For work I got to spend a few weeks in and around Chongqing China as well as Taipei. Apparently Chongqing has more people living in it than the entire great state of Texas, and I had not even heard of it before I was told to go there. I enjoyed the hell out of this trip, was a great time. The locals in both countries were very friendly and I got tons of photos. Also my travelling companions from Google were awesome, was great to have them with me.
Stepping off the airplane was invigorating yet terrifying. I initially landed in Beijing and had to catch a domestic transfer to my final destination. The Beijing airport is not particularly difficult for foreigners but its definitely not a walk in the park! Once I got on the transfer I did not see another Westerner for quite some time.
I learned probably 20-30 Mandarin words specifically for this trip. If you ever go I highly recommend learning at least some of the language, many of the things I did while I was there were only possible because I could speak and recognize some words.
I bought a Chinese SIM card off of Amazon before travelling, I highly recommend this for anyone travelling there. You will still have to tunnel out of the Great Firewall with a VPN but you need internet these days. I also highly recommend two phones, one with the google translate app and the other for browsing. That way you can easily use Didi (Chinese Uber equivalent) and other services that would otherwise be unavailable.
Dinner the first night I went all out. All of this was only $30! I only drank beer eating out because of prior experience in China, avoid the water at all costs. In this case I think the compromise to accomplish this was fairly minimal :) .