Visiting China soon? Start here

Visiting China soon? Start here

Welcome to The Helpful Panda


Ahhhhh, China. Where do we start?

It’s one of the biggest, most beautiful, and most baffling countries on earth.

We’re here to help you make sense of it all, whether you’re planning a trip or you’re just curious and want to find out more.

We’re your firsthand source for practical and helpful information about China. And we keep it real – we don’t sugarcoat anything.

So who is ‘we’?

Well, we’re a team of travelers and expats who love China. So we write about it.

We’ve all lived in China before or we currently live here (sometimes we go back and forth). But more about us in a minute.

Let us help you explore China

Here are just some of the ways we can help you:

  • Up-to-the minute travel information
  • Destination guides for all the major cities
  • Culture guides from spitting to squat toilets
  • Tech and app reviews so you can digitally survive China
  • Lists of all the banned stuff
  • Insights into work, study and life in China
  • Directories for travel agents, language schools, and recruiters.

Basically, if it’s worth knowing, we’ll share it.

And it doesn’t cost you a cent. We’re reader supported, meaning we may receive a commission if you buy something via the links on our site.

We only recommend products and services we genuinely use and love ourselves.

Where to start

If you’re visiting China soon, you should start with this page. It’s where our most useful guides are if you’re heading to China for travel, work or study.

We also have a China jobs site for jobseekers. You can sign up for job alerts (it’s free).

Otherwise, if you’re just looking for general information about the country, you could head to our China blog or search for particular topics in our main menu.

Stay in touch (please)

You can follow us on socials like Facebook or X, but we’d really love it if you subscribed to our monthly newsletter below so we can keep in touch in a more personal way.

We hope you find China as fascinating as we do!

Our Great Wall of Writers

Our articles are not written by robots. In fact, our authors all live and breathe China.

Here are our top contributors.

Kim Ooi has been living and working in China since 2013. He’s from the UK and educated at the universities of Winchester and West London. Kim enjoys writing about his experiences in China including relationships, culture and work life. His articles are thought-provoking and unique.

Read Kim’s articles here or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Gayle Aggiss has traveled and worked overseas, including China. This experience, combined with her natural writing ability, give her articles unique flair. She often uses humor and quirkiness to engage and inform readers. Gayle is from Perth, Western Australia.

Read Gayle’s articles here or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Mike Cairnduff finds Chinese culture fascinating and enjoys writing about practically anything related to China. His articles are engaging and enjoyed by a wide cross-section of people. Based in Melbourne, Australia, he has worked in China and traveled extensively throughout the country.

Read Mike’s articles here or connect with him on LinkedIn.

If you would like to contribute to our site, or if you have any questions, please reach out to us.

Reducing our carbon footprint

And finally, the important green stuff. 

We’re trying to do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint. Here’s how:

  • We use Carbon Neutral power which is certified by Climate Active
  • Through social enterprise Fifteen Trees, we plant trees to offset our annual carbon emissions
  • We’ve chosen a website host that purchases renewable energy certificates (RECs) and the energy is put back into the grid.

These are small but helpful steps in working towards a better future.


All your favorite websites and apps are banned in China. So, you’ll need to download a VPN app before you go. We’ve reviewed the best VPNs to help you access the internet in China.

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