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CHINA TRAVEL TIPS

Time Zone

China operates on GMT + 8 hours. Despite its size, every place in China falls under one time zone.

Language

The official language in Mainland China is Mandarin Chinese. In Hong Kong, Cantonese is spoken.

English Mandarin

Good morning

Zao An

Good evening

Wan An

Goodbye

Zai Jian

I'm fine

Wo Hao

Excuse me

Bu Hao Yi Xi

Thank you

Xie Xie

Please

Qing

Yes

Shi

No

Bu Shi

Toilet

Xi Shou Jian

Water

Shui

How much?

Duo Shao Qian

That's expensive!

Ti Gwei Le!

   
   

Currency

Chinese Yuan (CNY) are used in China.

Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) are used in Hong Kong.

Money Matters

ATMs

China: ATMs can be found in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing, but you probably won't be able to find one in remote areas or the smaller towns. Most of the ATMs are for local bank cards. There are limited ATMs available for foreign bank cards or Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards; and these ATMs are usually located in the downtown center and near or inside the international brand hotels.

Hong Kong: ATMs are easily accessible, and can also be found in subway stations.  Global Access, Plus network, Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards are available at ATMs.

Credit Cards

China: major brands such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express are accepted in most of hotels and some of the restaurants and shops in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Hong Kong: major brands such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express are accepted in almost all of the hotels, restaurants and shops.

Tipping

Tipping is a very personal matter and should only be considered when our staff have gone above and beyond for you.

Weather

For full details on climate, please see Best Time to Go.

Clothing

When in China, dress for comfort and with consideration for the local population's penchant for modesty. If dining in fine restaurants of international hotels, smart casuals or jacket and tie is appropriate.

Pack lightweight, dry cottons for summer, and prepare for weather extremes in spring and autumn. Layers are a good idea, as is a light raincoat. Warm night clothes are strongly recommended in Tibet.

China entails a great deal of walking so sensible, comfortable footwear is essential. All hotels offer same day laundry service. Self-service type facilities are uncommon.

Health

It is important that you check with a qualified health professional for the most current information concerning your travel itinerary and personal health history.

China is a safe place to travel, however we advise you to only consume bottled or boiled water.  Do not drink tap water.  Please use bottled water for tooth brushing too.  You should avoid possibly contaminated food, particularly seafood, unwashed vegetables and fruits that are already peeled when they are served. 

There is no requirement for vaccinations when travelling to China (except for Yellow Fever if you are arriving from an infected area).

It is also suggested that you bring a smaller traveler’s kit with remedies for minor stomach ailments or motion sickness. You should include an adequate supply (in your hand luggage) of any prescribed medication you may require while traveling.   If you are travelling to Tibet or any destination of high elevation, we also recommend you to bring along any high attitude illness medication and consult your physician beforehand.

We do recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover you in the event of a medical emergency.

Electricity

The electric current in China is 220 Volts/50 Cycles. 

If purchasing an adapter make sure it has different plug sizes as they vary from city to city in China. Most hotels bathrooms have a 110 volts flat pin (US style) outlet for electric shavers.

Arrival and Departure Formalities

This is a guide only - please check with your nearest China Embassy to ensure you meet the correct requirements. 

All visitors are required to carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. There should be sufficient blank pages for entry stamps upon arrival. A valid Chinese visa is required to enter China. Meanwhile Hong Kong is visa-free for most nationals.

Local Food

China has many distinct regional styles of cooking:

Sichuan/ Hunan: Noted for piquant, zesty dishes. Chili peppers and garlic are two staple ingredients flavouring most dishes.

Huai/Hai/Hu: The Yangzi River Valley's close proximity to the East China Sea enhances its reputation as China's most important area for seafood. Sweet saucy dishes are the most distinctive feature of Hu cooking. Dumplings are considered a specialty.

North China: Peking (Beijing) Duck is perhaps the most well known dish distinctive of the north.

Local Handicrafts

China offers a wide variety of goods for shoppers. Items can be purchased in department stores and government friendship stores, or at the free shops and markets. Textiles, precious stones, embroidery and minority handicrafts are among the most typical souvenirs.

 

Other Notes

Taxis are available in all major Chinese cities. Passengers can hire taxis at hotels, train stations and airports. There are also often taxis for hire at major Friendship Stores. Unless otherwise specified, taxis should be metred in all major cities Taxis are relatively inexpensive and drivers courteous. It is advisable to have your guide or the hotel concierge write out the destination (in Chinese and English) and any other instructions you may have for the driver.

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