March 26, 2016 by Admin

How I Survived the Great (Fire) Wall of China 48


If you have not read my post on the 3 Most Important Sites for Travellers Blocked by the Great Fire (Wall) of China.

I have recently travelled to China, and happily forgotten about the Great (Fire) Wall of China, it has caused me great agony in doing my travel research when I was in China.

So, Instead of Google Search, I used Yahoo Search / Bing and Baidu.

In China, Google the grandfather of all Search is being blocked, and when I was doing my research. I had to use Yahoo Search and Baidu. Baidu is a Chinese search engine, it has limited English searches and it would be good if you know Chinese. As I am from Singapore, I had studied Chinese, therefore, when using Baidu, it wasn’t that difficult for me.

So, Instead of Gmail, I used Hotmail and my personal domain email.

When I was booking my hotel, I was not able to use Gmail to received the confirmation email. Therefore, I used [email protected] to received the confirmation email. If your main email address is Gmail, you could use Hotmail to received the confirmation email.

So, Instead of using Expedia, I used Ctrip.

Whenever I book for hotel rooms, I tend to use Expedia, as it has the price beat guarantee. I had reviewed it here.


Ctrip is the china version of Expedia for booking of trains, flights and hotels.

So, If you want to use Facebook and Instagram, you need a VPN.

If you do not want to use the alternative, and would like to continue to have a seamless travel research using Google Search, Expedia, Facebook, Instagram,….and bypass the Great Fire Wall of China.You might want to consider getting a VPN.

So, Which VPN should I get?



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48 thoughts on “How I Survived the Great (Fire) Wall of China

  • dannielle

    I didn’t realise google was banned in China! Currently experiencing problems of my own in Dubai. I recently moved here and miss real Netflix! My VPN worked for the first week or so and now it isn’t… I could cry.

  • Hung Thai

    Hmmm… I was in China 2 years ago and didn’t have an problems accessing anything. I wonder if it has to do with which hotel you were staying at? We were staying at mostly American friendly places with internet that was pretty open. I’ll have to try to remember if we ran into any issues but I don’t think we did. But this is a great resource nevertheless.

  • LeAnna

    I never even thought about this issue while traveling in China! We are all so technology dependent that it would be interesting to see how life without the internet would be since I don’t think I’d go through all that trouble.

  • Kathrin

    Most of my classmates in my university course are from China and sometimes, it is so strange to think about that they cannot access the same information as you. It’s definitely an important thing to consider before traveling to China.

  • Veronika

    Sorry you had to much hassle! I hate how facebook and gmail are not working in China. Last time I only had stop over, so after few hours I was back to my normal tools, but it must be hard to stay there long time!

  • chrysoula

    Oh Wow I think I have read somewhere in the past that they don’t really use Facebook in China but Google? Gmail? I don’t think I could live without that. Thanks for suggesting VPN to surpass the problem. At least now when I go to China I will be prepared!

  • Hugo Cura

    What a pain. Having to choose different tools because the Great Firewall (cool name, though!).

    I would probably just ignore internet completely for the length of my stay like I did in places where there was no internet or it was so limited that it was easier just to stay away from it.


  • Laura

    I’m always so exasperated by the great fire wall of China. Is that all really necessary? I can’t believe you had to go to all those lengths just to do travel research that would be so easy anywhere else.

  • noel

    This is probably why I haven’t even thought about travel to China, so much red tape including a very expensive Visa. Great tips and work arounds on still being able to be connected in a restricted country.

  • Melissa Jones

    Wow I feel quite naive, I didn’t think the wall was that bad. I had even forgotten about Bing since Google took over our lives lol! This is a great resource and I wouldn’t have thought about these things so thank you for breaking it down with great solutions. A great resource for anyone planning a trip to China.

  • Curious Claire

    I know it’s bad to admit, but this is one of the things that puts me off visiting China. Yes it’s a country with a lot to offer but I have so many other countries I want to visit that don’t have all these restrictions. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder why I should pick China over the others

  • Jenna

    I’ve never been to China, but I’ve always wondered about then internet and how easy it was to find a way around the firewall. Thanks for a great breakdown of the different options! Will definitely keep this in mind for when we eventually visit!

  • Rosemary

    That is so interesting to learn how much access is banned in China. Good to know there are work arounds though. Will need to look at the VPN option! Thanks for sharing this post.

  • Erica

    This is a pretty interesting post. I never knew even Google is blocked in China. We do have a VPN though, being based in the Philippines and all. It’s definitely an essential for expats, I would say.

  • Mar Pages

    Thanks for the great tips, with all the restrictions in China you really need to do your research on what is and isn’t allowed. They seem to have their own version of everything, like Weibo instead of Facebook.

  • Nisha

    Those are some awesome tips to survive in China. I always used to wonder how I am going to be there without contacting my family back home.

    Thanks so much for sharing these tips, especially alternatives for gmail & google. I can live without Facebook.

  • Vicki Mattingly

    The Internet has become so much of a given nowadays, it is hard to deal with not always having easy access. As your post shows, though, we find a way. It was difficult when I was in Cuba too. But, I haven’t been places where access is blocked. Good tips! Glad you survived!

  • Meg Jerrard

    Thanks for the tips!! I knew there was a fire wall in China, though it hadn’t occured to me that Gmail would be blocked for being associated with Google. Guess I would be setting up a redirect for when we head to China because that’s what I use!

    Might look into a VPN also. Thanks for the practical tips!

  • Rob

    Very good tips I think lot of people, particularly in the west, take the internet and all it offers for granted. It is always good to have a back up plan in case your favorite websites don’t work, whether it is China or some other country where the govn’t has overt control over information.
    I my opinion a VPN is a must for any traveler, and should be used on all shared WiFi’s

  • Kate

    I actually just had a few searches of my site on Baidu in my stats. This was strange and I think a good sign. I don’t have a Chinese language version of my site. In terms of searching and emailing from China when I travelled across, I used any site I could access (usually Bing and my Hotmail). I think I updated Facebook and accessed other sites when I was in other countries. For longer stays, a VPN is definitely the way to go. Great advice

  • Vicky and Buddy

    A friend of mine did a study abroad in China and he hated that he couldn’t get on Facebook. It might seem silly, but I kind of don’t even want to travel to China because of everything that they block.

  • S

    I totally forgot Google is banned in China. Would be an inconvenience especially if you’re staying longer. Good point to remind people to check everything before or what alternatives to use.