A Guest Post by Ashley Halsey* with fresh insights and tips on solo travelling in China: More women than ever are travelling alone, an incredible milestone for female independence and empowerment. Still, China might seem like a daunting destination for beginners or those new to the country. The language barrier can be difficult, the culture may feel alien and the huge number of destinations available to visit will leave some struggling to make a decision. But, if done right following our tips, tricks and cultural hacks, travelling in the East needn’t feel like scaling the Great Wall of China. Take a look at our five aspects of travel in China that are sure to prepare you for this exciting and unique adventure.
- Chinese women dress differently from women in Europe. Wearing long trousers, dresses and buttoned blouses reflects women’s style in China. Shorts, short skirts and skimpy tops could make you stand out and attract unwanted attention.
- Think about your sense of style in terms of the region you choose to visit too. The North of China is cooler than the south, the South, more humid than the North. Make sure to pack your clothes with your environment in mind.
- Bringing gifts from home can often make you the favourite with locals. You can try giving cheap and fun gifts like sweets or stickers, which go down especially well with young people.
China is a great place to travel and generally safe for women, but there are some cultural expectations which westerners will be confused by, potentially putting them at risk. In China, cars have right of way, not pedestrians. Take extra care to cross when you are sure that no cars are coming, and it is safe.
“Do not open your purse in crowded tourist hot spots as this can make you a target for thieves and scammers. Instead, keep small amounts of money in your pockets for little purchases and take more out when you know the coast is clear,” says Anna Adams, a writer at LastMinuteWriting and Researchpapersuk.
Travel with Confidence
For solo travelling in China, make sure to use local guides and English-speaking tours if you do not speak Chinese well. This ensures that you can travel the different areas and regions with confidence and safety. With guides, it is often best to meet them before you pay for their services, so that you can assess their language skills and decide whether you like them.
“Always plan ahead. Take a detailed list of directions and instructions on how to get to the various parts of the region you wish to visit. Sometimes it helps to bring a list of Chinese words and phrases which you think will help you get to your destination safely and quickly,” suggests Vera Kim, a travel blogger at DraftBeyond and Writinity. Keep all your essential documents online on Google Drive or Dropbox to avoid losing them forever.
Packing the Essentials
- Think Seasonal and Regional: In the South, pack a quick drying towel, a compact umbrella and appropriate breezy clothing for the humid heat. In the North, pack warmer clothes. In both cases, don’t forget a pair of sturdy shoes for walking.
- Hygiene Products – Make sure to bring these with you as it can sometimes be hard to get similar products in China. If you need to restock while travelling alone, do some research as they may look different from your expectations.
- Cash – Make sure you have cash so that you can pay at local restaurants. Many do not accept card payments.
If you’ve never visited China before, here’s a rundown of some of the most historic and beautiful places to visit while solo travelling in China:
Beijing is bursting with culture and houses some of the most well-known wonders of the world. The Great Wall, The Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven are some of its greatest architectural triumphs and well worth a visit for those who wish to soak up their visual delights.
Xi’an houses the terracotta army, a tribute to Emperor Qin Shi Huang. A truly breath-taking sight and a monumental undertaking in excavation.
Shanghai offers an exciting mix of old and new. The Bund is its best example of this flavoursome blend, as its skyline outlines the metallic precision of skyscrapers, intermixed with softer, characterful European buildings from a bygone colonial age.
Wherever you decide to visit, travelling alone as a woman can seem daunting at first, but we hope you’ll feel safe, supported and confident in your journey to the orient with our quick guide. You’ll know how to blend in with the locals and make friends through gift giving. You’ll feel prepared to tackle the language barrier through good planning and savvy choices. You’re even ready for the weather and the hustle and bustle of busy city life. We hope you make exciting memories infused with culture and stunning scenery. Happy journeying traveller!
*Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com who has been involved in many projects throughout the country. Mother of two children, she enjoys traveling, reading and attending business training courses.