Etiquette

Generally speaking, China is pretty relaxed when it comes to etiquette.

  • Greetings and goodbyes Shake hands, but never kiss someone's cheek. Say 'nǐ hǎo' to greet someone, and 'zài jiàn' to say goodbye.
  • Asking for help To ask for directions, say 'qǐng wèn…' ('can I ask…'). Say 'duìbuqǐ' ('sorry') to apologise.
  • Eating and drinking Help fill your neighbour's plate or bowl at the dinner table. Toast the host and others at the table. At the start of dinner, wait until toasting begins before drinking from your glass. Offer your cigarettes around if you smoke. Always offer to pay for the meal, or for drinks at a bar, but don't fight too hard over the tab if someone else wants to pay.