Travel Tips

China – Travel Hacks

From our travels across the great land of China, here is our short list of key tips that may assist you on a visit:

  • Get a SIM card from China Unicom or China Mobile (500MB will cost ab $10/month)
  • Translate your hotel address into Chinese before hopping in a cab (major attractions will post taxi card with the translation online, if not just search on yahoo – since google does not work – or ask a local to write it for you)
  • Get a reliable VPN before you arrive, china blocks 2,600 sites and counting including some of your favorites – Google, YouTube, Facebook, WordPress, etc.
  • Download the subway app for every major city you plan to visit.  Best one we found is put out by mxapps. If you don’t have service, just take a picture of the subway map in the station or bring a physical copy with you.
  • Book your speed train in advance at your hotel or a travel agency in the city, the station can be a nightmare and there’s no point in putting yourself through the stress.  There are also a few websites that will assist you with train bookings for a nominal fee – Travel China Guide and China Highlights
  • Use the local booking site – Ctrip to see more options and get better pricing on hotels
  • Check local airlines after checking skyscanner to be sure you are getting the best deal on domestic flights
  • Use the fruit stands on the street and in the alleyways, they have good produce and much cheaper than any expat market
  • Bring extra water with you when going to any tourist site, as it will cost $0.35 per bottle in most hostels/markets and $3.00 or more per bottle at the sites (and also in most hotels there is a markup)
  • China is a cash economy for the most part so plan ahead and be sure you have cash in hand for most things you want to do
  • Know that most cities in China shut down around 11pm (lights out – and subways stop running), but each city is different, so just check on day 1 when you arrive.

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