PrincessCindyrina is a Malaysia base blogger. She share her travel experience in her blog. She can't be travelling all the time.She needs to work and earn for living too.Days when not travelling she will writes on products mainly beauty and skin care related, sometimes gadget, food which she try not to because she is currently overweight WTH and service review. She ain't angel. She rants occasionally.She is online shopaholic.
I just came back for more than 7 days trip to Xi'an , China. I strike off one of my bucket list before I leave this world. YEAYYYY!
image source from google.com
I visited Xi'an and took one hour speed train ride to Luoyang and spend some days exploring that city too. Since this trip is not like my other trips full of activities and tight schedule. This time, I have a good fun time exploring and trying to understand people culture. Everyday is a new discovery to me and I learn a lot too. I always wonder why the Chinese are so rough? Are they arguing all the time or it just merely talking or discussing? Why they are competitive? Why they are so rude to outsider's eyes? Many more to list down.
Anyway, this is not my main topic today. My main topic is about how this non Chinese speaker woman can survive travelling China alone? I am not even western people. For an Asian looking at other Asian....mmmmm...I would say they look at us not at the same level with 'Ang Mo'. May be the skin color is important here. Who knows that 'ang mo' they worshipped has less money than I am. Anyway, who cares! I travel with confident!
Even my hairdresser who is Chinese himself told me he never visit to China even once. By the way he just came back from Japan. 3rd time visited to Japan according to him. mmmmmm....
My other colleague who is a Chinese herself told me she don't like China at all and never imagine herself visiting that place like me.
In Xi'an and Luoyang , I could say almost 'zero' people I met can speak English. Its like Chicken and Duck conversation. I don't even understand if they even cursed me. Goshhhh!!!! Doesn't matter. More important I made it through and now safe at home with good travel memories.
People around me tend to worried about me visiting China alone with super minimal Chinese vocab. ngehehehehe...
I want to ask you this question.
* HOW AN ILLITERATE PERSON SURVIVE IN THIS WORLD?
* HOW A BLIND MAN CAN LIVE HIS/HER LIFE IN THIS WORLD?
They still live and survive ,right? YES! There are difficulties but for the sake of surviving people go through whatever it takes to live.
Same concept here on how to visit China with minimal Chinese vocab in your head. ADAPT! and be mentally prepared!
This is how I did it!
1. Get the Chinese address printed out
Most Taxi Drivers or shall I say 100% since the one I met unable to understand the English version even with map.
This is where your travel research comes in handy. You just has to add in one more step. ADD IN THE CHINESE WORD to your travel plan. This Chinese version is for you to show to the local for direction. The English version is for you to understand.
If you arrived at hotel or hostel safely, never leave your hotel without one of their hotel card with map in Chinese character with you. This will become handy in case you lost your way back. It can be confusing you know. I experience that. Just show the local your hotel card. They will help you! Don't forget most hotel have nearby tourist attraction map. Just ask one from them for your reference. I always did that.
2. Choose restaurant with picture
I can say many restaurant with picture are pricey but the safest though.The normal local shop one have Chinese words menu only and no photo. Hell! you won't know what to order then. I normally research local food. Like what is the best food to eat and must eat at the place I am travelling. When come to the real surviving test , I end up surveying what others are eating and point to the waiter that I want the same thing. This technique call 'LOOK AND POINT'. kekekeke...
I remember when I was a newbie in travelling and that time I was in Bejing, I end up having 2 big plates of fried rice on my table. That was the result of me pointing at the menu blindly (all Chinese words and no photo, OK). isk isk isk..end up lunch until dinner fried rice. I call that day as BLESSED FRIED RICE DAY!
3. Bring Calculator
I know! I know! your smartphone has calculator too. Why bother bring calculator? Haihhhh...this is for your own good. Small pocket calculator come to hand when you want to ask price or even bargaining. Are you going to handover your precious smartphone to a stranger for them to key in the price? Well, to me small calculator always with me and that will be the only thing I will handover to people when asking for price and they will key in price for me. No stranger will get his/her hand on my smartphone.
Seriously, you may learn how to say 'how much is this?' in Chinese, but you may find it difficult to understand their response. I learn my lesson!
4. Research on transportation and hotel
There are many info in the internet about this. Some people will write about taxi scam and so on. Take note on that. I almost gotten myself into deep shit when I arrived at Xi'an in the middle of the night and one man pose as Taxi driver trying to get me into his car. Anyway , I survive the horror. Just put my feet down and act cold hearted! Strong mind and give them the look that you know what you are doing face. kekekeke... They won't dare to disturb you.
Only take licensed taxi and the one use meter. For eg. I only took cab twice when I was in Xi'an. The taxi meter there start with 9 Yuan. While in Luoyang the green and yellow taxi is one you need to look for since they are major transportation unless you want to take bus which you don't even understand the stop announcement sometimes. Luoyang taxi meter start from 5 Yuan. Most of the time I will ask hotel people estimation cost to the place I want to go. At least I know the taxi driver don't overcharged me. If they did...well... its theirs then. I will not argue!
I prefer to choose my hotel walking distance from subway or MRT. Unfortunately, Xi'an subway only started 5 years back so not many line convenient to tourist place. I stay somewhere near line 2 which is very convenient. My favourites site to search for strategic place to stay with reasonable price is at this website call HotelsCombined. I always depends on other people review when it comes to hotel selection. They may write about how to go to that hotel and sometimes even about some attractions or good place to eat nearby which is always walking distance. More or less it helps me in decision making. I always try find ways to stay near walking distance to either subway or MRT for my convenient traveling. Since I have problem understanding the language so I try my best to avoid taxi or bus unless I have no choice.
5. Research the history
I always travel with all sorts of print out on best attraction and some history write up on the place I am visiting. I seldom take any tours because I hate of getting scam like going to more shopping places rather than spend more time at the main attraction place. Some tour love to rush you too. Hate that! They are expensive too. At Xi'an and Luoyang, I just explore every where on my own with my print out in hand. I don't even hire any guide. I just freely explore the place with my own sweet time. Don't be nervous! Just read all others experience in the internet before hand and learn from their experience. It helps!
By the way , you will not have any google, intagram , facebook because China blocked all these sites. I did installed free VPN to access to this website. But FREE always comes with some limitation. If you notice my instagram I manage to access and posted for 2 days and the free VPN service went down to the drain. Unable to access! I was left without any social media connection for my entire trip. WTH!
I learn my lesson....in future I will consider pay for VPN subscription so I can stay connected. psssssttttt!!!! for your information I never rent any wifi or local sim card for my trip. Never did this in my travelling stint! I only use hotel wifi (most of the time) or sometimes starbuck (which is hardly because starbuck is expensive after I convert the forex..kekekeke).
Hope this tips is useful for those who is planning to explore China. Seriously, there are many places in China waiting for me to explore. I will save up more money to fund my travelling soon.