5 Essentials I’m Bringing to China and 2 that I’d Like to but can’t

Less than 30 days before I leave. Can’t quite believe it!

My mother doesn’t seem to grasp the idea that China is more than just rural land with few shops and conveniences, so her worry about my adventure is rather amusing when she comes up with questions such as “Do you need to take some tea with you?”. Take tea to China? Really Mum?

How I think my mum imagines all of China to look like

Based on my last trip though, there are a few things that I’m going to pack and take with me, which I consider difficult to find, though I’m sure everything is available if you know where to look.

Essentials I'm Taking

Paracetamol / Aspirin and other Medicine

I had a cold the last time I was in China, which often gave me a bit of a headache. We went to a few pharmacies but I couldn’t find much else apart from Chinese medicine which is not really the same thing as good old chemically produced stomach damaging paracetamol.

I try to avoid taking pills when I’m ill, but when I have a killer headache I need some of these. I’ll take a few big boxes and also some diarrhoea medicine, to save the embarrassment of trying to buy that on my own using broken Chinese, if I’m ever unfortunate enough to need it.

DEET Mosquito Repellent

As I’ll be living in Haikou that’s located on the island Hainan, so I consider this important due to a tropical climate where the mosquitoes may carry disease.

If I was going to be staying in a different part of China I wouldn’t bother with this, though there does seem to be mosquitoes in most places so could be good to avoid bites.

I’m not going to be taking malaria medication or get any injections for Yellow Fever or Japanese Encephalitis, as after research I found that the risks are very low (albeit still do exist). Therefore I’m opting for a proactive prevention approach.

The best stuff is called DEET, I brought a 100% concentrate one with me last time and my skin didn’t react badly to it at all and it seemed to stop bites, so I’ll buy a few more bottles. I’ll be interested to see how effective it is when the climate is more humid.

Of course I could buy mosquito repellent when I arrive, but I’d prefer to go for a product I’ve read lots of positive reviews about and have tried out myself.

High SPF Sun Lotion

Don’t want to get fried upon arrival, and I can more easily trust that the contents of the bottle provides exactly the described level of protection.

Clothes that Fit me

I’m a lanky streak of nothing at 6″4 in height and 65kg in weight. Even in my own country I struggle to find clothes that fit (especially jeans), so I think it’s best that I take a good selection. I’ll be wearing shorts if it really gets as hot as I’m expecting, so I’ve bought 5 pairs in preparation.

Large Capacity USB Stick

I want to keep a backup of all my important documents, photos and of course study materials. I’ll use a 64GB USB stick to do this, as I don’t want to rely on any sort of cloud based backup for obvious reasons.

Things I Wish I Could Take

Real Pork Sausages

Made in the UK. I know I’m going to miss these, but it’s just not a good idea to take these on a long haul flight, right?


I noticed nowhere sold cider! We even had a look in a couple of small Western style stores and couldn’t spot it.

Fortunately beer is growing on me but cider has always been my drink of choice.

I would bring some with me but drink tends to weigh down the suitcase quite a bit.

Have I missed anything?

So apart from the above mentioned items, have I missed anything that people consider hard to find in China? Please leave your suggestions below!

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