China is one of the countries that are frequently visited by tourists in Asia. It’s rich in culture and tradition, plus it has lots to offer when it comes to beautiful sceneries and exciting things to do. Aside from the famous Great Wall of China, other must see places are the gorgeous beaches facing the South China Sea and Jiuzhaigou, a national park and nature reserve. The latter is also located near Shuzheng Village, which you can visit if you wish to interact with the locals. Chinese customs and traditions may be different from yours. This is why it’s important to equip yourself with some knowledge in order to avoid unintentionally embarrassing or offending people. Here are some of the basic do’s and don’ts that you should remember.
Don’t Tap the Shoulders or Touch the Head of People
In China, the head is considered as the most sacred part of the body. This is why they would find it disrespectful if you hold their head. They are also not as touchy as westerners. Tapping on the shoulders or kissing to greet someone should be avoided. You could instead nod or shake their hands. Public display of affection or PDA is also not generally accepted.
Give Gifts and Compliments
Giving gifts is not only done when there’s special occasion. If you’re meeting people or you’re visiting someone’s place, it’s recommended that you bring gifts as this is a sign of respect. Do not use white or dark colored gift wrappers as these are considered unlucky, especially white is a color that symbolizes death in their culture. Be generous on your compliments as well, as this would make them feel appreciated.
Don’t Call Them by First Name
Always use Mr., Mrs., or Ms. when addressing people, followed by their last name. In China, their last name is mentioned first before their first name. For instance, for the name Wang Li Li, Wang is the surname, while Li Li is the first name. You may then address the person Ms. Wang. Also, it’s polite to greet the oldest person to the youngest.
Let the Host Order When Dining Out
If you were invited to eat on a restaurant, it’s not polite to order ahead of the host or the person who invited you. The host often orders the food without asking what the other people in the table would like. However, since you may have specific food requirements, you may ask if it’s okay to let them know what you like and don’t like. While Chinese often offer to pay for the bill when they dine out, if you were invited, let the host pay as chipping in may offend them since you are a guest.
Don’t Point with Your Fingers
Pointing using your fingers is considered rude. This is also true about chopsticks so you should never point on anything using these. If you wish to point on something, keep your hands open and with the palms up, show the direction or the thing you wish to show.
Use the Other End of the Chopstick When Getting Food
You may have already practiced your chopstick skills prior to visiting China. That’s good as you will be using them all the time when eating. If in a banquet, you may notice that there are no serving spoons on the dishes that are being served. Use the other end of your chopsticks to get some food from the serving table to your plate.
These are some of the do’s and don’ts that you should remember when visiting China. Are there other tips that you wish to share? Type your comment in the box below.
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3rd image by Kapichu (photo from the english wikipedia) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons