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China Tours & China Holidays - FAQs 

General questions

Yangtze River Cruise

1. What are the differences between upstream and downstream Yangtze River cruises?

Usually downstream cruises will take less time than upstream but it is more expensive on some ships because of the higher demand from travellers - the Chinese believe that travelling with the flow of the river brings good luck! Some shore excursions may also be different because of the different schedules.

2. What is the difference between boarding the cruise in Yichang and in Wuhan ?

Actually the cruise between Yichang and Wuhan contains very few tourist attractions, since the Yangtze River becomes so broad in this section, you cannot see much at all. So, although some cruises may board from or end at these two different cities, we can assure you there will be little difference to what you see. China Holidays will offer you the one which suits your whole itinerary the best.

3. Do the schedules for the Yangtze River cruises change?

Yangtze River cruise operators reserve the right to cancel or change the sailing schedules of any ship without notice. This might happen when booked passengers do not reach the numbers required by the operator on a particular sailing. China Holidays makes reservations in good faith but cannot guarantee bookings. Should there be a change of ship or sailing schedule, we will try our best to ensure the least impact on your itinerary, we will always do all in our power to ensure that alternative satisfactory arrangements are offered.

4. What is the best time to cruise the Yangtze River?

The best seasons to take a Yangtze River cruise are spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is cool and comfortable. These four months are often called high seasons. Otherwise, the best time is in winter in terms of price. The prices are the lowest for the winter cruises and the highest in high season.

5. When should I book our cruise?

We recommend that you book as early as possible to avoid disappointment. The Yangtze Cruise trip is very popular and ships fill quickly, especially in peak travelling seasons.

Travelling in China

1. Can hotel staff understand English?

On all the hotels we use in our tours, the receptionists at the front desk can speak good English, and most of the other staff (room service, restaurant servants, etc) can speak some English. The situation is the same in other star-rated international hotels in China.
If you need help, you can go and ask the receptionists at the front desk, who will be happy to be at your service, or if necessary, you can always find our tour guide (whose mobile number should be given to you upon your arrival) or our company’s emergency contact person for help.

2. How about taxis in China?

Taxis are easy to find in most Chinese cities, and there are always some outside the hotel you are staying. Taxi fares may vary from city to city but they are supposed to be marked on the taxi window, and the taxi drivers are supposed to use a meter when you get in. Most taxi drivers do not understand English, it is better for you to have your destinations written down in Chinese so that you can show the address to the taxi driver, you can get this from the hotel reception, and don't forget to ask for a receipt or remember the number of the taxi in case you leave something behind.

3. Is tipping allowed in China?

Yes, tipping for tour guides and drivers in recognition of their good service has become common practice. Hotel bellboys and house keepers expect your tips as well. However, it is not customary to leave tips at local restaurants.

4. Can I use my credit cards in China?

In Friendship Shops and most big department stores in big cities, credit cards are accepted, but not in small towns and small shops.

5. What about the food you provide during the tour in China?

In most cases unless specially requested, you will have western buffet breakfasts in the hotel, lunch and dinner will be arranged by us in local Chinese restaurants which are all approved by the national tourism administration or local tourism bureau and therefore are reliable in terms of hygiene and quality. We can certainly arrange western food for you if requested in advance, but there are often extra charges.

6. Is the water safe to drink?

Boiled or bottled water is recommended at all times.

Travelling in Tibet

1. Can I travel to Tibet by myself without being organized by a travel agent?

No. According to Chinese government regulations, individual travel without being organized by an authorized tour operator to Tibet is not allowed. Technically, you cannot travel to Tibet without a Travel Permit, and a Travel Permit can only be issued to you when applied for by an authorized tour operator who arranges your tour to Tibet. You can either travel there by yourself but with everything being arranged by a tour operator and escorted by a tour guide, or you can join a group which is organized by an authorized Chinese tour operator, we can find you such a group for you.

2. How do I apply for a Travel Permit to Tibet?

Travel permits are issued by the Tibet Tourism Administration. Applications can only be made by tour operators or other authorized organizations. The application requires a copy of passport and Chinese visa, together with other information such as your occupation. Journalists and people that could be involved in the media and political matters may be refused a permit. Multi-entry travel Permits are not available. Our travel advisors can give you guidance.

3. When will I get my Tibet Permit?

Your Tibet Permit will be issued by the Tibet Tourism Administration after our local Tibet agent presents the Permit application with the necessary documents. Our agent in Tibet will fax the permit to our office or to our agent's office depending where you are at the time. Your local tour guide will give you the Tibet permit before you board the plane or train to Tibet. The permit must be presented when you arrive in Tibet. After your arrival in Tibet, you will not need the permit any more, the guide will collect the permit from you and he/she will return the permit to the Tibet Tourism Administration.

4. When is the best time to visit Tibet?

The best time to travel to Tibet is between May and October. The weather during other months is cold and changeable, so travel there is not recommended although is not impossible. The difficulty created by this short season is that tourist spots are very crowded and hotels and guides are all busy so need a lot of time in advance to book..

5. Will I have High Altitude Sickness?

Almost every tourist entering Tibet experiences high altitude sickness. For some the effect is strong, while for others it is just a little. The reaction may vary from person to person. We recommend you consult your doctor before you book your Tibet tour.

6. How long it will take to travel to Lhasa by train?

Beijing West Station - Lhasa: around 48 hours
Xining (capital city of Qinghai Province) - Lhasa: about 27 hours
Lanzhou (capital city of Gansu province) - Lhasa: 30 hours
Chongqing - Lhasa: 47 hours
Chengdu - Lhasa: 50 hours

Travelling Preparations

1. Do I need a Visa to travel to China?

All visitors travelling to mainland China, whether for business or leisure, require a Visa. No Visa is required prior to enter Hong Kong; a Visa can be issued upon arrival.

2. How do I obtain a Chinese Visa?

China Holidays (UK) Ltd recommends that you obtain your visa before leaving the country where you live. The costs and the length of time to process a visa vary from country to country. Please check the website for the Chinese Embassy in your country to find the information applicable to you. Application forms can usually be downloaded from the website.

3. What do I need to submit along with my Application Form?

Valid Passport
One passport size photograph
Related forms / letters dependant on visa type required
Travel Itinerary provided by your agent

4. How do I obtain a visa to China in Hong Kong?

You may obtain your visa by yourself from Visa Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China; it is open from Monday to Friday. Usually you can get the visa within one working day. Fast track is available at a cost.
Their address (please call them before you go to the office):
5th Floor, Lower Block, 26 Harbor Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: ++850-25851657 OR ++850-25851680 OR ++850-25851794

5. Is travel insurance necessary?

Yes. We require all our clients purchase travel insurance before travelling to China.

6. What health conditions do I need to fulfil to travel to China? Do I need to bring my medical records? 

There are no special health requirements for travel to China. However, those with medical problems are advised to consult their doctor before travelling to China. Travel to high-altitude areas such as Tibet is not suitable for those with pulmonary or heart problems and hypertension.

All travellers are encouraged to bring along their medical records, which will be of great help should an emergency occur.

7. When is best to go?

April, May, September and October are the most clement periods to travel. However, they are also the peak seasons for tourists. Other months are quieter. The weather is hot in mid-summer and dry and cold in winter. Nevertheless, you can enjoy a beach tour in summer and an ice tour in winter.

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