Frequently Asked Questions About China Tour
Before You Travel to China
- What should I pack?
- Do I need travel insurance to go to China?
- What kinds of medicine do I need to bring with me to China?
- What should I do before traveling to Tibet?
1. What should I pack?
Casual clothing is appropriate at all times although clothes that are too revealing are still frowned upon in all over China. Try to pack lightly as your trip may involve an amount of personal baggage handling as porters are often not available except in larger hotels. For security reasons it is essential that your baggage can be locked whilst during air transportation between cities.
At times, you may not be able to check into your hotel room immediately or be able to access your main bags. To ensure your comfort, a change of clothes in your hand luggage to coincide with local weather conditions is always handy. All personal toiletries should be taken with you and small packets of tissues or wet wipes are recommended. A small medical kit containing medication to alleviate common ailments is suggested.
2. Do I need travel insurance to go to China?
We strongly recommend that you purchase a travel insurance policy.
3. What kinds of medicine do I need to bring with me to China?
For the medicine, we suggest that you take some pain killers, anti-inflammatory prescriptions and medicines for cold, fever and diarrhea while traveling. If you take some tour at a high altitude, highly recommend you to take some travel pill or anti-nausea medicine along. If you travel in some remote areas, remember to take some anti-mosquito spray, cream or lotion. In addition, medicines for preventing sunstroke in summer are all necessary.
4. What should I do before traveling to Tibet?
There are two important things to be considered before traveling to Tibet. First of all you need a permit to go to Tibet. If you only go to Lhasa, a Tibet permit will be sufficient but, if you want to go further to the "unopened" areas, you also need an alien travel permit issued by the PSB of Tibet. Secondly, you are required to provide a doctor's certificate stating that you are fit to travel and your blood pressure and heart condition are normal, in case the very high altitude adversely affects you.
Whilst On Tour
- What about my personal security ?
- What is the standard of hygiene in China?
- What are the toilet facilities like on tour?
- Shall we have meals with our guide and driver at the same table?
- What is the tipping practice for visitors to China?
- How to get the internet access in China?
- What star rating are your hotels?
- Are all meals included?
- What is train travel like in China?
- Can we take photos as we like in China?
- How to use phone Cards and mobile phones in China?
1. What about my personal security ?
The safest way to carry your tickets, passport and travelers cheques is in a money belt worn under your clothing. China is generally a safe place and you would be extremely unlucky to have anything stolen. It is wise to take precautions and always be alert. Small amounts of money can be carried in a bumbag or shoulder purse. This ensures you do not need to pull out a pile of 100RMB notes for a 10RMB purchase.
All hotel rooms have secure locks and some people prefer to leave their suitcase locked inside the room. For air and train travel your bag should be securely locked. It is a good idea to carry a photocopy of your passport, visa and tickets and the serial numbers of your Traveler's Cheques. If you are unlucky enough to lose any of these valuable items it will greatly assist in replacement.
2. What is the standard of hygiene in China?
We always carefully select restaurants and hotels that are clean and safe in order to provide you with a safe and healthy environment.
3 .What are the toilet facilities like on tour?
All of our hotels have western style bathrooms and toilets. Obviously in the more remote areas, they may be a little more basic, but clean and simple is common. Whilst sightseeing, toilet facilities at restaurants and local tourist sites can vary and we would recommend that you carry tissues, wet wipes or disinfectant gel with you, “just in case”.
4. Shall we have meals with our guide and driver at the same table?
Actually the guide and driver will not have meals with you at the same table, but in the same restaurant.
5. What is the tipping practice for visitors to China?
It is a common practice for visitors to tip the tour guide and driver in recognition of their good service. A hotel bellboy expects your tips as well. It is not customary to leave tips at hotels or local restaurants as the bill usually includes a 10-15% service charge.
6. How to get the internet access in China?
You can use the Internet service in the business center of the hotels; some rooms of certain hotels have the internet access, in which you can use your own computer. And internet cafes are a booming business in China and you should have no difficulty in finding one in cities, big or small, the charges in those internet cafes may be cheaper, but please don't go and stay there for too late for the sake of safety.
7. What star rating are your hotels?
All of our hotels are of international five-star, four-star or three-star superior standard unless otherwise stated. The hotels are selected for their comfort, convenience of location and character.
8. Are all meals included?
All meals (excluding beverages) are included in our fully inclusive group tours. Please note that on some of our connoisseur and adventurous tours, some meals may be basic in remote areas. Meals included in private tours are stated in the itinerary.
Meals on our group tours start with lunch on the normal day of arrival and finish with lunch on the normal day of departure. As we offer a range of flight options, passengers may arrive and depart at different times during the day. Any additional meals will be at your own expense and no refund will be made for any meals missed.
9. What is train travel like in China?
Usually, Chinese trains carry four classes of accommodation: soft-sleeper, soft-seat, hard-sleeper and hard-seat. We normally book soft-sleepers which have comfortable 4-berth (2 upper &2 lower) compartments with full bedding provided.
Each car has two restrooms at both ends of it, with a separate room beside it for you to clean your hands and face. Hot water will be provided from water boilers at both ends of compartment free of charge. Meals and drinks can be purchased in the train's dining car which is in the middle of the train, and staff with pushcarts may sell things like drinks, meal boxes, fruit, etc. from one compartment to another.
10. Can we take photos as we like in China?
You may photograph in most locations, except in most museums and archeological sites (notably the main pit of the Terracotta Warriors), while some institutions allow you to take photos if you pay a fee in advance. Do ask for permission first if you try to take photos of people closely.
Color print film, memory stick for digital camera is widely available, especially in the medium-sized and big cities, black and white or slide film much less so. Video film can be found but not always readily. All security X-ray machines on mainland China and at Hong Kong airport are film-safe. It is advisable to have filters with you as sometimes it might be hazy in the city/area you are to visit.
11. How to use phone Cards and mobile phones in China?
Apart from calling IDD from your hotel room, there are various phone cards available in post offices inside hotels or at most newsstands on the street in China. Among them IC card and IP card are the most popular ones .Most public telephones you see in booths are IC telephones, which allow you to call home directly. IC card is issued by China Telecom; international calls with IC telephone cards are relatively expensive, usually over 10 RMB/M.
When you buy an IC card and want to call back home, simply just find a telephone booth either in hotel, restaurant, airport or some other places, insert the card into the phone, follow the vocal instructions to dial the number you want.IP cards are issued by different issuers such as China Telecom, China Unicom, China Netcom and China Jitong, thus the Rates for international calls are different.
China Unicom's rate for calls to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan usually is 1.5 RMB/M, 2.6 RMB/M to America and Canada while 3.6 RMB/M to other countries. The other's rates for international calls are either a little bit higher or lower than that of China Unicom. Currently, the IP phone service has covered the whole country, providing international service between China and over 200 countries and regions. There will be instruction on each IP card to tell you how to make a call, you can use the hotel phone to call with IP card and the hotel usually will charge some fare as that of city call.
Please note: some of the IC cards or IP cards can be used only in certain provinces or regions, so please check it and also the expired date before you purchase them.
In China, GSM networks operated by China Mobile provide coverage in every major city, while CDMA network run by China Unicom is improving its coverage, so if you have a dual band or tri band mobile phone or use COSMOTE card, then you can use your mobile phone in China in most big cities, though any calls you make will be considered long-distance. A cheaper option is to buy GSM SIM card, which is a telephone number.
There are mainly two kinds you can choose: Shenzhouxing issued by China Mobile, Ruyitong issued by China Unicom. Usually when you buy SIM card, no document is required but prepaid charge and you need to finish using that amount of prepaid charge before indicated date. You can buy charging card in amount of 50 RMB and 100 RMB to recharge in post offices, stores and newsstands easily.
The following is how to dial international call from China:
00+country code + region code + phone number
The country code for USA and Canada is 1, 44 for UK, 61 for Australia, 43 for Austria, 41 for Switzerland, 852 for Hong Kong, 39 for Italy, 31 for Holland, 64 for New Zealand, etc. For the other countries, please check the instruction book in the hotel room.
- Do I need a passport to China?
- Do I need a visa to enter China ?
- What type of visa do I need?
- How to obtain a China visa?
- How long is a China visa valid?
- How far in advance do I need to apply for my visa?
- Do I need a special permit for Tibet?
1. Do I need a passport to China?
Yes, you need to have a valid passport for visiting China.
2. Do I need a visa to enter China ?
All visitors to China require a Visa which MUST be obtained before arrival in the country. The usual visa is valid for 3 months from the time of issue. Visas are issued by all Chinese embassies and consulates and can take up to 5-7 days to process. But If you travel in Hong Kong or Macao for less than 30 days, the visas are not required.
3. What type of visa do I need?
The type of visa you need will depend on the length and purpose of your trip. For individual travelers, you need only to apply for a single-entry at any Chinese embassy. The procedure is usually takes about one week working days.
4. How to obtain a China visa?
Visas for individual travel to China are quite easy to get. You have to send your application to the consular section of the Chinese Embassy. The process usually takes 5-7 working days. The following documents are needed to apply for the visa:
- Passport with spare visa pages
- Visa application form filled and signed by the applicant himself
- One passport photo
- Travel information including the booking of air tickets and itinerary in China whenever we deem it necessary
- Invitation letter from the Chinese authorities concerned or the host company in China. Once you book tour with our company, we will send a formal Invitation Letter to you to apply for the visa, which will save much more time.
5. How long is a China visa valid?
The Validity of Single-entry China visas is 3 months after the issuing date, and the duration of stay is 30 days, which is enough for a normal tourist.
6. How far in advance do I need to apply for my visa?
You can apply anytime as long as it's within 90 days from entry date. For single-entry China visas, you should normally apply for your visa three to four weeks prior to departure.
7. Do I need a special permit for Tibet?
Yes, you do need a permit to go to Tibet, but we will arrange to get the permit for you. For more info about apply for Tibet Travel Permits, please view http://www.tripchinaguide.com/article-p15-tibet-travel-permits.html
- When is the best time to visit China?
- What's the weather like in China?
- What are the top tourist destinations in China?
- What happens when I arrive in China?
- Is the water safe to drink on my China tours?
- What are your tour guides like?
- What is single supplement?
- Will we have a chance to shop for souvenirs during our tour in China?
- What are good buys in China?
- What is the maximum and minimum number of people that you will take on a tour?
- How close can I get to the pandas in China?
- Which cabins are used on your Yangtze River cruise vessels?
- What currency should I take?
- What is the weather and climate like in Tibet?
- Do you allow children on your tours?
- Do children pay the same fare as adults?
- Does your price include airfare?
- Do I need vaccinations to enter China?
- Are there baggage limits on the flight to China?
- Are there any ATM services in China?
- Do I need to bring my medical records with me?
- What kind of things should be declared before I board China domestic flights?
1. When is the best time to visit China?
Generally April-June and September-October are the best months for you to travel to China when the weather is the most pleasant all over China, however many people enjoy tours at other times of year when there are fewer other visitors and lower prices.
2. What's the weather like in China?
China is a vast country with different climates, but generally speaking, spring is from April to June, summer from June to September, fall from September to October, while winter is from October to March. Usually it is colder and drier in the north in winter, and hotter and more humid in the south in summer.
3. What are the top tourist destinations in China?
Generally, Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Huangshan, Jiuzhaigou, Chengdu, Guilin, Yangshuo, Harbin are the most popular destinations for foreign tourists, while, some routes include Yangtze River cruises, Silk Road, Tibet, Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Henan are also amazing.
4. What happens when I arrive in China?
One of the ways in which Trip China Guide will help make your trip to China easier is to have our representatives assist you to make all your transfers. You will be met at the airport by our professional guide who will be carrying a placard bearing your name. The same standard of care will be afforded you whenever you make an internal connection by air or rail and again on your final departure from China.
5. Is the water safe to drink on my China tours?
You should not drink the tap water, bottled water is inexpensive and readily available. If you like a 'cuppa', you may like to bring along a small supply of tea bags, coffee and milk powder. Most rooms have electric jugs or thermos flasks of boiling water to make hot.
6. What are your tour guides like?
Our guides are friendly, knowledgeable and experienced. They are experts in communicating with people, organizing tour logistics, and dealing with unexpected situations and difficulties. They are all fluent in both Chinese and English.
7. What is single supplement?
The hotel is based on double occupancy. If the visitor travels alone or the number of the travelers is odd (such as 3,5, 7...), who stays in one single room has to pay the single room supplement.
8. Will we have a chance to shop for souvenirs during our tour in China?
Yes, you will have the chance to shop for souvenirs while traveling in China. You can shop in the department stores, friendship stores or free markets. Sometimes our tour guides will take you to factories and workshops where local specialties are produced and sold.
9. What are good buys in China?
In China, good buys are silk, tea, antiques, paintings and calligraphy, Chinese medicines, handicrafts such as cloisonne, paper-cutting, replicas of terra-cotta horses and warriors, jade and pearls.
10. What is the maximum and minimum number of people that you will take on a tour?
We operate private tours and group tour, we don’t limit the number of the people in our tours.
11. How close can I get to the pandas in China?
You will get close enough for a good photo opportunity. It is sometimes possible to touch the pandas at the Chengdu Reserve at a significant extra cost. Also, you can join the panda volunteer program in Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base. The program offers you opportunity to take care of the pandas for some days or months.
12. Which cabins are used on your Yangtze River cruise vessels?
We only use outside cabins so you can enjoy the view. The cabins on the Victoria Prince (Grand Yangtze Cruise tour) also have balconies.
13. What currency should I take?
We recommend you to take euro or US dollars as well as Chinese Yuan (RMB)
14. What is the weather and climate like in Tibet?
The Tibetan climate is not as harsh as many people imagine it to be. Travel to Tibet is suitable from April to the beginning of November, and the best time is August and September. But if you only stay in Lhasa, you can go there any time of the year.
Sun radiation is extremely strong in Tibet. The sunlight in Lhasa is so intense that the city is called “Sunlight City”. The thin air can neither block nor retain heat, so temperature extremes can be met in daytime and the same night respectively. May, June and September are the high season for tourism in Tibet.
Most annual rainfall comes in the rainy season that starts from July to September. Usually it rains at night in Lhasa, Shigatse and Chamdo area. The rainfall may block roads and make travel difficult but the scenery at that time will be the best.
15. Do you allow children on your tours?
We allow children on our group tours. We recommend that families with children of any age take advantage of our private tours. This will give you more flexibility while on tour.
16. Do children pay the same fare as adults?
According to the regulations of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), children who are over 12 years old should be charged as adults. Ones are less than 12 years old should be charged less land services and domestic airfare than adults. For infants less than 2 years old will be free of charge, except for the airfare, which is 10% of the adult's fare.
17. Does your price include airfare?
Our prices only include airfare of China domestic flights, so you have to settle your international flights beforehand.
18. Do I need vaccinations to enter China?
No vaccinations are currently required to enter China, unless you come from or through a yellow fever infected area. Highly recommend taking along the international certificate of vaccination lest it is required when you pass the customs.
19. Are there baggage limits on the flight to China?
For domestic flights within China, you are allowed to check one piece of luggage. The limitation is 20 Kilograms (44 pounds) total. A fee may be imposed for extra pieces or excessive weight, up to 10 yuan per kilogram (2.2 pounds). You can also take one carry-on plus a backpack or tote bag, all of which should fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat.
20. Are there any ATM services in China?
In the main offices of the Bank of China in the cities, especially those in tourist cities, there are ATM services available where you can use your credit cards, and some five-star hotels may also have ATM available.
21. Do I need to bring my medical records with me?
Yes, we suggest you take your medical records with you in case you need them in the event of an emergency, as well as your doctor's name, address and phone number, emergency contact name and phone number, and your insurance company's name, address and phone number.
22. What kind of things should be declared before I board China domestic flights?
According to China Customs Luggage Declaration Form, the following articles and goods need to be declared:
- More than 5,000 US dollars or the equivalent other foreign currency, or over 20,000 Chinese Yuan.
- Any articles or goods that will be left China valued over CNY 2,000.
- More than 100 cigars or 400 cigarettes and 2 liters of alcoholic beverages.
- Transceiver, communications devices.
- Any forbidden or limited articles in accordance with the law of People's Republic of China.
- The separately transported luggage.
- Commercial samples, cargo, advertising items.