• Destination
  • Holiday types
  • Offers
  • Inspire me
  • Our services
  • Contact us
A section of the Great Wall of China
17 May, 20192 minute read

What not to do in China

Politeness and humility are an important part of Chinese culture. But what’s the difference between being polite in the UK and the Chinese definition? We’ve thought of that. Our solution? A four-part guide called ‘The antidote to culture shock’. In part three, we’re covering what not to do in China and why you should never cause someone to ‘lose face’. Have a read and print off the list at the end to take with you on your trip.

Don’t make a scene- In the unlikely scenario that something goes awry, try not to kick up a fuss or get visibly annoyed as this will cause your hosts to ‘lose face’. Losing face is an extremely important part of Chinese etiquette and if not respected, will just make things worse.

Keep the small talk small: The subject of death in China is very much a no go when it comes to chit-chat and not just in the ordinary British, ‘talking about dying makes me feel a bit sad’, way. This taboo is so widespread that many hotels in Hong Kong don’t have floors or rooms with the number four (4th,14th etc.). This is because the Cantonese word for four sounds like the word for death.

Not everyone likes a cuddle: China as a nation aren’t very touchy feely. Greeting people with a hug is considered over familiar and handshakes are the preferred way to greet someone.

Wear a green hat: The Chinese are very superstitious and there is a saying in China that if a man wears a green hat, his wife is cheating.

First name basis: First names come last in china so if someone is introduced as Mr. Li Ping, then Ping is his first name. Unless you’re related or very close to someone, it’s fairly uncommon to address someone with their first name.

Don’t bow: Most Chinese people will look to the floor when they say hello, which isn’t the same as bowing. Bowing isn’t normal practice, so you’ll just look silly if you do.  A good firm handshake will always do the trick.

Is there something we've missed? Be sure to let us know on our Facebook page and we'll add it to the blog!

Image of blog author Nicola James

Nicola considers herself very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit a number of places around the world and these experiences usually involve searching for as many kinds of wildlife as possible. Recent highlights include penguins in Antarctica, bears and whales in Canada and Alaska and sea otters in California - but there are always more animals to search for.

Nicola | About the author

Receive inspiration in your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter for holiday inspiration and the latest special offers

For more information about how we use your personal information, please view our Privacy Policy.

Why choose a Titan Travel tour or cruise?

Our award-winning collection of holidays covers all seven continents, with carefully planned itineraries ranging from rail journeys and river cruises, to small-group adventures and trips exclusively for solo travellers.

VIP travel service

Smooth transfers to and from home with unlimited mileage

More value

From excursions to hotels, entry tickets and dining packages, we include more than any other tour.

More knowledgeable

Be guided by some of the most passionate and knowledgeable tour managers in the world, on hand to help every step of the way.

More flexible

Feel free to amend or extend your travel plans, up until final payment, and enjoy free time on your tour with us too.