China is an enormous country, filled with many interesting places. It can be quite daunting, however, for people travelling alone, even for those who are used to undertaking solo adventures. Tours may come in very handy for sections of trips, and make life a lot easier.
There are some handy hints though that can really make your Chinese adventure a lot less of a challenge and a lot more fun.
Not Everyone Speaks English in China …
A big problem for travellers, especially outside of major cities and tourist attractions, is the language. There are several different languages used in China, with the most commonly used language being Mandarin. Others include Cantonese and Min Nan.
It is next to impossible to follow signs, with a completely different character system in place, and phonetic spellings can leave a lot to be desired. Chinese languages are tonal, which adds to complications. A phrasebook or translator is an invaluable tool when travelling in China. Make sure though that you download offline applications, as internet coverage can be sparse, especially in more remote areas. Teenagers and younger people are often a good bet when seeking assistance, as they often learn English in school.
Stay with a Host Family in China
A stay, however short or long, with a Chinese host family can help immensely with understanding various things about China and the Chinese way of life. It can help to save money and make a new local friend or two. Even if your host family cannot speak so much English, they will certainly try and help you in any way that they can.
Be Aware of Personal Safety in China
China is generally a safe place for most travellers. As with any big city though, China’s big cities are not without their risks. Likewise, poorer areas can also have their own safety issues. Follow the basic rules of common sense when travelling and you should be completely fine. Do not flash expensive or valuable items, avoid carrying too much cash, make sure someone knows where you are, even if they are in your home town, and have a copy of your passport in a safe place.
Make sure all your possessions are secure. Females should not wear overly revealing clothes, for both safety and so as not to cause offence, and one should avoid walking alone at night. Be wary of strangers who are too friendly, and ask too many questions, and it also helps to have a plan of where you will be staying when you arrive in a new place.
Try to time transport so that you are not arriving in the middle of the night or when it will still be dark. When going out partying, try to stay reasonably sober.
Meet Other Solo Travellers in China
It is often a good idea to team up with other independent travellers who have a similar schedule and plan to you. Of course, you should be able to feel that you will get on well with person and that you can trust them. Being with somebody can help with issues of personal safety, provide more ideas, and also help to relieve frustrations.
China is a fantastic place, and solo adventurers are sure to have lots of fun and memorable experiences however they plan their trip.