When travelling to China it is important that those who are visiting the Middle Kingdom have accustomed themselves with the below 10 tips recommended by China Holidays.
1. Obtaining a Chinese Visa
When travelling to China, it is required by law that all non-Chinese citizens require a Chinese visa in order to enter the country. For UK citizens travelling to China as a tourist, it is mandatory to receive an L Visa. One can apply for an L Visa at a Chinese Visa Centre in London, Manchester or Edinburgh; applicants can also apply for an L Visa via post. When applying for a Chinese visa, an applicant will need a passport with 6 months validity; a filled out visa application form (which you can require online from the official China Visa Centre website); a passport sized photo; a photocopy of your passport photo pages and a photocopy of your last Chinese visa (if applicable). A citizen of the UK, when applying for travel, can apply for a single entry or a multiple entry visa. Applicants can stay in China for a maximum of 30 days each time. For more information how to obtain Chinese Visa please check our dedicated site: http://www.chinese-visas.co.uk
2. Picking the best time to travel to China
Unlike the UK, China is a country that has extreme temperature differences depending on the season. Winter in China is extremely cold, with some northern areas reaches lows of -30 degrees Celsius; summer can reach extremely uncomfortable highs, for example in Hong Kong, to such degrees as 32 Degrees. The best time to travel to China is during spring and autumn, as the temperature during this period is extremely pleasant and has a nice cool feeling to it. The sky is usually much clearer during these periods too, giving China Holidays’ guests perfect photo opportunities. It is important however to avoid the first week in May and the first week in October, as these are national holidays in China and the country gets too busy to enjoy as a tourist.
3. Electricity in China
The electricity voltage in China is generally 220V. Therefore, adaptors are required to use your electrical appliances in China. The majority of hotels will sell adaptors for around 100-200 Yuan. Around the hotel, there are 220V and 110V electric sockets; however, in most hotel rooms the electric sockets are 220V.
4. Food in China
Although I personally adore Chinese food, it is not to every Westerners taste and sometimes meals in China can be quite trying and unpleasant. Chinese food in China does not really taste like that in the UK, so some tourists may be surprised. However, there is no need to worry. In most 4* hotels in the major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, there will be a western option for both breakfast and dinner. Throughout the majority of modern cities in China, there is also the option of fast food outlets, such as McDonalds, KFC and Subway. It must be noted though that in remoter areas, such as Tibet and Yunnan Province, there will be only a Chinese option most likely available.
5. Tipping in China
Although it is not mandatory to tip in China, we at China Holidays advise our clients each to tip around RMB30-40 for the driver and tour guide. A tip of RMB150 is a mandatory requirement on Cruise liners on the Yangtze River and will be collected on boarding the ship. In high end restaurants, a small tip would be polite and a sign of respect to the waiter. In smaller, more local restaurants, a tip is not expected ever and waiters will usually attempt to return a tip to you if you try to give them one.
Before travelling abroad, one should always check with their GP and see what they recommend. We at China Holidays recommend getting vaccinations for typhoid, hepatitis A, tetanus and polio. Make sure you check with your GP which areas are seen as malaria warning zones. Areas in south China such as Yunnan and Hainan Island are usually susceptible to malaria so please check with your GP before travelling. For high altitude areas such as Tibet, take some ginger biscuits to assist with altitude sickness.
The currency in China is called the Yuan or Kuai. One pound is roughly equal to 9.5/10 Yuan. You can change your money in the UK before you leave, or you can change your money at the airport on arrival into China. Furthermore, some higher end hotels have a currency exchange which does not charge commission. Our tour guides can also assist you in changing money at the bank.
China Holidays highly recommends not drinking tap water in China as it may be contaminated. Buy bottled water instead from your hotel or from a supermarket. When buying bottled water, please make sure that the cap and seal are unbroken as it may happen that the bottle has been refilled with tap water.
9. Toilet Facilities
Toilet facilities at major tourist sights and hotels are of a high standard. However, outside of these areas toilets are of an extremely low standard and are usually squat toilets with little privacy and cleanliness. Always remember to bring toilet roll with you when you leave your hotel.
10. Tea and coffee
One of the most important facilities for any Brit travelling abroad is the availability of tea and coffee. In most hotels, Chinese tea and coffee are provided. However, real English tea is difficult to come by so it is best for you to bring it yourself from the UK. Most hotels will provide a kettle in your room. If you do not have one, please ask at reception and they will provide you with one.