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China Travel Tips

China travel tips on money saving, personal safety, sightseeing, and enjoying your trip to the fullest from InfoHub suppliers and community members.

Achieving Balance In A China Travel Itinerary
Submitted by M20718
China is vast and so anyone traveling around will inevitably use the airports and stations of major cities. Since many of the major attractions are located in these same major cities the temptation is to move from one highlight to another. To do so is to miss out on a more balanced view of this fascinating country.

A well-balanced travel itinerary for China will allow some time at minor sites within major cities as well as minor cities or towns. These may require some additional effort to visit but the ... view more altogether perspective is well worth the time.

At major tourist sites there can be many negative experiences. Prices are higher, everything is crowded and rushed and the feeling is often one of disappointment. Visiting lesser-known attractions has the advantage that expectations are lower and therefore easily surpassed.

Since foreigners are seen less frequently at smaller sites, local visitors and staff are usually more willing to interact. These informal meetings are often amongst the most pleasant memories of the trip.

For sure, the Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors cannot be missed - just allow yourself some balance and ensure you also get to see some of the real China too.

China Guilin Yangshuo Tips
Submitted by M20004
Activities recommended in Guilin: Elephant Hill, Seven Star Park, Reed Flute Cave and lakes. If you like watching the show, do not miss Ethnic Folklore Show and Dreamlike Acobatic Show in the evening, the shows start at around 8pm or you can watch Cormarant Fishing.

Recommended hotel in Guilin: Sheraton Hotel and Waterfall Hotel (5*) locates in the center of city, the other one is Royal Garden Hotel locates at Li River side, it is 20 minutes walking distance to the center. Bravo Hotel and Ronghu Lake, Park ... view more hotels(4*) are nice hotel with good location near lakes and center.

If you have time and want to have a relaxed holiday, you can stay in Yangshuo for 2 or 3 nights.

Recommended hotels in Yangshuo: Paradise Hotel, Magnolia Hotel are very nice hotel with good location near West Street. If you want to stay out of Yangshuo town, Li River Retreat and Yangshuo Mountain Retreat are nice places for your stay.

Recommend activities in Yangshuo: Liu Sanjie Light and Sound Show, If you like adventure, you should explore Water Cave to take muddy bath in the cave, climb up to the Moon Hill to see the panoramic view of countryside. Visit Yolong River and do bamboo rafting in the river , it is very serene and relaxing, it is one of your best memory of your tour in China. Or ride bike to the villages. You can also hire a private for sunrise or sunset tour in Li River.

Customs in China
Submitted by M17441
How Different are Chinese Customs from Western Ones?

There are vast differences between Chinese and Western customs. Take eating for example. Whether at home or in a restaurant, Chinese will lay the emphasis on the food. Food leftover is a sign that the host is generous and has gained 'face' in front of guests. In the West, however, a banquet is more for the atmosphere than for food. 'Seeing the bottom' of plates is an ideal ending to a meal. That is to say, Chinese are more concerned about ... view more eating, while Westerns care more about socializing.

Another noticeable difference can be seen in the way gifts are exchanged. Most Chinese care more about the quality than the packaging of the gift. They will insist on declining the gift. Furthermore, they will wait until the guests have left to open the gift. Westerners, on the other hand, care a lot about the packaging and usually open the gift and admire it in the presence of the guest.

What's special about Chinese folklore
Submitted by M17441
Chinese folklore includes songs, dances, puppetry, and tales. It often tells stories of human nature, historical or legendary events, love, and the supernatural, or stories explaining natural phenomena and distinctive landmarks. Because of the vast territory and the diverse composition of the Chinese nation, folklore varies from region to region.

As early as in the Han Dynasty over 2,000 years ago, it was recorded that 'customs varied within a distance of 50 kilometers'. Over the long course of ... view more history, the 56 ethnic groups living in China have each developed their own customs in residence, food, clothing and decorations, marriage, family, festivals, religions, morals, rites and ceremonies and taboos.
The Commonly used Phrases for Tourists in China
Submitted by M17441
English translations - Chinese pronunciation

1. Hello! How are you? - Ni Hao
2. Thank you - Xie Xie
3. Good bye - Zai Jian
4. I'm sorry /Excuse me - Dui Bu Qi
5. It doesn't matter - Mei You Guan Xi
6. Do not know - Bu Zhi Dao
7. Good - Hao
8. Hotel - Binguan/Fandian
9. Restaurant - Canting/Fandian
10. Taxi - Chu Zu Qi Che
11. Telephone - Dian Hua
12. Toilet - Ce Suo
13. Train - Huo Che
14. Airplane - Fei Ji
Voltage in China
Submitted by M17441
Domestic electricity supply voltage varies between countries. Over 30 countries (including those in North America) use a voltage of 110V~130V, while another 120 countries (including most of Europe), use a voltage of 220V~230V. The electricity in China is generally 220V, 50HZ, AC (Hong Kong is 200V; Taiwan is 110V), while the supply voltage of Japan is 110V, 60HZ.

If you travel to China and wish to bring electric devices for use during your stay, a transformer, which can be bought in China for CNY100-200, is ... view more necessary. Most of the hotels in China have both 110V and 220V electrical outlets in the bathrooms, though in guest rooms usually only 220V sockets are available.

As the shape of a socket varies between countries, a portable plug adaptor may also be necessary. It can be purchased from travel stores or electronics stores in your local countries. Also you can buy it in China.

Mobile phone in China
Submitted by M17441
Enjoy GSM networks provide coverage in every major city. GSM 1800 and 900 networks cover a few biggest cities. CDMA network run by China Unicom is improving its coverage; it has signed agreements with 13 other mobile operators from North America, South America and the Asia-Pacific region, with networks covering 60 per cent of global CDMA subscribers. So roaming with a dual band or tri band handset or use of COSMOTE card alike will make your phone work in China.

It is possible to buy GSM SIM card in China. ... view more Shenzhouxing, issued by China Mobile and Ruyitong, issued by China Unicom are recommended for foreign travelers in China, since they require no Chinese resident document. A SIM card costs CNY100.00. Prepaid charging card in amount of CNY50.00 and CNY100.00 are available in post offices, stores and newsstands, are easy to use with bilingual prompt. If the balance of your card is in shortage, the system will ask you to deposit more money to your card when you make phone calls.

In China, operators charge both incoming and outgoing calls. A non-roaming subscriber of Shenzhouxing needs to pay CNY0.60/M for a local call, CNY0.60/M plus CNY0.07/6 seconds for a long distance call, CNY0.60/M plus CNY0.80/6 seconds for an international call and CNY0.60/M plus CNY0.20/6 seconds for a call to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Receiving an incoming call costs CNY0.60/M. A roaming subscriber within the country needs to pay CNY0.80/M for a local call, CNY0.80/M plus CNY0.07/6 seconds for a long distance call, CNY0.80/M plus CNY0.80/6 seconds for an international call and CNY0.80/M plus CNY0.20/6 seconds for a call to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Receiving an incoming call costs CNY0.80/M plus CNY0.80/6 seconds. Ruyitong's rate is a little bit lower.

Mobile phone rental service is hardly available in China at present.

Major Festivals in China
Submitted by M17441
In addition to the Spring Festival, Chinese people also celebrate the following festivals:

- Lantern Festival: This falls on the 15th of the first lunar month, an occasion for eating yuanxiao, or sweet dumplings made of glutinous rice flour, hanging lanterns, visiting lantern shows, performing the Dragon Lantern and Drum Dances.

- Pure Brightness Festival: This day falls around April 5 of the western calendar, and it is named after the fifth solar term of the Chinese calendar. Activities include excursions ... view more and sweeping.

-Dragon Boat Festival: Falling on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, this festival was set aside in memory of the great poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself over 2,000 years ago after the emperor refused to heed his remonstration. The main activity is Dragon Boat racing. in the countryside, people also carry incense pouches, get roped up, drink realgar wine and eat Zongzi (a pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves).

- Double-Ninth Festival: This festival is named because it falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. The main feature is chrysanthemum-admiring the flower and drinking chrysanthemum wine. A special cake is also served. in addition, many people go on excursions to lose themselves in nature.

Business hours in China
Submitted by M17441
The Chinese government stipulates a five-day workweek with no more than 8 hours a day and no more than 44 hours a week in the Labor Law of People's Republic of China.

The regular working time generally is from Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday off. The Chinese people usually work between 08:00 and 18:00 each day, with a lunch break from 12:00 to 14:00. However, local variations may occur due to the time difference or policy in different cities. For instance, the working day in Xinjiang usually ... view more starts from 09:00 or 10:00 due to its longitude.

The working hours of Chinese companies may be from 08:00 to 17:00, 08:30 to 17:30 or 09:00 to 18:00. The official organizations like the government offices usually work from 09:00 to 17:00 with a one-hour siesta, and they do not work on Saturdays and Sundays.

Hospitals, post offices, banks and tourist sights are always open daily from 08:30-09:30 to 16:00-18:00, but the hospital clinics and its first-aid center are usually served for 24 hours. Hotels also offer the round-the-clock service to any lodger. Shops, department stores and supermarkets are open every day from 08:30-09:30 to 21:30, including public holidays. Restaurants and bars are always open from around 10:00 to the late night, sometimes even into the small hours or for all night.

Besides the regular days off (Saturday and Sunday), Chinese people also enjoy the holidays of Spring Festival, Qing Ming Festival, May Day, Dragon Boat Day, Mid-Autumn Day, National Day, and New Year's Day. Take the Spring Festival for an example. According to the state regulations, Chinese people can take three days off, including the December 30th, January 1st and January 2nd of the Chinese lunar calendar. So, during this time, most sectors are closed. Only some service sectors, like banks, post offices, tourist companies and railway stations, are open.

When is the best time to visit China?
Submitted by M17441
China's geographic area is slightly larger than the U.S.A; it covers similar latitudes, with the lion's share located in the temperate zone. This provides endless year-round variety for visitors to the country, from ice festivals in the north to tropical beach resorts in the south. Keep in mind the vast distances between destinations when planning your trip. Traveling, along the popular Golden Route (Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Guilin) is the rough equivalent of visiting Chicago, Washington DC, ... view more Atlanta, and Miami, all in one trip. Weather wise, Shanghai and Guangzhou's climates resemble those of US southeastern coastal states, while Beijing's climate is more like Chicago's.

While China is a year-round destination, the months of May, September, and October are ideal months for travel anywhere in the country. In the north, the winters are cold, and summers are warm, with moist monsoon air streams making it hot (80% of China's rainfall occurs between late May and early October, mostly in the Southern regions). June through August is a good time to visit central and northern China. Spring and autumn are the best months for travel in Southern China. The months of March and April are the lower-priced shoulder season; while the lowest price, off-season travel, is from November through the winter months. This is when adventuresome travelers are rewarded with unbelievably low prices and far fewer fellow tourists.

Health and Safety
Submitted by M17441
Is it safe for foreigners traveling in China? - In general, China is one of the safest countries in the world for travelers. Most Chinese people are very friendly to foreigners and will go out of their way to help you. However, beware of pick-pockets. Watch your wallet and passport. The most common crime committed against foreigners is theft.

Are there any health requirements to travel to China? Do I need vaccinations to enter China? - Travelers are advised to check with their doctors before visiting China. A ... view more Health Declaration form will be required to be completed upon arrival. Generally, no immunizations are required for short-term travelers, but if you come from an epidemic area, you have to produce certificates of vaccination against certain infectious diseases, a health certificate or other relevant documents.

What to do in an emergency, such as: luggage loss, theft or damage? - China is a relatively safe country, though emergency happen sometimes. In the case of emergency or other disturbances, you should promptly call the police and similarly contact your guide for assistance.

Emergency Contact Phone Numbers:
- Theft: 110
- Fire: 119
- Traffic Accident: 122
- Ambulance: 120 or 999.
These numbers you can dial free of charge from any phone, including public IC card and coin phones. In the big cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai there are English speaking operators available for the above numbers.

General FAQ for China travel
Submitted by M17441
Health: No special shot is required for short-term travelers with the exception of those coming from or via an infected area. All visitors may be asked to complete a health form to indicate if they have symptoms of yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, or other communicable diseases.

Group Travel: The easiest way to get to China is by joining a group tour on a full package or a mini-package service. Your travel agent will be able to recommend many tour options. Most group tours include three meals daily, hotel ... view more accommodations, intercity transportation, visa service, sightseeing arrangements, porterage and English-speaking guides throughout the trip.

Independent Travel: FIT (foreign independent travel) programs to China are growing in popularity. We market modular FIT packages that offer most of the services of a group tour but without the group. FIT programs come in two types: the "fully inclusive" tour, with all the inclusions of a standard group tour, and the "mini-package", with key inclusions like hotels, certain meals, and a pre-determined sightseeing schedule.

Perior Arrangement: Tourists who want to visit China have three choices. First, they can contact travel agencies in China; second, they can go to Chinese travel agents abroad; third, they can go to foreign travel services that maintain business relations with Chinese travel companies. After reaching an agreement with a Chinese travel agency over details of the proposed trip, the next step is to apply for a visa at a Chinese embassy or consulate with the confirmation letter issued by the travel agency. Foreigners can only be admitted to China with valid visas. Individual tourists can apply for a visa with their round-trip ticket and hotel reservation sheet.

Drinking water in China
Submitted by M17441
Drinking Water in Hotels: Hotel rooms often feature a water dispenser which delivers both cool and hot potable water. However, some hotels have no water dispenser but are instead equipped with a water heater or thermos. You can use the water heater to boil water or use the water directly from the thermos. If the water in the thermos has run out, you can ask a waiter to refill it. In some cases, four- or five-star hotels may supply high-quality mineral water for free or for a minimal charge. The tap water in the ... view more hotels can be used to brush teeth.

Drinking Water in Restaurants: In most Chinese restaurants, water is served for free before the meal, although some will offer tea or noodle soup instead. Always, the drink offered has been boiled, and you can drink it without worry. Most restaurants also have bottled water or other beverages on their menu. However, you must pay for them and the price is higher than that found at the supermarket. Note that some of the restaurants may sell cold drinks, but without ice.

Drinking Water Outside: Although the tap water is not drinkable, you won't have to worry about finding water when you go out as it is quite easy to buy bottled water in shops everywhere in China. Foreign brands are available in the supermarkets of big cities, while in small cities or rural areas only local brands are sold. Several popular brands of bottled water, such as Wa Ha Ha, Nestle and Nongfu Spring, are available for purchase, while bottled tea and juice are also popular. Ordinary bottled mineral water and various beverages are commonly sold in many street shops, supermarkets, restaurants and hotel stores for about CNY2 per bottle.

Chinese visa
Submitted by M17441
People of non-Chinese nationality need a Chinese Visa to enter China. To successfully apply for a Chinese Visa, applicants should come in person or through a third party (e.g. Travel Agent or Tour Operator) to apply for the Chinese visa during office hours 9 -12 am in Chinese Embassy / Chinese Consulates-General in the country you live.

Usually, the processing time is about 5- 7 working days. Applications by Mail: It takes 2 weeks to process the application, so there is no same day or express day service. It is ... view more advised that your passport(s) should be sent by registered post for security and proof of posting needs to be kept. Please enclose a self-addressed envelope, the visa application form and payment (visa fee and service fee see item: visa fee).

You should send a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your application together with the appropriate fee.

Services of Chinese hotels
Submitted by M17441
Chinese hotels offer international standard services. In some big cities, the hotel can match any tourist hotels in New York, London, Paris or Sydney in services and facilities.

Take a typical three-star hotel, for example. Services offered by such a hotel will Include:
- All employees wear uniforms which tell the job and position of the employee
- All rooms offer room service meals around-the-clock
- All rooms are equipped with a bathroom with disinfected towels, soap, bath cream, shampoo, toilet paper, ... view more tooth brushes and razors
- All rooms are air-conditioned, complete with a color TV, telephone, refrigerator and a double curtain
- The bedroom consists of two single beds, a wardrobe, and a dressing table, with ceiling lamps, bedside lamps and a button for room service
- The restaurant can hold banquets and includes entertainment facilities such as a bar, ballroom and a karaoke nightclub
- Post, shops, sauna, commercial center and beauty parlor are also available
- Bellboys are available
- There are attendants for each floor and ushers and waitresses in the restaurant.

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