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|Dave458 41 posts||
It's ok, I'll answer that for you :)
That said, before I do, I kinda feel I need to make a friendly reminder on common sense.
People come to China for a bunch of reasons; for some it's to experience something new after uni, for others it's taking on a challenge of something new and there are others who are looking for a bit of escapism. You could count me in that number when I first signed up. Some people who are signed up and coming to China (or any other country) with i-to-i are trying to find a way of getting away from the crap in their normal day to day lives. This is perfectly fine. I can confidently say it was the best decision I made in years and feel I should have done it sooner. That said, it would be unwise to think that China can solve all your problems so I'm going to be blunt:
If you are on any sort of medication, do the sensible thing and bring enough with you! This could be small things like hayfever to important things like inhalers (which my Chinese friends had never seen until we saw one in a movie), anti depression tablets, insulin etc.
I know that sounds kinda obvious but you would not believe some of the stories I've heard of people just assuming they will be able to buy the things they need over here or thinking that everything will be ok, it's foolish, irresponsible and in some cases, really dangerous.
Anyway, on to my little list.
Senokot - Get some now, China can sense you approaching.
Painkillers - DON'T WAIT - Ibuprofen, asprin, lemsip, hayfever tablets, do yourself a favour and go to superdrug and get some. In the bigger cities (that have western Doctors) you can get painkillers, but they are expensive, unbranded and some in really dubious plastic bags. Lemsip on the other hand...I swear I would sacrifice a small child on the altar of the great porcelain god Armitage Shanks (tissue be upon him) if I could get hold of some. If you end up in the arse end of nowhere, all of these things are a big no and you'll have to make do with Chinese medicine.
Teabags - DON'T WAIT - If you love your PG Tips or whatever, bring some. Not surprisingly, the tea you get here in China is Chinese tea!...that said, you may find yourself addicted to Strawberry Milk Tea made by u.love.it (really).
Oxo / Bisto / Bullion - DON'T WAIT - If you're into your cooking, bringing a bit of home flavours is great and sometimes they're hard to get hold of. Totally made my spag bol MILES better.
Tampons - DON'T WAIT? - I'll admit, it's been a long time since I've had a nose bleed worthy of a tampons. Also, since the age of 16 I no longer make toy mice using black ink, a hand dryer and googly eyes. However, if you're the sort of person that might like them to hand, you might want to considering bringing some. Towels are pretty much the only option (and not the nice ones either...so I've been told).
Canesten - DON'T WAIT!! - I had a Chinese friend convinced she had cancer, it was infact Thrush (sexual health education just doesn't happen here). The response from the western doctor was that she had to pay for a conversation about it then pay for the 7 sepositories she was to use for next week. Really.
Condoms - DON'T WAIT? - Sometimes painfully small and over priced. You decide. That said, you can buy them pretty much everywhere...it's like this place is obsessed with controlling how many kids people have or something. Remember to check size written on the back, you should be looking for at least "nominal width 56mm", anything less is too small even for me.
Cameras - DON'T WAIT - get them off amazon.co.uk or any other UK online retailer. They have a weird tax on cameras over here. The one I bought cost be £140, where as in England it would have cost £60!
Laptops - WAIT - I would say wait til you get to china. If you use google chrome, check out 360buy.com and let chrome translate it for you. They offer free next day delivery and you can pay on delivery (when you're in Beijing). Before you arrive, have a look at which laptop you want and get the TTC guys to order it for you. I saved over £100 on my laptop based on an comparing with amazon.co.uk.
Anti perspirant - DON'T WAIT - I really really recommend buying a mineral crystal stick, I bought mine in August 2011 and it's still going strong. Alternatively buy some normal stuff before you come as it's rare over here and when you do find it it's about £3.50 for a 50ml Nivea for men and about £7.00 for Adidas 50 ml (why on earth you would want Adidas be beyond me tho). Body spray is kinda common, but kinda pointless.
Shampoo - DON'T WAIT? - Pantene is kinda common, but if you like decent stuff like Aussie you'd need to bring it.
Clothes - Well, this one is up to you. There is alot of cheap clothing but weeding out the poorly spelt or the completely nonsensical can be a tad annoying. For me, it had me wishing I can bough up a ton of junk from Primark (never thought I'd say that) and brought it over cos the prices can sometimes be pretty much the same.
|Lindsay03 4 posts||
Thank you! This is really helpful for us going in August. Keep the tips coming!!
|katieloudrea... 42 posts||
I agree with Dave about the electronics. However if you are starting in a major city I would wait and get personal hygiene stuff here. Clothing is plentiful if you are small (like a size 6-8 ladies) or you can get stuff tailor made if your haggling skills are spot on!! Stationary, bedding, etc is all cheaply available here.
Having spent hundreds of $$$ in excess luggage the less you carry the better. Don't forget to pack a few favourite items so you can make you place feel like home. Otherwise get your haggling skills ready and grab what you want here!!!
Also if you are a big coffee fan I am told you should bring it with you. I don't drink coffee but every expat that I know swears the coffee here is awful.
|FilterAngel 103 posts||
My 2 cents is that you can buy almost anything you need in Beijing, which is where all the interns will stay for a while upon arriving in China (And where anyone going alone will no doubt fly in).
Western things such as your favourite coffee, cheese, butter, deoderant etc will cost more than in the UK, BUT not more than excessive luggage in the airport.
I prefer to travel light, then pay a £10-20 premium on my shopping in Beijing.
Bottom line, don't pack too much, because in Beijing you almost certainly CAN get what you want if you know where to look.
|MCALDER222 10 posts||
I have a Chinese Motorola mobile phone for sale which has over 100yuan of credit on it. I was on the internship August 2010 and only topped up 200yuan during the whole time there. You can send texts internationally too. To make international calls you need to register the phone for this and have a minimum of 200yuan credit. Please message me for more info.
You can find deo sticks there (possibly in the SPAR supermarket) but will cost around £4/5.
Take chocolate if you eat a lot as you only ever seem to find snickers or toblerone.
Availability of things is also dependant on how near you are to major international hubs. I was in inner mongolia and there were several import stores but stocks can sell out quick. Large chain department stores like SPAR may also have an import section where you can buy pasta and cereals.
|newcastle 2 posts||
How do clothes go for sizes in China? I'm about 1.9m tall with a big frame, not particularly overweight. Size 12-13 shoes. Worth waiting until I get there or will I be importing from overseas anyway?
|newcastle 2 posts||
As for cameras, it is reported that one can save quite a tidy sum, particularly those looking for DSLRs and lenses, by doing their shopping in Hong Kong. I'm not sure if the waranties are vaild globally however.
|Dave458 41 posts||
I've heard the same thing, however, mainland China you'll pay more! I stupidly bought mine here and paid £140 for a £65 camera on amazon.co.uk.
|kiddiee 10 posts||
If you guys ever heard a website called TAOBAO.COM, you will laugh your head off when you see those bringing tons stuffs from the UK, it is like ebay.co.uk, you can get a brand new All Saint tee for about a fiver, or a iPhone cover for as little as 50 pence... cos they are all made in China.
Any major cities especially in southern China can buy you anything you would expected at lower costs, apart from a TVR sportscar I guess?
Agreed with FilterAngel, chocolate, maybe?
However, lots Chinese go shopping in the UK or the States for high end luxury designer goods, LV, Gucci, Prada, read this,
|FilterAngel 103 posts||
Agreed on Taobao, a real lifesaver sometimes. You can even buy cheese and butter on there. It's basically eBay but without half the ridiculous restrictions eBay have these days.
oh, and Newcastle, no chance on size 12 shoes. I have a hard time with 10s in my little city. Sure someone on Taobao could accommodate though.
|Dave458 41 posts||
Regarding shoes, I buy stuff on amazon in the sale section as there's always about 60% or more off and then get them posted to china.