Tips for the traveller

I have barely been in China a week yet I have learnt so much already…

chicken nuggets – really?

1. There are no such things as taxi ranks in China – crossing several roads and waving at empty taxis for twenty minutes will not guarantee you a cab. Be prepared to be patient and always take a card with the name of the hotel on (preferably in Mandarin as they don't speak English).

Look familiar?

2. Always ensure the price is clear before you take a rickshaw. When you think the driver means 30 Yuen, he actually means 300 Yuen (27 pounds more than originally stated) and once you've arrived at your destination there is no pleading with him.

Rickshaw ride through a Hutong

3. Make sure your taxi doesn't have a flat tyre before you get in. As the driver may realise half way through your journey and tell you to get out in the middle of the highway, stranded in the middle of the night with no way of getting back to your hotel.

4. Don't get caught out – always carry tissue paper and trousers that you can roll up. The squat toilets are great for building up those thigh muscles! Be prepared to sacrifice your privacy in the authentic toilets (can be found at Xi'an train station).

Yes – I actually took a picture of the Chinese toilets!

5. Even in quiet, remote villages, ear plugs are an absolute essential as the Chinese love their karaoke (plus they talk very loudly).


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