Travelling To China? Some Etiquette Tips You Must Know

Travelling To China? Some Etiquette Tips You Must Know

Image Source: Unsplash


China is a vast country and, in recent years, has opened its doors wide for tourists from around the world. As it was a closed country for many years, many people still don’t know much about expected behaviours, manners and etiquette protocol. This article is intended to provide a general overview of the do’s and don’ts whilst visiting China in order to avoid unintentional mistakes.


Independent travellers to this country will have to find out about how they should act whilst in China or prior to travel, whereas people who opt for guided and escorted tours of China will have first hand information from their tour operators. This said, the Chinese are very tolerant of foreign visitors and will usually laugh any first timer’s errors off, but it still pays to be aware of the basic rules. 






The most important and, therefore, the first thing to consider when meeting Chinese people for the first time is of course the initial greeting. Please see below for some important tips:


 Do greet people with a handshake or nod – Bowing is not necessary
 Do be polite and address people formally, particularly if they are older
 Do make sure you greet the eldest person first as this is a sign of great respect


 Don’t offer too strong a handshake  this could be perceived as aggressive
 Don’t greet people with a hug – this might be your usual greeting but is uncommon in China except for family members


Eating and Drinking


You will spend a great deal of time eating and drinking in China, so you need to know the essentials below:


 Do join in on toasts – this is common practice and considered good manners
 Do try a little bit of food from each plate on offer and leave a little on your plate when finished
 Do tap the table with 2 fingers when someone is refilling your teacup – this is a gesture of thanks


 Don’t put bones, seeds etc in your rice bowl – use the small plates provided
 Don’t tap your chopsticks – it’s considered rude
 Don’t put your own chopsticks into communal bowls – use the serving chopsticks or spoons provided.



Image Source: Pixabay




The giving and receiving of gifts are also another important element of Chinese culture – please see guidelines below:


 Do give and receive gifts with both hands – this is considered polite
 Do refuse a gift a few times before accepting it
 Do offer small items – cigarettes, souvenirs from your own country, sweets etc. are all gratefully received


 Don’t seem too eager to unwrap your gift – in Chineseculture, gifts are opened after the guest has left
 Don’t use black or white wrapping paper
 Don’t give clocks or anything associated with the number 4 which is associated with death.



So, there you have it, a few essential tips to prepare you for your China visit. There are several more regarding religious establishments and entering homes, your tour operator will be able to provide more details, or you can check online yourself prior to departure yourself.



 This article is published in partnership with Mediabuzzer.