From April 22 to May 2 we went on an adventure, the ChinaPac International 12 day Super China Tour. Going into the trip we had a few concerns, we read a bunch of articles and watched YouTube videos from past travelers. But some things you just have to experience for yourself.
If you find yourself planning a similar trip, here are a few thoughts and observations I can pass along to you to consider.
1. Shots and drugs: We did it all. We updated our regular shots, had the Twinrix Vaccine, and for our stomachs took Dukoral two weeks and one week out. To play it especially safe we also brought along with us a prescription for Ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic useful for the treatment of a number of bacterial infections. And we took a container of Tums. So we were ready. And I'm happy to say we had no problems when it came to sickness. I would recommend that you take all precautions.
2. Water: Water in China is not to be consumed unless it is first boiled. So for our trip we lived off bottled water. I brushed my teeth and rinsed using China tap water but Mellissa stuck to her bottled water for it. We were at a KFC and ordered a soft drink. Then we promptly threw the entire drink away when we thought that there is ice made of Chinese water in the cup. Then we were told that North American restaurants boil their water before making ice. But better safe than sorry.
3. Blocked sites in China: You've probably already read somewhere that many of the websites we use every day are blocked in China. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and many blog tools are blocked and simply won't work. We used this platform on Weebly and it worked perfectly. We could blog and add pictures and publish. No problems.
4. Internet in hotels: We read a lot of articles online about how hotels in China have cable internet in rooms and not wireless. We didn't find that to be the case in most instances. We brought an Airport Express from Apple with us when there was just cable, plugged it in and voila, we had our own wireless. Worked perfectly.
5. Washrooms and squat toilets: Washrooms in China for the most part are very smelly. The men's bathrooms smelled like pee, it didn't matter if you were in a nice hotel or a tourist attraction. Most of the places we visited had North American toilets and squat toilets so it was never a problem. One big thing is they DO NOT supply toilet paper, or if on the odd time they do you will find it as you enter the bathroom and you take it from there and bring it into the stall. For squat toilets the used toilet paper gets deposited in a garbage can in the stall. Yikes I know... Be sure to bring travel toilet paper with you just in case.
6. Canadian money to Chinese: Don't travel to China with a bunch of Chinese money. The hotels all accept Canadian money and they give you a good rate. I was really impressed that they took Canadian.
7. Safety: We were safe. People are very nice and we felt very welcome. You'll see in an earlier blog post that teenagers in China wanted to get their photos taken with us. I think they are intrigued by North America as much as we are of them.
8. Tour food: Not sure why, but on our trip we ate similar things most lunches and dinners. A lot of food was greasy and deep fried with sweet sauces. That is not what they eat though. They made that for us thinking that is what we wanted.
9. Beer: For all of our ChinaPac tour we drank Chinese beer for lunch and dinner. It is very light, almost water-like and was cheap and plentiful if you wanted to go the 7/11 at night for some. Even Mellissa who doesn't like beer had it every meal. Don;t expect any big flavourful beer here. They all are about the same.
10. Power and plugs: We had the luxury of staying in good hotels. Many of which had North American plugs. And if they didn't we heard you can get the converters from the front desk of hotels. We didn;t have any trouble charging our iPhones, camera batteries and iPads.