Why China is a Safe Choice for Solo Female TravelersLast updated on 2018-09-18
Start Googling any destination and you will inevitably find plenty of articles asking whether it is safe for women to travel there alone. With that in mind, this blog aims to answer any questions you might have about traveling alone in China as a woman.
Straight off the bat we will say that China is, generally speaking, a very safe destination for female travelers. Violent crimes against foreign women are rare and many female expats say that they feel safer living in Chinese cities than they have in many other places around the world. There have been a few high profile cases of violent crimes in Beijing and other major cities but they are memorable because of their rarity.
China is, as we’re sure we don’t need to point out, a very large country and as a result you might find yourself making long journeys via sleeper train or overnight bus. Being such a large country, China has an established culture of women traveling alone for work or to visit family so you shouldn’t feel concerned about doing the same. When traveling by sleeper train, if you feel uncomfortable about sleeping in close confines with strangers, a good tip is to choose a bed in the hard sleeper carriage, which are arranged in groups of six bunks along an open corridor, rather than the soft sleeper carriage, where the bunks are in groups of four in closed (and lockable) compartments. Be sure to keep any valuable belongings close to you and out of reach of others while you sleep.
For many people, the language barrier is the most daunting part about coming to China, whether they are traveling alone or not. It’s true that Chinese isn’t the easiest language in the world to learn, especially for people from countries that use Latin script, and many people fear that they won’t be able to communicate effectively in case of an emergency. You can combat this by buying a quality phrasebook or app and making sure to have the address of your accommodation and anywhere else you might be visiting written down in both English and Chinese characters.
Be sure to keep family and friends back home up to date with your travel itinerary, especially if you make any sudden changes, and give them a copy of all addresses and contact numbers, too.
One helpful phrase you might want to learn before coming to China is “bu yao” (pronounced like “boo yow”), which translates to something between “no” and “don’t want.” This is a handy phrase in all sorts of situations, from fending off unwanted romantic advances to discouraging over-enthusiastic sales people and rickshaw drivers.
Despite being a generally safe destination, any women who travel to China, alone or not, should exercise the same appropriate caution as they would when traveling anywhere else in the world. Try to avoid walking by yourself in quiet areas at night, keep an eye on your drink when out in a bar or club, and keep important belongings close to you. If you keep these common sense tips in mind then you’re sure to have a great and memorable trip to China. ■
If you are not quite ready to make the leap into solo travel, consider traveling with The China Guide. Wherever in China you decide to travel, you’ll be accompanied by a friendly, knowledgeable guide and a private car and driver. Contact our travel experts today to start planning your trip.