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An update from Evaneos

Some advice on what to do and say for a successful holiday

The best piece of advice I can give you before you go : learn a few basics in Mandarin. It will help you to make the most of your trip. Outside the big cities it is really difficult to communicate with the Chinese, and they are always grateful for your efforts, even if they don't understand a word you say! Don't forget to take a small dictionary with you to reinforce what you say.

Courtesy and recommended ways of behaving

To have a successful trip, my best advice is to avoid faux pas and be aware of a few practical things. Here are 4 things that I think are important:

  • When you greet someone, shake them by the hand. You can also add "Nihao" (hello), as this is usual.
  • If you want to ask your way, try to begin with "Qing Wèn", which means "May I ask you a question?". Even though the Chinese can be quite relaxed about manners, this phrase is really appreciated.
  • In Buddhist and Taoist temples, churches, or mosques, dress respectfully, with sleeves and proper shoes (not sandals). Don't wear short shorts or sleeveless tops, and take off you shoes at the entrance if you are asked to.
  • When you are eating, don't drink until the toast has been made and don't forget to toast the other guests. Always offer to pay for a round in a bar.

Meeting the locals @flickr cc John Ragai

Other local customs...

Don't tip in a restaurant or taxi. Don't even try it, as some Chinese will be offended.

My final piece of advice to travelers : the Chinese are very modest and it's rare that you will meet anyone even holding hands in the street. So, avoid public demonstrations of affection, as they will make everyone feel embarrassed.

Emilie Joulia
24 contributions
Updated 4 June 2015
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