What to pack for China?

billysmom

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Nov 24, 2006
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Where the West Begins
I'm accompanying my husband and colleagues to China on a business trip in mid-May. We'll be in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, staying in nice hotels. :smile:

What are some appropriate items to pack for shopping and sight-seeing? Is age-appropriateness important? (I'm in my mid-50's.) I've read elsewhere that jeans and sneakers are frowned upon .... :s

All suggestions are most welcome!

Thanks!
 

cookie03

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Dec 6, 2007
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NYC
i would agree that women generally don't wear jeans and sneakers in a big city... try dresses and flat sandals? jeans would probably be too hot anyway, it's already very warm in HK so i would take that into consideration. enjoy your trip!
 
Mar 8, 2006
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Desperately Seeking Deals
Definitely pack clothes that can withstand a lot of walking. Bring some things that you can layer....i.e. skirt, tank, cardigan. Going out in the evenings in HK would be comporable to someplace like NYC...so bring a couple of fun outfits for evenings out.
Jeans and tennis shoes is not a common sight in HK...but jeans and sandals is fine...and wouldn't look out of place. It will be HOT...so keep that in mind!
Have a great trip....
 

billysmom

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Nov 24, 2006
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Where the West Begins
Thanks, ladies! I know it will be hot outdoors, but do they commonly lower the indoor temperature to our summer Texas deep freeze levels? (I guess that's the reason for bringing layers!)

Sue
 

oogiewoogie

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Mar 27, 2007
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Beachy SoCAL...♥
Hmm.. I haven't actually been to China.. but I've been to Taiwan.. and I believe they have similar weather patterns.

Be sure to bring a sweat cloth.. and I say sweat cloth as in a towel. As a precaution because it can get humid in the heat of summer. This is going to sound funny.. but bring lots of mini packs of tissue, you never know when you're going to need it... i.e. restroom etc.

Have fun!
 

kaykayyy

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Mar 15, 2008
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it is always FREEZING indoors in hk...be sure to carry a shawl/scarf or a cardigan...
 

kuk416

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May 3, 2007
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I've found that people in Asia don't really wear shorts, even when it's hot. So skirts and casual day dresses are the way to go.
 

maddog

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Jan 29, 2008
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I'm a jeans kind of girl and I wouldn't wear too many jeans in HK (maybe just one or two). It's too humid and hot and it'll just be sticky.

Cardigans and shawls are definitely needed for indoor. I would also wear comfy shoes (but not sneakers) unless you know you'll be chauffered everywhere. Everytime I visit HK (or anywhere in China), I typically walk more during the trip than my entire year in Toronto. I usually wear out my shoes there and buy a couple new pairs to bring home. If you're particular about looking good even in the rain, you'd probably also want to bring cute umbrella/rainboots.

I'd rather wear what's relatively stylish but comfortable instead of what the locals wear. For instance, local Chinese ladies can and will walk the Great Wall in stilletto heels. I have no idea how but they are used to it.

Not wardrobe related, but sanitation gel and pads are must haves.
 

lilac0485

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Sep 5, 2007
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New York
If you are going to designer stores or a fancy restaurant dress as you would in any other big city (not Las Vegas though :lol:). The local TaiTais and wealthy women love designer clothing. For touristing, I think lightweight pants, comfortable shoes (cole haan, nautralizer), and a simple shirt should be fine. I remember younger people wearing jeans and sneakers, but not so much with the older crowd. And no flip flops.

Other tips: As other people said, an extra shawl or sweater is a must because buildings are freezing! Try lots of fruit, I miss the tropical fruit in Asia (Mangoes, Starfruit, Wax Jambu, Pomolos (might be too late), fresh coconut juice, and MANGOSTEEN!) Tissues aren't that necessary in the nicer malls and restaurants anymore, but still handy to have. Also if you have time, don't forget to check out how the locals live and see a local market or take a hike (the dragon's back hike has gorgeous views).

I love the LUXE guidebooks for Asia. Slim enough to fit in a backpocket and a condensed version of the best of everything written by locals. The LUXE guides started in HK so I really think that the Asian guides are the best.
 

aprilmei

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Sep 5, 2007
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Hello, I live in Hong Kong and I can tell you that in mid-May, the weather is lovely - not too hot or humid. So don't worry about that; it's not like you're coming in the summer (when it's horrid). We wear jeans in Hong Kong, but not sneakers - but if you're a tourist I wouldn't worry about it. I wear jeans to work - but I'm not a banker or anything; I work in media. In Hong Kong, you should dress how you would in any other big city. In China, it's different - I'd wear skirts - if only because the toilet situation is not always that nice. You don't want trousers to be dragging in dirty water on the ground.
 

skyfire

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Aug 12, 2007
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ha, I agree with aprilmei about the toilet situation. I just got back from China last fall, and even in big cities like Shanghai, there's still a ton of squat toilets everywhere, so be aware of that if you're wearing nice shoes or long pants (and bring your own toilet paper!)
 

amandabug

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Nov 2, 2007
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Phoenix
I wouldn't wear jeans in HK either, mostly because it sometimes gets very hot and humid. Definitely DO NOT WEAR white sneakers... or sneakers, period. Or visors. It will be extremely sunny during some parts of the day (although HK gets sporadic showers), a lot of women keep small umbrellas in their bags for that reason and also to block out the sun.

HK is pretty conservative so don't wear anything that's too short (like short shorts) or strappy tanks without something over it like a cardy. (i got so many stares when i walked around in a tube top that i actually felt ashamed) if you want to wear shorts, i'd suggest something like bermuda shorts-length with a slimmer fit through the thigh. an A-line knee length skirt with a cardy twinset would be appropriate.

The weather will be so nice that you should wear sundresses if you have any, and carry a light cardigan in your bag. Also useful: a pashmina for when you get into places with strong A/C (basically everywhere). If you don't want to bring one, go to Stanley Market and buy one! I bought mine years ago from there and it was so cheap (HK$198). Don't wear heels that are too high, because some places in HK are steep (especially in Central) and have uneven pavement. Try to wear light colors (white, cream, beige, khaki) for your own sake in the heat!

and i got around wearing sandals just fine. something like a metallic thong sandal or ankle-wrap sandals, or gladiators would be nice.
 

billysmom

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Nov 24, 2006
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Where the West Begins
You ladies have been so helpful! Thanks!!! :smile:
I think I've got it down to:
  • 3 pairs of linen/silk wide-leg pants (black, off-white and stone)
  • assorted knit short-sleeve tops
  • black linen flared skirt - tea length
  • lightweight cotton jacket
  • flowered silk jaquard suit for evening
  • white linen shirt that can double as a cover-up
  • dark wash jeans
  • pumps for suit
  • ballet flats and BV woven slip-ons
  • BV woven top wooden sandals
  • lightweight cardigan
  • 2 belts (brown and black)
  • workout clothes for fitness centers at hotels
  • swimsuit
Plus all the handy odds and ends y'all have suggested including the Luxe guides.

Thanks again!!!!!

Sue
 

lilac0485

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Sep 5, 2007
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New York
Have a great time Sue!

HK and Shanghai are great cities, I did my study abroad a couple years ago in HK and my family is from the area, so I miss being there sometimes.
Oh, Shanghai has some interesting independent designers and artists, I read about them in the LUXE guide and then did a little exploring based on the neighborhood walks/guides. If that sort of thing interest you. The Urban Planning Museum in Shanghai is also a must-see if you are into architecture. My male friends love the exhibitions. There is a miniture replica of Shanghai that covers one floor.
And to amend my previous statment about toilets, in HK everything is fairly modern expect in the local areas. In Shanghai the very high end restaurants, hotels, stores are all modern plumbing. But anything mid-range or lower can be very dirty, and that is when your own tissues are very much needed.