Back in late April, I had the pleasure of visiting China for the first time. It is a place that I have always wanted to visit as it is rich in history, diverse in geography and of course, its cuisine is world famous. Once I was there, I was simply amazed by what I saw – very modern cities, beautiful architecture, city planning on a massive scale that is unimaginable to us Western folk, plus many wonderful warm, welcoming people. It was a fantastic experience and I would have no hesitation in visiting again.
As I spent the better part of a month there, I needed to do a little planning before I left on my trip. This article is aimed at people who are visiting China and its goal is to provide you with some tips to help make your travels a little bit easier.
As I did not know much about China (and knew nothing of the language), this was not a trip where I could simply show up and easily find my way around, so I was going to need some assistance. Fortunately, we enlisted the help of Sinorama Holidays (based in Canada) to make our travel arrangements and they were excellent from start to finish. They get two thumbs up from me for their superb organisation, excellent guides and reasonable prices.
Here is a list of items that all travelers to China need to be aware of:
The official currency of China is the Yuan. Often you will hear people refer to the Renminbi (RMB) which is exactly the same thing. Here are a few tips to make sure that you are able to obtain and use the local currency without any hassle:
When you visit China, be prepared to be overwhelmed as it is a huge country with literally thousands of things to see and photograph. Given that I am photographer, I felt like a child in a candy shop with all of the possibilities.
I decided to take a compact system camera consisting of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X100 (and lenses) which worked out remarkably well for me as it was compact, lightweight and gave me superb image quality. Depending on your photography skill and ultimate goal (for your images), you can use any camera you’d like. I saw people using iPhones right up to professional level DSLRs and all of them seemed happy to do so. The bottom line is get a camera you like using, learn how to use it properly and have fun shooting in China.
Here are a few other things to consider with respect to camera equipment:
I knew China was going to be a fascinating place to visit but I had no idea how much I would enjoy my time there. It was an incredible experience and I would welcome the opportunity to visit again. If you ever get the chance to visit, do so. You won’t regret it. In fact, I am starting to plan another trip there within the next couple of years.
So much to see, so much to do … and so little time.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them here and I will do my best to answer them.
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