If you’re going to Xi’An China, the first thing you should know is that it is pronounced like See-An. There are many obstacles that might get in your way if you’re going to this part of China, one of which is the language barrier. Locals are nice, but most do not speak English - so don’t get offended if they look at you strangely; keep in mind that they most likely have no idea what you’re saying. However, this should in no way affect your experience!
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- The exchange rate is about 1 US Dollar to around 7 RMB. So, don’t be surprised when a bottle of water costs 14 RMB - that's only about $2. Check online for the exact exchange rate before your trip.
- Taxis are the best way to travel throughout the city. It only costs about 10 RMB to get anywhere within a 15 minute radius. We suggest that you bring the address of where you want to go in writing. Taxis are completely safe, but most drivers do not speak English. If you’re able to point to the address of your desired destination, you can easily communicate with the driver and avoid confusion!
- Always carry cash! Most taxis and shops do not allow you to use credit cards, so cash is the easiest to use. There are ATMs at the Bank of China. Before you leave home, let your bank know you will be traveling abroad and want an international plan.
- If you’re trying to bargain prices at a market, we suggest you use the calculator app on your phone to show what price you want. Sometimes you can get the price down. Most locals are very nice and willing to give great prices for any gifts.
- Hate to break it to you, but American Chinese food is nothing like the cuisine in China. Just like America’s food ranges, China’s does also - so food will range from region to region. Do not expect egg rolls and other fried favorites. The food is not as fried, but you will enjoy how fresh it is. Try picking a restaurant that has pictures on the menus, that way you can just point to the ones you like. Don’t be afraid to try something new!