Preparation

Health and safety

Hygiene standards have been improving constantly in China in recent years, particularly in major cities, but the golden rules of travel still apply – stick to bottled water and other drinks, wash your hands regularly, and if something doesn’t taste or smell good, don’t eat it. We also recommend carrying tissues and hand sanitizer with you, as even if public toilets (of which there are many) have a sink, they probably won’t be equipped with soap. If you do happen to come down with a minor ailment, international-standard health care is available in larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Local health care facilities are also of a very high standard, although you may experience long wait times and language problems.

China is generally a very safe travel destination. Violent crime is rare, particularly where foreigners are involved, and the streets are safe to walk day and night. We occasionally hear stories of pickpockets operating at crowded tourist hot spots, so do keep an eye on your belongings. To be honest, the main dangers exist in crossing the street, getting too close to a construction site or stepping on uneven ground.

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