If you are planning to travel to China at 50 or older, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
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Check your health insurance coverage
Make sure your health insurance covers you while you are traveling abroad. Consider purchasing additional travel insurance for added protection.
Consult with your healthcare provider to determine which vaccinations are recommended for travel to China.
Research your destination
China is a large country with a diverse range of cultures and climates. Research the specific areas you plan to visit to ensure you are prepared for the weather and cultural customs.
Learn some basic Mandarin
Knowing a few key phrases in Mandarin can be helpful for communicating with locals and navigating transportation.
Be aware of air quality
Some cities in China have high levels of air pollution, which can be particularly harmful to older adults. Consider purchasing a face mask and checking air quality levels before spending extended periods of time outdoors.
Be mindful of food and water safety
Be cautious when eating street food and only drink bottled water to avoid getting sick.
Take it easy
China can be a fast-paced, chaotic country. Be prepared to take it easy and take frequent breaks to avoid getting overwhelmed.
What to know about china before going?
Before traveling to China, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local rules and regulations to ensure a smooth trip. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Visa requirements: Many travelers to China require a Chinese visa, which can take several weeks to process. Be sure to check the visa requirements for your specific destination and apply well in advance of your trip.
- Currency: The official currency of China is the Renminbi (RMB or CNY). It’s a good idea to have some cash on hand for small purchases, but most major credit cards are also accepted in larger cities.
- Customs and etiquette: China has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to show respect for local customs and traditions. This includes things like bowing to show respect, removing shoes before entering a temple or home, and not pointing or touching things with your feet.
- Internet censorship: The Chinese government heavily censors the internet, and many popular websites and apps, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, are blocked in China. To access them you will need a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Laws and regulations: Be aware of the local laws and regulations, including those regarding drugs and public behavior. Penalties for breaking the law can be severe, and legal proceedings may be conducted in Chinese.
- Air quality: Many cities in China have high levels of air pollution, which can be harmful to older adults. Consider purchasing a face mask and checking air quality levels before spending extended periods of time outdoors.
The top things to do in China
China is a vast and diverse country with a rich cultural heritage, and there is no shortage of things to see and do. Here are some top highlights and lesser-known areas to consider visiting:
- The Great Wall of China: This iconic structure is a must-see for any traveler to China. The most popular sections of the wall to visit are Badaling, Mutianyu, and Jinshanling.
- The Forbidden City: Located in Beijing, this palace complex served as the imperial palace for the Chinese Emperors from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty.
- The Terracotta Warriors: These thousands of life-size terracotta sculptures are a unique and fascinating sight located in Xi’an.
- The Yellow Mountains (Huangshan): These mountains are known for their stunning natural beauty, including granite peaks, pine forests, and hot springs.
- The Yangtze River: China’s longest river offers a wide variety of activities, including river cruises and scenic boat rides.
- The Li River: The Li River is a less known area but it’s famous for its picturesque karst mountains and traditional fishing villages.
- The Sichuan Province: Known for its spicy food and pandas, Sichuan is also home to the Jiuzhaigou Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its stunning waterfalls and colorful lakes.
- The Silk Road: The Silk Road is a historical trade route that passes through China, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Visitors can explore ancient cities and Silk Road markets, and learn about the cultural exchange that occurred along the route.
- The Yunnan Province: This province is known for its diverse ethnic groups, beautiful landscapes and it’s a great place for adventure-seekers and those looking to explore less touristy areas.
- The Lijiang Old Town: This ancient town located in the Yunnan province, is known for its well-preserved traditional architecture, canals, and cobbled streets and it’s a great place to explore the local culture.
These are just a few of the many highlights and lesser-known areas to explore in China. Each place has its own unique charm and culture, and it’s worth taking the time to visit as many as possible during your trip.
Discovering its fab food
China is known for its diverse and delicious cuisine, with a wide variety of dishes and flavors to explore. Here are some things to keep in mind when discovering the food in China:
Each region of China has its own unique cuisine, with flavors and dishes that are specific to that area. Some popular regional cuisines include Cantonese, Sichuanese, Hunanese, and Shanghainese.
Some popular dishes to try include Peking duck, Kung Pao chicken, hotpot, dumplings, and steamed buns.
Street food is a great way to try a variety of dishes at a low cost. Be sure to look for places that are busy and have a high turnover of customers, as this is a good sign of fresh and safe food.
Night markets are a great place to explore local street food, and they are usually filled with a wide variety of vendors selling all sorts of foods, from traditional Chinese dishes to international food.
China has a wide range of restaurants, from traditional family-run establishments to high-end gourmet restaurants. Be sure to try some of the local specialties, and look for restaurants that have a high number of local customers.
Visiting a local food market is a great way to see the ingredients and flavors that are unique to the region. You can find fresh produce, seafood, meat, and spices, and also, you can get a sense of the local culture and way of life.
China is famous for its tea culture, and it’s a great idea to visit a traditional tea house and try some of the local teas, such as Green tea, Jasmine tea, and Pu’erh tea.
Chinese cuisine can be quite different from what you’re used to, and it’s important to be open-minded and willing to try new things.
By exploring China’s diverse food scene, you can experience the rich flavors and traditions of Chinese cuisine. Remember to be adventurous and to enjoy the journey of discovering the food.
How to get around China
China is a large country, and distances between major cities can be significant. For example, the distance between Beijing and Shanghai is over 1,200 kilometers (750 miles).
Train travel is a popular and efficient way to get around China. The train network is extensive, and trains are generally comfortable and reliable. High-speed trains (G, D, and C trains) are available on most major routes, and they are faster and more comfortable than regular trains.
Buses are also a popular way to get around, particularly for shorter distances and for traveling to smaller towns and rural areas. Bus travel can be more affordable than train travel, but it can also be less comfortable.
Renting a car is an option for those who prefer more flexibility and independence, but it’s important to keep in mind that traffic can be heavy and chaotic in some cities, and it’s not recommended for those who are not familiar with Chinese roads or the local traffic laws.
Many cities in China have extensive public transportation systems, including buses.
In conclusion, China is a vast and diverse country with a rich cultural heritage, and there are many things to see and do, from iconic landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, to lesser-known areas such as the Yellow Mountains and the Li River.
The Chinese cuisine is also diverse and delicious, with a wide variety of dishes and flavors to explore. When it comes to transportation, China has a well-developed infrastructure, making it easy to get around by train, bus, or car.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that distances can be significant, and it’s important to plan accordingly. Be sure to familiarize yourself with local rules and regulations, customs and etiquette and also, don’t forget to bring a VPN.
With proper planning and an open mind, you can have an enjoyable and memorable travel to China.
Disclosure: this guest post is an advertorial feature with Visa Express.