Travel Tips for
Whenever I came back to the States for a visit, I was always bombarded by many questions around how safe it is there, what's the weather like, the pollution, cleanliness, do I need vaccinations or can I drink the water, to name a few. Although I am not providing any medical or advice, this page is just to give you an idea of what to expect. These are my personal experiences shared ...
Like any other country in the world that caters to tourism, as foreigners and travelers, we just need to be aware of our surroundings and watch our belongings at all times. In my recent 8 years living and traveling throughout China having traveled in many many parts (rural to cities), I have NEVER once felt uneasy in where I was ... and that's with an entire camera kit on me!
As far as vaccinations, call me lucky, but during my residence and having traveled all throughout China, Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand), India (ok, I got the Delhi Belly there, but that was my fault), S.Korea & Japan, I have never (knock on wood) had health issues while living and traveling throughout these places. This is a personal choice, please do what you think is best for you.
Don't drink the (tap) water! Even though, again, I have never experienced any adverse affects from brushing my teeth or showering from the tap in the major and smaller cities in China, but I lived by consuming/ingesting bottled water - a good rule of thumb pretty much anywhere.
Communications. In my experience, cellular data is slow and there's recently been a crack down on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which allow you to communicate and launch such apps as facebook, twitter, blogs, gmail and the like that have been blocked ... aka the Great Firewall of China. You're on holiday. It'll be good to disconnect for a little while, right? If you have an international option from your local mobile carrier, I would recommend seeing if you can use your existing mobile in China - if you want to stay somewhat connected. Obtaining a local Chinese SIM as a traveler/foreigner is getting easier these days, but not all airports have kiosks at the airports Arrivals Terminal.
Entry visa. Yes, you will likely need a visa to enter and stay in the country if you're intending on staying longer than 72 hours. I have put together a brief information page to give you a bit more information: China Visa Requirements
Chinese money is called Renminbi (RMB), Yuan or more commonly called "kuai" by the locals. Literally, it means "Money of the People". Again, from my experience, my US-based ATM cards have worked without fail at Chinese ATMs - just make sure with your issuing bank that they will work for you. While you're at it, I would highly recommend informing your bank and credit card issuer(s) that you will be traveling to China so that you can thwart off any potential issues in using it while you're in country.