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Oleg's China Photo Travel Guide
General issues to be aware of when traveling in China

Among the issues that one should generally be aware of while traveling in China I would like to mention the following:

  • Generally, China is a very safe place to travel. However, one should take normal safety precautions and be alert to suspicious activities or strangers at all times. Always avoid public arguments including those that might involve you and even if you think you are in the right.

  • You should carry your ID (passport or Foreigner Residence Permit, 居留证) with you at all times.

  • Do not exchange foreign currency for RMB (CNY) at any places except for banks, hotels and official exchange offices. Avoid any illegal exchange services even if you are offered a more favorable exchange rate - apart from being unlawful it is also unsafe.

  • Make sure you have a variety of financial means available to you at all times. This would generally include cash (RMB), a debit card issued by a local Chinese bank if you have an account with one and foreign cards (credit or debit). As far as cash is concerned, one is advised to only carry an amount sufficient for current needs.

  • While I have done it many times and it is doable, I strongly recommend avoiding traveling during October holiday (October 1st through 7th), Chinese New Year (January or February; check concrete dates every year) and May Day holiday (May 1st through 7th). During these periods most travel destinations are crowded, means of transportation are stretched and prices are significantly higher than usually.

  • Bargain and establish exact price of services you intend to use, as well as what the price includes, prior to actually using the services at all times. Otherwise, you might be seriously ripped off or find yourself involved in a public argument.

  • Although there are some exceptions, recording media (film or digital) can be bought only in major cities. Make sure you have enough film or CF cards for the whole trip. If you need to buy photo accessories, film or equipment in China, I recommend doing it here.

  • Climatically, China is an extremely diverse place and you should check out current whether conditions in the place of your destination when planning a trip and before setting out.

Is there anything you think I have forgotten to mention? Please let me know.