Language Problems?

Yes, there is a bit of a language problem depending on what you are doing and where you go as well as how you go.  If you are on a tour your guide will speak English while on the tour.  The drivers seldom if ever speak English.  Taxi cab drivers almost never speak English.  At the train station few if any speak English.  The airport of course there are many connected with the airlines and airport that speak excellent English.  In most hotels, front desk people as well as some others speak English in the major hotels.  I myself after 26 years of travel in China found it much too difficult to learn Chinese with so many dialects.  Each area has its own dialect besides Mandarin which is spoken in most areas of the country with different accents.  I gave up years ago.  Shanghai people have a special dialect which most other Chinese do not understand as well as Sichuan people as examples.  They all try to speak Mandarin to communicate but again with different accents or some are unable to speak other than their own local language.  There are also 57 different minority peoples with sub cultures also with their own individual languages outside the large cities.  One tip I tell my clients is to have a map in your pocket if you get lost.  Take it out as if to study it and usually someone steps out of the crowd who speaks English and will help you.  If you wish to take a taxi some place, write out in English where you want to go and have someone in the hotel write it in Chinese so you can give it to the Taxi Driver.  Be sure to take a hotel card with you too so you will be able to get back to your hotel.  For more tips on language you are welcome to contact me with your questions at   interlak@eskimo.com   You won't be put on any mailing list or pushed to book a tour with us. 
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