exotic land? Whether you are traveling on your own, with a friend or in a group, here are some tips for you the Journey Woman to ensure that your travels will be fun, safe and easy.

10 tips for traveling in China...

1. Chinese phrase book...
Don’t leave home without this. The majority of people in China don’t speak English. Advertising, street signs, maps and menus will be in Chinese. The phrase book will make your travels easier and you’ll make new friends as you try to communicate.

2. Smile, you’re famous...
Many Chinese people have never seen a foreigner, even those living in large cities, so don’t be surprised if you get stared at. It can feel rather intimidating being the object of such open curiosity. The best way to deal with it is to smile or wave and say ‘hello’ in English. You will be rewarded with big beaming smiles, giggles or shy hellos uttered in return.

3. Dining...
The food in China is guaranteed to be very different from the food at your local Chinese restaurant. Chances are the menu will be in Chinese script. You’re starving and really want to try some delicious food. So what do you do?
a) You can be adventurous, close your eyes, point to something on the menu and see what arrives. This is a great way of trying something you’ve never had before.
b) Use that trusty phrase book. ‘The Lonely Planet’ phrasebook has a comprehensive list of dishes to choose from.
c) Look around at what your fellow diners are eating, if you see something you like, motion to the waitress that you’ll have the same.
d) Find a Yin Cha (Yum Cha) restaurant where you can leisurely wander about, viewing all the food before making a choice. These are great places to eat at and the food is often fabulous.

4. Chopsticks...
If you aren’t very handy with chopsticks practice at home before your trip. You will make a big impression if you can confidently wield a pair of chopsticks over dinner. When not using your chopsticks always rest them on the side of your bowl. Never stand them upright in a dish of rice. This is very offensive as it replicates incense burning for the dead.

5. You simply must try…
Dumplings (jao zi) are found everywhere and they taste sensational. Made fresh to order you can have them boiled, steamed or fried. They come with a variety of fillings, the most common being pork, lamb, beef, cabbage & pork or tomato & egg. They taste divine dipped in the sauce of chilli, garlic, soy sauce and vinegar that accompanies them. Beware; they can be slippery and hard to handle with chopsticks. The trick is to stab the dumpling with one chopstick to secure it while using the other for stability. This normally prevents runaway dumplings but if one escapes just shrug and move on to the next one. Don’t pick the offending dumpling up off the table, the Chinese view this as dirty.

6. Let your feet do the walking
Bring comfortable shoes. China is a place that’s best explored on foot. Go for a walk and meander through the numerous alleyways. You will find markets bursting with colour, fresh produce, an array of clothing stalls and much more. When shopping at markets it’s always advisable to barter. It can be a lot of fun and always do this with a smile. Note: You can buy almost anything in China for a bargain price, but if it’s shoes you’re after things can get tricky. If you’re a size 39 or above you may have trouble finding shoes in your size.

7. Worried about getting lost?
Always carry a business card from the hotel where you are staying. If you get lost simply hail a taxi and show the driver your hotel card. Most Chinese cannot read English so ensure the card has the address written in Chinese.

8. What to wear?
Dress standards are very similar to Western countries with the only real difference being that they don’t show off their midriffs. Short skirts and strappy tops are all perfectly acceptable. Just keep your tummy covered and you won’t cause offence or attract unwanted attention.

9. The essentials
Ladies bring tampons. China may be a fast developing country but outside of Beijing and Shanghai tampons will be near impossible to find. Earplugs are a handy accessory to combat the noise of the cities and take up very little space. Change in diet, chilli and poor sanitation in China makes it a place where you can suffer the dreaded upset bowel so as a precaution bring medication from home. Always drink bottled water in China as the tap water isn’t fit for direct consumption.

10. Where’s the W.C?
China has some token throne toilets in more expensive establishments but the squat toilet reigns supreme. The cleanliness of them varies dramatically. Often public toilets don’t supply toilet paper so always carry tissues in your handbag. Depending on where you travel you will encounter squat toilets with private cubicles and others will be a much more public experience. Some have no doors, dividing walls only a metre high and a trench running the length of the room. Leave your dignity at the door and put it down to a fab travel story.

Do's and Don'ts in China...

When in China do…
1. Arrive with some USD in cash/travelers cheques or bring RMB.
2. Travel with a pocket calculator.
3. Bring sunscreen and moisturizer from home because in China they contain whitening agents.
4. Pack English magazines/ books.
5. Expect scooters and cars to not only park but drive on the footpath.Too much!
6. Pour tea for others first when dining. Serve yourself last.
7. Be adventurous and try food you’ve never eaten before.
8. Roll up your trouser legs before using a squat toilet.

When in China don’t…
1. Pack too many clothes.
2. Get paranoid about clothing sizes. Chinese sizing is minute.
3. Drink Bai Jiu (bye joe), the local rice wine. It tastes like paint stripper and will give you a nasty hangover.
4. Be surprised if there are some ‘extras’ in your chicken soup. All poultry is served on the bone and the feet and head are considered delicacies.
5. Get angry if someone queue jumps. This is normal and accepted behaviour.
6. Step out onto the road when you get a green light to cross. Always look for oncoming traffic first as the Chinese don’t always obey street signs.
7. Worry if a total stranger attempts to speak to you in English. They aren’t trying to mug you; they just want to practice their English skills.
8. Yell when you are angry or bartering. The Chinese will smile even when upset so that they don’t ‘lose face’. This is very important to them.






Back to GirlTalk China...



free newsletter | gal-friendly city sites | go-alone travel tips | love stories
travel classifieds | ms. biz | journey doctor | women's travel tales | she goes shopping
what should I wear? | letters to the editor | the older adventuress | travel 101 | girl talk guides
women helping women travel | her spa stop | her ecoadventures | best books
travel with kiddies | shopping | cruise holidays | awards and kudos | home|
search engine