Frequently Asked Questions about Travel in China
- Do I need a Chinese visa? How do I get a visa for China?
- Do I need a visa to visit Hong Kong?
- Do I need any shots or immunizations to travel to China?
- When is the best time to visit China?
- What are the temperatures in the major cities of China?
- What should I pack for my trip to China?
- What is the electricity voltage in China? Is the electricity the same as in North America?
- What is the Chinese currency?
- Are there baggage limits on the flight to China?
- Can I drink the tap water in China?
- What is the tipping practice for visitors to China?
A visa is required for all Canadians, Americans and people of most other nationalities who travel to China. Access China Tours can help travelers to secure a Chinese visa for your trip abroad when you travel with us. Detailed instructions and a visa application form will be sent to you upon receipt of your tour deposit. You may also find some useful information about Chinese visa application on www.MyChinaVisa.ca. Here is a list of the Chinese Embassies and the Chinese Consulates in North America:
|Washington DC Embassy
2201 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Suite 110,Washington DC 20007, USA
|New York Consulate General
520 12th Ave.
New York, NY 10036, USA
|Chicago Consulate General
1 East Erie St. Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60611, USA
|San Francisco Consulate General
1450 Laguna St.
San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
|Los Angeles Consulate General
500 Shatto Place, 3rd floor
Los Angeles, CA 90020, USA
|Houston Consulate General
3417 Montrose Blvd
Houston, TX 77006, USA
Tel: 713-521-4598 and 9589
|Chinese Embassy in Ottawa
515 St. Patrick Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 5H3
|Chinese Consulate in Toronto
240 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5R 2P4
|Chinese Consulate in Vancouver
288-1338 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC, V6H 1H2
For Canadian and U.S. passport holders, a visa is not required for Hong Kong if your stay is less than 90 days under the tourist designation. For passport holders of other nationalities, please consult with your nearest PRC (People’s Republic of China) embassy or consulate.
China Visa Office in Hong Kong
7th Floor, Lower Block, China Resources Building
No. 26 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong SAR
Tel: 852 3413 2300
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Do I need any shots or immunizations to travel to China?
There are no particular immunizations that are required for entry into China unless the traveler is coming from a yellow fever infected area. The Canadian and U.S. disease control and prevention authorities recommend that all travelers have current polio and tetanus immunizations. For traveling into the countryside and remote areas, immune globulin is also recommended to combat hepatitis A, and typhoid fever immunizations are recommended. It is very important that you consult your own doctor or local clinic for more information. We advise that you bring along a supply of antibiotics, an anti-diarrhea agent and any other prescription drugs required by a medical condition.
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When is the best time to visit China?
China can be visited throughout the year because of the stretch of its territories, sites and activities it can offer. China is a huge country with many different climates and types of landscape. Think of it in terms of the United States, which China resembles in size and shape. Traveling along the Golden Route (Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guilin) is like visiting New York, Chicago, Santa Fe, and Jacksonville, Florida all in one trip. Deciding when to visit China depends on where you wish to visit, what type of weather you enjoy, and how much of a bargain you want.
April, May, September and October are the peak tourist months at China’s most popular destinations. The weather is also the most comfortable during these months. Prices typically drop a little from November through March and again from June through August. The winter months are peak season for trips to China’s Hainan Island and to the Northeast Harbin for its world-famous Ice-Lantern Festival. The winter months are also packed with New Year holidays, Chinese Spring Festival and other national or local fairs. The summer months are also a great time to explore China’s Far East-Manchuria.
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What is the temperature like in China?
Here is a chart with average temperatures in China throughout the year. The first row shows the average temperature in Celsius and the second row shows the average temperature in Fahrenheit.
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What should I pack for travel in China?
One good rule of thumb to follow is to pack lightly and bring casual clothes. A sturdy, comfortable pair of walking shoes is an absolute must. A sports coat worn with a nice shirt for men, and one or two dresses or pantsuits for women will suit the most formal occasions to be encountered in China. Travelers should bring shirts, sweaters and jackets that can be worn in layers to suit a range of climates. Shorts (for both men and women) are fine for summer days though not recommended when visiting religious shrines. Remember to dress for comfort, not for style.
Common Checklist for Traveling in China:
Electrical converter and adapter plugs. China’s electrical system operates at 220 volts.
- Hair dryer, razor, alarm clock.
- Common toiletries, cold and digestive medications, lip balm, sanitary napkins and any over-the-counter medicines you generally use. (Almost all toiletries can be readily bought everywhere in China now).
- Chewing gum, mints or throat lozenges to keep your mouth moist.
- Reading materials, including a guidebook on the places you will see.
- Sunscreen lotion and sunglasses.
- A light raincoat or an umbrella, except in winter months.
- Camera, batteries, memory cards and film. Be aware that while print film is available in most places, slide film may be difficult to find. Be sure to pack extra batteries.
- A notebook to keep track of all the exciting things happening on the trip.
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What is the electricity voltage in China? Is the electricity the same as in North America?
No, the electrical voltage in China is different. Electricity in China is at 220 Volts. You should pack an adapter if you decide to bring any type of electronics with you during the trip. Most Chinese electrical outlets use a two or three prong plug that does not fit with the North American type.
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What is the Chinese Currency?
The local currency in China is called the Renminbi (RMB) Yuan. In 2007 the Chinese Yuan gained value and has remained at a stable fixed rate since then. Please check for the most current exchange rate (xe.com is a very useful website) before you leave for your China trip.
As of January 2010, one US dollar is about 6.8 Yuan, while one Canadian dollar is about 6.5 Yuan. We recommend that you bring a credit card, ATM card (Cirrus is accepted by most Chinese ATMs), traveler’s cheques and a small amount of cash. Most hotels and shops in big cities accept major credit cards. You can change traveler’s cheques into local money at hotel exchange counters. The exchange rate is a bit higher than when converting from cash. Personal checks are not accepted anywhere.
In Hong Kong, the local currency is in HK dollars. As of January 2010, one US dollar is about 7.75 HK dollars, and one Canadian dollar is about 7.6 HK dollars. Once again, the exchange rate fluctuates and the information provided here is for your reference only.
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Are there baggage limits on the flight to China?
For domestic flights within China, you are allowed to check one piece of luggage. The limitation is 20 Kilograms (44 pounds) total. A fee may be imposed for extra pieces or excessive weight, up to 10 yuan ($1.50US) per kilogram (2.2 pounds). You can also take one carry-on plus a backpack or tote bag, all of which should fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat.
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Can I drink the tap water in China?
Although many locals in China do drink the tap water, we recommend that you drink only bottled water or boiled water. Bottled water is available everywhere. People typically use the tap water to brush their teeth as it is not swallowed.
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What is the tipping practice for visitors to China?
It is a common practice for visitors to tip the tour guide and driver in recognition of their good service. A hotel bellboy expects your tips as well. It is not customary to leave tips at hotels or local restaurants as the bill usually includes a 10-15% service charge. More detailed information about tipping practices in China is included in your Welcome Packet from Access China Tours.
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