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Stay in China

Things you need to know regarding your stay in China!

Passport

Do I have to carry my passport with me?
In principle, yes, as everyone must be able to identify themselves at any time when required. However, you can also leave your passport at home and take a copy with you. In the rare event of an inspection, in the worst case, you will need to go to the police station to prove your identity.

What to do if I lose my passport?
Report the loss to the police immediately and inform your nearest embassy or consulate directly. They can issue a new passport and help you with all other formalities.

Driving and public transportation in China

Is my driver’s license valid in China?
No, foreigners are not allowed to drive in China, neither on their own or with an international driving license. However, if you need a car, you can rent a car with a driver. If you are in China for a longer time, you can get a Chinese driver’s license.

Taxis in China
In China, taxi service is quite cheap, safe and an excellent alternative to the metro or buses. In smaller towns, there are also taxis that you share with other passengers. Make a note of the street with the corresponding intersection in Chinese characters and show it to the taxi driver to avoid miscommunication.

Buses in China
Bus travel is a bit more challenging in China, as the station names are all written in Chinese characters. If necessary, get help from a local native speaker.

The metro
The metro is possibly the best transportation option in China’s major cities. It is fast, reliable and cheap. The names of the metro stations are all written in Pinyin, making it easier to read.

Getting around by train
Trains in China are not only convenient and cheap, but also fast and reliable. Train tickets can be bought either on the Internet or at official sales-offices. The G-Trains are high-speed trains designed for speeds of 200 to 350 km/h, allowing passengers to travel longer distances in a shorter amount of time.

Flying in China
Flying is also an efficient option in China. However, the airspace is limited and bad weather conditions can quickly result in delays of several hours.

Travel days

Days to avoid
China has about 1.4 billion people. Most of the Chinese go on vocation at the same time during the year. This results not only in highly increased traffic on the roads but also in fully booked flights, trains and buses. There are two holiday periods in which many people travel – namely the National Holiday in October and the Chinese New Year in January/February.

Cash and banking

How to withdraw cash at the ATM?
With a credit or a debit card, it is possible to withdraw up to 2500 yuan. Multiple withdrawals are also possible if your bank allows it.

Are credit cards widely accepted?
Yes, most hotels, shops, and restaurants accept credit cards.

Opening a bank account in China
If you are in China for longer period, it is advisable to open a Chinese bank account. You will need at least a X2 student-visa and your original passport present to open a bank account in China.

Transfer money to China
If you have a bank account in China, you can transfer Euro or USD into the country, which you can then exchange into RMB at the bank.

Communication in China

WeChat
Download WeChat on your mobile phone in your home country. Most Chinese only communicate via WeChat.

Chinese SIM card
If you do not have a good roaming contract, you should buy a SIM card from a Chinese supplier such as China Telekom, China Unicom or China Mobile. You would need your passport for the registration.

Medical supplies

Hospitals
There are plenty of hospitals in every big city. Foreigners, however, should rather visit a doctor in one of the international hospitals, as in the Chinese hospitals, the doctors usually do not speak English and the practice standards are different than in a Western hospital.

Internet in China

Internet censorship and VPN
The Internet is heavily censored in China and many pages are not accessible. If you want to connect to Google, Facebook, or Co during your stay in China, you will need to install a good VPN on your computer and mobile phone. Paid VPN services often perform better compared to their free counterparts..

Don’t trust everyone

The Chinese are friendly and helpful people; nevertheless, there are, as in every country, the “crooks. You should approach certain situations with care, some examples would be:

Tea house scam
In popular touristic areas, it is easy to scam unsuspecting foreigners. A young and pretty woman, or women, may approach you and start a conversation. After a short time, they often suggest going to a tea house together. After a few cups of tea you will receive the highly inflated bill, which can easily reach up to 200 euros, or even more!

A drink together
Similar to the tea house scam, you may be approached by a woman, or women, that wants to take a photograph with you. Afterwards, they often start a conversation, ask different questions and invite you to join them for a couple of drinks. In the end, you may, once more, receive an inflated bill that you will be forced to pay.

Crime in China

Crime
China’s cities are considered very safe! However, there are pickpockets like any other country and it is best to secure your mobile phone and wallet at all times. Overall, you can live and travel safely in China. There is no need to be afraid – even in the night.

Drugs
Punishment for the possession of any type of drug is severe. Stay away from them!

Food in China

Variety
The Chinese food is extremely rich in variety. Each region has its own specialties and it is very different from what we know abroad as the Chinese cuisine found. The food in China is well seasoned, sometimes a bit oily, but always very tasty!

Eating with chopsticks
The chopsticks are the preferred type of eating utensils in China. It may require some practice for us Westerners to get used to it, but after some time, you will be an expert! Bear in mind that the Chinese don’t move their food from the bowl to their mouth. They move their head towards the rice bowl and then eat the food. If you can’t get used to the chopsticks, most of the restaurants have knives and forks available for Western visitors.

Ordering food
Ordering food can sometimes be a bit challenging. Often the menus are written only in Chinese. However, more and more restaurants are offering menus in English and/or with descriptive pictures of food.

Other food culture
The Chinese usually order food to be shared by everyone at the table. To order the right amount of food, there is a rule of thumb you can use: number of people at the table plus one more dish. The food is served in the middle of the table and everyone eats from it.

Tipping in China
It is not common to tip in China. The service fees are all included in the price.

Nightlife in China

Club and discos
In every major Chinese city, the nightlife is colorful, dazzling and offers a big variety. There are numerous clubs and discos that can be visited until the early morning.

KTV
The Chinese love KTV and can spend a whole night singing. The KTVs in China are organized like hotels. There are rooms that can be rented for hours or for a whole night. The rooms differ in size and features. Food is either served in the room or in the form of a central buffet. Every visitor should experienced the fascination of KTV in China.