Traveling through China can be an enriching and exciting experience. The beauty of the country, the rich and diverse culture, the delicious cuisine, and the friendly locals are only a few of the elements that make the country a gem of our world.

Yet, traveling there for the first time might feel a bit intimidating. But don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place.  Here are four things to know before visiting China for the first time:

1.   Knowing some essential Mandarin words will help

The Chinese language is often referred to as one of the most difficult ones to learn. And the Chinese language has seven significant dialects, and each of them has different variations. However, you don’t have to learn each of those variations when traveling to China because Mandarin is the most common language there used by nearly 71% of the population.

Now, although it isn’t a crucial necessity to know Mandarin, it will help you a lot to get around the cities. If you are planning to travel to the country’s largest cities such as Beijing or Shanghai, you will be able to get by with English. However, if you are planning to visit more cities and rural areas as well, you may have a difficult time trying to find someone who speaks English.

2.               Learn more about the country’s culture

Chinese culture is spectacular. It is rich in a variety of forms of arts, from sculpture to painting, dance, poetry, and philosophy. It is one of the world’s oldest and most complex cultures, and some of the most essential components include ceramics, architecture, music, literature, and martial arts.

Religion and the country’s rich history in spirituality and mysticism had a significant impact on the traditions and customs, which are still very popular today. There are several festivals and national holidays in China that keep the streets of the cities all around the country colorful.

Traditional dance is another crucial component of Chinese culture because it is the perfect representation of the nation’s character and colorful culture. The experts from Shen Yun Performing Arts point out, “Dance in China is complex thanks to its elaborate and unique stylized movements and its ethnically diverse costumes. Plus, the colorful and vivid whirling ribbons used by the performers to express their feelings and emotions through movements make it unique”.

Learning about the Chinese culture before traveling there is a great way to help you prepare your traveling plan, what to visit, and which events to attend to understand the culture better.

3.               Bring cash with you

Like it or not, when in China, you’ll have to carry some cash with you to be able to pay for all the things you will be buying there. There are more and more businesses in China that accept credit card payments as well. However, there are even more places where people will expect you to pay by cash.

Moreover, especially if you are traveling to less famous touristic destinations or the rural areas, it is always a good idea to have cash with you.

4.               Research places to visit

Now, we get that destinations such as Beijing, Shanghai, or Hong Kong are the most popular among tourists. However, there’s so much more to see from China where you will find not only friendly locals but also beautiful cultural attractions. So, when in China, don’t just limit your trip to famous touristic destinations but rather visit their surroundings as well.

Pro tip: You can always ask the locals for less known but amazing places to visit around China.