Every culture has its own rules and regulations that we must respect and follow especially if we are just a visitor or traveler. As an indivisible part of folk customs, taboos are almost linked with traditional Chinese people’s lives in early times however with invariable changes of society; taboos have encountered huge evolution in both implications and forms, even some elderly people keep few forms of traditional life styles today.
Travelling around China is a rotating, dynamic experience, where you can learn a new set of rules, customs as well as social assumptions that you never encounter elsewhere before. These following tips during the trip to China aim to help you to learn regarding the Dos and Don’ts before you Travel in China. Having knowledge of what is acceptable and what is not can make your trip in China much peaceful, avoid distraction and difficult situations as well as to prevent from getting into trouble or from seriously insulting someone without your knowledge.
The China Do’s
- The order of Chinese names is the family name first, after then is the given name. Brides in China do not follow the surname of their husband.
- Always address people with their formal title, name them as Mrs., Ms. or Mr. followed by their last name. Don’t just call them by their first name except you’re invited to do so.
- Giving handshake is usual form of greeting. When you meet seniors or elder officials, handshaking must be kind and followed by a small nod.
- Always show your respect to elders as well as acknowledge them first in any group.
- Chinese don’t commonly accept gifts, favor or invitation when it is first given. Politely refusing two or three is a concept or idea to reflect humility and modesty.
- Always give your gifts using both hands. And be acquainted of color when you wrap your gift. The color red stands for luck, pink and yellow represent prosperity and happiness, while color gray, white and black are for funerals. The white or yellow flowers particularly chrysanthemums are also used for funerals.
- Do learn and find out some Chinese which will help and guide you in traveling around the country with so much ease.
- Do not use toothpick in masses without covering your mouth by using your hand.
- Do not use your own spoon or chopsticks to dish shared dishes which are common when eating with groups, instead use serving spoon to dish through your bowl or a plate to eat.
- Do not open a gift in front of the giver, which is not mannerly.
- Do not leave your chopsticks stick up in left-over rice at the base of your bowl after eating.
- Do not stick your chopsticks straight-up in the rice bowl before or after eating a meal. Rather, just lay them on your dish. Doing it in a private home or restaurant would be a horrible curse on the owner, as sticking chopsticks in the rice bowl would look like an altar with two sticks of incense fastened straight-up in it, which is correspond to wishing death over the person at the table.
- Do not hit lightly your bowl with chopsticks, as beggars are tapping on their bowls, which is rude and disrespectful.
- Don’t give a gift like clocks though giving watch is okay, a stork or crane, straw sandals, handkerchiefs and anything white, blue or black, which are related with death or would lead to crying and are reacted to bring people bad luck.
- Do not lose your coolness or self-control, as to lose one’s self-control is an extreme loss of face.
- Do not point the rear of your feet to anyone when sitting. Try to tuck your legs beneath you or sit cross-legged.
- Do not touch anyone except you certainly have to. Chinese people don’t enjoy being touched by person who’s unfamiliar, which is direct reverse to Western society.
- Do not biting your nails or put your hands in your mouth as it is deliberate to be vulgar in the Chinese culture.
- Do not act in a careless manner in public. Kissing or embracing when greeting someone or saying good-bye is highly uncommon.
- Do not write letters or cards using red ink ball pen, as it represents the end of relationship.
- Do not forget to get off your shoes when you enter any home in China, except if are told not to do so.
I hope you will have a pleasant and enjoyable Travel in China.