20 Hints Before Moving to Chengdu

Moving to Chengdu, a completely new place,  can generate a lots of  concerns and doubts. This list will prepare you for 20 hints before arriving.

  1. If you are going to stay for more than 72 hours, you will need a visa before you arrive. It will take approximately 90 days  with responsible agency.
  2. In terms of crime, Chengdu is an extremely safe place. Violent events are rare especially for foreigners.
  3. Air in Chengdu? very clean (except winter). Chengdu’s air is very good in spring, summer and autumn. The pollution averages are similarly low like in most modern European cities.  Winter is a whole other story, when an air purifier and quality face masks are a must.
  4. Get a VPN before you come to China, then no site is restricted. Highly recommend Express VPN and Shadowsocks. Express VPN is bit pricy but is the most stable one. Be warned, during big national and political events, access to any VPN service is more limited.
  5. Extremely friendly and tolerant Chengdu people, most of whom cannot speak English, still try to offer help. While the elder, especially in the rural areas, may stare at you only out of curiosity.
  6. Some taxi drivers may not stop for foreign-looking passengers because of language barrier. You’d better download Didi (Chinese Uber), which has English version. But always be with your destination address translated into Chinese to facilitate the driver.
  7. Local TV suppliers only provide a variety of local Channels, otherwise you may need to get satellite TV or international TV box.
  8. From November 16th, 2018, 22 ‘vicious’ dog breeds are banned in 5 Chengdu district. Dog registration is also required under Chinese ID card.
  9. Speaking of rent, all property owners ask for at least 3 months rent, along with the 1 month deposit, with some asking for 6 months or more. The leases are usually at least one year, it is  rare you can rent one less than a year and if you do the landlord will likely ask for more per month. Or check here to know how to rent an apartment in Chengdu.
  10. There are some international movies shown at cinemas. English with Chinese subtitles, not dubbed. Get the Chinese name of the movie you are going to watch, buy tickets on Wechat or on site.
  11. Cost of living is what you expect it to be. It is usually cheap though. Chinese beer: 2-5 RMB, Cheap lunch: 10-15 RMB, Gym card: 2000 RMB / year, Coffee: 20 RMB (avoid Starbucks, Pacific Coffee).
  12. Housing in Chengdu is very cheap and reasonable. However if you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find plenty of options too. Prices vary greatly on market here,  depending on different area, location, complex, decoration and oweners’ expectation.
  13. Sichuan cuisine, which is, believe me…very tasty ! A variety of  spicy and non spicy dishes for you to choose. But keep“不要辣”  (not spicy) part of your daily vocabulary during the first week if available. Western restaurants and menus are found throughout the city, both in the malls and in the sights.
  14. 100% download Wechat before you arrive and set up an account. Almost everything is done through it here and it is the app for all occasions.
  15. Four distinct seasons and very humid throughout the year. Regularly keep windows open to avoid mildew and use a dehumidifier in the house basement.
  16. Registration at local police station within 24 hours is required when you move into an rent apartment (not hotel). But no officers work during weekends and national holidays, which means you can postpone the registration until the next working day.
  17. SPOONHUNT is a useful app for translating menus from Chinese to English, with photos to help you make your order.
  18. You can easily find a variety of imported goods in supermarkets like Carrefour, Olé, Metro.
  19. Cars are allowed to turn right even when the light is green for pedestrians to cross, so watch out when you cross the street.
  20. The common toilets in China are the ones we need to squat to use. And tissues or sanitary pads should be dumped in the trash can instead of the toilet directly.

Please share this article to your friends if you think it is helpful. Or let us know if you find anything we are missing. We are always willing to help reduce the complexity of international relocation and ease you transition.