What are the Essential Things to Know Before Moving to China? Hear from Expats!



        Undoubtedly, China is among the most amazing travel destinations to explore in the world. But moving to China is completely different than visiting as a tourist. If you’re considering relocating to this remarkable country, there are a few essential things to know before moving to China. While the move may be exciting, you must expect to encounter some challenges along the way. For instance, consider the cultural differences and China’s communist background for starters. You will have to learn to adjust to a whole new lifestyle right from scratch. That being said, moving to China doesn’t have to be a cumbersome task. Read our list below of some of the most important things to know before moving to China and make the process hassle-free.

Top Things to Know Before Moving to China:

Before you make that move to China, take the time to know a few things about the country. Maybe even take a quick ‘look-see’ trip on last minute flights to china your intended destination. Here are some of the important things to know before moving to China:


This is among the first things to get in order even before you leave for China. Get things sorted with your bank so that you have as little inconvenience as possible after moving. According to a few expats, banking in China can be a tiresome thing. One expat lost his ATM card and it took him 3 whole months to get a new one! You can use online accounts such as TransferWise which allows you to get paid, send money abroad, and spend internationally as well. You can also opt to get paid in different currencies. Money-related challenges of living in China will be a lot less if you do this.

Pack right: What you should and shouldn’t bring

One of the most important things to know before moving to China is that the weather can be quite unpredictable. When you’re moving to China what to bring ‘clothes-wise’ becomes all the more essential. However, clothes aren’t the only things you need to think about when packing right for your move to China. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t bring along:

  • Bring: A few warm clothes besides the essentials, a couple of sturdy shoes, you necessary meds, trusted cosmetics, power adapters, deodorant, tampons, and mementos from home in case you get homesick.
  • Don’t bring: Batteries, too many clothes and shoes, drugs and other items prohibited in China, travel guides you won’t read, and predispositions about the country. Come with an open mind and enjoy the adventure!

Where to stay

Finding the right accommodation can be among the top challenges of living in China, especially if you’ve never been to the country you’re about to move to. So, how is China accommodation-wise? One of the best things to know before moving to China is that you will have a lot of options. If your move to the country is because you will be working in China, ask a colleague in China about popular areas to live. Consult realtors and look at serviced apartments. These will offer you maid services for six days a week. Some will even look after pets while you’re away. Book business class flights to come and visit the place in question BEFORE signing any lease documents.

Also, most places will demand you pay a deposit of 3 months in addition to rent for the month you are moving in. So, to be on the safe side, have at least $5,000 to 6,000 in hand toward housing expenses. This is among the most important things to know before moving to Beijing, Shanghai, or other cities in China. If you’re wondering how to move to China without a job, stay with a friend in China until you figure things out. Their guidance will help you find your footing in this chaotic and beautiful country.


Dealing with transport woes is an important part of your moving to China checklist. Why do we say woes? Well, life in China today is pretty frantic. A lot of expats are working in China and this adds to the population number along with the locals. There are buses, subways, high-speed trains, and tuk-tuks to commute in China. Barring tuk-tuks, others are quite crowded. Also, while driving is an option, it isn’t recommended as traffic can be insane in China. So, if you wish to avoid using local transport on a daily basis, pick an apartment that is near to your office so that you can easily walk there.

Invest in a VPN

Several western websites are blocked in China. This is among the most important things to know before moving to China. If you think you can spend free hours browsing Facebook, Instagram, and other such sites, think again. Most of these are blocked in China and you will need a VPN to access them. While you’re at it, get the VPN BEFORE you move to China. Why? Well, because most of the VPN sites are blocked as well.

Food and drinks

One of the most essential things to know before moving to China is that food can be a bit hard to digest, especially if you have a sensitive tummy. While there aren’t too many vegetarian options, many big restaurants will serve vegetarian fares as well. For those who love meat, China has a lot in store. You will find a lot of interesting things to try from cumin-flavored lamb to Peking duck. However, you are advised to take it slow as your stomach may not be used to the kind of spices used in Chinese cuisine. Carry enough digestive aids and diarrhea medication to be on the safe side.

Learn to speak Chinese

Speaking a few words in the local language will reduce the challenges of living in China to a large extent. This is especially helpful if you plan on working in China for a long time. It really isn’t that hard once you get accustomed to the language. Besides brushing up on your language skills online, you can ask your colleagues to teach you a few basic words. Practice speaking with them and soon you can do it with others as well.

Finally, make a ‘look-see’ trip

Before you book cheap flights to China for your big move, book them for a quick ‘look-see’ trip to your intended destination. Now that you’ve covered all the essential things to know before moving to China, this is an important step. You need to make a quick trip to check if everything is in order. Check that your apartment is ready, your money-matters sorted, your office is informed, and other things on your moving to China checklist. Only then should you return with your things and move into your new place. So, do all of the above and make moving to China a hassle-free and fun experience.

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-City Village News

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