An enormous country with mountains, beaches, grasslands, deserts, rivers, and seas, China’s size lends it an incredibly diverse geography and a mix of rich and ancient cultures. There are the internationally-renown landmarks like the Great Wall and the hillside rice terraces, and iconic wildlife like the adorable but gravely-endangered Giant Panda. You’ll have to plan carefully to make sure you get the most out of your escape, as there’s so much to see and do, it can be hard to know where to focus!
The good news is there’s enough colorful culture, gorgeous natural scenery, historic attractions and fantastic couples’ activities that no matter your hobbies or preference, there’s never a shortage of things to keep you and your loved one busy. Welcome to China, where you can take an exotic lovers’ escape you’ll tell stories about for the rest of your lives.
Tips and Advice
- WHEN TO VISIT: Spring and Fall are the best times to visit China, bringing mild weather and sunny skies. You may choose to avoid visiting China during major holidays like Chinese New Year or National Holiday week, as public transportation systems get crowded, hotel prices increase, and many Chinese head back to their hometown, closing up shop in the major cities.
- GETTING THERE: Nonstop flights from New York to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport are around 15 hours. Direct flights from Seattle to Shanghai take around 12 hours and 30 minutes.
- GETTING AROUND: China is rapidly building a sophisticated, expansive public transportation web across the entire country. Traveling by economical bus, speedy bullet train, or convenient national airline has never been easier! Most major cities have clean and efficient subway systems. It's important to note that all travelers going between Hong Kong and mainland China must pass through immigration, as Hong Kong is a special administrative region (SAR).
- LANGUAGE: Mandarin Chinese is the lingua franca of China. While many mainland Chinese people do not speak or understand English, most major cities, hotels and tourist attractions will have plenty of English speakers. In Hong Kong, Cantonese dialect is the prominent tongue, followed by Mandarin and English. Many travelers to Hong Kong can easily communicate using English.
- CLIMATE: From the tropical warm weather of Hainan to the cold-temperate zone of Inner Mongolia and Harbin, the range of climates in China is vast. In general, winters are cold and dry, followed by hot and rainy summers. Monsoons, altitude and latitude all play a role in the weather of a particular Chinese region.
- CURRENCY: The Chinese Renminbi (or RMB) is the national currency of China. Hong Kong uses its own currency, called the Hong Kong Dollar.
- ELECTRICITY: The voltage in China and Hong Kong is 220V, 50HZ, AC. Hong Kong outlets are UK-style. Americans will need to purchase a power adapter in order to use devices in China.
HELPFUL HONEYMOON HINTS
- HYGEINE: Be sure to carry toilet paper and hand sanitizer with you as you travel through the city. Most public restrooms lack tissue and soap.
- DRINK BOTTLED WATER: Tap water is fine for showering and brushing your teeth, but is not recommended for consumption. Always drink bottled water in China, and don't drink from the tap.
- COMMUNICATE: Non-Chinese speakers may have difficulty communicating during their travels. Try downloading the Pleco app on your smartphone, a free English-Chinese dictionary with simplified characters and the option to listen to a word or phrase for correct pronunciation.
- MAKE A DEAL: When exploring markets and stands, it is okay to bargain your way to a lower price. Most sellers will expect to negotiate.
- SAY "CHEESE": If you look like a foreigner, you might have your photo taken at one of China's major tourist sites. Many visitors from rural China have never seen a foreigner before, and they may ask to take a picture with you (or not ask!). It's best to just embrace your new celebrity status and indulge your new friends with a big smile.