The Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, giant pandas, the Yangtze, the Three Gorges Dam – all part of the fascination of exotic, mysterious China.

Lantern festivals, where glowing lanterns of all shapes and sizes decorate the streets, spirited dragon boat races, tranquil gardens and incredible feats of engineering – China dazzles and inspires.

Its natural landscapes of beautiful forests, mountains and deep caverns, flowing rivers and thundering waterfalls contrast with urban views of traditional 8-sided houses with hidden courtyards, row upon row of huge apartment blocks and structures seemingly from sci-fi.

Hello Ni hao
My name is… Wo jiào…
What is your name? Ni jiào shén me míng zi?
Nice to meet you Jiàn dào ni hen gao xìng
How much Duo shao qián?

For more useful words and phrases in Chinese, visit the Insight Guides website.

Worldcare Australia - china-river

Risks of travelling to China*

China is a wonderful place, full of memorable experiences. But as with any destination it’s important to be aware of the risks before you go.


China is not always as safe as Australia. Petty crime directed at foreigners, particularly pick-pocketing, purse snatching and theft of laptops, passports and mobile phones occurs in the cities, as well as credit card fraud and skimming.

According to Smartraveller, foreigners have been assaulted and robbed, particularly in some major bar and shopping precincts. Tour operators, public buses and ferries might not be as safe as in Australia, while poorly maintained roads and aggressive driving can make road travel dangerous.


Typhoon season is May to November. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and mudslides which may interrupt essential services.

China is also subject to earthquakes; a major earthquake in Sichuan Province in May 2008 killed and injured many people and left many more homeless.


Diseases such as Japanese encephalitis, HIV/AIDS, rabies, malaria, and hand, foot and mouth disease all occur in some parts of China. The World Health Organization has confirmed human deaths from avian influenza (bird flu).

Chinese authorities may restrict travel if a virus spreads quickly between people. If you have a fever, you may be quarantined, which would mean that you would have to reschedule all your travel, probably at your expense, unless you are insured.

Industrialised areas in China, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, have high levels of air pollution, which may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions.

Tap water in China is not considered safe to drink.

It’s wise to visit your GP before you go to get the appropriate vaccinations and advice, and also take precautions to prevent mosquito and animal bites.

The standard of medical care in China is often not very high, particularly outside of major cities. Some hospitals and doctors will require cash payment prior to providing medical services, including for emergency care.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be airlifted to Hong Kong or even back home to receive the treatment you need. Medical evacuation from China is very expensive, second only to the cost of medical evacuation from the United States.

Before you travel to China*

As soon as adverse events such as epidemics, bad weather, natural disasters and others that may affect your trip hit mass media, you are not covered unless you already have travel insurance, as it’s no longer ‘unforeseen’.

*Any advice provided is general advice only and has not taken into consideration your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision please consider the Product Disclosure Statement 

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