25 Things To Know While Travelling To China

Photo credit: Stephanie Yu

China is an amazing country to visit, especially for first-time travellers. You will learn a lot about the language and culture. I have been to China several times to see family and visit various places. It is always a different experience for me. Here, I will share 25 things to know about China so you can learn about this interesting and amazing country.

1. The capital city of China is Beijing.

2. There are 34 provincial level administrative units. This makes up of 23 provinces, four municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai & Chongqing) and five autonomous regions (Guanxi, Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Ningxia and Xinjiang). 

3. China has the largest population in the world with 1.38 billion people. 

4. Many years ago, the one child policy was implemented. But, recently they have changed it to the 2 children policy.

5. Students in China start classes from around 7am and finish around 5pm, depending on the school they go to. Overall, school starting times are much earlier in comparison to Australia.

6. Some places in China have designated expat areas. For accommodation purposes, it is better to stay in theses areas.

7. Each province speaks a different dialect. Some provincial units have a similar spoken dialect. For example, Shanghai, the Jiangsu province and Zhejiang province dialects are similar.

8. If you are from another country, you will most likely need to apply for a Visa.

9. Some sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube and Snapchat are blocked. 

10. Instead, they use Baidu as Google, WeChat as Facebook, Youku or Soku as YouTube and Weibo as Twitter. Some of these apps have different features in comparison to its Western counterparts.

11. Taobao and Alibaba are both popular online shopping sites in China. It is equivalent to eBay and Amazon.

12. If you are a foreigner, you may get many random pictures with babies, children and many other Chinese people.

13. The water in China is not drinkable so, you have to buy a water bottle or purify the water yourself.

14. The main spoken language is Mandarin Chinese. However, each province has their own dialect.

15. Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong in terms of speaking and writing are different. 

Mainland China: Speaks Mandarin, writes simplified Chinese

Taiwan: Speaks Mandarin, writes traditional Chinese

Hong Kong: Speaks Cantonese, writes traditional Chinese

16. Sometimes Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese and other people from Asian backgrounds are mistaken to be Chinese. 

17. Some elderly people from some provinces do not understand Mandarin, as they didn’t go to school to learn Mandarin in the early days. 

18. The date for Chinese New Year changes every year due to the lunar calendar and the animal zodiac.

19. Chinese people often wear red as it is considered to be lucky. 

20. The Chinese believe that the number eight is lucky because it sounds similar to the word prosperity. 

21. Half of the world’s pigs live in China.

22. China’s national sport is table tennis.

23. Some of China’s popular sports are soccer, badminton, table tennis and volleyball. 

24. The most popular Chinese dishes in China are:

  • Steamed rice
  • Xiao long bao (soup dumplings)
  • Gong Bao chicken (Spicy stir fry chicken)
  • Dumplings
  • Ma po Tofu
  • Wontons
  • Dumplings
  • Chow Mein (Stir fried noodles and meat)
  • Peking duck.
  • Nian Gao (Gluten Rice strips)
  • Spring rolls

25. In China, they don’t usually use cutlery. Instead, they use chopsticks as it is part of their culture. However, some restaurants in cities like Shanghai and Beijing are more culutrally diverse, forks can be used.

Stephanie Yu is a third-year Commerce student at La Trobe University. She loves to travel and has been to Shanghai, China and Seoul, South Korea as part of the La Trobe University’s short study programs. She enjoys cooking, music and badminton in her free time. She is also currently the Director of Careers of the La Trobe Commerce Student Association (CSA) and an intern at the Adecco group.