The Great Wall - Huairou - China
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CHINA

GENERAL INFORMATION

China stands as one of the world most populous country in the world at 1.37 billion people.  A country with an economy that ranks 2-3 in in the world with one of the longest recorded historical pasts of 4,600 years. China’s past of being the gate of trade to the west through the passage of the Silk Road and waterways has given rise to not just the diverse 56 ethnic groups.  Including varying religious influences from Buddhism, Hindu, Muslim and Judaism.  Known as the “Middle Kingdom” due to its location and advancement compared to that of its neighbors, has now opened up to the world to show treasures of natural wonders like the Li River, Tiger Leaping Gorge and manmade structures such as the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors are to name just a few.  Come see the ancient past, present and future converge.

HISTORY AND CULTURE

Mainland Territory: 9,388,210 sq. km
Population: 1.4 Billion (2019 est.)
National Capital: Beijing
International Calling Code: China: +86

The earliest recorded history of China dated back to about 1250 BC.   The Shang Dynasty was known to be the start of the continuous recorded history considered to be one of the cradles of civilization.  China’s imperial dynasty started from 221 BC (Qin Dynasty) -1912 BC (Qing Dynasty) in which implied the concept of the “son of heaven” hold their rule over the vast country.  By 1912 to With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations,  and is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization. As China’s transitioned from imperial rule it became a republic in 1912.  The Chinese Civil War occurred between 1927-1949 when under the leadership of Mao Zedong Communist party officially declared China to be The People’s Republic of China on 1 October 1949.  Til today China is ruled by a one party system, the communist party.

Topography

China topography varies greatly from highly mountainous regions to inhospitable desert zones and flat, fertile plains.  Starting from the Tibetan Plateau forms the highest part of the country (the first step). Known as the ‘roof of the world’, the Tibetan-Qinghai Plateau is more than 5,000 feet above sea level. The Himalayan mountain range has a number of peaks over 23,000 feet, with the tallest in the world, Mount Everest, at the Sino-Nepalese border, Melting snows from these peaks are the source of several of the main Chinese rivers including the Yangtze and the Yellow River which run from west to east.  Stepping down to the second zone is the Inner Mongolia and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau as well as the Tarim, Sichuan and Junggar basins. The Tarim Basin is the site of Xinjiang Autonomous Region where the largest desert in China, the Taklimakan, is located. The plains of the Yangtze River and of northern and eastern China are the country’s most populated areas and the agricultural center of the country.

Finally, the coastal zones, stretching from Vietnam to North Korea and bordering the South China, East China and Yellow Seas, join the Pacific Ocean.

 

Administrative Units

The administrative divisions of China are consisted of several levels. The constitution of China provides for three levels of government. Currently, however, there are five practical (de facto) levels of local government: the provincial (province, autonomous region, municipality, and special administrative region), prefecture, county, township, and village.  Since the 17th century, provincial boundaries in China have remained largely static. Major changes since then have been the reorganization of provinces in the northeast after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and the formation of autonomous regions, based on Soviet ethnic policies. The provinces serve an important cultural role in China, as people tend to identify with their native province.

 

Language

Standard Chinese (known in China as Putonghua), a form of Mandarin Chinese, is the official national spoken language for the mainland and serves as the language of trade and education within the Mandarin-speaking regions (and, to a lesser extent, across the other regions of mainland China). Several other autonomous regions have additional official languages. For example, Tibetan has official status within the Tibet Autonomous Region, and Mongolian has official status within Inner Mongolia. Language laws of China do not apply to either Hong Kong or Macau, which have different official languages (Cantonese, English and Portuguese) than the mainland.

 

Ethnic Groups

The China vast population has a mix of many ethnic groups due to the large region.  Predominantly the largest ethnic group is the Han Chinese in mainland China, where (as of 2010) some 91.51% of the population was classified as Han (~1.2 billion). Han is the name the Chinese have used for themselves since the Han Dynasty BC 202, whereas the name “Chinese” (used in the West) is of uncertain origin, but possibly derives ultimately from Sanskrit Cina-s “the Chinese,” which in turn perhaps comes from the Qin dynasty which preceded the Han dynasty. Besides the Han-Chinese majority of 92%, 55 other ethnic (minority) groups are categorized in present China, numbering approximately 105 million people (8%), mostly concentrated in the bordering northwest, north, northeast, south, and southwest but with some in central interior areas.

The major minority ethnic groups in China are Zhuang (16.9 million), Hui (10.5 million), Manchu (10.3 million), Uyghur (10 million), Miao (9.4 million), Yi (8.7 million), Tujia (8.3 million), Tibetan (6.2 million), Mongol (5.9 million), Dong (2.8 million), Buyei (2.8 million), Yao(2.7 million), Bai (1.9 million), Korean (1.8 million), Hani (1.6 million), Li (1.4 million), Kazakh (1.4 million), and Dai (1.2 million).(Wikipedia.org).

VISA

China visa have many categories.  Each has it’s particulars that are required to obtain a visa to enter China.  The below focus is the “L” visa which is a tourist visa to visit China.  Visas for China requires the traveler to have acquired in advance prior to arriving in China.  You can best acquire the visa through a travel agent who organizes your trip or direct contact with the Chinese Embassy near you. 

L Visa

  1. Passport

Original signed passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, and a copy of the passport’s data page and the photo page if it is separate.

  1. Visa Application Form (Form V.2013)and Photo

One completed Visa Application Form with a photo on glossy photo paper glued onto the form (your photo must meet the requirements).

  1. Proof of legal stay or residence status (applicable to non-U.S. citizens)

You must provide the original and photocopy of your valid certificates or visa of stay, residence, employment or student status, or other valid certificates of legal staying provided by the relevant authorities of the country where you are currently staying.

  1. Photocopy of previous Chinese passports or previous Chinese visas (applicable to foreign citizens who were Chinese citizens and have obtained foreign citizenship)

If you are applying for a Chinese visa for the first time, you should provide your previous Chinese passport held and a photocopy of its data page.

If you have obtained Chinese visas before and want to apply for a Chinese visa with a renewed foreign passport that does not contain any Chinese visa, you should present the photocopy of the previous passport’s data page and the photo page if it is separate, as well as the previous Chinese visa page. (If your name on the current passport differs from that on the previous one, you must provide an official document of name change.)

  1. If the applicant is a child born in the U. S. to a Chinese parent, the visa requirements are different.  Please click to see detailed info.
  2. Documents showing the itinerary including air ticket booking record (round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation, etc. or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China. The invitation letter should contain:
  3. Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
  4. Information on the planned visit (arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, etc.)
  5. Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual)

Visa fees
1.Please pay by Visa, MasterCard, Money Order, Cashier’s Check or Company Check. Cash or Personal checks are not acceptable at the Embassy.
2. Please make the company check, cashier’s check or money order payable to Chinese Embassy.
3.Fee list:

Number of Entry

American

Citizens of other countries*

Single Entry

$130

$30

Double Entry

$130

$45

Multiple Entry for 6 Months

$130

$60

Multiple Entry for 12 Months

$130

$90

Multiple Entry for 24 Months

$130

$90

  *Visa fees for Romanian passport holders are: $75 for single or double entry, $150 for multiple entry.

Visa Validity and Duration of Stay
Usually the validity of a Single Entry or Double Entry “L” visa is 90 days or 180 days from the date of issue. This means the holder of the visa shall enter China no later than 90 days or 180 days from the date of issue, otherwise the visa will be expired and is null and void. Normally the duration of stay of a “L” visa is 30 days, which means the holder of the visa may stay in China for up to 30 days from the date of entry. If your estimated stay in China is longer than 30 days, please make it clear in the application form and ask for the Visa Officer’s approval when you submit your application..

Additional Information
1.If the visa application form is not filled out completely, correctly and legibly, your visa application may be delayed or rejected.
2.Usually applicant submit his visa application one month earlier before his trip.
3.Visa Officers are empowered to make final decision on the validity,duration of stay and times of entry of a visa and may require the applicants provide relevant documents.
4.Any person suffering from a mental disorder, leprosy, AIDS, venereal diseases, contagious tuberculosis or other such infectious diseases shall not be permitted to enter China.

All regulations are subject to change without notice.

WEATHER & HOLIDAYS

Climate

China is a huge country, and has a great variety of climates. Winter is freezing cold in the north, in the mountains and the plateaus, while it’s mild in the south; summer is hot everywhere, except in the highlands and in the high mountains. If we exclude the vast western desert areas, where rainfall is scarce and irregular, summer is the rainiest season. The rainiest part of the country is the south-east, the least rainy the north-west. 

Temperature Charts of Representative Cities in Each Zone 

The following cities are representatives to let you know about the temperature percipitation in each part of China.

Northern China – Harbin (Cold-temperate Zone)

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

AVG TEMP (℃)

-19.4

-15.3

-4.8

6

14.3

20

23

21

14.4

5.6

-5.7

-15.6

Rainfall (mm)

8.2

5.6

10.2

18.0

40.2

84.6

143.8

121.1

58.6

31.3

10.8

6


Northeastern China – Beijing (Warm-temperature Zone)

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

AVG TEMP (℃)

-3.7

-0.7

5.8

14.2

19.9

24.4

26.2

24.8

20.0

13.1

4.6

-1.5

Rainfall (mm)

3.0

7.4

8.6

19.4

33.1

77.8

192.5

212.3

57.0

24.0

6.6

2.6

 

Central China – Xian (Temperature Zone)

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

AVG TEMP (℃)

-1

2.1

8.1

14

19

25

26.6

25.5

19.4

13.7

6.6

0.7

Rainfall (mm)

7

9.6

29

43.0

60.2

54.6

98.8

71.1

91.6

60.0

24.0

6

 

Eastern China – Shanghai (Subtropical Zone)

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

AVG TEMP (℃)

3.5

4.5

8.3

14

18.8

23.3

28

27.7

23.6

18

12.3

6.2

Rainfall (mm)

50.6

56.6

98.6

89.3

102.2

169.6

156.8

157.1

137.6

62.3

46.2

36.9

 

Southeastern China – Guangzhou (Subtropical Zone)

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

AVG TEMP (℃)

13.3

14.4

17.9

21.9

25.6

27

28

28

27

24

19.4

15.1

Rainfall (mm)

41.6

70.6

85.6

201.3

283.2

275.6

233.8

227.1

166.6

87.3

36.2

32.9

 

Southwestern China – Chengdu (Subtropical Zone)

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

AVG TEMP (℃)

5.5

7.5

12.1

17

20.9

23.7

25.6

25.1

21.2

16.8

11.9

7.3

Rainfall (mm)

5

10

20

45

80

110

235

245

120

40

15

5

 

Southern China – Haikou (Tropical Zone)

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

AVG TEMP (℃)

21.0

22.3

26.0

29.7

31.9

32.9

33.1

32.3

30.7

28.4

25.1

22.0

Rainfall (mm)

19.5

35.0

50.6

100.2

181.4

227.0

218.1

235.6

244.1

224.4

81.3

34.9

 

Tibetan Area – Lhasa (Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Temperate Zone)

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

AVG TEMP (℃)

-10.7

-7.7

-0.4

8.4

14.9

19.2

20.9

20

14.3

6.3

-2

-8.3

Rainfall (mm)

0.8

1.2

2.9

6.1

27.7

71.2

116.6

120.6

68.3

8.8

1.3

1.0

 

Holidays and Festivals

China Public Holiday Calendar  the dates will change from year to year based on the lunar calendar

Holiday Name

2019 Date

2019 Holiday

New Year’s Day

Jan. 1

Dec. 30 2018 – Jan. 1 2019

Chinese New Year

Feb. 5

Feb. 4 – 10

Qingming Festival

Apr. 5

Apr. 5 – 7

May Day

May 1

May 1

Dragon Boat Festival

Jun. 7

Jun. 7 – 9

Mid-Autumn Day

Sep. 13

Sep. 13 – 15

National Day

Oct. 1

Oct. 1 – 7

 

In addition to the above seven festivals, Chinese people celebrate four others on which some people have a half day off – Women’s Day, Youth Day, Children’s Day and Army Day.
 

Food

Chinese cuisine is an important part of Chinese culture, which includes cuisine originating from the diverse regions of China, as well as from Chinese people in other parts of the world.  Chinese main core food consists of rice, soy sauce, noodles, tea, and tofu, and utensils such as chopsticks and the wok, are recognized as Chinese worldwide.  Because of imperial expansion and trading, ingredients and cooking techniques from other cultures are integrated into Chinese cuisines over time.

The most praised “Four Major Cuisines” are Chuan, Lu, Yue and Huaiyang, representing West, North, South and East China cuisine correspondingly. The modern “Eight Cuisines” of China are Anhui (徽菜 Huīcài), Cantonese (粤菜; Yuècài), Fujian (闽菜; Mǐncài), Hunan (湘菜; Xiāngcài), Jiangsu (苏菜; Sūcài), Shandong (鲁菜; Lǔcài), Sichuan (川菜; Chuāncài), and Zhejiang (浙菜; Zhècài) cuisines.

Color, smell and taste are the three traditional aspects used to describe Chinese food, as well as the meaning, appearance and nutrition of the food. Cooking should be appraised with respect to the ingredients used, knifework, cooking time and seasoning.

Here are 5 foods you must try while you are traveling in China.

Noodles

 Noodles are an essential ingredient and staple in Chinese cuisine. From Sichuan Dandan Noodle to Lamian (hand-pulled noodles), and Chow Mein, there is a great variety of Chinese noodles. They vary according to their region of production, ingredients, shape or width, and manner of preparation.

Dumpling

Chinese dumpling, also called Jiaozi, is one of the most important and traditional dishes in China. In northern China, making dumplings is an important activity for most families on New Year’s Eve.

Common dumpling meat fillings include pork, mutton, beef, chicken, fish, and shrimp which are usually mixed with chopped vegetables. The dumplings are frequently boiled, although they may also be pan-fried (called Guotie).

Peking Roast Duck

Peking Roast Duck is a well-known duck dish in Beijing that has been considered one of the most delicious dishes all over the world. The dish originated in the Yuan Dynasty and now has become the cultural symbol of traditional Chinese food. Traditionally, the cooked duck will be sliced by the chef in front of the diners. The slicing of the meat from the carcass of the duck is an art in itself. A skilled chef is able to cut between 100 and 120 slices in four or five minutes, each slice with an equal portion of both skin and meat.

Dim Sum

Dim sum refers to a style of Cantonese food prepared as small portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Eating dim sum at a restaurant is usually known in Cantonese as going to “drink tea”, as tea is typically served with dim sum. These days, in many parts of Southern China, and in Hong Kong in particular, it’s become a weekly ritual family meal, generally taken on weekend mornings. When you travel to Canton or Hong Kong, don’t miss a chance to taste authentic Dim Sum in a local restaurant.

Hot pot

Beijing’s mutton hot pot is almost a signature dish in Northern China. Huge platters of thinly sliced frozen curls of mutton or lamb are the main attraction, accompanied by a sort of do-it-yourself dipping sauce that can include sesame paste, soy sauce, chili oil, fermented red bean curd and pickled flowering chives. Chongqing Hotpot is a super-spicy boiling broth. In some restaurants you could even choose the ingredients you like and add them to make your own broth. People locals love red soup broth which is full of red pepper and chili. The Cantonese-style hot pot is eaten without any complicated concoction of sauces, since the Cantonese prefer the original flavors of the food.

Internet

The Chinese government has enacted several pieces of legislation and projects designed to censor internet usage in China. More than 60 internet regulations have been created by the Chinese government, specifically to block people in China from using social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, to name a few. Four methods are currently available that may help you keep in touch with your friends or relatives during your travels in China until that is blocked too.

  1. (US) T-Mobile (or contact your mobile provider at home to see if they are able to provide coverage)
  2. VPN (Virtual Private Network)
  3. Pocket WiFi + VPN
  4. SIM card + VPN

Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following vaccinations for travelers to China:

Adult diphtheria and tetanus (ADT) Single booster recommended if you’ve not received one in the previous 10 years. Side effects include a sore arm and fever. An ADT vaccine that immunises against pertussis (whooping cough) is also available and may be recommended by your doctor.

Hepatitis A Provides almost 100% protection for up to a year; a booster after 12 months provides at least another 20 years’ protection. Mild side effects such as a headache and sore arm occur in 5% to 10% of people.

Hepatitis B Now considered routine for most travelers. Given as three shots over six months; a rapid schedule is also available. There is also a combined vaccination with hepatitis A. Side effects are mild and uncommon, usually a headache and sore arm. Lifetime protection results in 95% of people.

Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) Two doses of MMR is recommended unless you have had the diseases. Occasionally a rash and a flu-like illness can develop a week after receiving the vaccine. Many adults under 40 require a booster.

Typhoid Recommended unless your trip is less than a week. The vaccine offers around 70% protection, lasts for two to three years and comes as a single shot. Tablets are also available; however, the injection is usually recommended as it has fewer side effects. A sore arm and fever may occur. A vaccine combining hepatitis A and typhoid in a single shot is now available.

Varicella If you haven’t had chickenpox, discuss this vaccination with your doctor.

The following immunizations are recommended for travelers spending more than one month in the country or those at special risk:

Influenza A single shot lasts one year and is recommended for those over 65 years of age or with underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung disease.

Japanese B encephalitis A series of three injections with a booster after two years. Recommended if spending more than one month in rural areas in the summer months, or more than three months in the country.

Pneumonia A single injection with a booster after five years is recommended for all travelers over 65 years of age or with underlying medical conditions that compromise immunity, such as heart or lung disease, cancer or HIV.

Rabies Three injections in all. A booster after one year will then provide 10 years’ protection. Side effects are rare – occasionally a headache and sore arm.

Tuberculosis A complex issue. High-risk adult long-term travelers are usually recommended to have a TB skin test before and after travel, rather than vaccination. Only one vaccine is given in a lifetime. Children under five spending more than three months in China should be vaccinated.

Pregnant women and children should receive advice from a doctor who specializes in travel medicine.

Medical Checklist

Recommended items for a personal medical kit:

  • Antibacterial cream, eg mucipirocin
  • Antibiotics for diarrhoea, including norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin or azithromycin for bacterial diarrhoea; or tinidazole for giardia or amoebic dysentery
  • Antibiotics for skin infections, eg amoxicillin/clavulanate or cephalexin
  • Antifungal cream, eg clotrimazole
  • Antihistamine, eg cetrizine for daytime and promethazine for night-time
  • Anti-inflammatory, eg ibuprofen
  • Antiseptic, eg Betadine
  • Antispasmodic for stomach cramps, eg Buscopan
  • Decongestant, eg pseudoephedrine
  • Elastoplasts, bandages, gauze, thermometer (but not mercury)
  • Facemask N95 or N99 Anti Air Dust and Smoke Pollution Mask protection for poor air quality
  • Indigestion tablets, such as Quick-Eze or Mylanta
  • Insect repellent containing DEET
  • Iodine tablets to purify water (unless you’re pregnant or have a thyroid problem)
  • Laxative, eg coloxyl
  • Oral-rehydration solution (eg Gastrolyte) for diarrhoea, diarrhoea ‘stopper’ (eg loperamide) and antinausea medication (eg prochlorperazine)
  • Paracetamol
  • Permethrin to impregnate clothing and mosquito nets
  • Steroid cream for rashes, eg 1% to 2% hydrocortisone
  • Sunscreen
BRINGING MONEY

Currency, Banking, and Credit Cards

The renminbi (abbreviated RMB )is the official name for the Chinese currency.  The Yuan (abbreviated as CNY or this symbol ¥) is the basic unit of the renminbi, but is also used to refer to the Chinese currency generally.   By saying either name in China they will understand you are talking about money.

Banking

Banking in China may be difficult with regards to communication if you go to small banks that do not communicate much in English.  You will need to go to the bank if you require to change your travelers checks to cash.  Make sure when you buy your travelers checks to check if it can be used in China.  Some high-end hotels or luxury shops may accept them.    We would advise when you arrive in the first international airport in China to exchange your country’s currency to the local Yuan.  It is not easy to find money changers in China so it may be difficult if you don’t change enough money for a few days.  ALWAYS keep the official money changer receipt for the money you exchange as sometimes on departure if you want to exchange back to your country’s currency you will need to show the exchange receipt.  Here are a few major banks in China that have English speaking personel at the bank.

Bank of China: http://www.boc.cn/en/index.html (Service number: 95566)
Agriculture Bank of China: http://www.abchina.com/en/ (Service number: 95599)
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China: http://www.icbc.com.cn/ICBC/sy/ (Service number: 95588)
China Merchants Bank: http://english.cmbchina.com/ (Service number: 95555)

ATMs:

ATM’s are located countrywide.  If the symbols and logos of your credit card are shown on the ATMs, then it can be used to withdraw local currency. It should be noted that different banks have different limits on the sum that can be withdrawn each time from the ATM, with most permitting a withdrawal of 20,000 Yuan in a day.

Credit cards

Currently there are seven main foreign credit cards available in China, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club, JCB, Federal and Million. Credit cards can be used for withdrawing money, shopping and other transactions in most major cities of the country, but generally not accepted in rural areas. China for the most part is still a hard cash society so make sure you always have cash in hand.  Always make sure to let your home country credit card company know you are traveling to a foreign country from a specific date to a specific date so they don’t block the transaction and also when you return home if someone copied your credit card it would be flagged by your credit card company to block the charge.

Shopping

Shopping can be confusing with the language barrier so this is when your guide is most useful.  He or she can advise as to an estimated cost for an item you like to purchase so that you don’t get take in the over market.  In shopping centers and large cities the prices are tagged.  But do try your hand at bargaining as you travel to the rural areas.  Don’t buy everything in the first day or two. Each city has its own specialty. Some of the best buys are:

  • Beijing: cloisonné; fresh water pearls
  • Shanghai:silk carpets, qipaos
  • Hangzhou:Longjing tea, silk
  • Suzhou:silk
  • Guilin:scroll paintings, South China Sea pearls
  • Tibet:thangka (tanka: sheep skin wall hangings)
  • Xi’an:replicas of the Terracotta Warriors, Tang Dynasty hand painted china, antique furniture
  • Yunnan:mounted butterflies, Pu’er tea; Dali batik (tie-dyed fabric)
  • Xinjiang:carpets, jade articles (for which please see our warnings below), dried fruit
  • Guangzhou: wholesale markets for clothes, shoes, toys, electronic products and more.

Not all souvenirs can be bought all over China, e.g. panda goods are mainly only available in Chengdu where most of the pandas are.  So my suggestion is if you see something you like then get it right there don’t wait because not all things are sold everywhere in China. 

Electricity

220 volts, 50 Hz.   In China the power plugs and sockets are of type A, C and I. Check out the following pictures.

    • Type A: mainly used in North and Central America, China and Japan. This socket only works with plug A.
    • Type C: also known as the standard “Euro” plug. This socket also works with plug E and plug F.
    • Type I: mainly used in Australia, New Zealand, China, the South Pacific and Argentina. This socket only works with plug I.

 

 

DO'S & DON'TS

Local Etiquette 

Do’s

  1. Do address seniorityby the family name followed by an honorific title (family relationship or e.g. ‘teacher’: laoshi /laow-shrr/), or Mr. (xiansheng /sshyen-shnng/) or Ms. (nvshi /nyoo-shrr/). Your guide can help you.
  2. Do address the eldest or most senior person first. This is done as a sign of respect to those in a more senior position.
  3. Do use ‘Nin hao’ (/neen-haow/ ‘you good’) )when addressing older people. This a more polite and formal way of saying ‘ni hao’ (/nee haow/).
  4. Do take off your shoes when entering someone’s home. This is extremely important and should be remembered whenever entering a person’s home.
  5. Do bring a small gift with you. When meeting someone for the first time in a planned setting, make sure to bring a small gift with you as a token of friendship.
  6. Do be on time.. Punctuality is important in China as it shows respect for others. Always be on time for engagements or try to show up a little earlier. (10 minutes is culturally an acceptable degree of lateness.)
  7. Do keep calm.The bureaucracy and lack of directness can become frustrating. Remember to remain calm at all times in order to save face for everyone.
  8. Do feel free to lavish praise. China has culture based on the concept of mianzi (/myen-dzuh/ ‘face’). It is polite to lavish praise on both the person you are speaking to and on China itself.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t bow.Bowing is not a custom in China is not done when greeting people.
  2. Don’t offer a firm handshake. Handshakes in China tend to be softer, and a firm handshake could be misconstrued as a sign of aggression.
  3. Don’t interrupt or try to talk over senior people. Social ranking is taken seriously in China, and is quite often tied to the age of a person. You should let whoever is older or most senior lead the conversation and try to avoid talking over them
  4. Don’t react negatively when asked personal questionsregarding marital status, family, age, job or even income. This is done out of polite curiosity and serves as Chinese-style small talk.
  5. Don’t write things in red ink.It symbolizes protest or severe criticism and is very impolite.
  6. Don’t carry out public displays of affection.China is a reserved society and generally frowns upon excessive public displays of affection,. However, a hug with someone you know well is fine.
  7. Don’t get too touchy with others. Chinese tend to feel uncomfortable with a back slap, hug or arm around their shoulder, and they especially don’t like it from those they don’t know well. Save it for someone you have a good relationship with.
TRAVEL INSURANCE

Emergency Travel and health insurance is not included in our tour package. This is an important requirement when you travel with us for your safety and peace of mind in the unexpected event that you need urgent international standard care. You should buy travel insurance in your country as it will be more convenient for you to deal with any claims and adjustments upon your return home. AIG, Allianz, or John Hancock have good travel coverage and respond very quickly to emergencies. We do not endorse any one travel insurance company but suggest you consider www.travelguard.com, as past clients of ours have had good experiences with them in times of need. Also, check with your insurance provider to see if they cover:

  1. emergency evacuation during your travels, and
  2. emergency airlift to an international hospital or provide professional medical care to transport you home.  The cost alone for airlifting a person home can cost up to the 100’s of thousands of USD.  Travel more safely with fewer worries. 

 

PACKING LIST

A packing list is often a forgotten part of the planning processes, but it’s one of the most important steps to ensure an enjoyable vacation.  Here are some important reminders from our traveler’s experiences:  
 
Documentation 

  • Your passport should have at least 6-months validity from the date of departure on your trip. 
  • Check your visa requirement to your destination. Check the entry date on your visa and validity of the visa. 
  • When possible book e-tickets. If you happen to lose your ticket you can always print your ticket online. 
  • Always make extra copies of your passport and keep it separate from your original. 
  • Make a copy of your travel insurance and emergency contact information. It’s best to have those numbers to be entered in yours and your travel partner’s mobile phone.  It is a must for all travelers who travel with us to have medical treatment & evacuation insurance. We’ve seen too many nightmares when people try to save a few hundred dollars on insurance and end up with hundred of thousand of dollars in medical bills.
  • Call your credit card company to inform them of the dates of your trip so that your charge card won’t get blocked by your card company because of a foreign charge. This will also protect you in the event your card is stolen, and you have fraudulent charges on your account. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted as oppose to Amex. 
  • Make sure your tour operator knows of any allergies you may have. 

 
Electronics or gadgets 

  • Adapters for your gadgets
  • Make sure your electronics can take 220 volts as this is standard in most countries. 
  • Sometimes it’s a good investment to bring a backup mobile phone where you can use a local SIM card for calls. It’s much cheaper than using your regular mobile phone and paying for roaming calls. 
  • Don’t forget your charger for your electronics and check to see if they are compatible with 220 volts. 
  • Bring small pocket solar calculator to convert exchange rates. 

 
Clothing & Miscellaneous 

  • Know where you are traveling and the weather you should expect. Traveling to a tropical area you will expect to see mosquitoes, so bring some long sleeve shirts and long pants for evenings. 
  • Traveling to Asia it is frowned upon to wear shorts that are 6 in. above the knee, especially when visiting temples or places of worship. Wearing a dress is fine if you plan to dress light.  But again, when visiting temples please make sure dresses are no more than a few inches above the knee with a shirt or blouse covering your shoulder. Revealing shoulders are frowned upon.
  • Good walking shoes and socks
  • Slip-on shoes for ease of taking them on and off when visiting pagodas, houses, and other places where footwear in inappropriate.
  • Rain-resistant light jacket 
  • Head cover to protect from hot tropical weather 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Insect repellent with DEET 
  • Stomach medicine
  • Prescription medication 
  • A good book for those occasional flight delays
  • See above for health related items to bring
TIPPING

It is one of the most asked questions from travelers as you want to do the right thing but do not want to offend or under tip.  If you are traveling in a small party like 2 to 4 members, we suggest approximately US $10 per day per person as tips for your tour guide and US $5 per day per person for the driver as gratitude for their service. Actually, tipping is not a must but will be greatly appreciated. Since it is a personal matter, please do not feel uneasy about it. What or when you choose to tip depends entirely on how you rate a service but you are not under any obligation to do so. But we suggest you tipping those who have been especially kind and done extra service for you.  For the bellboys or waiters of high-level hotels and western restaurants, 5-30 RMB (1 – 5 US dollars) may be appropriated. If you are uncertain about how much to give, just to tip based on your bill. Generally, 10% – 15% of the bill is the most proper amount. For the tour guide and the driver, 10-70 RMB (1 – 10 US dollars) a day per person is adequate.

CANCELLATION POLICY

Before 45 days, no charge tours.
45 to 30 days prior arrival date: 5% of the total price
29 to 15 days prior arrival date: 10% of the total price
7 days to the day of arrival: 50%
3 days to the day of arrival: 100%