Did you know that almost every attraction in China has a half price student discount…. and you don’t have to be a student to get it!
Student discounts are hit and miss in most Western countries but in China student discounts are 50% off with very little exceptions, meaning that if you are a student then your student ID should be the top of your list for a backpacking trip around China’s great sights. But of course Ex-pats or anybody else who finds themselves in china can take advantage of this.
Before I go any further it is worth pointing out that it is usually necessary to be studying at a Chinese university to get the discount, but most of the ticket office staff don’t pay attention to this rule.
Not a Student? Don’t Worry!
Why not? you may ask. The simple answer is that your average Chinese person doesn’t speak English. This, at times, can be one of the hardest things about living and traveling in China but this is one of the occasions when you have the advantage.
The first method is to whip up a ‘fake ID’. Either by Photoshop if you’re good at that kind of thing ,or get a cheap ID one online or in a shop if that works out better for you. If you’re going down this route you may as well make it a non-English ID for further confusion at the ticket office.
The other (and probably cheaper) method is to use an existing ID. By this I mean a Driving licence, National ID card, or some random card that looks fairly official. Yes I am serious, this does work! I have personally backpacked around China using a British Provisional Driving Licence as a ‘Student ID’ and got the 50% off at well over half the places I visited including most tourist destinations in Chengdu!
An extra tip is that if the person at the ticket office turns out to read English and notices that your driving licence is, in fact, not a student card, than just put on your best poker face and tell them it doubles as a student card in your country.
But I’m Too Old to Be a Student!
No you’re not, unless you are. But bear in mind that there are many older people studying Post Graduate, PhD’s etc. Along with the fact that many Chinese do not go to university until an older age than many Western students.
Post by James Brown
Expat in Chengdu