Suzhou garden

7 things you really should take to China with you

None of these things are life or death, but bringing them will be prove helpful for you in the future.


Obviously, laptops can be bought readily in China, but the tax structure and import duties mean that it is often considerably more expensive to buy a laptop in china than back home. Furthermore, if the laptop is a windows PC and bought in China then it will have the Chinese operating system and the language permanently fixed in Chinese. This can lead to obvious problems if you still have a way to go on your Chinese character recognition .


Once again, for similar reasons as the laptops it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go over with a decent, reliable smartphone to use during your stint in China. For a heads up,  i phones fully function in China whereas android phones have many core functions disabled without connection of a VPN. This is because Android is google and Google currently still appears to be blocked. Saying this, your android phone if already purchased from home will work fine in China including google Chrome, however if you do  not use a VPN on your mobile you will need to replace your google maps and translate apps with the Chinese Baidu equivalents. You can find these free apps by searching Baidu maps and Baidu translate in your app store.

Western medicines

Paracetamol and ibuprofen. Two incredibly useful medicines widely used across the West. Both of which are almost impossible to get in many Chinese cities. Products like flu powders, pain killers and cold reliefs  that contain these ingredients are equally rare and it is for this reason that taking over a years supply with you comes strongly recommended.

Kindle/ e-reader

Books are heavy and western books are difficult to buy in China and often expensive. A simple solution to this is to buy an e reader and then download your chosen books online.


This can be bought in China but is extremely expensive compared to back home. If you like chocolate, it may not be a bad idea to bring a generous consignment with you.


For those size 10 and upwards in UK shoe sizes you will find it rather difficult to find any footwear in the Chinese shops that fit you. Moreover, western brands such as Adidas and Nike are considerably more expensive in China and so bringing them with you will save both time and money.

English tea and instant coffee 

Yes, China is the land of tea, they drink a lot of tea, have delicious milk tea sold on every street corner, green tea free in every restaurant and tea houses in every town and city. But if you are used to the English blend of tea then you are going to be extremely disappointed. The Chinese don’t drink milk with their tea and the blend of red teas are and taste very different to the flavour Brits are accustomed to. For this reason, it may not be such a bad idea to take a few bags of P.G tips over to wean you onto the new taste.

Coffee is widely available in almost all Chinese supermarkets, but the decent, quality coffee brands that we are used to back home are rather expensive in China. For this reason, bringing a jar may be a good little money saver.

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