Things to know before traveling to China
While exploring China can present its own set of challenges, the rewards are well worth it. The people in China are incredibly welcoming and the country’s rich history and breathtaking sights are truly unparalleled. A trip to China is sure to be an unforgettable experience. If you have any questions, we’re here to help. If you can’t find the information you need in our FAQ section, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team of travel experts is always available to provide you with the answers you’re looking for.
Do I need a visa to visit China?
Unless you come from one of the few visa-exempt countries (which are currently listed as; Singapore, Brunei, Japan, Qatar, and Armenia) you will need a tourist visa, known as the L Visa, to visit China. The L Visa allows visitors to stay in China for 30 days. It is also possible for citizens from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canadian, and Argentine to apply for a 10-year China tourist visa that allows for multiple entries. There are some exceptions to this rule, including direct transit passengers staying less than 24-hours and passport holders from 53 countries who can enjoy 72-hour or 144-hour visa-free transit at certain points of entry. Visitors traveling directly to special areas, like Hainan, can also enjoy visa-free travel.
What is the Chinese policy on Visa-Free Transit?
China makes allowances for visa-free transit for visitors from more than 50 countries. These include; France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States. Passport holders from these countries are granted a visa-free stay up to 72 hours while transiting via popular airports, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an, Guilin, and many more. Passengers from the same 53 countries can also visit Guangdong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Xi’an, Chongqing, Liaoning, Chengdu, Wuhan, Qingdao, Kunming, and Xiamen on a visa-free stay of up to 144 hours.
How do I get a Visa? What kind of visa should I get?
If you’re visiting China on holiday, you will most likely need to apply for a Chinese Tourist L Visa. We always recommend our travelers apply for a tourist visa at least 60 days prior to departure. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months on the return date of your trip. Please note that travelers are required to submit a Letter of Invitation with their visa application. IslamiChinaTravel will be happy to provide this letter after you have secured your reservation.
How accessible is the Internet in China?
The Internet is available all over China and Wi-Fi connections are quite common. China blocks access to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or anything related to Google (including your Gmail). One way around this is by purchasing a VPN, or a Virtual Private Network. A VPN disguises the computer’s IP address so it looks like you are connected from the US or Australia even if you are in China. Please make sure you purchase the VPN before getting to China. China blocks access to the VPN companies so you will be out of luck trying to purchase one if you are already in China.
What kinds of medications or medical supplies should I bring?
For your comfort and convenience during your trip, we recommend bringing along some medical supplies. These include antibacterial ointment (such as Neosporin), antihistamines, anti-nausea medication, decongestants (like Pseudoephedrine), anti-diarrheal medication (such as Loperamide), insect repellent with DEET, hydrocortisone cream for itching, pain-relievers like Ibuprofen, and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Be sure to pack enough of any prescription medications you may need for the duration of your trip, plus an extra week’s supply in a separate location just in case.
How much spending money should I bring, and what is the best way to carry it?
The cost of your journey covers most of your basic needs, but you’ll still need to budget for personal expenses and souvenirs. Be aware that pick-pocketing can be an issue in China, so it’s a good idea to keep your money and valuables secure and out of sight. Consider using a money belt to keep your passport and cash close to your body, even under your clothing.
Are there baggage limits while traveling by air within China?
When flying domestically in China, each passenger is permitted to check one piece of luggage weighing up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) and bring one carry-on bag with total dimensions not exceeding 45 inches. Be sure to secure your checked luggage with a lock (combination locks are recommended) and attach a luggage tag with your name and contact information. Luggage without a lock may not be accepted for transport, and you may need to purchase a lock at the airport. To prepare for the possibility of delayed or lost luggage, consider packing a change of clothes, underwear, and toiletries in your carry-on bag.
What power plugs/sockets are used in China?
The Electricity in mainland China is 220 Volts, 50 Hz which is twice the standard voltage than in North America and some Latin American countries running on 110V 60Hz. As the shapes of sockets and voltage vary among countries, a portable plug adaptor is usually necessary. Chargers of most electronic devices like cell phones, tablets, and cameras can function normally in the wide power voltage of 110~240V. Most hotels ranking above 3 stars in China provide electrical outlets of both 110V and 220V in the bathrooms, though in guest rooms usually only 220V sockets are available.
Do I need to carry passport with me while traveling in China?
It’s important to keep your passport with you at all times while traveling in China, as it is required by law. You’ll need to present your passport when checking into a hotel, boarding a flight, exchanging currency, or purchasing a train ticket. It’s also necessary if you want to receive a senior citizen discount at museums or other tourist attractions with admission fees. Additionally, some department stores may require you to show your passport when using a foreign credit card.
What is the state of restrooms in China?
While Western-style toilets are commonly found in large cities and hotels, public restrooms, train stations, and some airports may only have squat toilets available. It’s also important to note that toilet paper is not always provided in public restrooms, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.
How easy is it to change currencies upon arrival in China?
Exchanging currency in China is easy and can be done at international airports, large banks, and hotels. It’s best to bring enough cash with you as it may be difficult to withdraw American dollars once you arrive. Airport currency kiosks have poor exchange rates, so Chinese banks or 4-star and 5-star hotels are better options. Keep your exchange receipts as you’ll need them if you want to change Chinese currency back at the end of your trip.
Can I get cash using an ATM in China?
Yes. You can withdraw money from an ATM in China quickly and at a good rate. However, you may be charged a foreign exchange fee by the Chinese bank and a fee by your own bank. ATMs that accept foreign credit and debit cards are easy to find. Remember to know your PIN to get cash from your card.
Is tipping acceptable in China?
Tipping is not part of the local culture in restaurants, but it is suggested for guides and drivers at your discretion. IslamiChinaTravel will send you basic tipping guidelines and other useful pre-departure information about a month before your departure.