If you are planning to go to China I guess you’ve already read a lot of information about where to go, what to see, what to eat etc. Well, I have no doubt that you’ve also heard a lot of things about pollution, smell, crowds and weird food. Let’s have a look what is worth to worry about and what is just a myth…
Let’s start with the most discussed topic – pollution. You have probably seen thousands pictures of people wearing veils and cities engulfed in grey haze. Well the truth is that there is pollution in cities but it is not the permanent condition. Beijing and Tianjin are the most mentioned cities relating to pollution. I heard some Chinese people said they have some respiratory and skin problems since they moved to Beijing from other parts of China. I have been to Beijing three times. Twice the weather was perfect, sunshine and blue sky. Last time there was some pollution but I didn’t have any breathing problems. Of course, visit Beijing for few days and live there are two different scenarios. But from my experience air quality is every year better and better. And I guess most of you won’t stay only in big cities all the time so don’t worry about pollution so much.
This is unfortunately true. It’s literally impossible to go anywhere in China and avoid crowds. Only thing what you can do is to travel in low season. Most of Chinese people take chance to travel during summer school holidays and other national holidays and trust me it’s horrific! Trains and airplanes are fully booked as same as hotels. A lot of people travel by car because toll is for free so motorways are overloaded…And when you finally get to your destination you will become a part of human herd and you literally feel like sheep. So make sure that there is no national holidays during your trip.
This is a bit sensitive topic 🙂 Almost everywhere in China you will find the ”squat” toilet. Going to a public toilet in China is quite adventure. But I think that’s the same everywhere in the world. However China upgraded it to higher level. It’s not exception that some Chinese public toilets are just dirty little cabins without door so there is no privacy at all! But most of Chinese hotels have normal European style toilets. So if you are cruising around the city and need a toilet I advice to find some hotel or bigger restaurant. And don’t forget to take your own tissues…
Food is the last thing to be worry about. Don’t be afraid and try as much as you can. Chinese food is as diverse as China itself. Each part of China has its own specialties. Chinese food is very tasty and always prepared with good care. Since I have been here I never had any problems with my stomach. And I eat really everything 🙂 If you go to China but refuse to try Chinese food it means that you haven’t been here at all.
Be prepared that English is not very common in China. You will be definitely save in big cities like Shanghai, Beijing etc. but I recommend to have some good translate app in your mobile (better than Chinese have…) otherwise you can get to some awkward situation. Chinese people can also read only Chinese characters so if you will show taxi driver address of your hotel in English he probably won’t understand it.