China Travel Tips: Amanda’s Take on Health, Safety and Romance
Traveling to China? Amanda Roberts gives you China travel tips about health, romance, women’s rights and safety:
China Travel Tips: Health
Feminine Hygienic Products in China: What’s available/what’s legal/where to buy them?
In China, pads and tampons are readily available, however, in more rural areas, it might be difficult to find the sizes/options you are used to. Chinese women generally have lighter, shorter periods than western women, so if you have a heavy flow, you might need to double-up. Also, most Chinese tampons do not come with applicators, so they can be harder to use. In major cities, though, finding pads and tampons that are more like what you will find in the west are easy to find.
Birth Control in China: What’s available/what’s legal/where to buy them?
Birth control pills are available over the counter in China, so you can buy them at any pharmacy without a prescription. They can run from 22-69 RMB per pack, depending on the brand. Condoms can also be purchased anywhere.
Breastfeeding in China: What are accepted places for women to breastfeed? Is it accepted to do so in public?
Breastfeeding is accepted and women are free to breastfeed whenever and wherever without being covered.
China Travel Tips: Romance
Dating Locals in China: What are the norms and traditions? What should women look out for?
Speaking very generally, Chinese men are very “traditional,” by which I mean they expect their wives to be subservient. This typically doesn’t jive well with expat women, women who are independent and adventurous enough to travel to a foreign country alone.
This is changing, and I do know some western women who have married local men, but it is still rare compared to how many western men marry Chinese women.
Is China LGBTQ-friendly?
In general, China is not an LGBTQ-friendly country, but attitudes are changing, especially in larger cities. I do know a few gay men and women in China, but it is more like an “open secret.” They might be open about it around their friends, but probably need to keep it hidden from their employers.
China Travel Tips: Women’s Place in Society
Women’s Rights in China: Do women have the same position in society as men? How can you tell?
China claims to be very progressive when it comes to women’s rights, but in daily life, Chinese women are certainly not equal to men. There are few women in leadership positions and it is extremely difficult for women with kids to balance work and family.
Local Women in China: What are some clear cultural differences between you and them?
I am far more outspoken than the women I work with. I also dress differently. They prefer short skirts and high-necked tops while I prefer long skirts and low-cut tops.
Women-Specific Environments in China: Are there places where only women are or are not allowed?
There are some jobs women don’t typically do, like hair dresser, and men and women usually have separate lives, like after dinner the men will go drink and play cards while women will go play mahjong, but there is no obvious segregation in Chinese society today.
Perception of Foreign Women in China: How do local men/women react to you when you say where you’re from?
Chinese people generally have a very favorable view of the west. They love Obama, American basketball and hip hop music, and American movies. However, there are some stereotypes to be aware of.
Many Chinese people think that all Russian women are prostitutes. And many men believe that all western women are sexually available all the times.
China Travel Tips: Safety
Transportation in China: Any that are safer/less safe for women to take?
Public transportation (taxis, buses, the subway) are generally safe for women to take, even alone. But always be aware of your surroundings.
Dangerous area/s in China: Any specifically for women?
There are no specifically dangerous places. I have lived in China for 5 years and have never been in danger, but I know other women who have been assaulted on a busy street in broad daylight. The truth is it is never “safe” for a woman anywhere in the world, so take precautions.
Clothing in China: What to wear/what not to wear?
China is a very multi-cultural country, so pretty much anything goes. Women can wear a bikini on the beach or a hijab in the city (mostly, hijabs are currently banned in Xinjiang). Women can wear dresses or pants or shorts or whatever. In general, low-cut tops are not preferred, but it is not something a woman would be punished for wearing.
Top photo credit: Chris JL