International Plug/ Travel adaptor
China uses different sockets than the US and Great Britain. Adaptor plug(s) are needed to charge your smartphone, camera, tablets and other gear. Several hotels along our way might provide adaptor plugs, but they usually only carry a limited amount. If all plugs are gone, you won’t have much of a chance of charging your electronics.
Current wise, China uses the international 230V system. In case you are from Europe, there is nothing to worry about, everything will work fine. If you are from the U.S. please, check your laptop power supplies and chargers, if they can switch between 110V and 220/230V. In case they cannot switch, make sure to bring a voltage converter as well. If you are not sure about all of this, please ask you electronics store. An employee there should be able to identify if a charger will be working correctly on China’s 230V power grid.
If you plan on bringing more than one gadget to China, also think about bringing a multiplug with you from your home country. That way you’ll safe on travel adaptors and can charge more devices at once. Also note that outlets in some hotels can be located quite inconveniently. If you want to use your phone as an alarm clock on your bedside table, better bring a multiplug with a medium long extension cord. If you plan on using a multiplug with several devices in connection with a voltage converter, please make sure that your converter allows for enough power to flow through it. Again, check with your electronics store if you are not 100% sure about these things.
This seems rather random item to bring, doesn’t it? Do hotels in Yunnan not offer shower slippers to their guests?
Don’t worry, they do.
However, Chinese hotels do have to cater to Chinese guests who have, generally speaking, smaller foot sizes as Europeans or Americans. That means that you globetrotters with your giant size US/UK 8.5-9 will have problems fitting into a normal pair of shower slippers.
Whenever you travel to Yunnan, please remember to bring bottle of sun blocker with you. Our travel destinations reach an altitude of up to more than 12’000 feet (or roughly 3800m). A higher altitude always means that there is less atmosphere above you to filter those pesky UV-rays. Especially Yunnan’s clear and crisp (and warm – in the direct sunlight) winters make for perfect sunburn conditions. In case you are wondering:
Under these circumstances, shouldn’t sunscreen be readily available? Yes, it should, but in China, people do tend to try and avoid direct exposure to the sun. Either by wearing long sleeves, hats, umbrellas or even face masks. A whiter tone of skin is considered healthy and wealthy in China, as it implies that the person did not have to be outside the house and could others let do the hard labor (out in the sun).
Don’t forget it. Bring the largest and best camera you have to China to take amazingly framed and arranged pictures. But don’t forget to bring something pocketable and fast (your smartphone should do) for even better snapshots as well. Yunnan is full of fantastic snapshot opportunities.
Also bring enough memory cards. On our routes we usually won’t come by any mayor shops where you could obtain high quality memory cards. You will see a lot of shops selling all kinds of cards along the way, but these are often of medium to low quality and offer less speed/ security than a good quality card.
if you are using film in your camera, please bring it as well. I have seen some available on several occasions but the packaging did not look trustworthy and the storage condition were, let’s put it mildly, not optimal. There was also no choice of different brands or different ISOs. Better be safe than sorry.
Your prescription medicine
Although the medical service is not too bad here in Yunnan, we think it’s a good idea to be bring those prescription medicines with you. Pharmacies and hospitals sell meds here in China under their Chinese name which makes buying the right one quite hard.
In case you are run out of your medicine in Yunnan, having the bottle or the prescription, will also make it much easier to get a new prescription form a Chinese hospital. With you prescription, you have already proven that you need this medicine and can often skip an examination.
Paper tissues and wet wipes
Although readily available all over China, you might need them on your first night here. Restaurants sometimes won’t offer napkins and bathrooms sometimes run out of toilet paper. Please remember that there will be a language barrier and the simple tasks of asking for something might become harder than expected. So for your first few hours, please bring a pack or two of paper tissues, they don’t weigh much.
The same goes for wet wipes. It’s just very practical to have a pack around in case you need it.
China is the land of the tea and people drink it everywhere all around the clock. That makes it harder (virtually impossible?) to get a coffee for lunch or dinner. Some hotels will offer coffee for at their breakfast buffets but it is often an instant mix and not freshly brewed. As nobody grew up around coffee and got adjusted to its taste, the coffee served at these buffets can be very strong or quite weak. I am not saying that it should be avoided altogether, but you might want to give it a try first. Coffee itself is considered a luxury here in China. Prices you will see in Kunming or Lijiang and Dali are usually higher than in Europe or the U.S.
If you are a coffee aficionado you might want to think about bringing your preferred brand of instant coffee with you (I never thought that I’d use the words coffee, aficionado and instant in one sentence but here we go…). That way you can enjoy a steaming hot coffee anytime you want.