So, you're planning to come to China!

Andy Boreham
China is rolling out visa free travel for many countries around the world. Today, I'll share my Top 3 lists to make your trip to China a raging success. Let's go!
Andy Boreham

Directed by Andy Boreham. Shot by Andy Boreham. Edited by Andy Boreham. Reported by Andy Boreham.

Hello, my name's Andy, a New Zealander who has been living in China for the past ten years. China is rolling out visa free travel for many countries around the world, with Australia and New Zealand recently joining the ever expanding list! That means that unlike before, people with passports from those countries can just buy a ticket and come to China to see this massive and amazing country with their own eyes. Today, I'm going to share with you five Top 3 lists to make your trip to China a raging success. Let's go!

So, you're planning to come to China!

1) Probably every foreigner knows what "nihao" means, but it can get complicated. If you're greeting two or more people, you need to say "nimenhao." If you're greeting your boss, or a friend you want to make feel uncomfortable, you should say "nin hao." So I have a way easier option for you: HELLO! That's right, literally everyone in China knows what "hello" means, and many even use it instead of "nihao."

2) Next up, Chinese people are super friendly and will want to know where you're from! You can reply, "wo laizi" (我来自) and then add your country name. Wo means I, and laizi means "come from."

Here are the Chinese names of some of the countries with visa free status.

Ireland: Ai'erlan (爱尔兰)

Australia: Aodaliya(澳大利亚)

New Zealand: Xinxilan(新西兰)

France: Faguo (法国)

Germany: Deguo (德国)

I'm from New Zealand, so I would say "wo laizi Xinxilan."

3) The last Chinese phrase is a handy one if you're trying to get someone's attention, whether it's a waiter, ticket seller, shopkeeper or police officer. You can just shout out "Hello handsome guy!" or "Hello pretty girl!" In China, you're not going to get accused of sexual harassment for this, and you can use this phrase whether the person is really model material or not.

For guys, say "halou shuai ge" (哈喽帅哥) and for women, say halou meinu (哈喽美女). Easy!

So, you're planning to come to China!

China is a highly online country, and there are some apps you absolutely need to get by here smoothly. Remember, you might find it difficult to get onto Instagram, PayPal, Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. Before you come, download these apps.

1) WeChat, which is the most popular and widely used app in the entire country. It's mainly a communication tool, and any new friends you make while you're here will want to add you. You can also add your tour guide, driver, and so on for easy communication. A bonus tip: Get your friends and family back home to download WeChat as well, then you can chat or call them for free while you're in China.

2) AliPay, one of China's most popular payment apps. Literally everyone in China makes payments using their phone, from restaurants to buses to little old ladies selling flowers on the street. You can hook it up easily to your credit card for super simple payment while you're here.

3) Finally, while many in China can speak English, don't rely on luck. Download a good translation app so you can communicate when you're in a pickle.

So, you're planning to come to China!

Now let's check out the Top 3 places to visit when you come to China! Many people will already be flying into one of China's more famous, must visit cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, or Guangzhou, so here I'll list some other places that I particularly enjoy in China.

1) Number one is definitely Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Yes, Xinjiang has been smeared all over Western news for the past few years, which is all the more reason to go and check it out for yourself! Kashgar, on the old silk road, is an ancient city on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Here you can eat lamb kebabs, ride camels and peruse the 2,000 year old market streets to your hearts desire.

2) Number two is one of my favourite cities in China, Chongqing, which is famous for being more cyberpunk than Bladerunner and located among high mountains and rivers. This place was recently accused of being fake by TikTok users, because it looks that unreal! Chongqing has a population of over 30 million and is famous for its super spicy food, but don't let that put you off if you're not into crying while you eat. You can find food from all over China and the world here.

3) Number three is one of the most magical places I've ever visited, En'shi, otherwise known as the Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in the mountainous, isolated and magical southwestern part of Hubei Province. This place is stunning, and will have you feeling like you've suddenly appeared in some kind of ancient period drama with misty mountains and lush, green forests.

So, you're planning to come to China!

Now for the yummiest part, the top three things to eat in China!

1) Number one has to be 火锅 or hot pot, a delicious, bubbling soup where diners cook their own meat and vegetables, with delicious sauces to match. There are many different styles of hotpot all over China, for example spicy hotpot from Chongqing, sour hotpot from Guizhou, and coconut chicken hotpot from Hainan. Go exploring, and find your favourite!

2) Number two, dumplings. Again, these vary all over China, with some famous ones being Shanghai's xiaolongbao, northern China's jiaozi, and Guangdong's dimsum. Usually dumplings contain some kind of meat, like pork, but you can also try sweet dumplings with red bean, or vegetarian dumplings with egg and leak or any other combination. Yum!

3) Number three, you just have to try shaokao, or BBQ skewers, which are best eaten on the side of the road with local beer and friends. Here you can order meat skewers like beef, lamb, chicken, and seafood, as well as all your favourite BBQ'd veges such as potato, green beans, mushrooms, and everything else you could imagine.

And that's it you guys! My fave Top 3 lists for anyone planning to visit China in 2024. Where would you most like to visit? What would you most like to eat? And when are you coming?

See you in China soon!

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