Final Days of Zhongshan and Tips for China

June 25, 2009 - Zhongshan, China

And so, my China trip is drawing to a close and I am saddened and excited. I am happy to be going home, to see my family and chill with friends and generally just slack off, but I am also sad to be leaving here and my Chinese family, and so much delicious Chinese food, right, and Jia, too.  :P

So. For anyone who wants to travel China, or who just wants to know about it, I'm going to leave tips on this page. Actually, I lied. This has nothing to do with the rest of you, it's a reminder for myself, when I come back. Because I will. As soon as I learn Chinese.  :P

Tips (will be added to as figured...):

1. Learn Chinese-- You can get around major cities without it, but you'll get much better prices and people will like you more.

2. Yes, people stare. Get over it. Smile and be flattered. Your smile can turn a hundred suspicious Chinese frowns into grins. It's bizarre.

3. Spend your coin money while in Macau or Hong Kong-- Chinese banks don't exchange those for RMBs... and HK$ coins can come in $2, $5, or $10, which can be sad to have become suddenly useless except for decoration. Although they are quite pretty.

4. Tell yourself it's ok to spend money, but set a limit. Otherwise you will spend a lot. Because there is SO much cool stuff to buy and for way better prices.

5. Eat in smaller restaurants-- They're scarier because they aren't as pretty and things may not be done in English, but if you can do it. The food is often better and cheaper.

6. Like Tea.

7. Be open to eating WEIRD food. And liking it.

8. Have internet access, somehow, someway-- You never know when you might need it. Like for city maps. Or sight seeing places. Or how to test for real jade. You just never know! Heck, you might even want to keep a blog!  :D

9. Haggle. Haggle almost everywhere. And don't bother with most places you can't haggle anyways. China is cheap because you can bargain; a lot of department stores are US prices, if not higher, especially is high-touristy areas.

10. When haggling, think about the price you WANT to pay for said object, divide that number in half and start bargaining there. Forget about their prices, they're not important. They will raise their prices because you're not Chinese.

Insist on the price you want, and mean it. Repeat yourself over and over again. They will come down off the price with time, and if not, well, then you can probably buy that same exact object from another vendor who will meet it.

Start to walk away. Walk away leisurely and look around at nearby vendors, or other items in the vendor's booth. They will lower the price, and often, call out lower and lower prices as you proceed to walk away. Keep repeating the price you want.

It takes time.

Unless you are the awesome Brazilian girl I saw in Yangshuo. She wanted a dress that was being sold just about everywhere there and when she asked for the price, the vendor told her 85 RMB; because she was not Chinese, he raised the price, and she knew it. She turned to him angrily and in heavily-accented English forcefully replied: "NO! T H I R T Y - F I V E." and turned and walked away. He had the price lowered to about 20 RMB in 4 seconds (almost ridiculously low for a dress, even in China; that's about $3 USD at time of writing). It was incredible.

11. Visit the villages. The historical ones are pretty chill, but the real live ones are where it's at. Go with someone who grew up there or knows that area well (and speaks that village's dialect), because people will be less hostile and more likely to like you. These places are an entirely different sided of China than you will get in the cities.

 

Final Tab (including plane): $2351.58 USD

plane roundtrip: $1060 USD


2 Comments

MumNDad:
June 26, 2009
Blow kisses to China and her family, give them hugs and our thanks for spoiling you so well!!! You still have today to perfect your Chinese....get to it! We will see you at the airport!!! Love you and God bless your comings and goings! MumNPops
MumNDad:
June 26, 2009
(Edited version!!! Jia, we accidentally back spaced you out while correcting a comma...sorry:( Lack of coffee... )Blow kisses to China, Jia and her family, give them hugs and our thanks for spoiling you so well!!! You still have today to perfect your Chinese....get to it! We will see you at the airport!!! Love you and God bless your comings and goings! MumNPops
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