We want to do a quick China size up since we are getting ready to leave the country.
Overall, we really enjoyed our trip to China. We were able to see everything China is known for: the Great Wall, the Terra-cotta Warriors, Pandas, millions of people, and some lovely scenery. We were very fortunate to not experience too much smog, but that came at a price.
What We Learned
Bring lots of warm clothes if you’re traveling during winter.
Learn to speed walk in the major cities.
Learn to be pushy. No one waits for their turn in line or stops to let someone in.
It’s best to just close your eyes when in a moving vehicle. The driving is pretty terrifying.
“Spicy” doesn’t really mean hot, it just means it has spices, unless you’re in Chengdu.
What We Loved
The sites, specifically the pandas.
Most of our hotel breakfasts – they were always huge with mostly Asian foods, but a little western food.
The country is super clean.
The public transportation is amazingly efficient and cheap.
Free wifi everywhere.
Public toilets everywhere. Even the “bad” ones (without stalls) were very clean.
The language barrier. Pointing works to an extent, but really won’t get you too far. Sometimes that’s the best you can do though.
Finding a place to do laundry.
Smokers all over the place.
The air quality. Like I mentioned above, we really didn’t have bad smog days, but the air certainly isn’t what we are used to.
Doing a package tour was the best way to be introducted to China. Our tour company did a lot of handholding as far as getting us around and introducting us to the country and culture. It was necessary.Without our tour guides we would have been totally at a loss for 90% of the time. There are travel agencies around the different cities that could have set up individual trips, which could have saved a little money, but would have been an added headache and added unnecessary days to our trip.