CHINA : A BASIC TRAVEL INFO Print
 

Area                                              9,596,960 square kilometres.

Comparing to the size of U.S.          Slightly smaller than U.S.

Borders with                                  India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan,      

                                                   Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia,  North   

                                                   Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan, & Nepal.

Population                                     1 Billion 365 million

 

Time Zone                                    GMT+ 8:00

Religions                                       Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, christianity

Government Type                          Communist

Capital                                          Beijing

Language                                      Standard Mandarin        

Passport & Visa Formalities

A valid passport and visa are required to enter and exit China and must be obtained from Chinese Embassies or Consulates before traveling to China.

For information about entry requirements you may consult the Visa Office of the Embassy of China (PRC) at Room 110, 2201 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20007, or telephone (202) 338-6688 and (202) 588-9760.

For more detailed information, visit  http://www.china-embassy.org/eng

There are Chinese consulates general in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

If you need a help in applying for the visa, Click  Click Visa Agent

Weather & Clothing

Climate varies radically in China, due to the vast land spanning many degrees of latitude as diverse as its terrain. Temperatures vary a great deal influenced by region and by monsoon season From the sheltering plains in the heartland to the Mountain-southeast Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. the temperature can vary from sizzling heat to freezing cold. 

June, July, and August are the summer months in China. It is moderately to brutally hot somewhere. In some places the temperature can reach 36°C or above. The clothing for this season in China will include T-shirts, short-sleeve cotton shirts, polo shirts, lightweight pants, skirts, sandals, caps, and rain wear. A sturdy, comfortable pair of walking shoes is an absolute necessity. When you go sightseeing, do not forget to apply sunscreen lotion and wear sunglasses and hats, since you will be exposed to the scorching sun for several hours every day. 

In April and May, and September and October the temperature is moderate, and as a result this is the high season for traveling in China. The suggested clothing during the period is, for the South of China (which is still quite hot): T-shirts, polo shirts, short sleeve cotton shirts, light to medium-weight pants and skirts, sandals, caps, and rain wear. For the North of China and Tibet (cooler): jackets, sports coats, long sleeve shirts, light woolen sweaters, rain wear, and travel shoes. 

From November onwards, the weather will be colder. December, January, and February is the winter season in China. Most parts of China will be cold, especially in the north where it is usually very cold, so we advise you to wear layers of garments. Normally, thermal or silk underwear with a long sleeve shirt, sweater, and padded jacket or down jacket are recommended.

Health & Immunization

No special vaccinations are required, but those who have traveled from an infected area before coming to China should have vaccination records available for a Health Declaration form upon arrival.

China is a remarkably healthy country despite its relative poverty and climatic variations, but you still must be aware of potential hazards and to act cautiously. The following are some useful tips to maintain your good health during your China trip:

1. Do not drink tap water. It is not safe. 
2. When you go sightseeing, take an umbrella or wear a hat to avoid sunburn and exposure.
3. Public toilets will not provide tissues, so remember to bring along your own sanitary necessities when going outside your hotel. 
4. Don't eat food from street vendors and never eat uncooked meat or raw eggs.
5. Minor ailments such as sore throats and chest colds are also possible considering China's climatic extremes. Also, in cities such as Beijing it does not rain often and the summer months can be very dry and brutally hot, so it is necessary to address these extreme climactic conditions by drinking lots of liquids to prevent dehydration. 

The Centers for Disease Control provides an International Traveler’s Hotline offering recorded messages or faxes on current health risks. Call 877 394 8747 or visit cdc.gov/china for suggested immunizations and food/ water precautions For other health-related inquiries, call 404 639 3534 (8 a.m. 4:30 pm EST).

Customs & Declarations

You should declarations stuff upon arrival and departure according the list you get from airlines staff when you are on the flight. 

Some of the prohibited items to bring in are firearms,  ammunition, explosives of all kinds, materials which are detrimental to the political, economic, cultural and moral interest of China. Deadly poisons of all kinds. Opium, morphine, heroin, marijuana, other addiction- inducing drugs and psychedelics. Animals, plants and/or products made thereof infected with or carrying diseases. 

Money, Credit Cards & ATM

The Chinese currency is called Renminbi. The basic unit of RMB is the yuan and the smaller units are the jiao and fen. One yuan is divided into 10 jiao and one jiao is divided into 10 fen. You can exchange US$ at all the banks, hotels and major airports.


Credit card holders may draw cash at the Bank of China or conversion centers designated by the Bank of China. For debit card holders, ATM machines are located at airports and in major hotels and most of the banks.

Credit cards are accepted in most of tourist class  hotels, restaurants and stores. 

Culture & Etiquette

China is a collectivist society, with close and committed member ‘groups’ . Loyalty is paramount and there exist strong relationships. China, like all other Asian countries, has the highest respect for tradition and fulfilling social obligations.

Handshakes are the formal greeting. Topics like weather, food, or hobbies are good ice-breakers. Being hierarchical, juniors are introduced to seniors and official to non-official persons.

Although personal space is less valued than in the Western world, touching or patting in the workplace is not accepted. Gestures like pointing, beckoning with the index finger or showing the soles of your shoes are considered extremely uncouth.

Miscellaneous

When you arrive at the airport or border

When you arrive in China, someone from our local supplier will meet you at the airport who will be displaying your name. You will be then transferred to your to hotel.  In case,  because of earlier or delayed flight, if you do not  see anybody to pick you up, then give a call to the local tour operator listed on the “Local Operator’s Contact Detail” which is in the information package you have received from us before you left U.S.

Telephone, Email, Wifi

You can make a direct call from  most of the places in China to U.S. through a telephone line. Telecom in China has developed significantly. There are several cyber cafes in and around  all major cities in China. Most of the hoetls and restaurants have Wifi free of charge. If you have a GSM cell phone and roaming service in your phone, it may work in China.

You may also buy a local sim card and use with your cell phone, if it's GSM unlocked set.

Shopping

Tourists always find it very interesting to stroll in street markets in China, where you can see people selling all kinds of products. If you are interested, go ahead and buy something, but be aware that the quality of the merchandise is usually lower than in large stores.  So it is not advisable to buy food and drink there. Also extensive bargaining is expected when you buy something on the street. 

If you are thinking of purchasing any products, which you cannot carry with you, then think twice before you purchase it. The salesman or guide may tell you that they would pay the shipping charges to your address.  However, besides the shipping charge, you must understand that there are other charges involved at your end, which they may not be aware of, such as destination charges, custom clearance fees, warehouse fees and other fees. By the time, the product reaches your home; the chance is high that you will also receive a bill for all the other charges, which might be higher than the cost of product itself. So, unless you are very sure about these charges, shipping anything home is not suggested. 

Electricity

The electricity in China is 220 volts.

Meals

If you are a vegetarian or if you do not eat meats such as chicken, pork, mutton, seafood, or beef, let us know as soon as possible, so that we can notify the restaurants in advance and make special arrangements for you if meals are included in your tour package.

Breakfast is always at your hotel. Usually there will be a substantial breakfast buffet, including both Chinese and Western dishes. Lunch and dinner will usually be in designated tourist restaurants unless they are not included in the cost Drinks are not included, however, tea is free of charge. 

If your meals are not included in the package,  ask your local  guide about restaurants where you can go and eat.  

Tipping

The same rules apply about tipping as elsewhere. Roughly 10% of bills at restaurants.Your driver and guide also expect a tip at the end of the tour.  Below is a general idea on tipping in the group size beween 2-5 people.  If there are more than 5 people in the group, a little more would be expectd. The mentioend tipping is to be divided by the number of people in the group.  The tips can be more or less depending on the services you get from them.

Tour Guide :  US$ 10 a day

Driver  :        US$  8 a day