Here are a few more things to think about when travelling to China’s porcelain capital, Jingdezhen. Read on for more Jingdezhen travel tips – what to consider before you travel.
Medications & Vitamin Supplements
Keep in mind that you may be asked when you leave your country of origin to declare any medications and/or vitamin supplements. You may also be asked when you arrive in one of China’s main cities, eg Beijing or Shanghai, however I haven’t been asked to date, but that of course doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future. Check China’s customs and security information before arrival.
When you’re in Jingdezhen and you fall ill… well… when it comes to the hospital… I’ve been told ‘you don’t want to go there’. I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant but looking at it from the outside… well…. mmm…. you may want to return home instead, if it’s bad enough. In saying that though, I have met a guy who did end up Jingdezhen’s hospital on one occasion and said it was fine, so again, check out what’s what before you get admitted – if you have to be that is.
Fengre Ganmao Keli – Jingdezhen (© Deanna Roberts 2016)
If you catch a cold or suffer from any flu-like symptoms, there are pharmacies around, but take someone with you who can speak the language. They’ll sell you tablets by the sheet or by the box, or this ghastly-tasting powder (just add water) concoction (as pictured above) that tastes absolutely disgusting, but does the job. Yes… I can recommend it! Ugh… memories of ick.
Personal cosmetics & toiletries
If you’ve got special cosmetics or toiletries that you use, either therapeutic or otherwise, then take them with you. My favourite items are Grace Cosmetics – an Australian brand of aloe vera based cosmetics and therapeutic skin care (I loved it so much I have been using their products now for 14 years and became a supplier). Trying to find anything remotely close to that is almost impossible. Buying makeup, sunscreen, moisturiser, contact lens liquid etc in Jingdezhen is not an easy task, again, without translation. If you’re after sanitary pads for example, shopping for those in Jingdezhen can be an adventure in itself. Believe me… you can get caught out thinking you’re purchasing a standard panty liner and en up with something I could fly home on. Take your own and if you run out… take someone with you who speaks ‘pad’.
BYO toiletries to Jingdezhen (© Deanna Roberts 2016)
Food and beverages
Taking food into China hasn’t been an issue for me to date. However, like anything when it comes to other countries’ customs and security regulations, things can change. Check it out first. If all ok, I’d recommend taking your own breakfast cereal (if that’s what you’re in to). I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this in an earlier blog but I was introduced to a rice cereal on my first visit to Jingdezhen and I mixed it with some puffed wheat bars which added a bit of crunch – rather nice actually. It wasn’t until I was back home after my second visit that I’d been eating baby food all along. My Australian friend mentioned it so casually as if to say, ‘Yeah…. didn’t you know?’. Yeah, right. Thanks a lot. Hilarious.
BYO breakfast cereal to Jingdezhen (© Deanna Roberts 2016)
BYO breads (eg pumpernickel or other European delights) – Jingdezhen’s bakeries are now well stocked with western-style breads but they go very quickly and what’s left is usually very sweet. Bring any special tea or coffee you like. Tea in China is very easy to come by, of course, but if you’re into chai latte for example, then BYO. If you ask for it you’ll be given some very strange looks indeed. With that in mind – there’s tea and there’s tea. Tea in China, especially in Jingdezhen, can be very expensive. Expect to pay about AUD$200 for about a kilo at minimum. It’s all hand picked, rolled, dried etc and is exceptional when it comes to taste, but it is on the expensive side. Choose what’s right for you. Of course there’s always the supermarket brands of tea which are also quite suitable to the palate. It’s all about choice… and taste.
BYO speciality tea or purchase it in Jingdezhen (© Deanna Roberts 2016)
Less is best. You’ll find so much stuff you want to bring back. Take a larger suitcase with a smaller one inside if you wish. On standard economy flights luggage is usually limited to about 30kg from an Australian city to Shanghai but flying from Shanghai to Jingdezhen limits you to about 20 kg. If you’ve stocked up on supplies in Jingdezhen you could ship your extra items to Shanghai and collect them at your hotel on your return trip perhaps or take up the direct shipping option from Jingdezhen to your home town.
Check your luggage allowances before you leave (© Deanna Roberts 2016)
Shipping can be expensive – even then there are options such as couriers, crates and post and all sorts of conditions associated with each. Check out each option and compare costs and decide whether you need to take out insurance on your posted items also. The staff at your artist’s residency should also be able to assist you with this. Postage for example – be careful when posting things from Jingdezhen not to include anything wrapped in newspaper or CD’s or anything that Chinese authority may consider contain ‘code’ or propaganda. Chances are that the post office staff will open your parcel anyway before sending it. If they find anything they think is remotely suspicious they’ll remove it and forbid you to mail it. Postage times and costs vary depending on where you’re sending it to, weight and how long you want it to take to get there. The quicker the delivery, the more you pay. Couriers are far more expensive but you can expect your parcels to arrive in a week to 10 days.
Shipping is an option but can be expensive (© Deanna Roberts 2016)
Next article we’ll talk more about travel do’s and don’ts and what to be aware of. Stay tuned for that one!