Travel to China and Health


Though there are customary vaccinations in Germany it is highly advisable to see a doctor in this matter. A lot of family doctors are not sure which vaccinations are being recommended for a certain travel destination. This is especially true for China, because there are several climatic zones. Information is available either at the health insurance or at chemist’s shops that offer vaccination advice. For information on vaccinations there is a good internet address of the Tropical Institute Munich, which provides a medical information service for travellers


For a trip to China, a portable pharmacy is definitely sensible. In addition to typical travel supplies (band-aids, bandages, laxatives, etc.), include insect repellent-especially in summer and for south China-a topical antifungal agent, and sunscreen. For dry regions, above all in the winter, an additional supply of moisturizer is recommended.

Drinking water

For a trip to China, one should be conscious of the fact that China is still a developing nation that has problems with water quality. Therefore, tap water should be strictly avoided, and bottled water should be used even for cooking. Those living for extended periods in the same place can order mineral water by phone for delivery in large bottles.


Chinese cuisine is famous for its variety, and each region has its own cooking style. While food in Hangzhou is rather sweet and mild (sweet-and-sour), a very spicy meal in Sichuan (Szechuan) can lead to stomach trouble. Take advantage of the variety as often as you can, but if you have a delicate stomach, be prepared for an adjustment period. Standards of hygiene in luxury restaurants and hotels certainly meet European standards, but don't expect that in inexpensive restaurants and definitely not from street vendors. Especially at the latter, poor-quality vegetables or meats in a baozi (turnover) can lead to diarrhea. Many China travelers swear by bringing their own chopsticks to restaurants, in case no disposable ones are available.

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