China Safe Solo Travel

China stands tall among the most interesting and diverse countries in the world. With its long-standing culture, unique landscapes, and world-famous sites, it has attracted millions of visitors from all over the globe. But even with the prospect of adventure around every corner, many first-time visitors are hesitant to explore the country alone. China, while filled with grandeur, can be intimidating. That is why we have compiled all the best tips for those looking to safely travel solo in China.

The first step to have a safe and successful solo travel to China is to create an itinerary. With all the available attractions, from ancient monuments to vibrant night markets, it can be overwhelming. Therefore, create an agenda detailing the locations, restaurants, and activities you would like to experience in advance. That way, you can bypass any surprises or complications on the day of. Additionally, it helps to have a firm grasp of the language. China uses both simplified Chinese characters and traditional Chinese characters in its day-to-day written language, so start learning the basics in advance.

Getting around China can be complicated as well. To move from destination to destination with ease, we recommend taking the high-speed railway. The railway is one of the most efficient and fastest ways to get around the country. Not only that, but the prices are generally cheaper compared to taking a plane.

Another essential strategy for traveling in China solo is to stay connected and updated with the local news. As previously mentioned, China can be a bit intimidating, so being knowledgeable of the current events helps you stay mindful of any potential security risks. By reading up on the news, you can also be in the know of any changes in the transportation sector.

Finally, it is fundamental to stay aware of your surroundings and to avoid traveling to unfamiliar areas alone. Abide by the country’s laws and customs. That way, you will have a far better experience without any potential legal implications.

Research Accommodations

Accommodations are a necessary part of planning for solo travel. Luckily for independent travelers, China has an abundance of lodging options to choose from. Whether you are a budget traveler looking for a hostel or a luxury traveler wanting elegant services, the country has something for everyone.

China is unique on account of its varying accommodations. Its hotels range from five-star properties found in the city, to cozy options found in smaller towns and countryside. We recommend booking beforehand if possible; the last thing you want to do is search for a place to sleep for the night while in an unfamiliar environment. Additionally, it pays to read the reviews before making your selection. It is a great indicator of an establishment’s real quality, service, and overall atmosphere.

Moreover, certain locations provide an extra level of safety for solo travelers. Seeking out hosts recommended by employers that solo-travelers trust is an excellent approach. It allows you to make connections with locals, so you can get an insider’s perspective on the regions you visit.

Ease of Communication

One of the most common worries that travelers have is if they will be able to communicate in their destination. Asia is known for having its own language barriers, China being no exception. While many citizens around the country know enough English to communicate, it is not advised to expect a certain level of English outside of the city.

We suggest that solo travelers familiarize themselves with the Chinese language before arriving. Although there is a learning curve, there are enough English-friendly signage and restaurants around the country that you will still be able to eat, find accommodation, and get around without knowing the language. There is also an abundance of language learning apps and websites that make the process of learning Mandarin a lot less daunting.

Furthermore, having a reliable translator app on your phone will help with translations. The availability of fast internet interactions also makes it easy to communicate with fellow travelers in the area. As long as you are connected to Wifi, you can ask questions and converse with people in no time.

Know your Rights

As with any place you visit, you should be aware of your rights as a foreigner in China. Political adversaries are all but banned from entering, yet people are free to come and go with a valid visa. As of 2021, China requires travelers to have a valid visa before entering; there are a few exceptions with neighboring countries like Japan and South Korea.

Though many visitors are under the impression that they cannot use VPNs when in the country, this is far from true. A VPN is a fantastic tool for making sure that your personal information is secure when using open Wifi networks. By ensuring that your device is encrypted, you can access the internet securely without the fear of being spied on.

Additionally, it is important to note that certain places can be off-limits to outsiders. The government in China is strict when it comes to who can access certain sites—political dissidents are often monitored and app filers are always watched. It is best to stick to the more touristy areas and always ask for permission before entering a public place.

Be Mindful of Culinary Delights

Chinese food is some of the most delicious and unique in the world. But it is important to be mindful of the dietary restrictions that come along with it. While it can be tempting to sample all the Chinese delicacies, it is possible that some may not agree with your stomach. We recommend approaching unfamiliar dishes with caution—share a portion with a local friend to get a better gauge of the flavor and overpowering types of spices.

Also, consider whether or not the meal comes from a reputable place. Always check the reviews of certain restaurants to ensure that it gets top marks from the community before visiting. Another precaution to have in mind is to guarantee that the food has not been sitting around for too long, as this increases the risk of food poisoning.

Finally, wash your hands frequently and always inspect the food before consumption. Dirty surfaces or utensils can transmit a variety of negative bacteria, so it is important to avoid them as much as possible. By doing so, you can enjoy every traditional Chinese delicacy with peace of mind.

Stay In Touch with People Back Home

No matter how safe and secure you feel when traveling solo, it is important to keep your loved ones up-to-date. China’s cities can quickly become overwhelming and full of hustle and bustle. As such, a few minutes of communication with people back home can help relieve that mental and emotional pressure. It is easy to stay connected with the help of free or inexpensive calling and video-chatting apps.

That said, there is some mistrust towards social media sites in certain parts of the country, so conducting interviews with local media and other types of reporters can be risky. The government prohibits the broadcast of certain information and censors some forms of media expression. Always take the time to research the safety policies of the country before sending any messages.


With these tips in mind, we hope that you feel more confident about your upcoming solo trip to China. While the country has many surprises and wonder, it is important that you take precautions to ensure that your trip is pleasant and safe.

By planning appropriately, staying knowledgeable and aware of your surroundings, and understanding the laws and customs of the country, you will have a far more enjoyable experience. China is a stunning country with many unforgettable attractions—explore them safely.

John Melendez

John J. Melendez is a journalist, author, and commentator specializing in Chinese culture, politics, and international relations. He is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, and is the author of several books on Chinese culture and politics. He currently resides in Beijing, China.

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