Essential Things to Know Before You Visit China

Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Spring

For all solo female traveler like me, traveling is a getaway to get rid of all worldly problems and set oneself free from all the chaos. If you have a China trip on mind, consider a few things before visiting this phenomenal place. China spoils you with a retreat of ancient culture, historical wonders, provocative cuisines, and an overwhelming crowd! But, it is still a lot more things you need to know when visiting China for the first time.

Before taking a plunge to this destination, get a note of these essential things to help you. After all, some travel tips guide you to explore the country and be a part of this fantastic place.

Top Essential Things To Know Before Visiting China

Chinese visa policy

I took a visa from my country before the visit. You must apply for a Chinese visa unless you’re eligible nationalities for visa-free entry. So, it is wise to check out the visa policy before planning a trip to China.

Best time to visit China

For nature lovers, Spring and Autumn are the two best seasons to visit China. April to May and September to October are the best months for the lovely weather, neither too cold nor hot. During these times best to visit almost all destinations in China. But you’ve to keep in mind the weather variations in China; you’ll also face sudden rains during those seasons.

Humble Administrator's Garden in Spring
Humble Administrator’s Garden in Spring
Rong Lake Scenery Area of Guilin
After rain Rong Lake Scenery Area of Guilin

But visiting China during Summer (July – August) and Winter (November – March) are best to avoid excess heat, storms, and cold.

You may visit all cultural and historical places in any season, but traveling in the low season during the time of cold months will help you to save some extra cash on flights, hotels, and entrance tickets.

Packing must be season-based

China spreads over 3.7 million square miles, depending on your travel destinations; you might pack for the cold and hot weather. Northern China has a much cooler climate in comparison to its southern part.

If you are traveling to the Forbidden City or the Great Wall of China, carrying a comfy pair of walking shoes or raincoat is a great idea. A misty cruise along the Li River’s sides can give an exotic rainy visit while you might need a scarf or shawl to cover shoulders aptly.

Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Spring
Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Spring

VPN download and installation are mandatory before boarding the flight

In China, there are strict restrictions on surfing Facebook, Instagram, Google, or Twitter. If these apps are a must-have for you, it is better to download a VPN but in advance.

For a short trip, you can try free versions of NordVPN or ExpressVPN, while for a lengthy journey, it is preferable to opt for a paid package. With a good VPN, you can easily access all these applications you do not wish to miss.

I purchased ExpressVPN and easily accessed all the social media handles to make a significant move during my two-week solo trip to China.

Voice translation App download to communicate in the Chinese language

Chinese Baidu Translate App features smart voice translation for easy communication and to handle the language barriers. You can download this free application on both Android and iPhone. You have to on your speaker before speaking. Suppose you need to ask something, but you don’t know Mandarin, the common Chinese language.

You can speak in your language, and the App will translate to Chinese and vice versa. Even you can use the Text to Speech and Text to Text translation features.

Chinese Baidu Translate App
Chinese Baidu Translate App

Budget travel is possible

It is possible to travel to China on a budget. Food and accommodation costs are not high. Some destinations are best for backpackers, and the hostel is always the right choice to stay longer in China.

You can travel all around China by train. Public transport services are standard and budget-friendly.

HuangshanBei Railway Station
HuangshanBei Railway Station

Hiking and walking tours are typical in China. Many places you may explore all alone on foot. It is only best to go with a locally guided tour when visiting historical and cultural sites. And, tipping is not expected unless you give it from your consent.

I also found English speaking Chinese volunteer at Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou. He helped me to explore the entire garden free of cost when I was thinking to take a guide.

Visiting China in a low season will also help to save a lot from your pocket.

Get ready to sit in a time machine

My first visit to this oriental destination was China, which gives a wide range of experience from the modern economic heights to a glimpse of historical fanatics. Its contemporary marvel villages and impressive modern cities are both a treat to the eyes.

Get ready to overview generations that lasted long and eternal at old Chinese markets to the contemporary Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Slow down and rejoice every moment of this beautiful journey.

Old Chinese market in Xi'an
The old Chinese market in Xi’an

It’s not only about Shanghai and Beijing

I suggest exploring real China with highlights such as Pandas in Chengdu, Shanghai’s skyline, and places like Guilin or Guizhou. Although Beijing and Shanghai are two shining stars of this country, this place’s renowned natural beauty lies in Guangdong or the Yalong Bay in Hainan.

Huangpu River Waterfront
Shanghai city skylines from Huangpu River Waterfront

I loved to explore locations in China that are off-beat and hidden. Solo travelers would love to get insights into these places as it creates an old-century nostalgia that makes a magical effect.

Southern China has a different panoramic view

Discovering Southern China was the best decision I took. Bamboo forests and panda delight is famous in South China, but you cannot underrate the adrenaline-inducing adventures or topography in the tranquil state.

Traditional caves from Guilin, a wonderful cruise trip down to Li River, and rock climb at Yangshuo County are mandatory.

Karst mountain landscape of the beautiful countryside Shangri-La in Yangshuo County
Karst mountain landscape in Yangshuo County

Rice fields in Longsheng and waterfalls in Guizhou are also symbolic of its marvelous existence. Carry your track pants and sports shoes for a comfy tracking and hiking expedition over here.

Cuisine variation in different regions

Chinese food is not just confined to specific stereotypical dishes, as there are multiple variations to choose from. They categorize the favorite meals as Cantonese cuisine that is popular in the Southeast region of Guangdong. Other popular Chinese street foods are Jiangsu and Zheijiang, which have light or sweet flavors, while Anhui and Fujian cuisine have a spicy twist.

I was on a foodie adventure in China as it’s a lot more than the noodle or rice fun, unlike what most people predict globally. It was also nice to check out some of China’s best street food from Xi’an Muslim Street, and worth adding to your list.

Street food from Xi'an Muslim Street
Street food from Xi’an Muslim Street

Many seasonal fresh fruits are cheap, the best options to eat a lot during your trip. I loved many colorful Chinese fruits everywhere; exploring different fruit stalls was one of my favorite activities in China.

Travel gears mandatory for solo female travelers are sunglasses, lotions, sanitary pads, a first aid knife, and a pepper spray to save the havoc.

Furthermore, if you want to roam like a local, download WeChat, and communicate effectively with international users. Download it in advance as it also facilitates payment transfers over there. With all these basic pointers in mind, you can plan a safe and enjoyable China visit!

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