China enjoys a rich and ancient culture that is foreign to many travellers. So, here are our top tips for making sure you get the etiquette right the next time you travel to the country.
Chinese culture doesn’t really include tipping in restaurants and often it’s not even accepted. You are welcome and encouraged to tip tour guides and hotel staff, though, if you’ve received great service.
Foreigners often think that bargaining is a must in China. But, it’s the opposite. Locals rarely need to negotiate prices. The prices at local food markets, for example, are fixed.
However, you may be able to negotiate a little at clothing stores or when buying electronics. The only place where you are absolutely encouraged to negotiate is places that specialise in selling things for tourists.
- Crossing The Road In China
Always be careful when crossing a road, even at traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. In China, cars don’t usually give you right of way, so always look left and right before you cross and don’t assume a car will stop.
- Splitting The Bill
Typically, restaurant bills aren’t split in China. If your host invites you out for a meal, he or she will pay and will be offended if you offer to split the bill.
- Remember To Take Off Your Shoes
Many Chinese people don’t wear shoes in their home and temples. If you’re invited to someone’s house, remember to remove your shoes if they do. Also, pointing to the bottom of your feet, or showing people your feet is considered rude.
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When using chopsticks, never plant them standing up in your bowl of rice. For Chinese people, it’s a symbol of burning incense for the deceased. When you do use chopsticks, rest them neatly on the table or even on top of your bowl, and never play with them or use them to point.
- Receiving Business Cards
If someone gives you a business card, it will usually be proffered with both hands. You should take the card in the same way.
Clothing in China tends to be a little more conservative compared to western countries. As a visitor to the country, you will attract a lot of attention in skimpy outfits.
Don’t sit on the floor in China, it’s considered a dirty place to sit. If you must, make sure you put something down to sit on. Alternatively, find a seat or stand.
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- Greeting Locals
Try to practice getting people in their own language. In China, it’s “Ni Hao,” but different provinces have different dialects. It’s customary to greet elders first and you are welcome to shake hands, but other forms of contact aren’t common. Unless you know someone well, address them by their surname.
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Use these 10 tips to respect the locals and feel comfortable the next time you visit China! Remember, if you’re ever unsure of anything, copy the locals.