Local People & Customs Meeting and interacting meaningfully with the local people and experiencing foreign cultures are often the most memorable highlights of a holiday. Your real china travel holiday will provide many opportunities for both, however just as at home, respect, consideration and an open mind are needed for these interactions to be mutually enjoyable. Don’t be surprised if the local people – especially in remote areas – treat you with an equal measure of curiosity, and even suspicion! Put yourself in their shoes. It’s easy to judge another culture by our own standards and assumptions, but it’s worth keeping in mind:
• You are a guest in the community – please respect your hosts and behave as you’d expect a guest to behave in your home.
• Other cultures have different concepts of ‘time’, among other things - you’ll find it a lot less stressful if you go with the flow and you may even re-assess your own ideas!
• Keep an open mind and don’t be too quick to judge: we do things differently back home – not better, just differently.
• Don’t be too quick to generalise. For example, one bad experience with a taxi driver doesn’t mean all cabbies are thieves. Please be respectful of local customs. Read up before you go and ask your tour guide, or a local, if you’re unsure. Observe, listen and take your cue from the local people.
• Nudity, scanty or inappropriate dress often causes offence, particularly in Moslem areas. Modest dress will help minimise the risk of sexual harassment (locals won’t readily assume you’re ‘available’) and you’ll be treated with a lot more respect.
• Formalities such as greetings can be quite different to what you’re used to. It’s often best to wait for the local person to make the first move – be it a handshake or a nose rub! Public displays of affection are taboo in many communities.
• Please respect private property and sites where access may be limited, by asking permission. Please also abide by the Chinese laws.