Safe Travel in China

Safe Travel in China
China is a country of contrasts, with modern cities and tiny, backcountry villages where life is much the same as it was generations ago. It is also a country wrestling with severe environmental issues and under the rule of an authoritarian, Communist government. While a trip to China should be easy to enjoy, staying safe and healthy involves keeping several special considerations in mind.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:
  • Passport Water purification kit, including both a carbon filter and either iodine or chlorine treatment
  • Passport
  • Water purification kit, including both a carbon filter and either iodine or chlorine treatment
Step 1
Get your basic shots up to date before leaving for China. The Centers for Disease Control particularly recommends Japanese encephalitis, rabies and typhoid vaccinations for anyone going into rural areas, as outdoors enthusiasts often do.
Step 2
Get a prescription for anti-malarials if you are venturing into rural areas in Anhui, Yunnan or Hainan Province between May and September. Mosquito-borne dengue fever is also present in China, so bring some mosquito repellent spray and make regular use of it to prevent bites.
Step 3
Drink either bottled water or water you purified yourself. Water quality in China can be very poor, and that extends to treated water available from the tap in many cities.

Personal Safety

Step 1
Monitor the U.S. State Department's travel bulletins to check if an area you want to visit is experiencing political unrest. They issued such a bulletin for the city of Urumqi in western China in September 2009, for example. Certain parts of China are unstable, so keep this in mind for your travel planning.
Step 2
Watch what you say about politically sensitive subjects while in China, and absolutely avoid joining demonstrations or engaging in activism of any sort unless you want to be arrested and deported. Never forget that China is an authoritarian state, and while tourists are rarely placed under surveillance, what you say and do can still get you into trouble.
Step 3
Exchange your money using ATMs, banks or official currency exchange vendors. To do otherwise is illegal, so keep your receipts from these exchanges. China has a serious problem with counterfeiting, so illegal exchange is taken seriously. While you are unlikely to get caught with illegally exchanged money, if you are caught by the police or customs, it will compound whatever other problems you have and you are likely to be detained for weeks or even months while under investigation.

Tips & Warnings

Wash any fruits or vegetables you will eat raw and with the skin on with bottled or purified water.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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