Tips to stay safe while travelling in China

A large country with a large population, the crowds and pollution in China contribute to some of the health and safety concerns you need to be aware of.

Crowds of people mean that viruses spread easily, shoving and pushing is more common and pollution levels are high.

In some areas in Eastern Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Lyme disease, malaria, and tick-borne encephalitis. Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Medical care in clinics offering international standard services to foreigners are expensive and payment is expected at time of service. Also, medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury. Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Pickpocketing and other petty theft such as purse snatching and theft of mobile phones is an issue, as thieves prosper in the crowded conditions and general disregard for personal space. With people constantly jostling you, it can be hard to know when or where your valuable items have been taken. Travellers are usually targeted in busy tourist areas, shopping malls, train stations, bars and restaurants. Never carry items in your back pockets, keep your bag zipped up and at the front of your body and don’t put your bag down on the floor at a restaurant — keep it on your lap and take it with you to the bathroom.
China’s attractions and facilities are generally well-designed. However, some of the most popular attractions can be old, subject to the weather and full of crowds who may push and shove to get past you. Be careful of uneven steps and cracked pavement. Building standards may be loosely enforced in some places. Take care against slips, mind your head and be careful of sharp protrusions, loose objects and dangling wires that could cause injury.
Accidents due to slips, trips and falls can happen to anyone. Treating even minor injuries can be costly, so consider travel insurance that includes medical cover.
Rainy season and Typhoons can lead to flooding and landslides (landslides are more likely to happen in South Western China’s mountain areas). If you are travelling to China during these seasons, check the weather forecast for the regions you will be visiting. Be aware that some tours and river cruises may also be cancelled due to flooding.
Queuing in China is a unique experience. Generally there is no such thing as lining up. It’s more a crowd of people who push their way to the front. Many people in China can be unaware of personal space and people may lean against or bump you and say nothing. Try not to become overwhelmed or angry during these situations as this can contribute to injuries and even confrontations. Try to go with the crowd and keep your patience.
Tap water in China is generally considered unsafe to drink. Bottled water can be readily purchased and some hotels will have drinking water available. Avoid beverages with ice unless you can be sure they are made from filtered or boiled water.
When applying for travel insurance, it’s important to declare your pre-existing medical conditions so that you can obtain the right level of cover for your holiday. If you don’t advise your travel insurer and you make a medical claim related to a pre-existing condition, then your claim may be declined.
The air quality in China can be very poor. Pollution levels change from day to day depending on the conditions. Check local reports and stay indoors or wear a mask on bad days. If you have any respiratory health problems, it is best to speak to your doctor before travelling to China.
Taxi, motorcycle and pedicab drivers sometimes overcharge clients, especially at airports. They may also attempt to give you counterfeit currency. To minimize the risk of being overcharged, use only reputable taxis, avoid unlicensed “black taxis”, do not agree to have multiple passengers, negotiate fares prior to entering the taxi, request that the driver provides you with a receipt or “fapiao” as well as ask the driver to remove your luggage from the trunk (if applicable) before you pay the fare.

NOTICE: While the Information is considered to be true and accurate at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. We strongly recommend verifying the travel advisory of your destination prior to departure.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information as at the date of publishing, Allianz Global Assistance does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. Allianz Global Assistance strongly recommends seeking the guidance of a professional travel agent/agency for further information on a specific destination. On your next trip, whether to another province or country, ensure you have travel insurance as it may assist you in cases of unforeseen medical emergencies and other types of mishaps that can happen while you travel. Travel insurance does not cover everything, please always refer to the policy document for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.

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