FAQ’s on Travel in China

Frequently Asked Questions about Travel in China


Do I need a Chinese Visa? How do I get a visa for 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
Tel: 202-337-1956
New York Consulate General
520 12th Ave.
New York, NY 10036, USA
Tel: 212-244-9392
Chicago Consulate General
1 East Erie St. Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Tel: 312-453-0210
San Francisco Consulate General
1450 Laguna St.
San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
Tel: 415-674-2900
Los Angeles Consulate General
500 Shatto Place, 3rd floor
Los Angeles, CA 90020, USA
Tel: 213-807-8006
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
CanadaTel: 613-789-3509
Chinese Consulate in Toronto
240 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5R 2P4
CanadaTel: 416-964-7260
Chinese Consulate in Vancouver
288-1338 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC, V6H 1H2
CanadaTel: 604-734-0704

Do I need a Visa to visit Hong Kong?

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.

We highly recommend that you protect your travel investment with

 

If you have any questions or would like to make a reservation, please give us a call at 1 (800) 788-1399, email us at info@accesschinatours.com or use our contact form.

Please view what is included in our tours, along with testimonials from previous ACT travel clients. Feel free to browse through our other luxury and adventure tours. If you don’t see exactly what you like, we are happy to arrange a private or custom tour for you.

To see pictures of China, see the map of China or the photo gallery. Thank you.

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If you have any questions about travel in China or Asia, we will find the answer. Feel free to respond with a comment or question below.

4 Responsesso far.

  1. Karin says:

    I am a vegan (I don’t eat meat, eggs, or seafood). Will you be able to accommodate my dietary needs? Is the cuisine of China largely meat/seafood-centered, or will I still be able to experience some of the local cuisine?

  2. ACT says:

    Thanks for your question Karin. Chinese cuisine has a wide and delicious variety of ingredients, many vegetarian, and some vegan. It is easy to find vegetarian cuisine cooked in vegetable based oils. Eggs are a common ingredient but can easily be avoided as can meat or seafood. Dairy products are almost never used in Chinese cooking. Our tours provide meals in quality restaurants throughout China and can cater to a variety of dietary restrictions such as vegan, vegetarian, kosher and halal.

  3. Mrs Johnson says:

    Hello- am completing Visa form 2011A for our Cruise to China, including a 2 night stay in Beijing. Our local Los Angeles office does NOT answer their telephone OR emails. We have questions on the form, please help:
    1.4 other names you have been known by: should I put my maiden name here? OR N/A
    1.5 name in ethnic script: is this our surname and given name? OR N/A
    2.2 intended number of entries: one entry valid for 3 months from application, OR two entries valid for 3-6 months from application? Our cruise includes consecutive stops to: Qingdao, Dalian and Xingang(Beijing), as well as a 2 night stay at a Beijing hotel (all consecutively).
    2.4 your longest intended stay among all entries of your intended visits in China: should I add ALL the days we will be visiting China (cruise plus hotel stay)?
    3.6 major family members: do I list my name on application again, plus my spouse who is traveling with me?
    Also, what would be cost for tour/particulars to Tiananmen square, Forbidden City and the Great Wall?
    PLEASE respond promptly so we may acquire our Visa in a timely manner. Thank you in advance for your help. The Johnsons

  4. cherry says:

    Dear Mrs. Johnson,

    Please find my answers below each of your questions:

    1.4 other names you have been known by: should I put my maiden name here? OR N/A
    - Put your maiden name here

    1.5 name in ethnic script: is this our surname and given name? OR N/A
    - N/A

    2.2 intended number of entries: one entry valid for 3 months from application, OR two entries valid for 3-6 months from application? Our cruise includes consecutive stops to: Qingdao, Dalian and Xingang(Beijing), as well as a 2 night stay at a Beijing hotel (all consecutively).
    - If your cruise does not stop in other cities of China, a single entry visa will be enough for Qingdao, Dalian, and Xingang (Beijing).

    2.4 your longest intended stay among all entries of your intended visits in China: should I add ALL the days we will be visiting China (cruise plus hotel stay)?
    - Yes.

    3.6 major family members: do I list my name on application again, plus my spouse who is traveling with me?
    - You can list your spouse only here.

    Also, what would be cost for tour/particulars to Tiananmen square, Forbidden City and the Great Wall?
    - Please call me at 1-800-788-1399 to discuss the arrangement of privately guided day tours and cost.

    Thank you very much.

    Cherry

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