So to help travelers expecting to live and work in Kunshan for the first time, I’ve compiled a list of a few cultural and lifestyle ‘need-to-know’ tips and situations that everyone should be aware of:
2. In addition, most public restrooms do not provide tissue or soap, meaning that you’ll most likely need to keep a small packet of tissue and hand sanitizer with you.
3. Though washing machines are widely available, drying machines are not common. Apartments usually have a rack where you’ll need to hang your clothes to dry.
4. Some apartments do not provide gas stoves, meaning that you may need to purchase a hot plate.
5. Roll-On deodorant is very difficult to find. You might want to bring a few if that’s your preference.
6. MSG is a common ingredient in Chinese food.
7. Electronic Scooters / Bikes (E-Bikes) are a popular way of getting around for locals, as well as for some foreigners. You don’t need a license to drive an Electric Scooter.
8. Smoking is very common in public places. There’s usually no separate section in restaurants, for instance, reserved for smokers; instead, it’s pretty much allowed anywhere.
9. Large clothes and shoe sizes are very difficult to find. If you wear a size 11 or above (45 eur) in shoes by Western Standards, you’ll need to search long and hard. Bringing a few pair of shoes from home is the best option as you settle in.
10. Large bill denominations, such as 50 RMB and 100 RMB, are almost always checked for authenticity.
12. Tipping is not a common practice in China.
13. You won’t find many Western brand fast-food restaurants. However, of the fast food restaurants that have entered the Chinese market, KFC and McDonald’s are the most popular. KFC is the most readily available.
14. Many popular Western websites, such as Facebook, Google, Youtube, and Twitter, are blocked by China’s Great Firewall. You’ll need a VPN to access them.
15. Social Media platforms are very popular for chatting with friends, networking, catching up on news, shopping, and entertainment. You’ll need to get familiar with using QQ, WeChat, Youku, Taobao, and more.
16. English language programming is a rarity on basic television, with the exception of CCTV News. Some channels may occasionally run English-language movies, but you’ll likely need to sign up for cable TV or visit local websites.
17. It is common to take off your shoes and leave them near the front door when entering someone’s home.
18. English is not widely spoken by locals.
19. Xenophobia is common throughout many areas across China, including major cities. Many locals will stare at foreigners with an intense intrigue and may even try to take pictures with you.
20. Typical Chinese meals consists of rice, vegetables, meat or fish, and soup.
22. Babies and young toddlers usually do not wear diapers; instead, they're often dressed with split pants down the crotch and parents will help them use the restroom somewhere in a public space. You're warned!
23. Some people, often the elderly, like to take naps in public places such as parks, sidewalks, and other unusual places.
24. Square Dancing is a popular health and social activity that takes place in the evenings on weekdays. Make sure to check it out!
25. Expect to see random spam advertisements, in Chinese, sent to your cellphone.