China is filled with history, ancient traditions, epic scenery and delicious foods—and it's a great destination for solo female travelers, so what's not to love?
While all countries have safety issues, China's crime statistics are significantly lower than that of the U.S and many places in Europe. Violent crimes against women are rare, and many women who have traveled through China, or who are living there as expats, say they feel very safe. For many Chinese, seeing a woman traveling solo is admirable, and a sign that a woman is brave and independent.
New York travel company AllTheRooms
has put together the top tips for solo female travel in China to help your trip run smoothly, from mastering the food menu through to crossing roads safely:
One of the main difficulties solo female travelers face is the language barrier. China has two main languages, Mandarin and Cantonese. While English is spoken in the tourist circuit, if you venture off the tourist trail, many people don't speak English at all. If you're lost or in need of help, try to direct your questions to a younger person, as it's more likely they speak English.
Learn some useful phrases before traveling to China, such as 请 (qǐng), which means 'please' and is only used at the beginning of a sentence, never used on it's own. 谢谢 (xiè xiè) means 'thank you', while "bu yao" (pronounced like "boo yow"), translates similarly to "no" or "no, I don't want this." The latter phrase is really useful for politely saying 'no' to street vendors or hawkers.
3. How to Order Food
Before you head to China, spend some time researching classic dishes that you'd like to eat. For example, Dumplings (jiǎo zi) and Sweet and Sour Eggplant (yú xīang qié zi) are top dishes to try. Write down the names of foods you like in a small notebook and if you're in a restaurant and unable to decipher the menu, read your dishes-of-choice to the waiter. Check out this video for how to order food in Chinese
4. Dress Well
The Chinese can be prone to staring at tourists. Sometimes it can make a traveler feel uncomfortable, but be assured, these looks are totally normal in China, people are just being curious! To not draw too much attention to yourself, dress in sensible clothing, such as jeans, lightweight pants, and t-shirts. It is also possible that locals may ask to have their picture taken with you, so have your best pose ready.
5. Plan Your Itinerary Before Leaving
Always plan your itinerary before leaving your hotel, and be sure to have downloaded Google Maps and pinned places on the map you are going to visit. Always have a piece of paper with the address of your hotel written on it in Mandarin or Cantonese—ask the receptionist to do this.
6. Look Left and Right
In China, pedestrians don't have the right of way, and cars won't stop for you if you're in the road. Be very careful when crossing roads, and always have patience at the lights.
7. Where to Visit
If it's your first time in China and you're traveling solo, the best places to visit are Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, and Guilin. These destinations have good backpacker trails and a tourist circuit, meaning it will be easier to meet new people and explore the area.
8. Staying Online
The Chinese government censors the internet and you won't have access to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and various email pages. If staying connected is really important to you, there are ways around the ban. Download a VPN blocker to your phone or computer before you travel and you'll be able to access your favorite sites.
Many toilets in China are squat-only and don't come with toilet paper. Remember to carry tissues with you, or keep a spare roll in your suitcase. A supply of toilet paper when you're traveling is essential!
10. Stay in a Hostel
Hostels are always great ways to meet people and make new friends, and if you're traveling solo, it's an even more important factor.AllTheRooms
has every type of accommodation you could possibly want, from budget hostels, through to Airbnbs and high-end hotels. Check out all accommodation options inChina