The Ultimate Guide to China

China is a travel bucket list item for a lot of people and for good reason. There are many reasons why people are scared to travel to China, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. A few fears that I have heard about from people are: being scared about the language barrier, being scared of the food (food poisoning and not liking the food), the air quality since China is such a polluted country, the toilets, and many other things.

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Well, I am here to tell you to stop being so scared and just go for it. Do your research, plan out your trip andcross off China from your bucket list! There are so many things to know before travelling to China, so make sure you reserach like I mentioned above, but here are a few things that I have put together that you should know.
  • China is extremely tourist friendly. A lot of people do speak English, but when you run into someone that doesn't, don't worry. There are many ways to communicate - I usually use my hands a lot, which always works, but there are also many apps that help with translation, even when offline in another country. Although I wouldn't be too worried about it, I would learn a few key phrases or words, like "Thank You", "Toilet" and "Hello".
  • The currency in China is the yuan and while a lot of places do accept Visa and Mastercard in China, cash is always preferred, especially when going to smaller busiensses. Don't forget to tell your bank that you are traveling to China. If you do end up using your cards without letting them know, they could deny your requests. This could get extra tricky if you do not have phone service and/or internet whilst you are travelling. 
  • You cannot drink the tap water in China! Make sure you always drink bottled water while travelling to China.
  • Toilet paper is not a "must have" for public bathrooms in China, so make sure to bring your own. I usually carry around a small packet of tissues to add to my travel bag. Also, a lot of public bathrooms do not have soap, so pack the hand sanitizer also.
  • Cars have the right of way in China, not pedestrians! Chinese drive a lot differently than we do, so be careful. 
  • China is very crowded and locals are used to pushing their way through the crowds, so don't worry if you are being shoved - it is part of the culture, but make sure to always conceal your valuables to be safe.
After you do some more research, start to plan your itinerary. These cities are a few that I would interested in going to:
  • Beijing - The Forbidden City used to be home to emporers and advisors - it did not allow the public in, but now it is one of the most-visited places on earth. According to Skyscanner, there are nine million bicycles in Beijing, so biking is always a fun way to see the city. 
  • XI'an: XI'an is the capital of Shaanxi Province, the People's Republic of China, so it's a great place to see. Some of the attractions found in XI'an are the Famen Temple, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Bell Tower.
  • Shanghai - Some think that Shanghai is the world's greatest city, for many reason, so it is definitely a must-see when travelling to China. 
  • Hong Kong - Situated on the southeast coast, Hong Kong is a SAR or a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Some of the top sights in Hong Kong are the Peak Tram, the Man Mo Temple and Lai Chi Wo.

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When you go to China, make sure to soak up all of the sights (and food) because this trip is something that will make a million memories that will last a lifetime. Also make sure to bring back a few great souvenirs that will remind you of your travels. One special souvinir that I love is a sword from Swords of Northshire. Hand forged in Longquan, China, this is the perfect item to purchase to remember your trip because you can display it on your wall for all to see. Swords of Northshire offers an option to customize your Katana so you can make it exactly how you like! You can choose the blade's material, scabbard, length and other features like engraving. Don't worry though, if you have no idea where to start, they have a sword glossary to help you with understanding exactly what you are doing and they also have Samurai Swords that you do not have to customise. One benefit from ordering from Swords of Northshire is is their customer service.

Photo Courtesy of: Swords of Northshire 

They offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your product, for thirty days after your purchase. They offer complete replacement, re-shipments and also refunds. This shocked me because most companies do not offer this kind of customer service. On top of all that, they have free shipping! Placing a sword from Swords of Northshire on your wall would be the perfect way to showcase your souvenir from China, so that you will think of your trip every day.

Are you planning a trip to China or have been recently? What have you learned or want to learn?

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