Although China is generally safe and has no major issues, just like anywhere there is a set of potential dangers everyone needs to watch out for. Naturally, not being a local you will be unaware of the common scams and which areas may be potentially risky.
This is why doing your research beforehand is important no matter where you visit. If you are planning to travel China alone, this is absolutely fine. But to be street smart, this article will present some need-to-know elements you should keep in mind whilst you are out there.
- Prepare for a bit of a culture shock.
If you’re a Westerner born and bred, you will want to be ready for a culture shock. If you are travelling alone, you might feel it more than if you were travelling with friends or a partner. Due to it being a developing country and the language barrier, it can quickly become isolating to some.
The array of senses will also be unfamiliar in terms of cultural customs, smells, sights and sounds. It’s important to be prepared for the possibility of culture shock so that it doesn’t hit you by surprise and you know the best ways to deal with it. It is recommended to talk to a trusted tour company and take advantage of quality and private China tours.
- If you are alone, invest in a phrase book.
The language barrier may be a big issue for solo travellers let alone those travelling together. Even though people in the capital and big cities will speak English, if you go further out you will find it difficult to come across those to converse with. Therefore, get a small phrase book of survival Chinese so you can at least get around from A to B or state what you’re allergic to in restaurants.
- Go for hostels over hotels.
If you are alone, hostels can be a true safe haven. Often, they are filled with other solo travellers or open-minded people who want to meet others. Therefore, you will build your network and not feel so alone. Before you know it, you will be planning day-trips with all the new friends you met from across the world. A word of warning though: if you are alone and staying in a hostel, make sure you get a safe and keen an eye on your belongings at all times.
- Know your transportation.
Taxis are generally okay but there are the odd cars that pose as taxis that you should stay clear of. These cars normally have red lights and tinted windows. It’s good practice to also keep the receipt as you can trace something you might have left behind.
- Be aware of the current scams.
When travelling alone anywhere, you become easier to scammers to close in on. There are normally popular scams in capital cities to catch out unsuspecting tourists. As well as researching, a key sign is strangers who speak fluent English approaching you at tourist hot-spots. Be cautious and kindly turn them away if they request anything.
When going out at night…
In bars and clubs, keep your belongings safe and with you at all times. Especially women carrying handbags need to be careful that they are not easy for someone to get into. You might also find beggars outside nightclubs and when on your own, it’s best to use your discernment.
Overall, China is a safe destination and you shouldn’t be overly worried. Like anywhere though, it’s good to do your research, stay observant and keep street smart to keep safe.