Can I Travel Alone in China?
Absolutely! These single traveler tips apply to both women and men. Generally, China is a very safe country in which to travel and women don't have to be concerned particularly (read my Is it safe to travel alone as a woman in China? article for more on that). However, all single travelers should use common sense and take precautions because being on your own just might single you out for some swindling or pick-pocketing.
But otherwise, single travelers can trust that they won't run into much more than typical China Travel Nuisances.
Inside Crowded Bars & Clubs
There's nothing specific to advise about going out generally, aside from using the same precautions you would at home. However, guys, if you suddenly find yourself surrounded by local girls who seem way too friendly, be aware of your valuables and understand they might be interested in more than conversation. (Read my article about Prostitution.)
Ladies, when in a crowded place, be careful of your handbags.
Outside Crowded Bars & Clubs
When leaving a crowded bar or nightclub area, often beggars will hang out on the sidewalks looking for handouts. Use your own judgment here but if you want to give, it’s better to find a good charity than encouraging begging on streets.
Urban legends are rife with stories involving drugged drinks and the missing organs.
Be smart. If you're out alone, be careful, just like you would at home. There's no reason to throw caution to the wind.
After a night out, single men and women shouldn't be worried about taking a taxi in terms of physical safety. However, if you are extremely inebriated, drivers could possibly take you for a really long ride and you'll find yourself with a higher taxi fare than you expected.
Always take the taxi receipt. Being inebriated in a taxi can also cause you to lose things – like your mobile phone or your wallet. The receipt will have the taxi number printed on it so you can have someone call the car if you discover that you did, indeed, leave something behind.
Walking Around During the Day
Generally, walking around in any neighborhood, anywhere, will not be a cause for concern. Your physical safety is assured. There is really no such thing as "a bad neighborhood" in Chinese cities. However, as always, be careful of your belongings.
Walking Around at Night
Again, physical safety is not a concern, though, you should use common sense. Try to stay in well-lit areas and know where you are going. Keep your valuables safe.
Traveling on Trains & Buses
People travel alone in China all the time so it's no big deal culturally. That said, if you're on a long journey, you can't watch all your stuff all the time. Keep valuables on your body. Don't put your things under someone else's watch, no matter how friendly you've become on the journey.
If you're on an overnight sleeping train, the compartment won't be segregated by sex so you might find yourself in a sleeping compartment with mostly members of the opposite sex.
If this makes you uncomfortable, talk to the train staff to see if they can find you a different berth.
I go into this in more detail in my Prostitution article but men – and women – should be aware that prostitution is rife in China and you might find yourself in an awkward situation being offered more than you bargained for during your massage. By all means, try massage while you're in China. But make sure you get a recommendation for a good place to go. If girls in short skirts are beckoning you inside late at night – the place of business is probably not on the up-and-up. Use good judgment and if you're uncomfortable, just leave.