China is still considered an exotic and adventurous destination. This is a vast country made up of many pockets of cultures and languages. It is very different from North American culture and it would be sensible to leave home with some knowledge of what Chinese etiquette and expectations are.
In fact, it would be an advantage for any traveler to any country to do this. Some knowledge of Chinese customs is necessary as more and more North Americans are making their way to that country for both business and pleasure.
One of the first practices you will notice is that everybody in China seems to smoke. You will have to accept there is no limitation placed on where smoking may occur. There is no concept of non-smokers having rights too. It’s like going back in time when smokers in the US had free reign.
China is a fascinating country and due to its very long history there are endless buildings and sites to visit. Every place seems to have a story. You will find there is so much to see and experience that you will be out and about nearly all the time. Being out means you must make use of public ablutions and many are not up to standard. You must keep paper towels or toilet paper in your bag as well as a waterless hand disinfectant. Most public toilets are traditional Asian style and you will have to squat.
If you are going to frequent buildings then make sure you are relatively fit. Buildings that are less than eight floors don’t have lifts. If you are in such building for the sake of business you must observe business card etiquette. You will be handed a card when you meet a business colleague for the first time. You must either keep the card in your hand while standing or place it on a table directly ahead of you. It is also polite to make reference to the card at least once. This is the most important part, if put the card in your pocket right away it is seen as a snub.
Don’t Be Greedy
Should you be offered anything in China always refuse three times. It is customary to gently push away what is being offered. This rule even applies if you are offered food, drink and gifts. It also applies if you are offered cash as a payment for a service. Accepting immediately is seen as impolite and very greedy.
When it comes to shopping, China is a girl’s dream. You will find very low priced clothing, shoes, purses, textiles, jewelry and exotic goods. However, there are many fakes so if you can’t recognize a genuine item, take care. A lot of women travelers have noted toiletries are expensive in China. Some toiletries are locally manufactured and look like products from the US or Europe but are inferior. They are known to cause harm. It is strongly advised you take your own.
China is not always the easiest location to contend with. However, it has such a wealth of beautiful locations and ancient wisdom it is growing fast in popularity.