  Chapter 

General safety

  • In general, China is a safe country for travellers. The strict safety measures and tough punishments for small crimes are a strong deterrent for would be criminals. Be aware that the rules apply as strict – if not stricter – to visitors.


  • On occasion, tourists do become victims of pickpockets, especially in crowded tourist spots, national holidays such as the Chinese New Year, or at bus and train stations. Keep your valuables safe or leave them in the hotel.


  • Homosexuality remains a sensitive topic in China. Despite the more tolerant attitude in recent years, it’s still frowned upon to show your sexuality publicly.
  • In big cities like Shanghai and Beijing, you’ll find some gay bars but that doesn’t mean you can express your sexuality freely. The locals may still take offence and reactions can be unpredictable.


  • The Chinese government monitors social media closely.
  • Online censorship is common in China. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube but also international news websites may be blocked.
  • Refrain from expressing anti-government opinions publicly.

Forces of nature

  • Typhoons and tropical storms can hit China anytime between May and November but are most prevalent between July and October.
  • Flooding and landslides can occur between May and November due to heavy rainfall.
  • The west of the country is prone to the occasional earthquake.


  • Be vigilant in traffic, motorists can be inexperienced.


  • All drugs, hard and soft, are illegal. Possessing or using drugs, any drugs including marihuana or prescription drugs for which you can’t provide the prescription, is punished severely. Bring a Medical Passport or an official prescription when using medication, especially any sedatives and strong painkillers containing codeine.
  • In China, criticising the government is strictly forbidden and punished severely.
  • Non-Chinese and international driver’s licenses are not recognised.



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