China Travel Tips and Etiquette

Chinese people are inherently shy and modest. They do not display emotion and feelings in public and find speaking bluntly unnerving. Most couples never even hold hands when walking in public. For the most part, Chinese people never hug or kiss in public. The most public display seen when saying hello or goodbye is generally a handshake. It is common to see two females, or even two males walking down the street hand in hand. Most visitors to China cannot understand it and assume they are a couple. In China only truly close friends hold hands, but two friends of the opposite sex cannot hold hands. Chinese people like people the world over love to laugh and Chinese people have excellent senses of humor, but sexual and political subjects are strictly avoided. In many parts of China, people have never seen a Westerner outside of movies and television, so when traveling to more underdeveloped areas, chances are you will get stared at. It is nothing more than harmless curiosity. It is considered rude to take photos of people without their consent. In some of the more touristy areas, the locals have gotten used to it, but it is still a good idea to get permission before taking a photo. Gesture with your camera with a big smile on your face will usually get you the photo you want. If using a digital camera show them the photo you just took. This works well particularly with children who will find seeing themselves in the photo very exciting and many others will then pose for you to be able to see them in your camera.

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