10 Things to Know Before Backpacking in China

Backpacking through China is a wonderful thing that will provide you with incredible memories and life experiences. China is a country that is steeped in culture and tradition, which makes for a trip of a lifetime.

There’s always things to learn though before you travel to any destination. Especially, if you do not speak Mandarin and have never traveled to China before. Here are ten things to consider for your next trip!

Language Barrier

The first order of business is to find ways to help you get through the thick language barrier. This will mostly have to be done through hand signals, but there are a few little tips and tricks you can enlist to communicate more easily. For instance, if you need to go to a specific location, write down the local address.

You’ll Be Noticed

If you’re not from an Asian country, you’re going to be noticed. Whether you’re in a big city or a rural village, people will be intrigued by you. You may never get used to it, but it’s not a bad thing. Just pretend you’re a celebrity!

Train Travel

While it’s true that you can find cheap flights in China, it’s worthwhile to travel by train if you have a lot of time to spend. Traveling by train is cheap and it’s a great way to see the Chinese countryside. Just be prepared for long rides, so pack extra food to keep the tummy rumbles away.

Stay Savvy With Your Wallet

Because you’re a traveler you will most definitely be ripped off if it’s your first time in China, so stay vigilant. Everyone gets ripped off and here and there it’s okay because it’s rarely a large sum of money, but stay cautious with your wallet. If you know something is overpriced, say so or don’t give the seller your money.

Eat Local

In the bigger cities there are plenty of restaurants that cater to the Westerner’s, but stick to local food as much as you can to get a more authentic experience. It’s okay to splurge on Western food if you’re missing home or your stomach is upset.

Live Local

Living local is one of the best things you can do in China. See the markets and visit the local shops that the locals go to. You make the best memories when you’re outside of your comfort zone.


Head out into the country and disconnect from technology for awhile. The cities are full of light pollution and fancy technologies that even many US cities don’t have, but the countryside is far from technological. Take a few days to go without communication and enjoy your time.

It’s Okay To Use A Travel Company

China can be a wild place, so even though you may be a diehard backpacker, it’s okay to use a travel company to plan things. They’ll help you find great activities that fit your budget and will help you with all of the transportation and accommodation needs. A godsend when there’s a thick language barrier.

Relax and Go Slow

It’s a big country, there’s no seeing it all in one week, one month, or even one year. Take your time in the places you visit and breathe them in. There’s no rush to move on to the next village or the next city, you’ll never be able to see it all anyway.


If you’ve fallen in love with China during your visit, stay and teach. Teaching English in China is a great way to make money to support your travels and get to understand a culture more intimately. To teach English all you need to do is take a month-long class for your certification. From there it’s easy to find work as there is always demand.

Traveling China will be a life changing endeavor that will create countless memories, but it’s also not the easiest country to travel through easier. Follow these tips so you’re prepared to take on anything.



Authors Bio:

Dimitris Vlachos

Dimitris works as a full stack marketer at Movinhand. Movinhand helps educators get the salary they deserve.

We promote teachers around the world and get them the best possible offer within 10 days of signing up.