If you travel to China and meet someone who has done so before, you may be told about a bad experience in terms of security in China: that “it is dangerous” or that “there are many pickpockets and swindlers”, as this is not entirely true. There are very safe cities and in this entry we comment on how safe it is to travel to China, what measures you can take against its main problems, such as security by city and some practical tips.
Let’s get started!
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO CHINA ON YOUR OWN?
Travelling to China is quite safe, but it is possible that you can suffer from theft or robbery in very crowded places; such as tourist sites, buses, subways, fairs, restaurants, markets, etc. So, be careful.
MAIN PROBLEMS IN CHINA
As we have already mentioned it is safe to travel to China but you must use a lot of common sense and take many precautions when you walk through tourist places or very crowded, such as the train station, where you will be pushed and it is possible that in that mess, someone can take something out of your pockets or backpack.
If a pickpocket grabs something from you, all you have to do is make the big noise and display this criminal in front of everyone. Not only will you stun the thief, but you will attract the attention of a policeman to help you.
If you’re going west in the mountains, take precautions against possible earthquakes. If you are in rural areas, to floods and landslides in the rainy season (April to June in the south and east; and June to August in the north and west).
As for typhoons, they are common during the wet season; which runs from June to August along the south and east coasts.
Be very careful with counterfeit coins and bills. Try to have change and small bills. If you want to withdraw money, go to an ATM or a bank you trust. Avoid money changers on the street, or strangers coming up to you for favors. These scammers are usually found in the following places: Shanghai East Nanjing Rd, the Bund and the Beijing Wangfujing Dajie.
Be careful when taking a taxi out of the airport, always stand in the taxi line; and make sure the driver uses his meter. Avoid pedicabs (a means of transport similar to a bicycle but with three wheels) or motorized three-wheelers, which usually charge you extra even if they tell you they wouldn’t.
You have to take many precautions against dysentery, which manifests itself in two types: bacillary, which is accompanied by stomach pain, vomiting and fever, and amoebic; which shows similar symptoms to the previous one but takes longer to manifest itself.
It’s ideal to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, cholera and typhoid. Try to avoid schistosomiasis (affecting the liver, bladder and other organs) by not drinking tap water or bathing in questionable fresh water. Also, against malaria, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis
Be very careful when you cross streets or avenues, especially if you ride a bicycle. The estimated number of traffic deaths per day can be as high as 600. Even if the traffic light tells you to go through, always look both ways.
HOW IS THE SECURITY IN THE MAIN CITIES OF CHINA?
It is safe to travel to this city in China because it is a city with the minimum of incidents, call it theft; problems with public transportation, assaults, scams, violence against women. Although remember that you should always take your precautions because as a tourist we are always exposed to possible minor crimes.
PEKING (OR BEIJING)
Considered one of the safest cities in China, even for tourists; Beijing can only present you with bad experiences when you try to cross a street. Always look at both sides and keep in mind that no vehicle may give way to you. Be careful on public transport with pickpockets.
The risk is a little higher here. Take precautions against possible theft or pickpocketing in tourist areas. Avoid leaving valuable objects in your hotel, better put them in a safe deposit box. Try not to carry too much cash.
It is not very safe to travel to this city. Canton is considered the most unsafe city in China due to the constant theft of money, as documentation. Take many precautions in this city. If you go to an event, like the Canton Fair; keep in mind that in those times the rate of minor thefts can increase.
In this city, you must beware of: dishonest merchants, illegal tour guides and unlicensed tour companies. Also, possible pickpockets you might run into.
A very common scam is, that when you go to a tourist shop, you can see little clay figures grouped together in such a way that if you touch any other souvenirs, they will fall down and make you pay for the damaged ones.
PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR YOUR TRIP TO CHINA
- If any incident occurs, please do not hesitate to report it to the Chinese police officers. If possible, go with a person who speaks Chinese and try not to sign any documents that you do not understand. If the signature is required, write next to the signature that you do not understand what you are signing and always ask for a copy.
- Keep valuables such as cash, travel documents or credit cards in the safety deposit box of your hotel.
- Always keep copies of all your valuable documents, such as your ID card, passport, visa and plane ticket, in your luggage.
- Take legal taxis, which have meters and a plate inside that identifies the driver. Check with your hotel for approximate fares.
- Before your trip, write down on your mobile phone or on a piece of paper the address, contact numbers and e-mail address of the Consular Section of your country in the Chinese cities you will be visiting. Now we will show you some of them:
- Hong Kong: + 852 252 53 041/42
- Shanghai: + 86-21- 6321 35 43
- Have your bank’s contact numbers available in case you need to cancel your credit card.
- Air pollution can be very serious in some areas of China, so if you travel to cities with pollution problems, it is best to wear a mask. There is a website that can inform you about air pollution.
Learn more travel tips for China