When people ask me opinion or suggestion for their travel, as China-lover I can’t not suggest to go to China for an amazing trip but usually I’m told that for people who don’t speak Chinese going to China is practically impossible. Is that true? In this article we’re going to give you some tips on what to do and how to survive in China without speak Chinese.
Let’s state by saying that it’s true that in China not everyone speak English but, compared to older times, people who are learning English are becoming more and more: especially in the big cities such as Beijing or Shanghai you’ll certainly able to move around them with no problems.
But if you want to be sure and plan all your journey without any surprise, here are some helpful suggestion for who don’t speak Chinese.
1. Book an international hotel or hostel
First thing to know is that in China not all the hotel accept foreigner. So booking an international hotel will avoid you to have surprises at your arrival. The it will be helpful because you’ll find people who can speak both Chinese and English ready to help you. Moreover, you’ll meet other foreigner staying there as well and you can help each other.
2. Take Hotel Card
If you can’t speak Chinese, a huge suggestion is to take the hotel card: it should have the address in romanized Chinese and Chinese characters. It may even have a little map. You can just show the card to a cab driver, and he’ll know exactly where to take you.
3. Download an offline translator app
There are plenty of translator out there, my suggestion is to download Pleco which is a Chinese dictionary app. It’s an offline app essential for both people who speak Chinese and for who don’t.
4. Find a restaurant with picture menu
Menus with pictures will be your lifesaver while in China. Any decent restaurant in China tends to have picture menus. Some picture menus have English translations (which most of the time make no sense), and others don’t.
5. Use calculator to bargain
Once in china, you’ll love to do some shopping. The bargain markets in Chinese cities are huge and insane. Usually people in there already have a calculator for people who don’t speak Chinese. You’ll have so much fun negotiating for every single item.
As you can see there are many shortcuts to survive in China when can’t speak Chinese: so don’t be afraid and visit this beautiful countries that has so much to offer.