How to Travel to China Like a Pro Explorer in 2023-2024

Are you excited about embarking on a journey to China? If you’re planning a trip to this culturally rich and diverse country, but worried about the perfect planning and how to travel to China like a pro explorer, you’re at the right place for an unforgettable adventure. Traveling to China might seem daunting, but with the proper preparation and insights, you can explore this fascinating land like a pro explorer. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make your trip to China smooth, enjoyable, and culturally enriching.

how to travel to china

China is a land of ancient traditions, stunning landscapes, and modern marvels. To make the most of your trip, it’s essential to plan ahead and equip yourself with valuable insights.

Table of Contents

Preparing for Your Trip

Researching China's regions and attractions

Before Planning to Visit and explore, one of the most developed and biggest countries which is the most populated country as well, needs to research its regions and top tourist attractions. When and Where you are visiting, make a list of the regions you want to explore, which are the most famous and must-visit tourist attractions.

Understanding the visa requirements and application process

You need to have an L-type visa for traveling purposes. China visa fees vary enormously according to your nationality, and the number of entries required, Generally the cost is around $50 -$140 for an American citizen, and for citizens of other countries, the fees range from $30-$90. You can apply for the China visa application form at and fill in all the information required. After filling in, print out the confirmation page and the completed COVA form. Gather the required documents to support your visa application. Such as a valid passport with at least 6 months of validity, passport size photo, flight itinerary, hotel reservation, travel itinerary, financial statements, and proof of travel insurance.

Packing smart: What to bring and what to leave behind

Here is the list below, you can check out what to bring and what to leave behind.


One of the most essential things is the local currency you must have or carry with you. Get Chinese Renminbi in notes ready for when you get to China. Remember, card payments and international currencies are not accepted everywhere, so it is essential to have local currency at hand.

It is essential to check the time and season when you are visiting China and then decide what clothes and footwear to pack.


In China, they use different types of sockets like I, B, and C. To keep things easy, bring a universal power adapter, so you can charge your devices no matter where you are or what type of socket is available.

Universal adapter

Many Chinese people speak Mandarin or Cantonese. It’s a good idea to learn some basic words and phrases to make your experience easier and more enjoyable.

Basic Greetings
• Hi! – Ni hao
• Good morning! – Zao shàng
• Good evening! – Xia wu hao
• Welcome – Huan ying
• Thank you – Xie xie
• You’re welcome – Huan Ying Good night! – Wan an
• See you later! – Dài huì ér jiàn
• Good bye! – Zài jiàn

• How are you? – Ni hao ma
• I’m fine, thanks! – Hen hao! Xie xie
• What is your name? – Nín guì xìng
• Do you speak English? – Nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?
• Yes – Shì
• No – Bú shì

• 1 – yī
• 2 – èr
• 3 – sān
• 4 – sì
• 5 – wǔ
• 6 – Liù
• 7 – Qī
• 8 – Bā
• 9 – Jiǔ
• 10 – Shí

Days of the Week
• Day – Tiān
• Week – Xīngqī
• Today – Jīn tiān
• Yesterday – Zuó tiān
• Tomorrow – Míng tiān
• Evening – Wǎn shang
• Afternoon – Xià wǔ
• Morning – Zǎoshang
• Monday – Xīngqī yī
• Tuesday – Xīngqī èr
• Wednesday – Xīngqī sān
• Thursday – Xīngqī sì
• Friday – Xīngqī wǔ
• Saturday – Xīngqī liù
• Sunday – Xīngqī tiān

• Where is …? – Zài nǎlǐ? (… dzeye naa-lee?) …在哪里
• Bathroom – Cèsuǒ

• I would like – Wǒ yào
• How much is this? – Duō shǎo qián
• Too expensive – Tài guì le

• Help – Jìumìng ā
• Fire – Huǒ a
• Stop – Tíng
• Call the police – Jiào jǐngchá

Air pollution is a major problem in China, particularly in cities like Beijing, X’ian, and Shanghai. It is common for people to wear face masks while going about their daily lives, due to the poor air quality. If traveling to these areas, it is recommended to bring a breathable and comfortable mask.

Stay safe in China while traveling as a tourist by taking some simple precautions. Keep your money and credit cards safe from pickpockets by using a thin wallet with RFID protection like the slim wallet. Avoid putting your important documents in your checked luggage, and consider using a money belt for extra security.

When traveling to China, it’s a good idea to bring a guidebook or have a guide downloaded on your phone to know what to see and do. Also, remember to take a map since most street signs are in Chinese.

When traveling to China, it’s recommended to get travel insurance to avoid unexpected problems such as losing your belongings or getting sick. It’s a wise move that can save you time, money, and stress.

Don’t forget to keep important documents safe! Make sure you have a physical copy and an online copy of your passport, visa, travel insurance, and hotel reservations.

In China, people walk long and short distances to get around, including at the airport. It’s important to have a strong and lightweight rolling suitcase to avoid body pain and easily navigate the terrain.

Backpacks are versatile for traveling. Not just for China hikes, use them on planes or exploring. Find one with padding for laptops and comfortable straps to fit your needs.

Stay healthy while traveling by drinking enough fluids and bringing medicine with you to prevent illness and diarrhea. Consider bringing activated charcoal capsules for quick relief from toxins and irritants.

Here are some important things to keep you healthy while sightseeing: hand sanitizer, wipes to clean your hands, antibacterial soap, tissues or toilet paper, eye drops, nasal spray, cold medicine, moisturizer, and lip balm. These items will help you deal with pollution and changes in the weather.

Bring a female urination device when travelling to China due to the prevalence of squat toilets and potential for infection.

China can be overwhelming due to the large crowds, noise, traffic, and new sights and sounds. Bringing headphones or earplugs will help reduce outside noise and allow you to relax.

Finally, don’t forget to bring a camera with you to capture the amazing experiences you will have! You will visit some unbelievable places, and to make sure you remember the trip, you should use either a good phone or professional camera to take pictures and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Navigating Cultural Etiquette

This message talks about learning Chinese customs and traditions. It touches on things like how to greet people and how to behave at meal times. Specifically, it covers dos and don’ts when it comes to greetings and gestures, as well as how chopsticks should be used during communal meals.

Language Essentials

As you embark on your journey as a traveler, it’s important to equip yourself with some useful words and phrases that will make navigating China a breeze. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be fluent in Mandarin to enjoy your travels! With the countless translation apps available today, you can easily communicate with locals and fellow travelers alike. And the best part? Not only will you be able to find your way around, but speaking their language will help you make new friends and even deepen your cultural experience. So don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and practice your Chinese with the locals. Trust us, you’ll come away with unforgettable memories and a newfound appreciation for the language and the people who speak it.

Choosing the Right Destinations

If you’re looking for a memorable journey to the wonders of China, you won’t regret visiting the vibrant cities of Beijing and Shanghai, along with the breathtaking natural scenery in Guilin. Beijing is steeped in fascinating history, from the Forbidden City to the Great Wall of China, which are both must-see landmarks in China. Exploring the city’s ancient streets, learning about its rich traditions, and sampling its delicious cuisine, make for an unforgettable experience. Shanghai offers a stark contrast with a buzzing nightlife, where you can enjoy a variety of entertainment and world-class dining. Meanwhile, in Guilin, the stunning karst mountains, lush rice paddies, and crystal-clear rivers offer an idyllic escape into nature, perfect for hiking, boating, and relaxing. These diverse destinations promise an enriching experience for travelers keen on exploring the wonders of China!

Accommodation Options

As a traveler planning for your next trip, you will be delighted to know that there are countless options for accommodation, that will cater to your unique preferences. Whether you prefer the luxury of elegant hotels that offer top-notch service and unparalleled Chinese hospitality, where you can indulge in lush amenities that will make your stay ever so comfortable. Or, if you crave a more grounded, authentic experience, comfortable guesthouses nestled in traditional areas will provide you with an immersive cultural encounter. Where you can explore flavorful cuisine, experience warm hospitality, and marvel at the quaint charm of your surroundings. And, if you’re looking for something more contemporary, modern capsule hostels provide an excellent alternative, with sleek design, state-of-the-art amenities, and a dash of edginess to elevate your travel experience to new heights. Whatever your preference, there is no shortage of options to choose from.

Transportation Tips

If you’re planning to explore China and enjoy all the beauty and culture that this country has to offer, there are various transportation options you can choose from. High-speed trains are an excellent option for long distances, as they are fast and efficient, allowing you to cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time. While in big cities, it is preferable to use public buses and subways to get around as they are affordable and usually offer an extensive network of stops, making your travel experience smoother and convenient. If you are interested in trying out local transportation, you can embrace rickshaws and tuk-tuks, which are very popular in many areas of China. These vehicles provide a unique and authentic way to explore the local culture, as they can take you through narrow streets and alleys that would otherwise be inaccessible. So, don’t miss the chance to experience China like a local!

Must-Try Culinary Adventures

Enjoying delicious Peking duck and small dishes called dim sum. Trying foods from different parts of China like spicy Sichuan, Hunan, and Cantonese. Going to outdoor markets at night to eat local street food.

Embracing Local Festivals

Come and celebrate Chinese culture with us! Enjoy the spectacular Chinese New Year celebrations, the stunning Lantern Festival with its mesmerizing lights, and the lively Dragon Boat Festival with its thrilling boat races and traditional festivities.

Navigating Iconic Landmarks

Visit three must-see places in China: The Great Wall, Terracotta Army, and Forbidden City. The Great Wall has many sections to choose from, while the Terracotta Army dates back to Ancient China. Step into China’s imperial history by visiting the Forbidden City.

Exploring Off-the-Beaten-Path

Going on a trip is always exciting, especially when you have different, unique options to choose from. For those who are looking for a unique and authentic experience, visiting small towns in the countryside and trying out farming-related tourism might just be the perfect option. You can learn about the different farming techniques and processes that the locals use, not to mention experience their way of life first-hand.

If you’re someone who loves to explore different cultures and traditions, then discovering Tibetan traditions in a place situated at high altitude is something you should consider. Immerse yourself in the practice of Buddhism, enjoy Tibetan cuisine, learn about their architecture and try on traditional clothing. This experience will surely widen your cultural horizons and create unforgettable memories.

Lastly, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, which has been a top tourist destination for many years. With its breathtaking views, unique geological structure and diverse flora and fauna, you can never go wrong with adding this to your itinerary. Learn about the history, the unique rock formations, and the various activities you can do in the park to make your journey worthwhile.

Capturing Memories: Photography Tips

Photography is an exquisite art that allows us to capture and preserve memories of our travels. When visiting famous landmarks, ensure that you take your time to capture the beauty and grandeur of these historic sights. While taking photos, try to utilize natural light as it enhances the vibrancy and allure of the scenery, guaranteed to produce stunning results.
In addition to capturing the popular sights, make sure to keep your camera handy and ready for any random moments of people’s everyday life. These unplanned moments often turn out to be the most beautiful and precious moments of your trip.
So, the next time you travel, don’t forget to bring your camera, take your time at the famous landmarks, and keep an eye out for capturing unplanned moments of people’s everyday lives. This way, you can ensure that your travel pictures stand out and recapture the memories of your journey for years to come.

Staying Connected: Navigating Technology

To communicate easily, get a SIM card from the local area. When internet is restricted, use VPNs to get past the restrictions. You can use digital payment systems like WeChat Pay and Alipay to pay for things easily.

Health and Safety Considerations

Advice on staying healthy and safe while traveling includes getting necessary vaccines, taking health precautions, being cautious in crowds and on public transportation, and managing food allergies and dietary restrictions.

Souvenir Hunting and Bargaining

When exploring a new place, one of the most exciting things is finding unique souvenirs in local markets. These treasures not only serve as memorabilia of your travels but also represent the culture and traditions of the place you visited. However, it’s crucial to bargain with the vendors to get a good deal. Haggling can be a fun way to interact with locals and get an item for a fair price. Some tips for bargaining include starting with a low offer, being respectful, and knowing the market value of similar items. Not only will you save some money, but you’ll also be supporting the local community. Many of the vendors are local artists who rely on selling their handmade items to make a living. By purchasing their goods, you help support their livelihoods and keep their culture alive. So don’t be afraid to chat with the vendors and see what hidden gems they have to offer.

Weather and Seasonal Travel Tips

When planning your trip to China, one important aspect to consider is the country’s diverse climate. Depending on where you go, you could experience hot and humid summers, chilly and dry winters, or mild and pleasant temperatures during spring and fall. To make the most of your visit, it’s a good idea to do some research and find out which season is best suited to your travel needs and interests.

If you are looking to avoid rainy conditions, it’s essential to note that China experiences a monsoon season, which varies by region. You can plan your trip accordingly to avoid or embrace the monsoon, depending on your preference.

Additionally, China boasts beautiful winter landscapes and opportunities for winter sports in the northern regions. If you’re a fan of skiing, snowboarding, or ice skating, be sure to pack accordingly and check out the various winter sports destinations that China has to offer.

Engaging with Locals: Cultural Exchange

There are a variety of wonderful cultural experiences to enjoy when exploring new places, from the delicate and meaningful art of taking part in tea ceremonies, to the intricate and beautiful craft of writing Chinese calligraphy. Additionally, joining local activities and workshops can be an excellent way to learn about the unique traditions and practices that make different cultures so fascinating and diverse. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of a foreign land, or simply expand your horizons and try something new. These meaningful activities are sure to leave a lasting impression and help you make the most of your travels. So why not step outside your comfort zone and explore all the amazing cultural wonders the world has to offer?

Sustainable Travel Practices

– Reducing plastic waste and practicing responsible tourism

– Supporting eco-friendly accommodations and tours

– Contributing positively to the destinations you visit


Traveling to China is a journey into a world of contrasts, where ancient traditions meet modern innovation. By following these tips and immersing yourself in the local culture, you’ll create memories that last a lifetime.


Is it necessary to learn Mandarin before traveling to China?

While not mandatory, learning basic Mandarin phrases can enhance your travel experience and make communication smoother.

Are credit cards widely accepted in China?

While major cities and tourist areas accept credit cards, it’s advisable to carry some cash, especially in rural areas.

What's the best time to visit China?

Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) are considered the best seasons, with pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

Do I need vaccinations before traveling to China?

It’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional for the latest vaccination recommendations before your trip.

Can I access social media and websites easily in China?

China has restrictions on certain international websites and social media platforms. Using a VPN can help you access these sites more easily.

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