The following female packing guide for China has been submitted by Viktoria Urbanek.
So China it was! I’ve always dreamed about going there exploring the ancient culture and meeting new exciting people! I got chosen for an internship in Liaoning province, the one next to North Korea for 7 weeks in from end of July to early September. My weekends and the last week I spend traveling to Xi’an, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shenyang, Dalian and Beijing. I really enjoyed the last week in Beijing where I kind of bumped into some European interns in the Forbidden City.
Weather is humid there so don’t pack any woollen things. Pack light things instead, that you can wash yourself in the sink (what I did for that time): thin shirts, skirts and dresses that will capture some wind.
For my travels I wore a sports bra (from H&M, they have a pretty good and not pricy sports line), because the normal one would soak themselves with sweat, not so nice indeed. You can also just use a bikini top, which will do the same.
I can also highly recommend you taking a light big scarf with you everywhere you go. Usually nobody asks you to cover up your shoulders when you visit temples, but the sun is there. Always. Even when you can’t see it through the intense smog. I got sunburnt two or three times because I underestimated the power of the UV rays.
Definitely bring flip-flops for showering and walking inside your hotel/hostel room. I got some from Crocs, they have the most amazing cushion plus they are all plastic so dirt will wash off easily.
Don’t bring any light-coloured shoes, because they will get really dirty because the streets are dirty and dusty.
Usually I would recommend buying shampoo and conditioner at your local destination, but Chinese people don’t have the same beauty routine as most western countries do. In some shops you may find liquid soap but expect to pay a lot more than at home.
SUNSCREEN! As mentioned before, even if you don’t see the sun it doesn’t mean that she’s gone.
Foot creme: After a long day walking your feet will thank you if you rub some creme in them. It a real nice refreshing feeling in the morning when they don’t strike!
Tampons: You will most certainly not get them there! Take your favourite brand from home! (Or check out menstrual cups.)
Charcoal tablets: Your stomach will thank you a lot for them. And your ability to explore places will go up. Our bodies are used to a different kind of food and nutrition. My stomach got pretty upset about the different food so I glad I brought those little babies. They are pure coal, and no chemistry added. Make sure you swallow them quickly before it colours your mouth completely black.
What not to pack
Sleeping bag, water bottles with integrated filters (they won’t help there).
Visa! Check out the special visa requirements for China. You have to get the visa BEFORE you cross Chinese borders.
Locks for the lockers in hostels.
From my experience, it’s better to stay in hostels rather than in cheap hotels. To put it nicely: They are disgusting. Plus you will not meet anybody speaking English.
Pack a Kindle or get one! Download plenty of books as you’re not likely to see wifi around because of the Great Chinese (Fire)Wall. That means you are not permitted to use Facebook, Youtube and the like because they are on the Government’s black list. I was following a blog back then and I couldn’t access it after three weeks on my laptop because they set it on their blacklist as well. (Plus if you are in more rural places there are not many bookshops to be found.)
Adaptor! You can skip buying multiple adaptors if you do this:
>> You may be interested in our packing list for study abroad in China.
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About the Author: Viktoria self-diagnosed herself with chronic wanderlust in 2009 when she went on Exchange to Venezuela. Thereafter she couldn’t resist traveling to Mexico, China, Morocco and all across Europe. Viktoria launched her website Chronic Wanderlust just recently in 2013, where she gives advice about travel gear, moments abroad and traveling itself. The site is currently still kind of under construction, but check her updates on facebook too. A new logo will be launched soon too.
Book a Viator Tour Before You Go
Best Private Tour: Great Wall of China at Juyongguan and Ming Tombs from Beijing – $87.00*
See the best of China’s ancient civilization on this private full-day trip from Beijing to the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs. At the Great Wall, you’ll climb the Juyongguan section, one of the most strategically important sections of the wall. You’ll also explore the Ming Tombs, the burial ground of 13 Ming Dynasty emperors.
Hangzhou Cultural Tour Including Leifeng Pagoda, China National Silk Museum and Qinghefang Cultural Street – $75.00*
On this full-day coach tour of Hangzhou, visit some of the city’s must-see places including the Leifeng Pagoda, the China National Silk Museum and Qinghefang Street. Your expert guide will give you a detailed understanding of Hangzhou’s rich historical and cultural heritage, covering a wide range of topics from architecture to textiles to medicine.