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A New Zealander lists 10 China travel tips [Copy link] 中文

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You might think you know what to expect if you head to China: ancient temples, mushrooming skyscrapers, crazy crowds, and an oppressive communist atmosphere. However, not everything is as it seems in the Middle Kingdom and, if you’re on your first visit, there will be plenty of surprises in what is not only one of the world’s great travel destinations, but one of the world’s fastest-changing and most optimistic societies. A New Zealand sums up 10 advices for first time visitors, do you agree or disagree?

1. China is empty

True, there are more than a billion people, yet half of China is virtually empty. Visit regions such as Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia, and find wild, rugged landscapes, vast skies, and only scattered towns and villages. Even the most populated coastal provinces have mountains and national parks.

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You can’t see the Great Wall from space

Sorry, you can’t see anything from the moon 384,000km away, and Buzz Aldrin himself has tried to put an end to this persistent schoolchild rumour. Good news is that this mighty structure is mighty impressive up close, with easily visited sections just outside Beijing.

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Not everyone eats rice …

Rice is only the staple in southern China, where the sub-tropical climate south of the Yangtze River suits rice growing. North of the Yangtze wheat prevails, and you’ll be tucking into pancakes, noodles, steamed dumplings, and baked sweet potatoes. In Xian, shredded meat between steamed bread (roujiamo) is the local answer to a hamburger.

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and only some people eat snake

If you imagine every table in China features snake, scorpion, or monkey brain, stop worrying: the worst you might encounter is offal or chicken’s feet. Though the Chinese do eat peculiar creatures, it’s becoming increasingly gimmicky these days, and the vast majority have never eaten dog – nor want to.

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Opinions flourish

China isn’t a country of repressed people afraid to have their own opinions. You’ll find plenty of locals willing to discuss big issues and engage you in lively debate, and many Chinese are well educated in international affairs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – just be diplomatic when you do so.

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The trains are fast. Really fast

Move over Japan, because the world’s fastest trains run on the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway and have reached speeds of 487kmh in trials, though they commonly travel at 300kmh, outpacing bullet trains or France’s TGV. As for the magnetic Maglev that operates between Shanghai’s Pudong airport and the city, it tops 430kmh.

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China isn’t cheap

If you think China is one of those bargain Asian destinations you’d be partly right, providing you’re willing to travel like a backpacker – or a local. But if you’re checking into international-brand hotels, looking for a Western meal and haunting cafes and nightclubs, prepare for a shock.

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