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Old 09-29-2014, 05:08 AM
 
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The China part of the vacation trip will be several weeks. starting in Shanghai, Meeting up with a tour group to do various tourist things like the wall.A week or so in Japan and another week in Korea is on the itinerary, Although she has a few friends over there most of the trip she will be doing alone, as a doting parent i worry and will be happy when she gets back...
any tips or tricks any one can impart.
like will her iPhone work there and how will she charge batteries for it and camera.?
How will she get Chinese money when she gets off the plane?
How prevalent is the English language.?
Are restaurants familiar with English?
When not on the tour she is thinking of staying in youth hostels

Last edited by Ibginnie; 10-03-2014 at 10:23 PM.. Reason: hotlinking
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Old 09-29-2014, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,792 posts, read 13,402,098 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
The China part of the vacation trip will be several weeks. starting in Shanghai, Meeting up with a tour group to do various tourist things like the wall.A week or so in Japan and another week in Korea is on the itinerary, Although she has a few friends over there most of the trip she will be doing alone, as a doting parent i worry and will be happy when she gets back...
China is actually a pretty safe place overall. As long as she doesn't decide to wander into a really gully area alone, in the middle of the night, she will be fine.

Quote:
any tips or tricks any one can impart.
like will her iPhone work there and how will she charge batteries for it and camera.?
As far as the iPhone: China Mobile: Frequently asked questions

I know a number of people with unlocked US/EU iPhones here in China who are able to use them on China Mobile's networks. She will need to have the phone unlocked if she hasn't already (there's probably a place at the local mall that will do it for pretty cheap), and then once she's in China, she'll have to buy a China Mobile SIM card. There are China Mobile stores every hundred or so meters in basically every city in China so it won't be a problem for her to get to one. She will have to bring her passport and tourist visa with her, because in China, phones have to be registered to a person - the gov't keeps pretty tight tabs on these things.

The SIM card costs 50 or 60 RMB if I recall correctly, which is about $10, and then she'll have to load the phone with money. She can do it at any China Mobile store, or at any 7-11, FamilyMart, Circle K, or C-Store in increments of 30, 50, or 100 yuan. After she leaves China she can just throw the SIM card away and her phone will function as normal.

Chances are good that if she goes to a China Mobile in a busy area such as a mall or main road in Shanghai, they will have at least one or two staff members who speak enough English to understand what she wants.

Her phone and camera charger will plug into the wall. She doesn't need to bring a converter for any two-prong plugs. I still use my US Android, laptop, and Nikon DSLR cables and battery chargers here with no converter or adapter. My US-market guitar amp needs one because it's a three-prong.

Quote:
How will she get Chinese money when she gets off the plane?
There are currency exchange places in the airport; there are other places that have better rates. Her hotel can probably help out with that.

I'd say it's a good idea for her to exchange about a hundred bucks, which will be roughly 600 yuan after conversion fees, before she leaves home. That gives her more than enough to get a bite to eat, get a taxi, and get a SIM card when she arrives, before she exchanges more. Her bank may be able to do it and their fees are usually better, though sometimes it takes them a day or two to get the currency in stock. If not there, then some check cashing places do currency conversion as well.

If she uses Bank of America, as I do back home, then she can use any China Construction Bank ATM to withdraw money from her account and won't pay an ATM or conversion fee, just get straight cash. If she doesn't use BofA it may be a good idea for her to open an account just for the time she's there, and then close it once she's back. Or, check with her bank and see if they partner with anyone in China. And, *make sure that the bank knows she will be in China or they will lock out her card when it's used in a foreign ATM*.

Quote:
How prevalent is the English language.?
In Shanghai/Beijing/Guangzhou/Shenzhen, it's prevalent enough that in most shops people will say "hello" to me instead of "ni hao," and will tell me the cost in English. There are enough expats in those cities and enough younger and business people have taken English courses for some time... BUT, most people do not have a functional command of the language.

Here are a couple useful phrases you can pass on to her:

ni hao ("knee how") = hello
dui bu qi ("dway boo chi") = excuse me/I'm sorry
zai jian = goodbye
xie xie ("shay shay") = thank you
dui ("dway") = yes
meyo ("mayo," like mayonnaise) = no
bu yao ("boo yeow") = don't want
wo ("whoa") = me/i
Meiguo ("may gwo") = America
do shao chien ("dough shao chyen") = how much is it?
jega (said while pointing at something) (jay guh) = I want this (if she's in a shop or restaurant and wants something, she can just point and say "jega" and they will give it to her)
wo ai zhongguo ("whoa I john gwo") = I love China

If she needs a bathroom, she can say "WC," 90% of people will understand it.

I survived off of the above plus a few lines about food, ordering beer, and knowing how to tell a woman she was beautiful for a few months

Quote:
Are restaurants familiar with English?
Not necessarily. Bigger/nicer/pricier places probably have a waitress or manager who speaks enough English to get your order, but if she has dietary concerns such as vegetarianism, food allergies, religious restrictions, etc, she may want to keep a few phrases in Chinese on her phone's notepad to show staff. Many if not most restaurants will either have photos of their food in the menus or on the wall, so she can point and say "jega" and get that.

Quote:
When not on the tour she is thinking of staying in youth hostels
I haven't stayed in a hostel in China because hotels can be had for so cheap here... there's a chain of hotels called 7 Days Inn that are in most major and secondary cities and they cost about the equivalent of $16/night. No frills but clean and you have your own bathroom. 7Days Inn - Quality hotel rooms from as low as RMB137

If you have any more, more direct questions, feel free to PM me

Last edited by 415_s2k; 09-29-2014 at 06:41 AM..
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Old 09-29-2014, 09:52 AM
 
32,219 posts, read 33,126,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post


If she uses Bank of America, as I do back home, then she can use any China Construction Bank ATM to withdraw money from her account and won't pay an ATM or conversion fee, just get straight cash. If she doesn't use BofA it may be a good idea for her to open an account just for the time she's there, and then close it once she's back. Or, check with her bank and see if they partner with anyone in China. And, *make sure that the bank knows she will be in China or they will lock out her card when it's used in a foreign ATM*.


In Shanghai/Beijing/Guangzhou/Shenzhen, it's prevalent enough that in most shops people will say "hello" to me instead of "ni hao," and will tell me the cost in English. There are enough expats in those cities and enough younger and business people have taken English courses for some time... BUT, most people do not have a functional command of the language.


Not necessarily. Bigger/nicer/pricier places probably have a waitress or manager who speaks enough English to get your order, but if she has dietary concerns such as vegetarianism, food allergies, religious restrictions, etc, she may want to keep a few phrases in Chinese on her phone's notepad to show staff. Many if not most restaurants will either have photos of their food in the menus or on the wall, so she can point and say "jega" and get that.


I haven't stayed in a hostel in China because hotels can be had for so cheap here... there's a chain of hotels called 7 Days Inn that are in most major and secondary cities and they cost about the equivalent of $16/night. No frills but clean and you have your own bathroom. 7Days Inn - Quality hotel rooms from as low as RMB137
It isn't necessary to open a Bank of America account in order to withdraw Chinese currency from the China Construction Bank ATMs as one can use any American debit/credit card. There are American banks such as TD Bank and Capital One that also depending on the type of checking account one has with them that may or may not charge out of their system ATM fees. In general it isn't necessary to exchange foreign currency in advance if one has an American debit card as there are other Chinese banks (besides China Construction Bank) that will allow one to withdraw local currency as well.

As already said outside of major tourist areas in China there are usually no signs in English and most locals don't speak English. If one is trying to find help without knowing Chinese, one should always approach a college/university age person as the best chance of finding someone who knows how to speak some English.

Youth hostels in China can be good. I know there is a good one in Qufu (birthplace of Confucius) which I know people that have stayed at. On the other hand as mentioned, one can pretty cheaply in China a room in a decent 3 star hotel as a single person (as the Chinese charge per person and there is no single supplement fee like in the USA). Another decent reasonably priced Chinese hotel chain is the JinJiang hotel chain.

As for food, most local Chinese restaurants are quite cheap but do not have menus in English. But some do have photos of the food which are helpful when ordering without speaking Chinese. Another option is American fast food chains that do have Chinese/English menus but their prices are similar to what one pays in the USA.
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,956 posts, read 36,274,076 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
like will her iPhone work there and how will she charge batteries for it and camera.?
How will she get Chinese money when she gets off the plane?
How prevalent is the English language.?
Are restaurants familiar with English?
When not on the tour she is thinking of staying in youth hostels
Get an adapter for the iPhone. Usually found at the airport, but if not, around the hostel/hostel. Always someone will have adapters somewhere.

Chinese money. At the Airport. If she is arriving at night, she can change money before she arrives in China. Tons of money changers will be anywhere where tourists go. So, she doesn't have to change everything over right away.

English. Mainland Chinese are not very good with English generally. That being said, you can always get your way around to everywhere you need in one way or another.

Restaurants. There are always a mix. She can use a Lonely Planet travel guide, which is for backpacker types staying at hostels. They'll list a ton that are very backpacker friendly, and probably cheap as well. All budgets they'll have, most likely.

Hostels are a great place to meet people, you should encourage it. Sure, they are dirty and loud and such. but they are also very very social and ideal for anyone in their 20s.
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:41 AM
 
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Many ATMs accept American debit cards, as long as they are VISA or Master.
Credit cards are less accepted in China, but some stores and hotels accept them.
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:01 PM
 
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[MOD CUT/off topic]
Since it appears she will go with a tour group, she does not need to worry about the language. Also, English speakers are getting more and more common, particularly in the young, in PRC. Suprisingly so. For western hotels - no problem. If she takes a taxi independently have the hotel staff write out her destination in Chinese. Of course, understanding a few basic words never hurts. Of the beaten path in China she might have problems.
Chinese money - ATM should be available in airport. Or you can covert cash in airport, either when she arrives or when leaving from an international US airport. ATMs are everywhere in China, at least the big cities.
Resteraunts - if she stays near an area with western hotels she should have no problem. If nothing else she can point to what she wants (lots of menus have pictures) and you will both figure it out. That's actually part of the fun.
China is safe but be aware of scammers, particularly in Shanghai in tourist areas such as The Bund. If a Chinese comes up speaking English and is overly friendly, they want something.
Youth hostels - no idea.

Last edited by Ibginnie; 10-05-2014 at 08:07 AM..
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,495 posts, read 54,907,924 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
The China part of the vacation trip will be several weeks. starting in Shanghai, Meeting up with a tour group to do various tourist things like the wall.A week or so in Japan and another week in Korea is on the itinerary, Although she has a few friends over there most of the trip she will be doing alone, as a doting parent i worry and will be happy when she gets back...
any tips or tricks any one can impart.
like will her iPhone work there and how will she charge batteries for it and camera.?
How will she get Chinese money when she gets off the plane?
How prevalent is the English language.?
Are restaurants familiar with English?
When not on the tour she is thinking of staying in youth hostels
My 23-year-old daughter MOVED to China this weekend. She will be teaching English in Beijing but the job doesn't start for a couple of weeks. She flew to Shanghai, took a train to Longang, will stay in Longang for a few days then is going back to Shanghai for a concert and the moon festival before they go to Beijing. She is traveling with her boyfriend.

The youth hostels are great. My daughter went to school for a semester in Chengdu and traveled wbile she was there. There are websites that tell which hostels are best. (My kid spent her first night this trip in an all-night noodle shop/cafe because it was too late to catch a train to Longang.)

My daughter got her iPhone 6 before she left. You charge it just as you do here. There is WiFi at places like Starbucks. Yes, Starbucks and McDonald's and K F C are all there.

A lot of people speak English. More want to learn. My daughter, her bf, her old roommate, and her bf's friend are all there because Chinese schools need native English speakers as teachers.

I think you can change money right at the airport.

Of course you must worry. That's what we do. Your daughter should just be cautious not to go off somewhere with any strangers. My daughter's bf did that the first time he was in Shanghai thinking these guys were being friendly. They held him in a room for hours, took his cash, took his credit cards and someone left with them and then brought them back, and photographed his passport. He doesn't know what they did with the info.

But other than just being smart and aware of her surroundings, your daughter should be ok. There are a lot of Americans in China now, including 12,000 American college students every year.
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:48 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
79,101 posts, read 71,082,962 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Of course you must worry. That's what we do. Your daughter should just be cautious not to go off somewhere with any strangers. My daughter's bf did that the first time he was in Shanghai thinking these guys were being friendly. They held him in a room for hours, took his cash, took his credit cards and someone left with them and then brought them back, and photographed his passport. He doesn't know what they did with the info.

But other than just being smart and aware of her surroundings, your daughter should be ok. There are a lot of Americans in China now, including 12,000 American college students every year.
People need to use common sense. How often in the US do people go off with any random strangers who approach them? I've spoken to women who say this or that country is unsafe because when they got into a car at midnight with some men they'd met at a disco, things got very scary very fast. So the entire country is unsafe because of their recklessness? Do women do that in the US, get into a car with several strangers in the middle of the night? wth?! I hope your daughter and her friends have some basic sense. And fyi, it's usually recommended that traveler's photocopy the main page of their passport and give it to their travel companion, or a local friend, in case it's stolen, or worse.
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Old 09-29-2014, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
People need to use common sense. How often in the US do people go off with any random strangers who approach them? I've spoken to women who say this or that country is unsafe because when they got into a car at midnight with some men they'd met at a disco, things got very scary very fast. So the entire country is unsafe because of their recklessness? Do women do that in the US, get into a car with several strangers in the middle of the night? wth?! I hope your daughter and her friends have some basic sense. And fyi, it's usually recommended that traveler's photocopy the main page of their passport and give it to their travel companion, or a local friend, in case it's stolen, or worse.
It definitely is just common sense. If you were a foreigner in New York City you could easily be lured into the same situation I described above by some shady Americans.

But, as my old boss used to say, common sense is not common.
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:46 PM
 
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Americans in both US and overseas are more chatty with random strangers, and often are the ones approaching other people.

In Asia, people are MUCH MORE cautious with random strangers, both locals and foreigners.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
People need to use common sense. How often in the US do people go off with any random strangers who approach them? I've spoken to women who say this or that country is unsafe because when they got into a car at midnight with some men they'd met at a disco, things got very scary very fast. So the entire country is unsafe because of their recklessness? Do women do that in the US, get into a car with several strangers in the middle of the night? wth?! I hope your daughter and her friends have some basic sense. And fyi, it's usually recommended that traveler's photocopy the main page of their passport and give it to their travel companion, or a local friend, in case it's stolen, or worse.
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