The flight length to China is enough to deter many American travelers. There are also many cultural differences that some find surprising or humorous. We broke down some of the biggest misconceptions—and facts—about traveling to this unique country.
1. The Great Firewall
Facebook is one thing; now imagine all of your internet usage being regulated. If you travel to China, be prepared to use a VPN or stay away from the internet.
2. Lack of Democracy
If you think a country without democracy is a living hell for human beings, then China is definitely not the place for you. China is still a communist regime.
3. Religious Beliefs
If you look down on people with no religious belief, then China will be a long, hard slog for you. Religion is not as celebrated in their nation.
4. Social Media
If Facebook is your life, you’re not going to have a good time in China. China is one of seven countries that block its use entirely. The other countries include Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, Russia, Syria, and Turkmenistan. Google is also partially blocked and is difficult to access without a VPN.
5. Language Barrier
If you speak no Chinese and refuse to learn basic greetings or use translation apps when traveling in a less developed city, China might not be the most accessible place to navigate.
6. Panda Express Chinese Cuisine
If your idea of good Chinese food is Panda Express, traveling to China may not be ideal. That being said, there is delicious food if you know where to find it and how to order it.
7. Kung Fu Fantasy
If you expect there to be kung fu masters everywhere you go, then China might not be the place for you. Unless, of course, you’re looking for a master of the ancient art of napping.
If you’re a hugger and can’t resist the urge to embrace strangers, China will not be your cup of tea. As a whole, the Chinese population is not as touchy-feely as Americans.
9. Iced Water
If you’re a fan of ice-cold water, then China may disappoint. Hot water is their preferred method of drinking. But why drink water when they serve delicious hot tea?
10. Safety Concerns
And finally, if you don’t enjoy living in a safe place where people are very friendly to foreigners, then China might not be the place for you.
The U.S. Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs advises China has a level three advisory stating, “Reconsider travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including the Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”
11. High Tariffs on Luxury Products
If you love shopping for luxury products, don’t go to China. Unless, of course, you want to pay an arm and a leg in tariffs. One traveler jokes, who needs a kidney when you can have a designer handbag?
China is Beautiful
All jokes aside, China is beautiful, with a rich culture and history. It’s true that there are some challenges to traveling there, but that’s part of the adventure. With patience, an open mind, and a willingness to embrace the unexpected, you might discover that China is the trip of a lifetime.
And who knows? You might return with a newfound love for hot tea and pandas.