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Johnny20270

Things to bring to China if thinking about moving here

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Johnny20270

This might be useful post as I have just recently moved here and wish I had given it more thought

 

Some things I wish I had brought with me namely because its a lot more expensive here

 

I only limit it to things which you can practically carry, and coming from a UK perspective

 

- Quality Chocolate (I don't mean your Cadbury's or Herseys, If you like dark Belgian rich 80% coca type. Its more than twice the price here)

- Coffee powder, Illy for example, again is more than twice the price here than in London 

- Western style cosmetics. This is the major one. Small and easy to carry. For example, I just noticed face creams / eye cream for known brands can be up to 4 times as much. My friend asked me to bring some eye cream from UK next time I go back Its costing her 2500 RMB, I checked in the UK you get it for about 40% of the price. I guess this is especially application for woman but Nivea for men is about twice the price here. Also worth noting that although you can get deals online here, it means you need to be able to read Chinese websites, have a means of payment etc I presume its the same for makeups etc

- One which is useful for woman is hair dye. Someone told me she can't find her light blonde color in Beijing as it appears to be all browns, blacks  etc No clue

- Your own countries Extension cable: Makes it easy to plug all your bits and bobs into one extension cable, rather than have a pile of adapters (which seem to fall out of the wall on me). 

- Buy jeans in UK if you are tall. 34" leg length seems the tallest here and even that's a struggle. Never seen a 35"/36" anywhere, perhaps online. Might be the same if you have a large physique, Clothes might be an issue. Never checked

 

 

Thoughts welcome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Medicines are good to include in your suitcase of goods brought from your home country. This is generally true for prescription items as well as over-the-counter ones.

 

Prescription medications may or may not have Chinese generic equivalents. And China has an ongoing problem with counterfeit drugs.

 

Over-the-counter medications, on the other hand, can be difficult to figure out here even when they exist. An example is Ibuprophen (Motrin, etc.) Not hard to find as 布洛芬, but most pharmacies only have an extended release formulation, which may not be what you want.

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Goshujinchama

Not sure if bringing coffee is worth it. I used to. but the last few times I've been in China I just got it from taobao.

Illy coffee it's just a couple of euro more expensive (68-78 rmb/250gr on taobao) compared to the price you get in supermarkets in Italy. 

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Lu

Clothes and shoes, if you're tall.

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liuzhou

The best thing I brought with me was a large fluffy bath towel. Chinese towels aren't quite there yet. I also stock on men's socks on the rare occasions  I go back to the UK.

 

Don't bring anything you would hate to lose. I have a beautiful guitar back in London, but I won't bring it here. The damp and heat would kill it.

 

Never needed a UK electric adapter. UK plugs fit fine in my Chinese ones.

 

I tend not to crave western foodstuffs, but the few I want I can either find in town at reasonable prices or buy on Taobao.

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ChTTay

I wrote a big response but my phone wiped it. Agh

Essentially, taobao solves most of your problems.

I try to bear in my how cheap most things are here when I'm buying imported stuff anyway. Vegetables, fruit, meals out, transport... It makes it easier to pay double the price for a bar of chocolate, as in the scheme of things, you probably still come out on top.

After my last trip home, I brought some stuff like gravy powder, Branston pickle, Yorkshire tea... Etc. but you can get all of it on taobao for a not outrageous price. It's still nice to bring a piece of home back to Beijing though.

Medicine wise I usualy bring OtC decongestant. I know I can probably find it somewhere here but haven't had much luck finding it on its own - not mixed in cold meds. Also olbas oil is great to bring here.

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Sarpedon

Booze.  Every bottle of booze I bought in China was watered down at the least.  Even from Carrefour or other reputable retail outlets.  Put it in the freezer and watch it freeze solid.

 

The only thing I ever brought a lot of was deodorant.  Anything else I didn't miss or did without.

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ChTTay

Beijing booze seems to be okay. At least the shop I buy it from in Wudaokou (D-mart world supermarket, if you wondered).

The alcohol in the bars round here is definitely questionable though.

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hedwards

One of the odd things that I found myself missing was bread tags. You know those tag shaped fasteners that are used to reseal bread bags. Everybody in China seems to use twist ties, but they never seemed to last very well.

 

Other than that, it's mostly items that need precise manufacturing. Headphones, electronics and the like. I found it to be rather challenging to find quality products at times.

 

Also, I found most things that I really needed were on taobao or available for purchase locally.

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liuzhou

 

One of the odd things that I found myself missing was bread tags. You know those tag shaped fasteners that are used to reseal bread bags.

 

They are everywhere in supermarkets here.

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hedwards

Liuzhou, the entire year I was there I don't think I saw bread tags anywhere. Perhaps if you're shopping larger grocery stores they're available, but I didn't see them at all. If I recall correctly, we wound up finding some clips that could be used to keep bags closed, but I definitely wasn't seeing any bread tags.

 

Maybe that's just the parts of China I was in, perhaps in larger cities with more foreigners they have them more readily available.

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AdamD

What a fabulous thread.

 

Johnny20270, your extension cable/power board tip is crucial. I take an Australian/NZ power board with me everywhere, particularly in China where the wall sockets look Australian/NZ but technically aren't, and also a couple of Euro and Nth American adapters to be on the safe side.

 

In the abstract sense of 'thing': Get a Chinese email address and a WeChat/Weibo account, and make sure all your important documents, contacts and flashcards are saved on something physical that's with you, whether that's a USB stick or bits of paper. Don't hope your VPN will still work, or that your service of choice won't be suddenly blocked or suffocated while you're there.

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imron

In what way are they technically not? All my Australian bought electronics worked fine in Chinese plugs.

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AdamD

They don't go in the holes. I just can't get it to go in. It's happened to me several times. I think it's usually when my plug has no earth prong, because I don't recall having trouble with a three-pronged power board but I've only ever had trouble with two-pronged stuff: Apple plugs, shavers, camera battery chargers.

 

This page touches on it: http://www.chinatravelsavvy.com/advice/power-and-sockets/

 

(post updated with more specific information)

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imron
I think it's usually when my plug has no earth prong

Ah yes, some wall sockets have this as a safety feature.

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AdamD

That would certainly explain it. I've never come across it in Australia, although it's probably a thing in new buildings.

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Johnny20270

@Sarpedon: can't very well bring ,much booze with you on a plane though, perhaps something like an expensive brandy might be worth it

 

@liuzhou: but that assumes one can actually read chinese, use taobao, have Chinese credit card, be available when driver calls to take deliver and understand actually what he is saying, like happened to me about an hour ago. lol No clue! I see there is an English taobao but extra service charge and bad exchange rates. Never used it so might be mistaken

 

What do you mean by "Never needed a UK electric adapter"?  the sockets are different shape?

 

NB: Actually we should remember, using many UK appliances on a 2 pin Chinese plug is dangerous as many larger UK items require an earth connection and the device is designed as such. Good examples are hair dryers, computers etc If they develop a fault you could be in trouble! 

 

@ Adam: yeah I have everything on a flash drive in case of eventualities. Also store things like copy of passport on drop box. Actually I am a big fan of Google drive but almost useless here. Even with a VPN it won't connect. Need to investigate 

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liuzhou

 

 

What do you mean by "Never needed a UK electric adapter"? the sockets are different shape?

NB: Actually we should remember, using many UK appliances on a 2 pin Chinese plug is dangerous as many larger UK items require an earth connection and the device is designed as such. Good examples are hair dryers, computers etc If they develop a fault you could be in trouble!

 

I mean that any of my UK plugged appliances fit perfectly into many Chinese extension cable blocks. Like this one.

electric.jpg

 

I never use a hair drier and my computers are

 

a) Chinese

 

b) well protected.

 

Yes, Taobao requires a knowledge of Chinese, but surely you have friends.

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liuzhou

 

Maybe that's just the parts of China I was in, perhaps in larger cities with more foreigners they have them more readily available

 

I'm in a smallish city with few foreigners.

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ChTTay

Beijing has the bread doodars

You can pay for taobao things at the post office. You give them money and they give you a piece of paper for that amount. This can then be spent on taobao

I also have a Chinese extension cable that works with UK plugs. Got it in a supermarket in Shenzhen. Can't find the same in Beijing though, at least not locally.

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