First Stop Professionals
Make your first stop, the right stop.
Tip 1: Learn the Language
I know, I know, I know, this seems like it does not need to be said, but it does a thousand times over. Learn the local language, reading and writing included. If you do not, you have only yourself to blame and the reality is the talking heads can say whatever they like about those foreigners not learning the local language, the truth is it is not easy to do just that, while coping with a new way of life, a social life, a job and everything else, the language is usually the first thing to be put aside in the name of advancing one's life and I can feel for you I can and I understand if you do not, but try your best to stick to it.
Tip 5: If you are bad at languages learn the culture
Only those who have never spent any real time trying to learn a second language seem to get all high and mighty about the need to be perfectly proficient in a language. Learn what you can even if it is broken it is better than nothing and if you do not have the gift in languages then understand the culture to the best of your ability, because it makes your life easier if you at least know what is occuring and why. Secondly people appreciate when their culture is appreciated, because even within your native language and culture there are natives who do the language a huge disservice, but even they understand the culture and nature of the country they find themselves, so culture becomes a greater unifer than language itself.
Tip 2: You are going to get Gwailo'd, so haggle the best you can.
Gwailo or gweilo is an offense term referring to foreigners that are non-asian (Cantonese people will tell you it is not offensive, but show those same characters to a Mandarin speaker and they will tell you right away that it is really offensive.)
Gwailo'd is a term I coined while living in Southern China, it is used as a verb to mean that people are going to take advantage of you for being a foreigner (this is true of any culture or country.), In China this occurance happens generally when you are buying things, so you need to haggle, because even whatever you haggle it down to will still result in you being overcharged at least you did not get gwailo'd.
Tip 4: Take tissue paper and hand sanitizer
Toilets in China are horrendous, being dirty is normal for any bathroom in any culture (go to the Port Authority bus terminal restroom in New York and tell me otherwise.) In China it is a combination of the smell, the chemicals used to clean them are horrendously bad and leave a horrid smell as well as the lack of tissue paper in stalls coupled with the need to squat over an open hole in the floor and the lack of soap to wash your hands with that do tend to leave one not singing their praises. So remember when heading out bring tissue paper and hand santizer always.
Tip 6: You know things are censored.
To the right is the Chinglish phrase No Zuo No Die which translates to if you keep overdoing something you are making trouble for yourself, which basically relates to karma. This is China things are censored and the news is not 100% honest everyone knows it, from the guy selling steamed buns on the corner to the President himself, everyone is aware, so save yourself the hassle and be prepared for it. Do some research into VPNs and how to deal with accessing the sites you wish as well as what things you can do without. Second just like in Africa, China has to deal with Barbie Saviors. Do not be one, it does no good to any cause to have those kind of people mucking up years of progress simply for some selfies.
Tip 3: Beware Chinglish and English will not save you.
Now Chinglish is one of those words that sounds like it should be offensive, though I was taught it by Chinese people and the Chinese is 中式英语 which translates to Chinese style English and then was shortened to Chinglish and Chinglish is everywhere in China, because the reality is Chinese and English do not translate well into eachother which leaves these bizarre translations, so while all those websites and books tell you do not worry English is everywhere, it is not going to help you as large portions of it is in Chinglish and on many an occassion I have gone to a restaurant and been given an English menu by the staff (who genuinely think they are being helpful) only to hand it back to them, because in all honesty the Chinese menu is easier to understand than the English one, so tip 3 is do not rely on English.