Are you traveling to China soon for your next vacation? Then we’ve got you covered! We’ll help you in making your trip an unforgettable one. Be sure to take these tips to heart to be able to win friends and make a good lasting impression with your Chinese acquaintances. A trip to a foreign destination, like in China, can give you a feeling of excitement and at the same time open your eyes to its vibrant culture and fascinating history, distinctive manners of locals, and even social principles that may differ from what you stand for. Yes, we all have differences and similarities that we should embrace. But despite that, all of us deserves to be respected. Being new to a certain place, it is essential that you are aware of some things that the local people are sensitive about so you’ll not hurt their emotions and even antagonize in some way.
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We’ve provided here a list of things that you should not do when you’re in China. Read it all and be equipped with the necessary information that will save you from embarrassment and a possible outright humiliation during your trip to this wonderful country.
Dining in China
Despite being influenced by the modern world, China strongly remained obedient to their tradition. One distinct example is when dining in China. It doesn’t just mean you’ll eat to relieve your hunger. In Chinese, it means to experience and share in good company. They practice the so-called gather dining system. As you’ll notice dishes are being placed at the center of the dining table which means everyone who’s sitting around is encouraged to help themselves.
You must allow elders first to be seated and afterward, you’ll be instructed on which seat to occupy. Please note that it is impolite to begin eating before they do. Before finishing your drink, it is needed that you engage in a toast while saying the phrase “gan bei” which means dry cup. It is suggested to try everything that is being offered and remarking aloud that the food is delicious means you enjoy it. Drinking from the bowl is normal in China, everyone else does this.
Please also avoid tapping the bowl using your chopsticks and pointing them at the other people. This denotes rudeness. If you’re going to put food on your plate, never use your chopstick. There’s a serving chopstick or ladles provided at the restaurant. Make use of it. Even if you’re not an expert or uncomfortable when it comes to using chopsticks, give it a try. Your Chinese host will appreciate it. Remember, never leave chopsticks standing in your food because for Chinese people, it signifies death. This scenario greatly resembles the ceremony when they are praying for someone to die.
Cultural etiquette and norms
Don’t be surprised when you are asked about personal questions such as age, relationship, family, occupation, or even income. This is part of Chinese-style small talk and is considered polite within their society
If you’re going to meet Chinese people for the first time, don’t be too physical. They find it uncomfortable and strange. A handshake, smile or a nod is more than enough to demonstrate that you’re pleased to meet them. Also, avoid public display of affection and be mindful of your actions. China is a very conservative society and looks down upon these instances.
Things to consider when visiting Tibetan Temples and Monasteries
Never photograph Tibetans. They do no appreciate such action unless you ask for their permission. Also, don’t touch their head. They believe that God resides on their head and maybe offended if you touch them there. It is also prohibited to step on a lama’s shadow. Don’t walk between a person praying to the Buddha and the statue. Lastly, if you want to pinpoint certain statue, avoid pointing them directly, unless using your palm up, fingers flat and firm, towards the direction of your choice.
Tipping is not compulsory
Tipping is not necessary for China. Workers like waiters, taxi drivers, and even bellmen do not expect to be given a tip. They can also be confused and try to give your money back. It’s awkward on their part
Showing appreciation in China
If you want to give a gift to Chinese people, avoid giving a clock. For them, it’s the same as saying that you’ll soon attend a funeral. For Chinese people, it means cursing them to die. This is being impolite. Also, those sharp objects like scissor is not a perfect gift since it represents the severing relationship to the person to which the gift is given.
When you’re about to give flowers, avoid picking white or yellow especially the chrysanthemums. The said flowers are known as funeral flowers in China. Never offer it Chinese people even to elders or those who are sick.
When wrapping a gift, to be safe, use a red wrapping paper. Avoid using any dark colors such as dark blues, and purples to name a few. You’ll never go wrong if you stick with red.