Mishaps of trying to communicate in Chinese!

On August 22, 2011, in Cultural Experience, by Jack Li

With almost 1 in every 3 people in the world being Chinese, the chances are you will have to communicate with a Chinese person, at one point or another in your life. Therefore learning their language is a useful tool. But it is much easier said then done. It’s always fascinating how much of an […]

With almost 1 in every 3 people in the world being Chinese, the chances are you will have to communicate with a Chinese person, at one point or another in your life. Therefore learning their language is a useful tool. But it is much easier said then done. It’s always fascinating how much of an issue it is when you go abroad and have to communicate with people in their native language, but it’s all part of the experience. So book your China Flights and test your Mandarin on your China Travels.

During my time in China so far, I have come across many sticky situations where not being able to speak Mandarin proved to be a big problem. One of the main problems is trying to get a taxi to the right place. Even if you know the right way, if you can’t say, ‘take the next left’ then you’re in for a long taxi ride. A good tip is to have the address written of the place you need to go in Chinese, as the majority of taxi drivers can’t read English. Sometimes even if you can speak a little Mandarin, there is still misunderstanding between both parties. Once in a taxi, we asked the taxi driver how he was, and he ended up closing the windows and turning the air con on!

Another mishap that occurred due to language barriers was when we went to the corner shop to buy milk, as we were longing for English Tea. We got home to find the milk was in fact yoghurt, but put in a bottle which looked identical to milk. We had asked the lady in English if it was milk and she nodded. Not only that but we bought chicken stock granules instead of sugar. It took us 2 days to make the tea, if we could speak basic Mandarin, this wouldn’t have occurred.

Something as simple as ordering food also provides an entertaining experience in China. Many restaurants don’t have people who can speak English in them, so trying to order food poses a question, especially when you don’t really know what your ordering and you can’t ask them to specify in detail what a ‘meat ball’ includes. Sometimes you have to look at the picture and go by that. At least in KFC you know, you can’t be served anything except chicken, win-win really. So in times like these knowing phrases such as, ‘I am vegetarian’ or ‘is this chicken’ could prove to be very useful.

Also I became ill in China and went to pharmacy to buy some medicine for my cold. In England it would be easy, go supermarket and buy some paracetamol. In China, it’s not as easy as that, the medicines are completely different, you can’t explain your symptoms and acting it out isn’t the best option as if your acting is bad, you may be taking medicine for something completely unrelated to what you have got.

These stories are just some of my experiences of language barriers in China, but don’t let them put you off, it’s all part of the fun, and the memories you will always remember. So book your trip of a life time today and fly with Air China.

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Yes, China is Beautiful!

On August 22, 2011, in Accomodation, Cruises, Tours, by Jack Li

China has one of the richest natural lands on the world, China is the fourth largest country on earth, and its vast territory can be divided in three big stepsthat go down from high mountains including the peak of Mount Everest, plateaus, and huge vital basins like Yangtze or Ganges rivers in the west, to […]

China has one of the richest natural lands on the world, China is the fourth largest country on earth, and its vast territory can be divided in three big stepsthat go down from high mountains including the peak of Mount Everest, plateaus, and huge vital basins like Yangtze or Ganges rivers in the west, to a central region of medium mountains and hills, followed by to flat lands and foothills close to the eastern coast like the landscape of Hebei or Zhejiang provinces. Steppes and desserts are in the northwest including the Gobi desert and the Turpan depression. The north central of China have tundra-type vegetation and in the south there are several tropical rainforests. You definitely have to book your China Flights and China Hotels to enrich your eyes with these beautiful sites..
Practically, each piece of farmland has been developed in China and many others have been created by man, especially in the eastern seaboard of the country, to
be able to feed a fifth of the world’s population.

The economical improve of China has impacted directly in the rest of Asian economies and even in the entire world. The production of the country is supported on its abundant coal, which is an inexpensive fuel for meeting constantly increasing power necessities, but Chinese coal also produces the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions on the world. Uncontrolled use of coal has originated in recent years some risky acid rains near to South Korea. Neighboring countries are suffering the great development of China. People are being exploited and many species are being exterminated to satisfy the Chinese market necessities.

Forests

The vast territory of China and its particular geography have created a diversity of forest types. In northern China there are large tracts of coniferous forest…

Grasslands and deserts

Half of the China’s territory is occupied by grasslands and deserts. There are productive grasslands at the north and west of China in Inner Mongolia…

Freshwater ecosystems

Freshwater ecosystems have a vital importance to China, and a great number of the people depend on wetlands for drinking water, flood control and industrial
production…

Saltwater lakes and coastal wetlands

Around half of lakes of the country are saline and represents significant breeding grounds for waterfowl. The majority salt lakes are situated in northwestern China…

Our world holds breathtaking beauty and grace, full of life and wonder as mother  nature your China Travel through nature will unfold  charm and elegance within the extremeties of the earth. Many are moved and touched by the magnificence of our world and the wonders it brings  to mankind. Here are some of the wonders given to you by China through nature’s  phenomenons of River and Mountain: Huang He, Chang Jiang, Huang Shan, Everest and the Himalayas.

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Mirch Masala – A little taste of India in Beijing

On August 19, 2011, in Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

Chinese cuisine is so authentic and tasteful, there are so many different styles and you can never fall short of tasting something different everyday. Fly with Air China and taste this wonderful cuisine, and be daring and try foods besides that from your China Hotels. Along with Chinese cuisines, China promotes other cultures cuisines; I […]

Chinese cuisine is so authentic and tasteful, there are so many different styles and you can never fall short of tasting something different everyday. Fly with Air China and taste this wonderful cuisine, and be daring and try foods besides that from your China Hotels. Along with Chinese cuisines, China promotes other cultures cuisines; I managed to find a little Indian restaurant, which produced the most authentic tasting Indian food.

Mirch Masala is a stylish restaurant located on the Chaoyang District. The Indian dishes are made using free-range Halal meat, so the food is also suitable for Muslims. Mirch Masala is now one of the selective favourites of  Tandoori and Curry lovers.

They aim to provide all their customers with a memorable dining experience through delicious food and quality service, catering for all age groups. For most restaurants, these are just words, but the staff at Mirch Masala actually follow this through. Whist trying to find the restaurant, I got lost several times and kept calling the restaurant for directions, they soon sent a member of staff to find us and direct us to the restaurant. This was going that extra mile for a customer, and something which you rarely find outside of China.

The ambience of the restaurant was warm and welcoming, and yet hearty and relaxed. The deco was truly Indian, with autumn colours and Indian style paintings. Not only this, but to give it a true Indian feeling, thy even had Indian music playing subtly in the background. The service was warm and inviting which makes you feel right at home.

Although there was a slight communicational barrier, the staff was more then willing to help, and their patience still amazes me. They were willing to always go that extra mile for us, and they always had a smile plastered over their faces. The service was also quick and friendly.

The quality of the food was truly astounding; it tasted exactly like the Mirch Masla branch in England. You could tell that they used the freshest ingredients in their dishes. The special masalas are prepared from scratch daily so that no food will be carried over the next day.

The variety of food you can get at this restaurant ranges, and there will definitely be something for everyone. Vegetarian food is extremely hard to find in China; with the most you can get in most places is rice. At Mirch Masala, there is a whole host of food one can consume which is vegetarian, ranging from paneer (farmer’s cheese) to vegetable curries and lentils. For meat eaters, this restaurant would be ideal for you. They offer tandoori cuisine, chicken and lamb specialities. The type of curry also ranges in hotness, so there is something to suit every taste bud. To cool you down, the restaurant also serves typical Indian deserts, which are bursting full of flavour in every mouthful, which is exactly what you need after a spicy curry.

So why not go visit Mirch Masala when you feel a change from Chinese cuisine on your China Travel. Food is the best part of any holiday, so make he most of it!

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China’s tendency to keep fit!

On August 19, 2011, in Cultural Experience, by Jack Li

During the course of my stay in China, I have noted that especially in Beijing, the Chinese population take a shining to keeping fit, not only the youth but also the older generations as well. Catch a flight with Air China and experience this fitness epidemic on your China Tour. First of all, there are […]

During the course of my stay in China, I have noted that especially in Beijing, the Chinese population take a shining to keeping fit, not only the youth but also the older generations as well. Catch a flight with Air China and experience this fitness epidemic on your China Tour.

First of all, there are so many people, who cycle as a way of commuting around Beijing, around 20% of the population cycle to work. There are even facilities in many work places, which allow you to shower and change, for this purpose. The separate lane for bicycle users is always full of cyclists, and I have come across numerous parking areas for bicycles, everywhere I go. I see them more then car parks. Melua, who is a British singer, created a single called ‘9 million bicycles’ which was inspired from her trip to Beijing.

Secondly, I have noticed that parks in China have a lot of exercise types of equipment, as oppose to the usual slide and swings you get in parks in England. Not only this but I have also seen a few of these equipments just out on a street, where members of the public can freely go and use them. You would expect the youth to use them, but more often then not; it is middle aged women, just working out leisurely. It is a much better way to exercise than being stuck inside a building.

Traditional Chinese culture regards physical fitness as an important aspect and since the 20th century, a large number of sports activities, both Western and traditionally Chinese, are popular in China. The country has its own national quadrennial multi-sport event similar to the Olympic Games, the National Games of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese government also took pride in the Olympics and encouraged citizens to train night and day for a full year in preparation for the Olympics, in hope of wining some medals. Even if the people were illiterate, they were still encouraged to train hard if they showed potential.

Commonly played sports in China include badminton; this sport is relative simplicity, inexpensive and easy accessibility to venues, it is quite established. It is quite often played as a recreational sport. Basketball is also another established sport in china and it is the third oldest country which plays the sport after America and Canada. Since the arrival of Houston Rockets superstar Yao Ming in the NBA in 2002, the game has grown considerably in China. Some experts estimate that as many as 300 million people from the 1.3 billion population in China now play basketball.

There is a big trend in China where people get together to exercise, but whereas in England people would collate together and play indoors in courts, people in China are quite happy playing outside on the streets. One game I see quite often is people standing in a circle playing ‘kick ups’ with a big shuttlecock. People are very inviting and when we asked if we could play, (well signed to them as language barriers are still an issue) they were more then happy for us to join them. Men, women, old, young, everyone took part, and they play after dinner for an hour, to digest food. People are so active in China, I often see people stretching especially old people, and it still amazes me on how flexible they still are.

To experience this wonderful inclusion of playing sports and being active together, you can’t get it anywhere else than China, so book your China Flights now.

 

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Add some spice to your life with Sichuan cuisine

On August 17, 2011, in China Travel Gossip, Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

Chinese cuisine is really dynamic, full of flavours, colours and contrasting cooking methods. A seemingly popular cuisine is the Sichuan cuisine. It was derived in the Sichuan Province of south-western China which is known for bold flavours, particularly the pungency and spiciness. Book your China flights with Air China and taste this incredible cuisine yourselves, […]

Chinese cuisine is really dynamic, full of flavours, colours and contrasting cooking methods. A seemingly popular cuisine is the Sichuan cuisine. It was derived in the Sichuan Province of south-western China which is known for bold flavours, particularly the pungency and spiciness. Book your China flights with Air China and taste this incredible cuisine yourselves, you won’t find it made the same anywhere else.

This particular cuisine came about during the Jin Dynasty. They preferred to eat pungent food; however, pungent food at that time referred to food made with chives, ginger, onions or mustard.  Originally, the flavourings were very mild; unlike what the reputation of the dishes are today, such as pockmarked lady’s bean curd and other hot dishes. It was only about 200 years ago, that spices were introduced, before then, they were quite mild. Even today, some Sichuan dishes, like velvet shark’s fin, braised bear’s paw, crisp duck roasted with camphor and tea, sea cucumber with pungent flavour and boiled Chinese cabbage have kept their traditional flavours.

According to Chinese culinary writers the Sichuan cuisine is made up of seven basic flavours: Sour, pungent, hot, sweet, bitter, aromatic, and salty. Sichuan cuisine often contains food preserved through pickling, salting, and drying and is generally spicy due to heavy amounts of chilly oil.

Not only this but the Sichuan peppercorn is commonly used as well, it has a strong fragrant, citrus-like flavour and produces a “tingly-numbing” sensation in the mouth. The hot pepper was introduced into China from South America around the end of the 17th century. Once it came to Sichuan, it became really popular and the preferred flavouring. Due to Sichuan’s high humidity and many rainy or overcast days, the hot pepper helps to reduce internal dampness, therefore hot pepper was used frequently in dishes, and hot dishes became the norm in Sichuan cuisine. As rice was and still is the staple food in the region, Sichuan food was eaten a lot more as it complemented the rice well. It is said that Beijing food was commonly eaten by rich people whereas typical Sichuan food could be eaten by every family. Other common ingredients used are garlic, chilly, ginger, star anise and other spicy herbs, plants and spices. Broad bean chilly paste is also a staple seasoning in Sichuan cuisine.

There are different ways of preparing Sichuan cuisine which includes stir frying, steaming and braising and 20 others. Sichuan does not have seafood but it produces numerous domestic animals, poultry, and freshwater fish and crayfish. It is plentiful in beef and so a lot of dishes include beef, which is not found as much elsewhere in China. All parts of animals are used such as intestine, arteries, the head, tongue, skin, and liver in addition to other commonly utilized portions of the meat. Sichuan cuisine is also well known for cooking fish.

Fly with China Airline and experience this wonderful cuisine for yourselves. You can taste a little bit of China in every mouthful.

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Is there more to Chinese food then Chow Mien?

On August 12, 2011, in Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

When you are in your home country eating a native cuisine, the taste is altered to suit that country. So for example chicken chow mien which is a popular Chinese dish in the UK, doesn’t resemble the true taste of what it should be like. So why not get a flight from Air China and […]

When you are in your home country eating a native cuisine, the taste is altered to suit that country. So for example chicken chow mien which is a popular Chinese dish in the UK, doesn’t resemble the true taste of what it should be like. So why not get a flight from Air China and Travel to Shanghai or any other city and taste the delights of the rich Chinese cuisine.

Due to China’s large population feeding everyone has proven to be difficult, thus their cuisine has had to be adapted in order to use the ingredients available. In the past there has been limited supply of meat, whilst a plentiful supply of rice and noodles, which is why the basis of their food are rice and noodle dishes which are mixed with a little meat and vegetables. In order to save fuel, the cuisine was adjusted to making food which could be cooked quickly, such as stir-fry, vegetables etc.

China has regional cuisines which differ. Cantonese style of cooking includes rice and stir-fries which are lightly seasoned, so it’s quite healthy for you. Rice can be eaten as part of most meals. Whereas Mandarin’s cuisine is more inclined to have items made from wheat flour such as; dumplings, pancakes and noodles. So if you’re on a low carb diet, be prepared to loosen your waistband.

Dumplings are one of the most popular dishes in China; they can be eaten steamed, boiled, fried or baked. There are many Chinese saying about them such as, ‘if you eat dumplings with Chinese liquor, your future would be richer.’ You can have almost anything in your dumpling ranging from vegetables to meat, fish and all sorts. Dumplings in themselves are enough to eat just by itself as a meal and it can be eaten for lunch or dinner.

 

Peking duck is another popular dish which is widely consumed in China. It also means roast duck. Traditionally this was made in wealthy households and top restaurants, where it took a chef 3 months training in order to get the right skills to make the perfect duck. One roast duck can be cut into 125 strips, with each strip containing both skin and meat. The way it is eaten is simple. You get a thin, small pancake and put strips of the duck inside, along with thin slices of cucumber, green onions and a sweet source. They are truly delightful and something you cannot leave without trying. Peking was actually the name of the capital city Beijing before the Cultural Revolution in late 1960’s.

Due to the Chinese ‘waste not, want not’ ethos, nothing is wasted and therefore they use every flower, plant, animal to create foods, such as; lotus petals, chicken’s feet, donkey, insects, snakes and dogs. This is something that can be overwhelming to many westerners, but as the saying goes, ‘if you don’t try, you won’t know’. So during your China Travel be sure to be open minded and try new things, after all that’s what life is all about.

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Is China your Cup of Tea?

On August 10, 2011, in Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

Tea is a very popular drink which is drunk not only in China but around the world. Millions of cups of tea are drunk daily, ranging from herbal to flavoured as well as hot and cold, and China is where its rich history originated from. Book your China Tours with China Airlines and enjoy the […]

Tea is a very popular drink which is drunk not only in China but around the world. Millions of cups of tea are drunk daily, ranging from herbal to flavoured as well as hot and cold, and China is where its rich history originated from. Book your China Tours with China Airlines and enjoy the vast yet extraordinary tasting tea which you will not find anywhere else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tea was first discovered by the Chinese Emperor and scientist Shennong in 2737 BCE. It was said that the Emperor was obsessed with hygiene and required his drinking water to be boiled before it was consumed to cleanse it. One day on a trip to a distant region, he and his army stopped for rest. His servant was making the Emperor’s hot water but a dead leaf from a wild bush fell into the water. It stained the water a light brown but the Emperor decided to try it non the less. The Emperor loved the tea and found it extremely refreshing. From that day ‘cha’ tea came into being and is loved by millions of people.

Lu Yu, Ch’a Ching was said to have been the first person to write about the different uses of tea bushes and this became the beginning of the Zen Buddhist form of tea service. It was believed that tea helped to improve concentration and thus made meditating a lot easier, which is how tea was introduced to Japan. Due to its religious influence tea was accepted by all hierarchy of the Japanese culture, from Imperial to ordinary people.

Tea became and still is so important that there was even a war regarding it. England was the last country to be introduced to tea, but the British Parliament had a monopoly on tea trade and they created the Tea Act. Many of you may have heard about the Boston Tea Party and this occurred as a direct result of England charging excessive taxes to British colonies in America. The colonist in Boston decided to take action against this, and this became the basis of the American Revolution which took place near Boston in 1775.

Many people drink tea purely because they like the taste or because it gives them a caffeine high, but in China there are many customs on why tea is drunk. One reason Chinese office workers drink a lot of green tea is because it contains catechins which help prevent computer radiation and provide moisture content to the human body. If a person pours an older person a cup of tea, it is a sign of respect. Pouring tea for someone can also be marked as an act of apology. In traditional Chinese weddings, the bride and groom kneel down in front of their parents and serve them tea, this is a way of gratitude for all that they have done for them. There are numerous other customs that tea plays on Chinese culture.

The different types of tea that can be found in china include but are not limited to; green tea, black tea, oolong tea, puer tea, flavoured tea, peppermint tea, lemon tea. Travel to Beijing or any other part of China to enjoy these exotic teas which are not only delicious and refreshing but also good for you.

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East Apartments

On August 9, 2011, in Accomodation, by Jack Li

When you Travel to Beijing, finding somewhere to stay is not a problem. While you book your Beijing Flights, your ticket providers may include accommodation, but make sure you do your research before accepting the offer. There are many luxurious hotels you can stay in such as Eastern Air Jinjiang Hotel, which is a short […]

When you Travel to Beijing, finding somewhere to stay is not a problem. While you book your Beijing Flights, your ticket providers may include accommodation, but make sure you do your research before accepting the offer.

There are many luxurious hotels you can stay in such as Eastern Air Jinjiang Hotel, which is a short distance from the Beijing Capital International Airport, but this is about an hours drive away from the centre of Beijing. In order to receive the full benefits of travelling around Beijing, it is better to be located in the centre of Beijing and preferably near a subway, so you can easily travel and see all the beautiful sites Beijing has to offer.

East Apartments is perfect for this. These beautiful apartments are located in the      Fulicheng gardens of the Chaoyang Central Business District. Not only are the  apartments located in the centre of Beijing where you will not fall short of finding spectacular places to eat, and sites to see, but the apartments are also gated of and guarded in a quite area, where you feel completely safe and peaceful. There is 24 hour security and this helps highlight the fact that security at the apartments is a top priority. The gardens that surround the apartments are beautiful; there are streams, water features, benches and greenery, which creates a pleasant and relaxing environment to be around, especially after a long day of exploring.

There are three or four bed room deluxe suites, which is ideal if you are travelling in a group. Unlike ordinary hotels, these apartments are fully furnished and include; dinning area, lounge area with sofas so comfortable you could fall asleep on them, a fully equipped kitchen, home entertainment system with HDTV, washing facilities, modern bathrooms as well as ironing facilities. There is a maid who comes daily to clean the apartment as well, and who will even do your laundry. Not only this, but there are also facilities to get food delivered to your apartment for days when you are tired and just want to eat. Additionally, there are free tennis courts to play in and the ability to go to a gym and swimming pool if you ask for it.

When you leave the apartment, there are locals living just outside, so you can enjoy Chinese people’s day to day life, and be part of it. Besides the good quality restaurants which you will come across, there are also smaller more authentic places to eat, which taste just as delicious but for the fraction of the price, which you wouldn’t find around top hotels.

The price of the apartment can vary depending on the time you go there and the availability of rooms at that time. On average it is about $107 a night, which may seem expensive, but for the true Beijing experience you are getting, it is well worth it. You can save some money by eating at the more authentic places described above.

So when you book your China Flights don’t forget to research accommodations and find one that suits you. Whether you want to stay somewhere cheap and cheerful, or extravagant, you can find it all in Beijing.

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Accepting Prices verses Haggling

On August 8, 2011, in Shopping, by Jack Li

Shopping in China is every shopaholic’s dream. Whether you want to buy something small as a souvenir to take back home, to going on a massive shopping spree in a mall, you can find it all. There is a lot of correlation between shopping and haggling in China and you can’t fully enjoy the experience […]

Shopping in China is every shopaholic’s dream. Whether you want to buy something small as a souvenir to take back home, to going on a massive shopping spree in a mall, you can find it all. There is a lot of correlation between shopping and haggling in China and you can’t fully enjoy the experience of shopping unless you haggle. Get Beijing Flights with China Airlines and be part of this experience.

People visiting China find the concept of haggling rather strange. Most people come from financially stable backgrounds and developed countries were prices are established and accepted when you make a purchase. The concept of haggling and wasting time in doing so seems like to much effort to most visitors, and just accepting the price is the easier option, especially when they can afford it.

Others believe that by not haggling, and allowing the seller to receive the amount they asked for, is an act of charity. The prices of the items, doesn’t make a big difference to the buyer, but that little extra the seller makes from the purchase could financially help the seller and his family. The thing to remember here is, sellers will always be making money from any purchase regardless of whether you haggle or not. The chances are, when they know you are a foreigner, they will inflate the prices up significantly, because they think you can afford it.

If you look like you are wealthy, (sellers can tell from the clothes and accessories you wear) they will automatically bump the prices up, to more than two or three folds of the original price. The same thing happens if a seller sees you with a lot of money. The trick is if you know you are going shopping, it would be beneficial to carry smaller notes, and maybe keep this money in a separate area to the rest of your money. This is because someone selling you an item is more likely to give it to you for less, if they are under the impression that you don’t have much money.

Knowing where to haggle when shopping is important, haggling at the wrong places can waste time and make you look bad. Trying to haggle in an established shop in shopping malls is not advised, as well as supermarkets, restaurants and branded shops. Trying to haggle on small stalls and markets is the best place. This is because market stalls are competing with all the other stalls and so they have very little selling power. Haggling with them is very successful because they rather sell for less and make some money then make nothing at all.

China is a land full of many superstitions, from believing 4 is an unlucky number as it reminds people of death to 8 being a very good number as it is associated with wealth. There is a Chinese superstition that the first sale is very auspicious, therefore if you are able to be the first customer in a shop, then the seller is more likely to sacrifice on the price. This is something to bear in mind, especially if you wanted to purchase something expensive.

Beijing is a wonderful city where you can buy everything you need and not feel bad for buying it at a reduced price, so why not Travel to Beijing and join in this wonderful shopping experience. Remember it’s a game, everyone is playing it, so why not you?

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Chinese savoir-vivre

On July 26, 2011, in China Travel Gossip, Cultural Experience, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

During your trip to China with China Tours, the best way to explore Chinese culture is to make as much contact with the locals as possible! Even if you are staying at one of China Hotels, don’t close yourself to the local Chinese customs. Chinese etiquette can be very different to what you’re used to, […]

During your trip to China with China Tours, the best way to explore Chinese culture is to make as much contact with the locals as possible! Even if you are staying at one of China Hotels, don’t close yourself to the local Chinese customs. Chinese etiquette can be very different to what you’re used to, so before you hang out with your new Chinese friends learn a few rules and make a friendship last for a lifetime!

The importance of ‘Face’

‘Face’ (mianzi) is a very important concept meaning honour, respect and good reputation. When interacting with Chinese people it is essential to ‘give face’ – that is, to show respect – as well as to avoid ‘losing face’ – that is to show wisdom in action and keep your emotions to a minimum at all times.

Meeting etiquette

When you meet a Chinese person, there are a few things to remember:

  • Greetings are formal and the oldest person is always greeted first.
  • Handshakes are the most common form of greeting with foreigners. Westerner should wait for the other person to offers his or her hand first, before offering to shake hands.
  • Many Chinese will look towards the ground when greeting someone.
  • Address the person by an honorific title and their surname. If they want to move to a first-name basis, they will let you know which name to use.

Once you’ve introduced yourself to your Chinese friend and continue talking with them, don’t forget that:

  • Chinese people consider it rude to say “no” directly.
  • Pointing at someone with one finger is also considered rude. To get someone’s attention and tell them to “come here” use your whole palm.
  • The Chinese view punctuality as a virtue. Arriving late is an insult and could negatively affect your friendship.

Dining etiquette

One of the best ways to make friends with a Chinese is to go for a meal with him or her. Keep in mind those few rules:

  • You should try everything that is offered to you.
  • Never eat the last piece from the serving tray.
  • Don’t put your chopsticks horizontally in your food – it is associated with funeral rituals.

Sometimes you might be even invited over for dinner. Once visiting someone at home it is essential to:

  • Bring a small gift to the host.
  • Remove your shoes before entering the house (not necessary, but it is considered very polite).
  • Wait to be told where to sit. The guest of honour will be given a seat facing the door.
  • Remember that the host begins eating first and offers the first toast.

Gift etiquette

You might like to present your Chinese friend a small gift. Also, he or she might give you one to seal your friendship. To avoid losing face, remember that:

  • A good idea for a gift is something related to food, e.g. a food basket. Do not give any sharp items, as they indicate the severing of the relationship. Do not give clocks, handkerchiefs or flowers as they are associated with funerals and death.
  • For the same reason do not wrap gifts in white, blue, green or black paper.
  • Four is an unlucky number so do not give four of anything. Eight is the luckiest number, so giving eight of something brings luck to the recipient.
  • It is essential to receive or present a gift with two hands.
  • Gifts are not opened when received they may be refused three times before they are accepted. Therefore it would be polite for you to initially refuse a gift and always insist on giving the gift to another person.

Remember! When in doubt about unfamiliar customs simply watch what the Chinese people do and don’t worry too much. Book a tour with China Travel and try out your new Chinese savoir-vivre skills!

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