Traveling in China, while completely AMAZING, can be an arduous job occasionally. The tourism sector here, while growing fast, isn’t like that of Europe where everything has already been laid out for you and they have crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s and lower case j’s. In China, you are fortunate if the t continues to be crossed. And so, you must go in having an open mind. You must appreciate what it is and not what it’s.
1.) Language Barriers: Very few people speak English in China. Of course, it does depend somewhat on where you go. If you are seeing Hong Kong, you will not have a difficulty. If you are seeing Beijing it could be very challenging as just a modest percent of the people speak English and foreigners are rare to inquire (particularly in the winter months). If you are in Shanghai, it’s somewhat simpler than Beijing as there are a lot more foreigners there and the city is considerably more modern. If you are outside in the countryside as well as in a city like Xi’an (Where the Terracotta Warriors are) be prepared to use sign language and draw graphics. Being unable to talk the language will make your trip a little more challenging, but it is a component of the encounter!
If you want to make it easier for yourself, it’s probably best to hire a Chinese interpreter who could help with your language barriers. That way you can have no problems when trying to communicate with the locals and taxi drivers.
2.) Metros: they’re very very crowded…and at the most random times during the day also. If you are in Beijing, Shanghai, or Hong Kong be prepared to cuddle with the man or woman standing next to you on the subway train. At first you might be upset that everybody is pushing you in and shoving one to the side, but after a while you get used to it. Its only part of the daily grind here. Of course, it is possible to hire a cab for affordable, but if you need the REAL encounter, choose a metro in Beijing from Guomao station on line 1 at 6:30 PM. You will not forget it.