You have several options when traveling in Shanghai and Beijing. You will find that Taxi’s are ridiculously cheap, starting on 10/11 RMB, and increasing with 2 RMB per kilometer. Always use taxi’s with a running taximeter. However, you may want to keep off the streets both early in the morning, and in the afternoon, seeing the rush-traffic will cause gigantic traffic-jams. In these cases, the subway will be a great alternative. It is cheap, fast, and easy to understand if you get yourself the hold of a subway-map. There are also many cheap buses, but these can be extremely crowded, and also get stuck in traffic-jams.
From what we experienced, it its always wise top keep your ticket. When using both trains, subways, or even when visiting a museum or shopping mall; If you get a ticket, you keep it until you’re done with that certain attraction. You never know when someone wants to check it, and in some cases you have to show it several times.
Always carry toilet paper; it is very rare that public toilets have toilet paper. As mentioned earlier, tampons is wise to bring from back home. If you are buying condoms, be aware of the fact that Asian condoms tend to be slightly smaller that western ones.
Always buy bottled water, and bring it wherever you go. The tap water contains unfamiliar bacteria, which can give serious stomach illness, so you don’t want to drink that.
When you are leaving your hotel, be sure to have its address written down in both English and Chinese. This way you can always get back to the hotel if you get lost, and the easiest way to do that is by taxi.
Giving tip in restaurants is not common. You can tip the taxi driver if you want to, but it is not expected. Offering people tips can sometimes be more rude than polite.
Most restaurants are expecting their customers to eat with chop sticks. If you’re smart, you practice this before going to china. Otherwise, you (and the restaurant staff) will have a good laugh when trying to learn it.
If you are traveling as a couple, you can think of being slightly more discreet when it comes to kissing, hugging etc. in public spaces. In urban areas, clubs and bars it is no big deal, but when visiting traditional places or meeting old people; try to keep it clean. Gay people should be extra careful.
Surprisingly few Chinese people know how to speak English. If you’re going somewhere; bring a map. People are more likely to understand what you mean if you look lost and show them a map. Use your acting skills: If you’re trying to order chicken without any luck, make the sounds and the movements of a chicken. Might look silly, but you’ll get your food much faster. Bring pen and paper: Communication by drawing is highly underestimated, and will cause both a more accurate and amusing way of communicating.
When shopping in e.g. the pearl market or the silk market, it is essential to bargain/haggle. The sellers will start the price way over what the goods are worth, so be cynical and walk away if you think the price is too high. They will most certainly go down by at least 50%, and they may put on an act telling you how low this price is, and what a special price you are getting. Get used to people calling “Hey lady”, “Hey pretty girl”, “Hey madam” when you walk by!