9. Anyone who approaches you trying to practice English should be greeted with a smile and skepticism. Most Chinese are shy and will not speak to you unless you speak first. Those who overtly approach you and make the first move are likely to be selling something or worse. Many tourists reports scams in Shanghai where you can have visa free China travel, so be friendly but careful. Never ever follow a stranger anywhere.
10. Chinese restaurants with lots of foreigners (non-Chinese) are almost always unauthentic, as well as overpriced. Usually frequented by group tours, these places change recipes to conform to what they think are "western tastes." Many middle-class, white linen restaurants, hosting complete nuclear (three-generation) families around big round tables, have English menus with sometimes humorous translations. The more crowded with families it is, the better value and food it has. The menu's color pictures will help also. If they just show you an English menu, ask to see both. They might be pricing the food twice to five-times higher for tourists. If so, just walk out before you drink any tea. Compare the photos and prices. No tipping in restaurants, taxis, or anywhere for that matter.
11. Luxury goods are expensive in China, thanks to a luxury tax. Visit Hong Kong to make a killing on name-brand bargains. In China you can find some good buys in silk, pearls, jade and handicrafts, but you must study a bit to make sure you are getting the real thing. Bone porcelain can be a good buy too, but it must be carefully packed for your air travel.
12. The internet is censored in China. You need a VPN to see Facebook and any blog for that matter. Hotel internet charges rise along with the room rates. Lower cost three-star hotels will frequently have free wired and WiFi internet. Luxury hotels will charge you USD$15-25 per day. Internet cafes can be a huge inconvenience with lots of smokers and unclean surrroundings. Book a hostel or hotel with free WiFi. They are everywhere.
13. Before you leave home, get a good guidebook and buy street maps on line or in bookstores for cities you wish to explore. Free tourism maps are never to scale or easy to follow, with half the streets not there, names unclear. and big advertising splashed right across where you want to go. Amazing how many people budget well over USD$1,500 per person for China travel, yet won't spend USD$30 for an excellent book to help them along the way. DK Eyewitness Guides are well regarded for their color pictorals of everything there is to see, while Lonely Planet has logistics info on most anywhere you want to go. Other books more resemble a group tour itinerary, only covering the overvisited tourism sights and avoiding any real detail.
City guides unfortunately suggest westernized entertainment zones where only monied upper-class people would care to enter. You can have a lot of fun on food streets, wet and dry markets and such. Walk the Bund at night to people watch. Tiananmen Square is best at night.
14. Personal sanitation is important while traveling. Since you are on the "tourist trail," you are actually mixing with people from dozens of countries on six continents, not just Asians. Bring your own alcohol-based wet wipes for water-free hand sanitation. Never drink tap water! Bottled water is common everywhere and cheap at the corner convenience stores.
15. Bring your own toilet tissue with you, as you will rarely find a public toilet supplied with it. Carry it always in your purse, camera bag or backpack. Small flat travel packs (dry tissue and wet toilet wipes) are now available many places. You may use little packs of alcohol wet wipes to go over places your body will touch.
The above-mentioned tips can help you have an easy China tour.
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