Things you should know before you fly to China/Hong Kong

FRANKFURT – BEIJING – SHANGHAI – HONGKONG – FRANKFURT
My round trip through China

In retrospect, I find it totally amazing that I dared at all. At the age of 16, I decided to travel to the other end of the world without my parents and without any friends and to invest a lot of money in this. After all, the whole trip cost more than 3000€. On top of that, just over a year ago I was still a very introverted person who hated to make new friends. So until today I still can’t explain why I of all people decided for this travel format. Furthermore, I still can’t explain to myself why I chose China of all countries, because I have no connection to this country.

Initially, I planned to finance the entire China tour with the help of my part-time job. However, at the time of booking I did not know that I would be quit just a few weeks later. But as I had already partially paid for the trip, it was not an option for me to cancel the flights. Instead, I looked for another part-time job and actually found one. This time I worked in a bakery – but that didn’t last long either. After they employed me for about a month, I was fired again. Luckily I was able to take a job in a canteen right after my trip to China, through which I actually managed to finance the trip almost entirely from my salary – while I was in eleventh grade. As you can see, it really wasn’t easy to spend three weeks in Asia, as it presented me with a major hurdle both emotionally and in terms of costs. However, in retrospect, I can now say that I have no regrets whatsoever and that I would do it again any time.

Without wanting to become theatrical, it was probably the best time of my life. I had an unforgettable time with complete strangers, who now, after the journey, still have a great value in my heart.

Things you should know before you fly to China/Hong Kong

  • As long as you are still at home, you should urgently download a so-called VPN app. You cannot use everyday apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, SnapChat etc. without this app during your stay in China. Unfortunately, most providers are a bit expensive, so it is definitely worth comparing prices beforehand
  • If, like me, you want to visit Hong Kong as well as China, you should definitely keep in mind that there are different currencies
  • Even long before you start your journey you should take care of a valid visa for tourists
  • If you don’t have a credit card, you really should get one. As Chinese money is virtually useless and quite difficult to exchange in Europe, it is definitely worthwhile to pay without cash. Even the rancidest booths in China accept card payment
  • If you live in Europe, a valid passport is of course also indispensable
  • To better adjust to the time change, I can only advise you to go to bed early before the journey begins

If you plan your trip without a travel agency or tour operator, I of course recommend that you get a travel guide beforehand and prepare for the trip in advance. For example, which places are indispensable for you and how many days you want to stay where. Since I was still 16 years old at the time of booking, I decided to call the tour operator who did all the planning. I did not even have to take care of the visa.

What you definitely have to expect when you plan a trip with a travel agency or tour operator is that they will most likely only find the typical sights from China. You will most likely get little feeling for the Chinese mentality and culture. Since I had no more than three days each in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, I only got to know China very superficially (nevertheless, I fell in love with the country after only a few minutes).

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