China Travellers Guide

Prepare yourself to experience another world

Passport

Make sure that your passport is not due to expire in the next 6 months. Keep a photocopy of your passport with you, in a separate place from the document itself.

Visa

Valid Visa for entering China (generally you won’t need a visa if you’re travelling to Hong Kong from China, but it’s best to check with the Chinese Embassy. If you enter China from Hong Kong, you will need to prepare a visa in advance. Make sure that if you go out from China to Hong Kong and then come back, you need multiply entrance visa).

Health insurance

Always keep copy of your health insurance at home as well as in your travelling documents.

Medication

If you are taking any medication, make sure you carry doctor approval documents or your prescription with you.

If you are taking any medication, make sure you carry doctor approval documents or your prescription with you.

The local Chinese currency called Yuan or RMB it can be written as 1¥ or 1RMB.

On all the notes from 1-100 you will see the face of Mao Zedong.

There are notes under 1¥ (called Jiao), and depict minorities.

When shopping, always check that you have received the correct change.
£1= 9.7¥ (according to November 2013 rate). Please check the rate at time of departure.

Airport

While exchanging money you will have to pay between 50¥- 60¥ commission. The rate may vary between airports, but this is not recommended.

Change

There are some exchange offices in city centers, but you will also have to pay commission.

Bank

Banks will give you the best exchange rate with no commission, but you will need to have your passport with you.

Hotels

The most recommended and convenient place to change money, the rate is the same as in the bank, and they will not charge commission.

*We strongly advise against exchanging money on the high street, or in markets.

Retailers will not accept old or damaged notes. Make sure you check that your money is in good condition before leaving the counter.

When traveling in the adventure tours as the Himalaya or Silk Road, on some of this places they will change Dollars only. Make sure that the Dollars notes are printed after 2003.
You can use credit cards but it is recommended only for emergencies.

ATM Machines

There are many ATM machines all over China especially in the big cities. Many hotels also have ATM’s, and we recommend withdrawing cash where possible. ATM’s will give you the option to select English as your preferred language. You will only be able to withdraw Chinese currency. Some cards are not accepted. Please check with your bank if there are any fees incurred when withdrawing money abroad.

You can generally make calls from your hotel room. Calling UK you have to dial +44 (taking out the first 0 from the area code), followed by the phone number.

The cost is usually around 10¥ (about £1) per minute + 15% service charge.
IC cards are also available; you can buy them at some of the hotel’s receptions or in newspaper booths. If you use them in the hotel room, check with the hotel reception in advance if they charge you 15% service charge.

We recommend taking your mobile phone with you in case of emergency. It is best to inform your mobile provider that you will be using your phone abroad. Making and receiving mobile phone calls can be expensive.

The electricity in China provides 220 volt. In most of the hotels in China’s mainland you will find sockets as presented in the middle picture below. You can purchase adaptors in hardware stores or in the duty-free (see picture below on the right).
*HK uses plug like in the UK (see image below).
*Some adventure areas such Himalayas or the Silk Road very often have limited supplies of electricity.

Some of the hotels have Wi-Fi in the Lobby area, in some of the hotels you have cable internet (suitable for laptops). Sometimes it is free of charge and sometimes it is charged hourly or daily.

Most hotels will have a Business Center where you will be able to use the internet, but make sure you check the price before using this service. In mainland China, there are also plenty of internet cafés.

In some remote areas, like the Himalayas, or on the Silk Road, internet connection is not always available.

China has recently forbidden smoking in restaurants and most public areas, but it is not always enforced. Hotels have dedicated non-smoking rooms, but it is possible that you may smell smoke from previous occupier
Although China covers several time zones, they use the same time zone all over the country. China’s time zone is 8 hours ahead of London (GMT+08:00)
Toilet papers is rarely available in public toilets. Make sure you carry your own supplies. Most of the public toilets still looks like the picture on the left, on the adventure trails, such as in the Himalayas, Tibet or on the Silk Road.

It’s recommended that you carry your own hand sanitizer.

Do not flush the toilet paper down the toilet, the plumbing in china cannot handle it.

Generally China is not a dangerous destination for Western travelers. As in most major cities, the most popular crime against travelers is pickpocketing, especially in crowded areas.

While you are travelling, you will often come across very large crowds, therefore always keep your hotel card safe on your person. If you are travelling with children, make sure that you give them your telephone number and the hotel details in English and Chinese. Tell your children to find the nearest shop or office for help.

Taxis

If you use taxis, it’s recommended that you pay in small change. Sometimes taxi drivers try to give you the wrong change, or, even worse, fake money.

Traffic lights

Are not always respected therefore always cross the road with extra care, (don’t claim your rights while crossing).

Vaccines

It is recommended to see the doctor 4-6 weeks before travelling for updating vaccines such as Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Some areas will also require Typhoid or Japanese encephalitis. It is recommended to consult with your doctor before you travel.

Air Quality Concern

When you advised by your guide about the bad air quality it is recommended to wear surgical face masks.

Hospitals

In case you need physician intervention you can get help from you tour guide, or hotel staff with translation while making an appointment. Be prepared to pay cash in advance and claim your insurance afterwards, unless your travel insurance specifically states otherwise.