Yellow River. By area, it is the world's second-largest country, by population, the first. If you plan to visit China, be sure to pack suitably as different cities of this vast land experience varying weather conditions. Check out these unique tips and get acquainted with China before you set forth:
The most popular dialect is Mandarin Chinese. Although most people speak English, equip yourself with a few conversational phrases of Mandarin. 'Zheng que' goes for a 'yes' and 'cuo wu for a 'no'. Say 'qing' for 'please' and 'xie xie nin' for 'thank you'!
Chow Mein in China!
The Chinese are known for their unusual cuisines. Meat of scorpion, snake, dog and even silkworm are delicacies! Rice (Fan), noodles and vegetables are an important part of all meals. Try the popular chow mein (chāu-mèing) or stirred noodles and Peking duck. China is popular for tea, and they prefer it green or black.
Celebrate in China
Chinese visual arts (painting, pottery, calligraphy, paper-cutting etc.) and sculptures are acclaimed globally for finesse and quality. Enjoy the city's historic architecture in Beijing. While a number of festivals are celebrated during the year, the Beijing International Music festival (in October) is famous for classical music. In June, catch the Dragon Boat Festival – one of the most popular festivals of China. Here, vibrant-colored boats (embellished with dragon heads) race down the Suzhou Creek amidst cheers from onlookers. The Chinese New Year (with a week-long celebration in January) and The Water-Splashing festival in mid April (to wash out impurities and unhappiness of the old year) are other events to look forward to.
Customs and Traditions
Contrary to popular perception, each country of the Orient has its own beliefs and norms. Greet with a firm handshake; do not bow, unlike in Japan! Always greet the oldest person first.
Avoid gifting clocks, handkerchiefs and sharp objects like knives. How you give is as important as what you give in China. Never wrap gifts in white, blue or black paper as they symbolize death. Remember to present and receive gifts with both hands.
Finish the food on your plate. Leaving your chopsticks vertical in a bowl or using it to point at anyone are considered as bad manners! Carry traveler's cheques or cash, as most restaurants in China do not accept cards.
Generally, Chinese prefer conservative attire, especially women. They like to be well dressed and other than teenagers, few people sport jeans. Bright colors, especially red are popular during festivals. If you are in traditional Indian attire, don't be surprised if the locals approach you to click a photograph with them, they love the look!
Do not touch another person's head; it is sacred. Public display of affection is a no-no in China. Shaking your feet represents driving away all your luck. And never point your feet or shoes at someone.
From the Tiananmen Square (Beijing) to Oriental Pearl Tower (Shanghai), every city can evoke pure joy in a tourist's journey. Be prepared, as knowing what to anticipate beforehand helps to make the experience more memorable!