Tips for a BUSY Trip to China?

Updated on November 11, 2012
S.D. asks from Indianapolis, IN
6 answers

I'm leaving in two wks for my first trip to Asia, specifically Guanzhou Province and Hong Kong. This will be a fast-paced working trip as a videographer and I will be on the streets of Guandong and in rural areas, shooting a one-time-only documentary in under a week. I would love to hear any advice you have to give on best all-day shoes to best backpack (no handbags on this trip) to best multi-pocketed pants. Other China travel tips are appreciated! (Already heard the toilet paper and bottled water caveats.)
Many thanks, Mamas!

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answers from Chicago on

You can't go wrong with Dansko's. They look just as good with a skirt or dress pants as they do with jeans. You can also wear them immediately without any pain, and keep on wearing them till they fall apart, all the while enjoying their comfort.

I bought a backpack from Land's End a few years ago to use as my diaper bag. This bag is great! It has tons of different zipper compartments, plus side pockets and a outside pocket on the front you can just slip stuff into. It also has a clip so you can attach it to things, etc. It still looks new, and I've used it daily for 3 years now. It's a great bag!!!!

Not sure about the pants, I'd probably look for some athletic pants of some sort.

I've never been to Asia, hubby and brother love it! Have a good trip!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Make VERY sure that you don't use the tap water to wash off your toothbrush or let water from the shower run into your mouth. You can get SO sick from that. Some places actually inject water into used bottles to resell, and if you get THAT water, you will get sick. Be careful where you buy your water from...

I recommend carrying a fork with you even if you are good with chopsticks. Sometimes the chopsticks they give you are not clean (unless they are the throw-aways...)

Be very careful about cabs - you should have your hotel call you a cab as much as possible. Be aware that some cabbies will try to jack their prices up on you because they think they can get away with it. Hold your cell phone up so that they see that you have one and have a number on your speed dial of a Chinese person who will have a "conversation" with them if you think you're being ripped off. You also will want to give the cabbie's "number" displayed in the cab to your friend. If the cabbie sees you reading out the number on the phone, he will likely behave because he can get in serious trouble with the government for bad behavior toward a foreigner.

I do have one friend whose cabbie took him somewhere and 2 large men met him to shake him down for $400. My friend is an interesting sort - well-traveled and an unusual personality. I don't know how the heck he pulled this off, but he negotiated with them to give them $200 AND get the cabbie to drop him off where he was supposed to go as part of the bargain. Amazing!!

Anyway, use the hotel as much as you can to get cabs. Have a great time and try to enjoy yourself.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You've already gotten great advice! The only thing I will add is to memorize the Chinese character for "female". If you happen to need to use the restroom and they label the doors with the Chinese characters for men and women instead the pictures of men or women, you will have better luck choosing which door to enter if you can read the Chinese characters. I learned this the hard way when I accidentally walked into the men's restroom at a restaurant. Good luck, and have a great time!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

How exciting! I've been to Hong Kong, but not out into the countryside. What a great adventure!

The best all-day shoes and backpack for you very much depends on what feels good to you. I'd recommend heading to an REI or similar store where you can actually try on and try out equipment before you buy. Opt for as slim a pack as you can fit your stuff into - in the city the streets are always crowded, as is any form of public transportation, and big backpacks are a major hassle in crowds. You need one you can comfortably swing off and hold in front of you when necessary. If you'll be wearing the pack all day, consider one with padded shoulder straps and a chest or waist strap to help distribute the weight more evenly.

Another thing about shoes - if you'll be going in and out of private homes, you'll be removing your shoes. You need shoes that are easy to get in and out of. Velcro is your friend in this case.

A few just-in-case items to pack - Immodium tablets (I never had tummy issues, but it's better to be prepared), antihistamines (you'll be meeting all kinds of new foods, bugs, and plants, and unexpected allergic reactions, while rare, can happen), hand sanitizer, and some female sanitary products if you're going to be getting a visit from "Aunt Flo" while you're there (you can find them in the city with no trouble, but out in the countryside, who knows?)

You might also want to take a supply of something typically American that you can hand out to people whom you'd like to film or photograph - a friend of mine who is a professional photographer handed out dollar bills or Hershey bars to people who let her take their pictures. State quarters, postcards from Indianapolis, or hard candies of some kind would probably work, too.

If you're not good at using chopsticks, take your own fork in a small case.

Have fun!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Casper on

Just smile and get ready to have NO personal space! If you have curly, red or blonde hair, people will touch it. The tap water is actually not bad- unless you count the heavy metals. My family has been in Guanzhou for about 8 months and have had no problems using the water to brush our teeth and my MIL accidentally drank a full glass with no ill- effects. However, I wouldn't be as cavalier with well water.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Love the vests with lots of pockets. Wear it whenever I travel and it makes life so much easier. Also any cargo pants from LL Bean work well. Have fun.

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