China is a truly fascinating country, with a culture and history that stretches back thousands of years. Modern China is the world’s second largest economy, but in many ways, this is still a developing nation. If you want to stay safe and healthy in China, there are some things you need to know
Don’t Drink the Tap Water
In most of China, the tap water is going to be undrinkable, you don’t want to go anywhere near it. If you need to use tap water, then make sure that you boil it before you use it. The locals might be resistant to contaminants in the water, but you aren’t; if you drink the tap water then you will regret it.
You might want to stock up on bottled water before you depart for China, or perhaps when you land in the airport. Obviously, when you are out and about, there will be plenty of opportunities to purchase drinks. Remember that if you wash your hands with tap water, you need to avoid eating food with your hands.
Be Careful of Street Food
Street food is one of the best parts about traveling and sometimes you discover some real gems at the side of the road. There’s nothing wrong with most of the street food in China, but make sure that you are careful about what you eat. Don’t buy any food that might be undercooked or from any vendors who appear to have poor hygiene.
You should be cautious of street food in China, but don’t avoid it entirely. If you do, you will miss out on one of the most unique aspects of Chinese culture. Chinese street food is unlike anything you will experience in the US. A lot of it might not appeal to you, but if you explore the street food even a little, you will gain a better understanding of Chinese cuisine.
Wash Your Hands Often
Washing your hands regularly will minimize the chances of you coming down with sickness because of bacteria or viruses. It’s worth investing in a couple of small bottles of alcohol-based hand gel. You can simply rub a small amount of the gel between your hands in order to disinfect them. The gel soon evaporates and you don’t need to wash your hands after using it.
Carry Hand Wipes and Tissue
Most public bathrooms in China, even those located in malls and similar public places, don’t have toilet paper available. You will find that napkins are similarly rare, so if you are going to be eating street food, you will want something to use to clean your hands with.
Don’t Take the ‘Black Taxis’
You may well be approached by drivers offering to give you a cheap ride; they are very common in China and are known as ‘black taxis’. While they might claim to be offering you a cheap ride, they will often charge you a massively inflated price even for a short journey. They are also totally unregulated and so represent a huge risk to your safety.
Bring Basic Medicines With You
China has a problem with counterfeit goods, and that includes pharmaceuticals. You should bring your own supply of basic medicines that you know to be safe and authentic and avoid buying any in China if you can help it. Make sure that you check all your medicines beforehand to ensure that customs will let them pass. We recommend that you read this guide about health insurance, to minimize your chances of facing any health issues.
Take Care of Your Belongings
As with any popular tourist destination, there is no shortage of scams and pickpockets operating in major Chinese cities. While you're in China, especially in the crowded cities, you need to make sure that you keep all of your personal belongings safe at all times. Keep your wallet and phone in an inside pocket, preferably one that you can zip up.
Visiting China should be a once in a lifetime experience for you. As long as you stick to the advice above and exercise a good dose of traveler’s common sense, you should enjoy every minute of your time in China. Remember to stock up on essential medicines before you leave and don’t be without your hand sanitizer.