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10 Things Not to Do When Visiting China – A 2024 Traveling Guide

If you ask anyone about their trip to China, they’ll probably tell you that it has been one of the most exciting and eye-opening experiences they had. After all, China is filled with amazing history, wonderful traditions, as well as social ideas that are probably completely different than the ones you have.

However, if you’re planning on visiting this vast nation in 2024, you need to know that there are some specific things that you absolutely shouldn’t do while there. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the list of ten things you need to avoid doing while in China:

1. Don’t Consume Tap Water While There

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One of the first things that you should definitely avoid doing during your stay is to consume the tap water. Although it’s not drinkable, you can still use it for showering and brushing your teeth. Now, most hotels will provide their guests with a kettle in their rooms, hence, if the daily dose of bottled water provided by most hotels isn’t enough, you can use the kettle for boiling the water before consuming it.

2. Never Embarrass The Locals in Public

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For Chinese nationals, “face” is very important. What does “face” mean? Well, it represents an individual’s reputation, which is deeply rooted in the society in China. And, if you choose to criticize them publicly, you’ll make them ‘lose their face’, which is something you’ll definitely want to avoid. You should never humiliate a Chinese in public, instead, you might want to point everything out in private.

3. Not Taking a Gift With You

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You might not know this, but gifts are commonly exchanged between the locals, and not only on specific dates and occasions. So, if you get invited to lunch at your friend’s house, ensure that you take a gift with you. You could take anything with you from some chocolates to some toys if they have kids, all the way to a soft drink such as a bottle of nice wine. Keep in mind, they won’t open the present right away, instead, they’ll wait until you leave, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t like it, it’s just their custom.

4. Leaving Chopsticks Vertically is a Bad Idea

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As you already know, chopsticks are used by all people in China. However, there is one thing that you should remember when eating with them – never leave them vertically in the meal your eating. If you do, it’ll resemble the incense burner with two sticks most commonly used for making an offering to individuals that have died, meaning that you could offend someone by doing this. Instead, you should simply put them next to your plate when you’re done with the food.

5. Not Having a Map With You

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Anyone will tell you that China is vast and no matter if you choose to visit a small city or a large one, it’s easy to get lost. This is why you’ll have to ensure that you always have a map with you. Now, keep in mind, most travel agencies will provide you with a detailed itinerary of your holiday, hence, you’ll have enough time to do some digging and determine what things you’ll need to get. If you’re interested in learning about some free vacation planning services, you can click here for more information.

6. Never Use One Hand For Giving Items

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Every single culture in this world has a rule for receiving or giving things. While in China, it’s polite to use both hands when giving or receiving items. For example, when you’re going to someone’s home for lunch or dinner, ensure that you use both hands for giving the present you bought, in this way, you’ll show that you’re respectful to your hosts. Additionally, when you’re receiving something, you should use both hands for accepting it.

7. Never Accept Anything Before Refusing it at First

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When you’re receiving something such as meals, beverages, or presents, you should first refuse to accept it a few times before you actually do. No matter how much you’re eager to try something or see what present you got, following the etiquette will prevent you from seeming too greedy. Hence, ensure that you politely refuse to accept something a few times. Keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to things such as a server bringing you food at a restaurant or accepting someone’s business card.

8. Never Drink Without a Toast

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You might have the opportunity to be invited to a banquet and in most situations, the hosts will serve rice wine, also known as ‘baijiu’. But, you’ll have to follow a specific drinking rule – the host will first make a toast to the guests and then, the guests are supposed to offer a toast to their host. Remember, you’ll be expected to drink the entire beverage after each toast, however, if you cannot do this, you should give it your best shot. Also, if the rice wine is too strong for you, you could always change the beverage.

9. Never Take Photographs in Temples

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Chinese temples are completely mesmerizing, which makes it quite natural that you would like to take photographs of them. However, in order to protect the Buddha statues and the pictures on the walls, photographing the inside of the temple is prohibited. Some might allow you to take pictures if you turn off the flash, however, if you notice that there are signs all over the place warning you not to take pictures, you should respect the signs. If you don’t notice the signs, you must always ask about whether or not you can take pictures.

10. Never Leaves Tips

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This might seem completely crazy to you, but, tipping in China is completely uncommon and in most cases, it’s considered rude or entirely embarrassing for the person receiving the tip. So, if your dining at a restaurant or if you took a taxi, never leave a tip for them. Some employees such as the ones in your hotel might have grown accustomed to receiving tips, but, if you don’t notice anyone else doing it, you shouldn’t as well.


As you could learn, there is a wide range of things that you should definitely avoid doing while in China. And, if you remember some or most of the tips mentioned in the article above, you’ll ensure that you have a great experience while on holiday in this vast and mesmerizing nation.

So, now that you’re aware of all the things you must avoid doing, you might not want to lose any more of your time. Instead, you should open up a new search tab and start researching all of the things that you definitely need to see, try, and do while on vacation in this exciting nation.

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