Things That Are Not Allowed When Travelling To China

China is a vast and amazing country, whose constant transformation has made it a leader in global economic and technological development. Tourists often flock here to explore its incredible sights, indulge in its delicious cuisine and experience its 5,000 year old culture. Before heading here, however, it’s very important to research China’s strict rules and regulations surrounding travelling there. In order to have a pleasant experience, here is some important advice to help ensure that you don’t do anything that could land you in trouble, or worse!

One of the things that are not allowed when travelling to China is bringing in any restricted items. According to the Ministry of Commerce, travellers should not bring in satellite equipment, unapproved mobile phones, remote-controlled toys or military items like uniforms, weapons or ammunition without permission. Additionally, people are not allowed to bring in any printed items which contain materials deemed unfit for public consumption in China. Those found in possession of any of these items may face fines, detention, or in extreme cases, deportation.

In terms of the items allowed to be brought into China, the requirements can vary depending on the nationality of the traveller. Generally, however, those entering by air are only allowed to bring in a laptop or tablet computer, two suitcases, and a maximum of 400g of tobacco or 2 liters of alcohol. It’s also important to note that any fresh food, including fruits and vegetables, is not allowed in, and those found in possession of them may face fines.

When it comes to what you wear, it’s advisable to dress conservatively, as the Chinese authorities can be very strict about what people wear. For example, in most cities, things like low-cut tops, short shorts, or skimpy skirts are deemed inappropriate and could land you in some serious trouble with the police. Additionally, it is illegal to wear clothing in public with politically charged messages and images, or anything deemed as offensive in China.

Travellers should also be aware that certain activities are not allowed, such as engaging in any form of religious activity outside of temples and churches, taking photographs of military sites or buildings, or participating in any kind of political protests. Those found breaking these laws can expect strict punishment including fines, detention or deportation, so it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Lastly, it is against the law to take part in any form of gambling or betting. This includes participating in local lotteries and the purchase of any form of lottery ticket. Of course, more serious violations such as large-scale gambling operations could lead to even more severe consequences, so it’s best to avoid this altogether.

Public Transportation in China

One of the best ways to explore China is to use its efficient and affordable public transportation network. This includes buses, trains, planes, and even ferries if you are travelling from one Chinese city to another. People will find that each of these forms of transportation has its own set of rules, including no-smoking policies, no-food and drink policies, and even baggage restrictions. Some services, like the high-speed trains and the internal shuttle buses, have also implemented extra security checks, so it’s important to be aware of these rules to avoid facing any trouble.

Sticking to the Budget

One of the biggest pieces of advice when it comes to travelling to China is to stick to your budget. With meals starting from only a few dollars and a growing range of hostels and budget hotels, it’s easy to find affordable accommodation and entertainment that won’t break the bank. There are also lots of free and interesting activities available such as visiting the various temples, gardens, and parks, all of which make for a great day out. Additionally, some of China’s most awe-inspiring sights like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City are free, so visitors can enjoy the country and its culture without spending too much money.

Knowing The Language

Whilst many signs, menus, and other public areas may be written in the English language, visitors may need to know some basic Chinese phrases if they’re planning to explore further out from the city centre. It’s always useful to know some essential phrases like “Nǐ hǎo!” for hello, and “Xièxiè” for thank you. If you’re prone to getting lost, you may also want to learn some more phrases such as “Qǐng wèn”, which translates to ‘excuse me’. Knowing some basic Mandarin will not only help you to get around, but will also help make conversations with the locals that much easier.

Enjoying the Local Food

China offers a huge range of culinary delights that you simply must try. Of course, this is dependent on changes in dietary restrictions due to COVID-19. However, once the pandemic passes, there are many dishes that will be sure to captivate the taste buds. Street food is ubiquitous in the country, and there is an abundance of restaurants serving both regional Chinese food and international dishes. Some famous local snacks include da bing (Chinese pancake) and jian bing (Chinese crepe), both of which are incredibly popular, and can usually be found served up with a variety of fresh ingredients like eggs, vegetables, and sauces.

Family-Friendly Activities in China

While China is not the typical family-friendly vacation destination, there are a host of activities that can be enjoyed with the whole family. A visit to the Great Wall of China, relaxing by one of the many lakes, or a fun-filled day at one of the many waterparks are all great options. If you’re looking for something educational and stimulating, a trip to one of the many museums is always a great choice. There are also many ancient sites to explore, such as the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors, and the Panda Sanctuaries, which are sure to be enjoyable for every member of the family.

Visa Restrictions and Requirements

Travellers planning to visit China should also be aware of the visa requirements and restrictions related to different passport holders. Most countries require a valid visa, which can be obtained from the Chinese embassy prior to arrival in the country. Citizens of certain countries are eligible for the visa-free transit scheme, which allows a stay of up to 144 hours, making it easier to visit multiple cities in one visit. For those wanting to stay longer, the visa costs vary depending on the purpose of the trip, length of stay, and other factors.

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.

Leave a Comment