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China Sprout


Practical China Tips From Women Worldwide


About women in China...
Most Chinese women do not smoke or drink much unless you're in the big cities with a lot of foreigners. Also, the Chinese have some very potent liquors, such as bai jiu. One glass is enough to get you pretty drunk. I hope this advice is helpful to other travelling women.
Margaret, Montana, USA

Sightseeing tips and Chinese artists...
When you go to the Great Wall, be prepared for it to be a very good climb - the stairs and everything are very steep - but it's amazing. As for the Forbidden City, if you are not with a tour guide, it is well worth the cost to get the headset that walks you through the city and tells you about it.

Also be prepared to have art students come up to you and ask you to come and see their work. They will tell you that you must buy right away -- that they are there only for one more day. That's not true at all they are always there. Some of their stuff is expensive but pretty good quality. If you like what you see, be prepared to bargain. What a wonderful Chinese souvenir!
Pauline, Cambridge, Canada

Chinese herbal facial...
My wonderful Beijing guide directed me to a reasonably priced spa for an authentic Chinese herbal facial (best one I ever had). It's called Dong Fang beauty salon (a hole in the wall, basically, but really very good.). It is located across the street from a large western style shopping plaza called Landao Shopping Market (in Chao Yang District, near Dong Da Qiao), and around the corner from a McDonalds, not far from Tiananmen Square. Give it a try when you need a respite from sightseeing and shopping.
Karen, Mississauga, Canada

P.S. Looking for your own guide in Beijing? Contact Louisa at:

Newly discovered and fabulous...
I've lived in Ho Chi Minh City for nearly fours years, Hong Kong for the past three and am now returning home to Sydney. I'd like to suggest two (insider) Chinese destinations to other Journeywomen:

Highly recommend is a new and unknown town enroute from Beijing to Xian called Ping Yao. It is declared a UNESCO heritage site and is one of the last walled cities in China. It has been lost in time and is as it was 200-300 years ago. Everything is in Chinese but it is worth a visit before it becomes overrun. It was overnight from Beijing on a hard sleeper train - comfortable, cosy and clean and about Y135 each way.
There are lots of local courtyard house hotels with beds on heated stone platforms that charge about Y30 per night for 3-4 in a room. Being there was like walking onto a movie set. Also, near to Ping Yao is a lovely Taoist temple with incredible buddhas and clay figurines. Then, a couple of hours drive away is the amazing Wang Family Mansion museum - the site where Raise the Red Lantern was filmed - incredible!
Helen, Sydney, Australia

Telephone tips...
Buy a phone card before you go to China -- they are a very cheap way to call home. You can get Chinese phone cards from your local Chinese merchants or elsewhere. Also, JourneyWomen should know that you can't make international calls from all pay phones. Make sure the one you're using allows international access. You can use some of our North American calling cards from China, but not all. Find out which ones work and which ones don't before you go however phone cards are still generally less expensive.
Julie, San Francisco, USA





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