Learning the culture, etiquette and local customs in China

You have probably everything packed for your upcoming summer trip: camera and other gadgets, outfits, skincare and cosmetic products, reading materials, passport and other important documents. But we say, you'll never be as prepared as you should be if you haven't flipped through a handful of books and articles about the culture, etiquette and local customs of the country you will be exploring.


Learning the culture, etiquette and local customs in China

You have probably everything packed for your upcoming summer trip: camera and other gadgets, outfits, skincare and cosmetic products, reading materials, passport and other important documents. But we say, you'll never be as prepared as you should be if you haven't flipped through a handful of books and articles about the culture, etiquette and local customs of the country you will be exploring.

For one thing, doing so can save you from potentially awkward moments like accidentally causing a scene because of unintentionally raising your voice or insisting to pay for your meal. And for another, it will impress the locals by showing them that you made an effort to understand their culture. 

Here are a few things that you should be aware of when you are visiting China for the first time.

Keep calm. Always try to keep calm and do not raise your voice as this will not only attract attention but will also most likely lead to causing more problems than it solves. Keep your voice to a normal tone and always try to be polite. There is a wealth of information available on the internet and websites like www.thechinatravelcompany.co.uk have a lot of information about specific destinations and information about the local culture. 

Remove your shoes before entering a home/ temple. It is a common practice throughout China that you remove your shoes before entering a home or temple. Some people do not follow this tradition, but as a matter of courtesy, you should always remove your shoes before entering either someone’s home or a temple.

Don't point the soles of your feet at anyone. It is considered rude to point the soles of your feet at anyone, so you will need to be careful when you are barefoot. It is especially important to remember when entering a temple or home and you remove your shoes, so be careful where you point your feet at.

Keep your hands to yourself. You will find that the people in China are not as tactile as some countries, and public shows of affection are still frowned upon. It is important that you do not make physical contact with anyone that you do not know, unless initiated by them first.

Tipping is not as necessary. When you go to restaurants and other services places where it is common to leave a tip in the west, the concept is not adhered to in China. If you try to insist on a tip, you may even cause offence and cause the person to lose face.

Table manners. If you are eating using chopsticks, then it is important to remember that these utensils are used for eating only. Pointing to people or objects using your chopsticks is something which is not done, and when you are finished with them, you should place them on top of your bowl, avoiding having them sticking straight up which is considered an ill omen, which represents a curse or death. 

If you are giving gifts to someone in China, there are certain things that you will need to avoid. The word “four” in China sounds very similar to the word for death, so you must never give a gift of anything that is in fours. Green hats, clocks and umbrellas are also gifts which should be avoided.

Do as your hosts say. If you are being hosted by a Chinese family or person, it is important that you do not try and pay the bill, as this will be seen as disrespectful. The host will invite people and will also pay the bill, with the guests not expected to pay. It is also important to keep this in mind if you invite someone out!



This post is brought to you by guest writer Katrina Fernandez.

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