There are about 9 countries whose citizens do not need a visa to tour China’s mainland. Some are allowed to get an e-visa or visa on arrival while some have to get a visa before departure. Note that the visa requirements for Hong Kong and Macau need not be the same as those for China’s mainland.
No, citizens of the U.S. must have a visa in hand before departure. They are not allowed to get one on arrival.
You can expect the staff in luxury 4-star or 5-star hotels to speak English and in the bigger cities, maybe even the staff of 3-star hotels. If you need to enquire something or get something translated, you should contact the reception or guest relations team at your hotel.
As the hotel rooms in China are meant for two adults to stay in, a lone traveller must pay for the other person too. This charge is called single supplement.
Western cuisine is easily available throughout China, so you shouldn’t face any difficulty. If for religious or medical reasons you are on a restricted diet, you should inform your travel agent in advance so that they can make the necessary arrangements.
These are preset Chinese meals. You will share your table with 8-10 other travellers so that you can get to know each other better.
Almost all preset menu items are non vegetarian. If you take a private tour (as opposed to a group tour), we can customize the menu to some extent. If you are strictly vegetarian, we suggest that you don’t get meals included in your itinerary. You will then be free to eat at any restaurant of your choice, which your guide can help you find.
In a normal restaurant a proper meal will cost about 7 USD per person. This is the kind of meal you will get as part of your package. The cost of the meal will go up as per the fanciness of the restaurant. Normal restaurants don’t accept credit card; you will have to pay in the local currency.
No, you will be told in advance what it is that you are being served. When eating on your own, you can make inquiries.
In your hotel and bigger restaurants it will not be a problem at all as they understand that foreign tourists would not know how to use chopsticks. In small traditional restaurants cutlery may not be available, so you can carry your own disposable cutlery.
China has four seasons: spring (April to June), summer (June to September), autumn (September to October) and winter (October to March). China is a vast country, so different regions have different climate. Northeast China has hot and dry summers and very cold winters. North and central China has rainfall almost throughout the year and hot summers and cold winters. Southeast China has a good amount of rainfall, but milder temperatures: semi-tropical summers and cool winters. Some regions (central, southern and western)experience flooding and earthquakes. Fortunately, most important tourist cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chongqing, Wuhan, Guilin, and Guangzhou have similar weather and the best time to visit these is during spring or autumn.
Different Chinese cities are famous for different items. If you are in Beijing, you can buy beautiful cloisonne items and soft cashmere sweaters; if you visit Xian, you must buy some quintessentially Chinese terracotta soldiers and if possible, some rugs and antiques. Shanghai’s alluring jade stone, Hangzhou’s fresh water pearls, Suzhou’s silk and Guilin’s scroll paintings are other desirables.
Try to buy all items from the state-run shops and if you buy antiques, ensure that they have the seal of authenticity and are allowed to be carried abroad. Antiques predating 1795 are not allowed to be taken out of the country. Keep all receipts handy for inspection at the customs.