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Tech help for China

We are tech challenged and have a couple of questions:
Recommendations for adapter plug to use for IPad, camera, CPAP, etc?
What is a VPN and do I need this for my IPad?
Pay as you go cell phones, are they available, as we only have Tracfones that do not work outside of the US?

Thanks for all your help.

Posted by
9109 posts

As far as adapters go you probably won't need one in China. Most hotels that deal with western tourists have US and or European outlets already built into the room with the proper voltage

If you want to access sites like Facebook or the New York Times the only way to do that will be with a VPN I use the expressVPN app for my iPhone to get around the Chinese censorship and and regional restrictions for streaming sites like ESPN and Netflix

It will take a bit of practice to use the VPN properly but it works great

Posted by
5837 posts

We had our "continental" round prong adapters and had no problem with our electronic power bricks rated for 110-240v 50/60 Hz. Our "Western" hotels all provided hair dryers and hot pots to boil water. Our travel mates both had CPAP devices.

If your browser is Google based upload a non-Google like Firefox. China and Google are not friends.

Posted by
1540 posts

I'm headed to China and Tibet in 4 weeks and all of our hotels offer WI-FI service, some charge a fee
and some are free.
I've been to many "3rd world" countries and always find wi-fi in the hotels or in restaurants - no problems.
I'm taking a European style 2 prong adapter also a 3 prong British adapter.
I have found that the hotel main desk always has an adapter to loan out in an emergency - to recharge my Kindle and to use hairdryer if one is not in the room.

Posted by
6788 posts

Anyone going to China needs to understand a basic fact: the internet, as you know it, is not available there. Sounds incredible, but it's true. The Chinese government blocks access to much of (what they refer to) as "the foreign internet" - Google (including gmail and Youtube), Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, etc. - all are blocked. Much of it is blocked outright (simply unavailable), other properties are just s-l-o-w-e-d down so much that pages never load. This is (half-jokingly) referred to as "The Great Firewall". You can get around (or rather, over) the great firewall by using a VPN, but that costs money, requires some technical knowledge, and is always a game of cat-and-mouse as the government takes increasingly aggressive steps to block VPN options. That said, the "internet" (such as it is) is everywhere in China. It's just not the internet you are used to. There's massive social media and e-commerce going on, and it's incredibly pervasive. Just not anything you would recognize. China's way of dealing with the googles and yahoos and amazons of the world is to allow Chinese people to access Chinese equivalents of them (some of which the Chinese government owns a share of) - so they have pervasive social media, instant messaging, e-commerce, etc. giants that dwarf anything you have ever heard of. All subject to government censorship, of course.

Bottom line is that, sure there's wifi available (widely available in the more modernized areas that most tourists tend to visit), probably in your hotel, and often with good speed. You just won't be able to use it to access anything you're used to accessing. If you want to use QQ, Weibo, Alibaba, or any of many the other Chinese services available (it'll help if you can speak Chinese...), knock yourself out, it's a big internet there!