CHINA

CHINA

CHINA

SELECT YOUR NATIONALITY

– No current scheduled consular closures.
CONSULAR CLOSURES
TBC.
TOP ATTRACTIONS
PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: The Great Wall of China
Location: China
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe with an eye to expansion. Several walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC; these were later joined together and made bigger by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Later on, many successive dynasties have repaired, maintained, and newly built multiple stretches of border walls. The most well-known of the walls were built during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

Apart from defense, other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Today, the Great Wall is generally recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_China
Name: Terracotta Army
Location: Shaanxi, China
The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife.

The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong County, outside Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits near Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.

The Terracotta Army is part of a much larger necropolis. Ground-penetrating radar and core sampling have measured the area to be approximately 98 square kilometers.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terracotta_Army
Name: Forbidden City
Location: Beijing, China
The Forbidden City is a palace complex in central Beijing, China. The former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty (the years 1420 to 1912), it now houses the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government for almost 500 years.

Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares. The palace exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Since 2012, the Forbidden City has seen an average of 15 million visitors annually.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbidden_City
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN CHINA / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO CHINA.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Standard Mandarin / Chinese
Currency: China Yuan / Renminbi (CNY)
Time zone: CST (China Standard Time) (UTC+8)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +86
Local / up-to-date weather in Beijing (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for China travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to China, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO CHINA.

The official currency of the People’s Republic of China is the Chinese yuan, known as the renminbi (人民币 rénmínbì, “People’s Money”), denoted by the symbol ¥, international currency code CNY. All prices in China are given in yuan; the Chinese character is 元 (yuán), or in financial contexts (e.g. cheques and banknotes) 圆. A price may be shown as, for example, 20 元, 20 rmb, RMB 20, 20 yuan or ¥20; we use the latter form here. In informal spoken Chinese and sometimes in spoken English, 块 (kuài) may be used instead, much as “buck” can be used in the U.S. or “quid” in the UK. Some Chinese software will display a bigger “full width” character (¥) to differentiate it from the Japanese yen, which uses the same symbol.

The Chinese yuan is not legal tender in the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, which issue their own currencies. However many businesses will also accept Chinese currency, albeit at an unfavorable exchange rate

The official subdivisions of the yuan are the jiǎo (角), at 10 jiao to the yuan, and the fēn (分) at 10 fen to the jiao. A coin worth ¥0.10 will thus say 壹角 (“1 jiǎo”), not “10 fēn”, on it, and a price like ¥3.7 would thus be read as “3 kuài 7”. That said, the fēn is in practice extinct nowadays and the jiǎo is rapidly heading the same way, although you will get the odd 1 or 5 jiao coin or note as change. In spoken Mandarin, the jiǎo is usually called the máo (毛).

In spoken language, the trailing unit may be dropped. For example wǔ bǎi sān, literally “five hundred three”, means 530 or “five hundred three tens”. The number 503 would be read as wǔ bǎi líng sān, literally “five hundred zero three”. Similarly yì qiān bā, literally “one thousand eight”, means 1800. When using larger numbers, Chinese has a word for ten thousand, wàn (万), and thus for example 50,000 becomes wǔ wàn, not wǔ shí qiān.

A lot of Chinese currency will be in the form of bills — even small change. Bills are more common in some areas, coins in others, but both are accepted anywhere. Even the jiao, at just one tenth of a yuan, exists as both a bill (the smallest) and two different coins. Conversely, one yuan exists both as a coin and as two different bills. You should be prepared to recognize and handle either version.

Due to the popularity of mobile payments, an increasing number of shops in urban areas do not accept cash or credit cards, and even those that accept cash will often not have any change available.

ATM cards:

For short-term travellers, many ATMs will only accept Chinese bank cards. ATMs from three of the big four banks are likely to accept foreign (Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Diners) cards: Bank of China (BOC), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and China Construction Bank (CCB). Although ATMs from other banks are plentiful, state they accept VISA/MasterCard/Cirrus and have an English option, they are not likely to work with an international credit/debit card unless the ATM operator is a foreign big-name bank (HSBC, Citibank, Bank of East Asia).

Before travelling, find out if your home bank charges a currency conversion fee (often between 0-3%) on such transactions. It is worth opening a zero conversion fee account beforehand if possible. Otherwise it would be better to open a local account on arrival to store money in if staying for a sufficiently long time.

If you have trouble because the ATM requires a 6-digit PIN and your PIN only has four digits, try adding two zeros before it. If you find yourself in a town with a Bank of China branch but no international network-capable ATM, it is usually possible to get a cash advance on a credit card inside the bank for a 3% fee. Just ask.

UnionPay, the local ATM card network, has made agreements with various ATM card networks around the globe. If your card is covered, any ATM in China will accept withdrawals and balance inquiries from your card. While UnionPay ATM and/or debit cards are now issued by banks in a number of countries, ATM cards linked to NYCE and Pulse in America (also applies to cash advances from Discover cards), Interac in Canada, and LINK in the UK are covered.

If your bank is part of the Global ATM Alliance, China Construction Bank is the local partner for fee-free withdrawals.

BY PLANE:

China is a huge country so, unless you’re not planning on venturing outside the eastern seaboard, definitely consider domestic flights. China has many domestic flights connecting all the major cities and tourist destinations. Airlines include the three state-owned international carriers: Air China, China Southern, and China Eastern, as well as regional ones including Hainan Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Shanghai Airlines.

Flights between Hong Kong or Macau and mainland Chinese cities are considered to be international flights and so can be quite expensive. Hence if arriving in, or departing from, Hong Kong or Macau, it is usually much cheaper to fly to or from Shenzhen or Zhuhai, just across the border, or Guangzhou, which is a little further afield but offers flights to more destinations.

Prices for domestic flights are set at standard rates, but discounts are common, especially on the busier routes. Most good hotels, and many hostels, will have a travel ticket service and may be able to save you 15-70% off the price of tickets. Travel agencies and booking offices are plentiful in all Chinese cities and offer similar discounts. Even before considering discounts, travelling by aircraft in China is not expensive.

For travel within China, it is usually best to buy tickets in China, or on Chinese websites (these often have English versions). A useful app/website is CTrip, which is the only way you can use an international credit/debit card on the fly to buy train/plane tickets. If you buy your ticket from a Chinese vendor they will contact you to let you know about changes to your flight. If you purchased your ticket overseas, be certain to check on the flight status a day or two before you plan to fly. Booking too far in advance on Chinese websites is not advisable as prices tend to remain high until two months before the flight date, at which point large discounts are usually seen unless a particular flight has been heavily booked far in advance.

Matches and lighters are not permitted on flights in China, even in carry-on luggage. Pocketknives must be placed in checked luggage.

Be prepared for unexplained flight delays as these are common despite pressure from both the government and consumers. For short distances, consider other, seemingly slower options. Flight cancellations are also not uncommon. If you buy your ticket from a Chinese vendor they will likely try to contact you (if you left contact information) to let you know about the change in flight plan. If you purchased your ticket overseas, be certain to check on the flight status a day or two before you plan to fly.

Also be sure not to lose your checked baggage receipts, as they will be checked against your baggage tags before you are allowed to leave the baggage claim hall.

BY TRAIN:

Train travel is the main method of long-distance transportation for the Chinese, with an extensive network of routes covering most of the country. Roughly a quarter of the world’s total rail traffic is in China.

China now has the world’s largest network of high-speed railways (similar to French TGV or Japanese Shinkansen bullet trains) called CRH. If your route and budget allow then these may be the best way to get around. CRH trains are top-notch, even internationally, in terms of equipment and cleanliness.

On most higher-level trains recorded announcements are made in Chinese, English. Local trains will have no announcements in English, so knowing when to get off can be harder. Be careful with your valuables while on the train; theft on public transportation has risen. Motion sickness pills and ear plugs are recommended.

Long distance trains will have a buffet or dining car, which serves mediocre hot food at around ¥25. The menu will be entirely in Chinese. There are normally vendors on station platform who will sell noodles, snacks, and fruit at better prices. Most train cars have a hot boiled water dispenser available so you can bring tea, soups and instant noodles.

Smoking is not permitted in the seating or sleeping areas but is allowed in the vestibules at the end of each car on older trains. Smoking is banned inside station buildings apart from in designated smoking rooms.

As of 2014, sale of train tickets usually starts 20 days in advance, either online via the China Rail booking site or at the major train stations’ ticket offices. The China Rail site is available only in Chinese and you must have a Chinese bank account to buy tickets, so you can only use it if you have a Chinese friend but the tickets for you. Especially around festivals, tickets sell out quickly, so book tickets as far in advance as possible.

  • CTrip. A Chinese travel site with an English version and English mobile app which allows you to view timetables, book conventional and high-speed trains from 20 days to 30 minutes before departure. A purchase voucher for the train ticket will be sent to the app 2 hours after purchase. Show this to the station staff at the ticket desk with your passport to collect the train ticket. (updated Apr 2017)
  • Absolute China Tours or China Highlights have English time and fare information (while extremely useful, these sites’ lists are not 100% complete)
  • OK Travel has more schedules. This site is mostly in Chinese, but includes romanized place names and you can use it without knowing Chinese.

Two days later, tickets can be bought at private agencies, which are small ticket window shops scattered around cities, labeled “售火车票” (shou huo che piao). They charge a small commission (e.g. ¥5) but can save you a trip to the train station.

Travel agencies will “sell” tickets in advance, but no one can guarantee your ticket until the station releases them onto the market, at which point your agency will go and buy the ticket they had sold you. This is true everywhere in China.

If you go to a station to buy tickets, have your train number, date and time of departure, seating class, number of tickets, origin and destination cities all written down in Chinese, or at least in Pinyin. Staff will not generally speak English, and at the train stations there are usually long queues. You must present ID (e.g., passport). Each traveller must be present, with ID, to pick-up their ticket.

It is illegal to buy second-hand tickets so don’t buy “discount” tickets that you may be offered at the train station.

Chinese train stations function like an airport, so do not count on catching a train on the last minute: gates close a few minutes prior to departure! To be safe, be there at least 20 minutes early, or 30 minutes if you are entering a big train station. Make sure you’re waiting in the right place, because often the train will only stop for a couple of minutes.

Many cities have different stations for normal trains and high-speed trains. High speed station names usually consist of the city name and the cardinal direction (for example Héngyángdōng, “Hengyang East”)

BY BUS:

Travelling by public city buses (公共汽车 gōnggòngqìchē) or long-distance buses (长途汽车 chángtúqìchē) is inexpensive and ideal for in-city and short-distance transportation.

City buses vary from city to city. However, if you can understand the bus routes then they are cheap and go almost everywhere. Buses will normally have recorded announcements telling you the next stop – examples of which might include ‘xià yí zhàn – zhōng shān lù’ (next stop Zhongshan Road) or ‘Shànghǎi nán huǒ chē zhàn dào le’ (Shanghai South railway station – now arriving). Some major cities such as Beijing or Hangzhou will have English announcements, at least on some major routes. Fares are usually about ¥1-3 or more if travelling into the suburbs. Most buses simply have a metal cash-box next to the entrance where you can insert your fare (no change – save up those 1 yuan coins) or on longer routes a conductor that will collect fares and issue tickets and change. The driver usually prioritises speed over comfort so hold on tight.

Coaches, or long-distance buses, may be more practical than trains for going to suburbs or smaller cities. Coaches originating from larger cities on the east coast tend to be air conditioned with soft seats. Bus personnel tend to try to be helpful, but they are much less familiar with foreigners than airline personnel.

A coach or bus in rural China is a different experience. Signs in the station to identify buses will be in Chinese. The coach’s license plate number is printed on the ticket, it will be spray-painted on the back of the bus. Scheduled times of departure and arrival are only rough estimates, with the bus leaving when it’s full, rather than at a scheduled time. Often, rural coaches are the only forms of transportation in many areas of China and are usually more than willing to stop anywhere along the route should you wish to visit more remote areas without direct transport. Buses can also be flagged down at most points along their route. The ticket price the rest of the way is negotiable.

Getting a ticket is straightforward. Large bus stations have ticket counters who sell printed tickets displaying the departure time, boarding gate and license plate number of your bus. You need your passport to purchase a ticket, and often you will need to go through security inspection.

BY SUBWAY:

Most major cities in China now have subway/metro (地铁 dìtiě) systems. They are typically modern, clean, efficient, popular with the locals and are still rapidly expanding. Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou already have some of the world’s most extensive systems. Subways are usually the best way of getting between two points. In rush hour they will be extremely crowded, but the roads will be heavily congested at the same time.

On both station platforms and in trains there is usually signage in both Chinese and English listing all stations on that particular line. Announcements in the stations and trains are made in Mandarin and English, and sometimes the local language. Given the rapid rate of change over the past years, many maps (especially English versions) may be out of date. It is worth obtaining a bilingual subway network map in advance and carrying it with you whilst traveling by subway.

Chinese subway stations often have a security checkpoint before the turnstiles, where you must run your bags through an X-ray scanner.

Stations tend to have numerous exits with labels such as Exit A, B, C1, or C2. On maps you will find each exit is labeled clearly around the station. Signs in the station itself make it easy to find your exit.

If there are available seats, be prepared for a mad dash as commuters shove and wrestle for the available seats. Pickpockets are also most likely to strike at this moment, so pay attention to your belongings.

BY TAXI:

Taxis (出租车 chūzūchē or 的士 dīshì, pronounced “deg-see” in Cantonese-speaking areas) are generally common, and reasonably priced. Flagfalls range from ¥5 in some cities to ¥14 in others, with a per km charge around ¥2-3. In most situations, you can expect between ¥10-50 for an ordinary trip within the city. There is no extra charge for luggage, but in many cities rates are a bit higher at night. (For example, in Shanghai flag fall costs ¥14 06:00-22:59, and ¥18 23:00-05:59) Tips are not expected.

While it is not unheard of for drivers to cheat visitors by deliberately selecting a longer route, it is not that common, and usually shouldn’t be a nuisance. When it does happen, the fare difference will usually be minimal. Should you feel you have been seriously cheated on the way to your hotel, and you are staying at a mid- or high-range hotel that has a doorman, you can appeal to him and/or the desk staff for assistance. In cities, photographing the driver’s ID (posted on the dashboard) and threatening to report him to the authorities can be quite effective.

It is common for people to order and even bid higher fares for taxi journeys via a phone app. These services make it harder to casually hail a taxi on the street, so learning how to use app might be a good idea if you will spend significant time here. While most apps are available only in Chinese, the largest one, Didi Chuxing, is available in English.

Beware of taxi hawkers who stalk naive travellers inside or just outside the airport terminals and train stations. They will try to negotiate a set price to bring you to your destination and will usually charge 2x or 3x more than a metered fare. If you’re not familiar with the area then stick with the designated taxi areas that are outside most major airport terminals and insist that the driver use the meter. The fare should be plainly marked outside the taxi.

Finding a taxi during peak hours can be a bit hard. But it really gets tough if it is raining. Away from peak hours, especially at night, it is sometimes possible to get a 10% to 20% discount especially if you negotiate it in advance, even if with the meter on and asking for a receipt. Tipping is not required, although they will certainly not complain if you round up after a long journey.

Taxi fee is usually rounded (half up) to integer. So pay ¥14 when the value on the meter ranges from 13.5 to 14.4, for example.

Sitting in the front passenger seat of taxis is acceptable and actually useful if you have trouble communicating in Chinese. Some taxis mount the taxi meter down by the gearbox, where you can only see it from the front seat. Be warned that drivers may start smoking without asking by just opening their window and lighting up. In some cities it is also common for drivers to try and pick up multiple passengers if their destinations are in the same general direction. Each passenger pays full fare but it saves the time of waiting for an empty cab at rush hour.

Even in major cities like Shanghai or Beijing, you are very unlikely to find an English-speaking taxi driver, and anywhere else even less so. If you are not able to pronounce Mandarin well then you can be easily misunderstood. Therefore it is advisable to keep a written note of the name of place where you want to go or carry a map. Using romanized spelling (Pinyin) is ineffective since most Chinese can’t understand it, and the same pinyin can correspond to many different characters, so it is always better to get someone to write it down in Chinese characters for you. Business cards for your hotel and for restaurants are useful to show taxi drivers. In major cities in the prosperous southern and eastern coastal provinces, many taxi drivers are migrants from other parts of China who speak Mandarin but not the local dialect.

In some cities, taxi companies use a star-rating system for drivers, ranging from 0 to 5, displayed on the driver’s name-plate, on the dashboard in front of the passenger seat. While no or few stars do not necessarily indicate a bad driver, many stars tend to indicate good knowledge of the city, and willingness to take you to where you ask by the shortest way. Another indicator of the driver’s ability can be found on the same name-plate – the driver’s ID number. A small number tells you he has been around for a long time, and is likely to know the city well. A quick tip to get a taxi driver’s attention if you feel you are being ripped off or cheated: Get out the car and start writing down his license plate number and if you speak some Chinese (or have a good phrasebook) threaten to report the driver to the city or the taxi company. Most drivers are honest and fares are reasonable but there are the bad ones out there who will try to use your lack of Chinese skills to their advantage.

Chinese are sometimes competitive when it comes to finding a taxi. The person who flags down a particular car is not necessarily entitled to that ride. Having locals move farther up in traffic to intercept cars or being shoved out of the way while trying to enter a taxi is common. If there are others in the area competing for rides, be ready to reach your car and enter it as soon as possible after flagging it down. Wear your seat belt at all times (if you can find it).

Some taxi drivers, in particular those who can speak some English, can be quite curious and talkative, especially during peak hours’ traffic (高峰 gāo​fēng).

BY TRAM:

Above ground, cities like Dalian or Changchun, offer transport via tram. An increasing number of cities, such as Nanjing and Wuhan, are opening new light-rail systems in newly developed urban areas.

Making more frequent stops than subways, trams can offer a practical way of getting around. Single-car trolleys may also be in use. Both modes are susceptible to traffic jams.

BY BICYCLE:

Bicycles (自行车 zìxíngchē) were once the most common form of transportation in China, but many people have upgraded to electric bikes and motorcycles. Bicycle repair shops are frequent apparently anywhere in cities and rural areas.

The fairly new phenomenon of dockless rideshare bikes has dramatically reversed this decline on the streets of China’s larger cities. They operate on a grab’n’go basis: you use your mobile phone to unlock any free bike, pay ¥1-2 per 30 minutes while using them, and drop them off pretty much anywhere you like. The largest operators Mobike (orange) and Ofo (canary yellow) have English apps. Dockless bikes are built to last, meaning they’re heavy, clunky and ungeared, but for travellers, they can be a cheap, convenient means of transport that is better than trying to deal with public transport for hours on end.

There are two major dangers for cyclists in China:

  • Motor traffic; cars and motorcycles frequently pull out without any warning, and in most areas red lights are apparently optional.
  • Bicycle theft is rampant throughout cities in China.

China is a vast country and it provides serious cyclists with challenges to bike across mountains and desert. If you plan to cycle through China, get a visa before your journey, as it can be hard to get one along the way. Avoid saying that the journey will be by bike, as embassy personnel may not like that, and Xinjiang and Tibet are politically sensitive. The visa is valid for any border crossing and transport method anyway (except Tibet).

BY CAR:

The PRC generally does not recognize International Driving Permits and does not permit foreigners to drive in China without a Chinese license. Hong Kong and Macau licenses are also considered to be foreign and having one of them will not allow you to drive in the mainland. Importing foreign vehicles is difficult.

Rented cars most often come with a driver and this is probably the best way to travel in China by car. Driving in China is not recommended unless you are used to chaotic driving conditions. Driving in China’s cities is not for the faint-hearted, and parking spaces are often difficult to find. That being said, driving habits have been improving over time, and these days are not as aggressive as in say, Indonesia or Vietnam.

Traffic moves on the right in mainland China. Many neighbors, such as India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan as well as Hong Kong and Macau have traffic that moves on the left.

In the areas that most tourists are likely to visit, road direction signs are bilingual in Chinese and English.

Foreigners should really avoid driving outside of major cities. “One Way” signs usually mean “mostly but not always one way”. Expect someone who misses an exit ramp on a freeway to slow down just before the upcoming entry ramp and make a 270° turn to get back on. Expect drivers to take creative shortcuts in most scenarios.

BY MOTORCYCLE:

Motorcycle taxis are common, especially in smaller cities and rural areas. They are usually cheap and effective but scary. The fares are negotiable.

Regulations for riding a motorcycle vary from city to city. In some cases, 50cc mopeds can be ridden without a driving license although many cities have now banned them or reclassified them due to numerous accidents. Riding a ‘proper’ motorcycle is much harder – partly because you’ll need a Chinese license, partly because they are banned in many cities and partly because production and importing have slowed with the focus on automobiles and electric scooters. The typical Chinese motorcycle is 125cc, can do about 100 km/h and is a traditional cruiser style. They are generally slow, mundane to ride and have little sporting potential. Government restrictions on engine size mean that sports bikes are rare but can still be found. Another popular choice is a 125cc automatic ‘maxi’ scooter based loosely on the Honda CN250 – it’s a bit quicker than a moped and more comfortable over long distances but has the benefit of automatic transmission which makes negotiating stop-start urban traffic much easier.

Most cities will have a motorcycle market of some description and will often sell you a cheap motorcycle often with fake or illegal license plates – although a foreigner on a motorbike is a rare sight and it will grab the police’s attention. Helmets are essential on ‘proper’ bikes but optional on scooters. You must have a license plate – they are yellow or blue on a motorcycle or green on a scooter and can cost several thousand yuan to register the bike yourself. Fake plates are easily available at a lower price, but are risky.

BY PEDICAB (RICKSHAW):

In some mid-sized cities, pedicabs are a much more convenient means of travelling short distances. Sanlunche (三轮车), the Chinese term used both for pedal-powered and motorized rickshaws, are ubiquitous in rural China and lesser developed (which is to say, less touristy) areas of larger cities. Negotiating the fare in advance is a must.

Reports of overcharging probably refer to rip-off artists working tourist destinations, like Silk Alley, Wangfujing, and the Lao She Tea House in Beijing in particular. Perhaps the rule of thumb should be, “Beware of anyone selling anything near tourist traps.”

If you see normal Chinese families using the “sanlun” – for instance, travelling between the Beijing Zoo and the nearest subway stop – then it’s safe. Don’t patronise any sanlun wearing some old fashioned costume to attract tourists. He’ll try to charge you ten times the going rate.

Electrified three-wheeled sanluns developed or converted from the pedicabs seem to be in the majority in Shanghai.

Food in China varies widely between regions, so the term “Chinese food” is a blanket term, about as descriptive as “Western food.” Still, there are some broad characteristics. Gastronomy has a long history in China, and dishes subtly balance many flavors, aromas, and colors. Each region developed cuisine and techniques based on the ingredients at hand, so you’ll find spicy meat-filled dishes in cooler inland regions, slowly simmered seafood stews in coastal regions, and quickly stir-fried fresh vegetables in busy southern ports like Guangzhou. Even many native Chinese find food from outside their home region to be “foreign”.

In southern China, rice (米饭 mǐfàn) is a staple food served with many meals, so much so that its root word 饭 (fàn) means “meal” as well as “cooked grain”. It may be served plain (eaten by itself as a side, or used as a bed to soak up sauce from the main dish), stir-fried with a variety of ingredients to make fried rice, a quick tasty street meal and a common way to use up leftovers at home, or made into congee, rice porridge that’s a common breakfast. Noodles (面 miàn) are another important staple, made from either rice or wheat, and served in a variety of methods. Soybeans are used to make soy sauce, a quintessential seasoning in Chinese cooking. They’re also used to make tofu (豆腐 dòufu), which comes in many forms besides tasteless white blocks: some can be as flavorful and crispy as meat, others quite pungent like a blue cheese.

Chinese gourmands place emphasis on freshness so your meal will most likely be cooked as soon as you order it. Searing hot woks over coal or gas fires make even street food usually safe to eat. Indeed freshly prepared street food is often safer than food sitting on the buffet lines of 5-star hotels. Still, use common sense: if it’s a searing hot summer day and the kebab vendor has their raw meat sitting unrefrigerated on the counter, you might want to head elsewhere.

Yelp is virtually unknown in China, while the Michelin Guide only covers Shanghai and Guangzhou, and is not taken seriously by most Chinese people. Instead, most Chinese people rely on local website Dazhong Dianping (Chinese only).

Various types of Chinese food provide quick, cheap, tasty, light meals. Street food and snacks sold from portable vendors can be found throughout China’s cities, good for breakfast or a snack. And Western-style fast food is arguably as popular as the domestic variety.

Etiquette:

China is the birthplace of chopsticks (筷子 kuàizi), which are used for most Chinese food. Chinese cuisine evolved to be eaten using chopsticks, with almost all food prepared in bite-sized chunks or easily picked apart; Chinese rice is also a sticky variety that stays in nice clumps. Eating with chopsticks is a surprisingly easy skill to pick up, although mastering them takes a while. Some chopstick guidelines to be aware of:

  • Never place or leave chopsticks upright in a bowl of food (reminiscent of funeral rites), pass something from your chopsticks to another person’s chopsticks (another funeral rite), or drum your bowl with chopsticks (reminiscent of beggars).
  • Always use chopsticks as a pair, like a set of tongs; never use just one chopstick at a time (nor one in each hand), hold them in your fist like you would a knife or dagger, or try to “cut” food with them like you would with a knife. Spearing food with your chopsticks is generally rude and should be done only as a last resort.
  • Using chopsticks to move plates or bowls is rude.
  • Pointing at things with your chopsticks is rude. (Pointing at people in general is rude; with chopsticks, doubly so.) Even when setting chopsticks down on the table, angle them so they’re not pointing at anyone.
  • In general, try not to touch food with your fingers. Even fried chicken is picked up with chopsticks and gingerly nibbled, touching it as little as possible. Small bones should be spat onto your plate or bowl, rather than removed using your hands or chopsticks. For foods that are eaten with your hands, disposable plastic gloves may be provided.

It’s normal to pick up any bowl of food for easier eating, and you can put a bowl of rice directly to your mouth to push the last few bites in using your chopsticks. Spoons are used for soups and porridge, and to help with eating noodles in a soup.

In traditional Chinese dining, dishes are shared family style, and at larger tables there is usually a lazy Susan to pass dishes around.

  • Communal chopsticks (公筷 gōngkuài) are not always provided; if not, just use your own chopsticks to transfer food to your bowl. It’s not rude to request communal chopsticks from the restaurant, but it may make you look like a stickler for formality.
  • Each communal dish should only be served from by one person at a time. Don’t reach across someone to reach a farther dish while they’re serving; wait until they’re done.
  • Once you put something on your plate, don’t put it back. Confucius says never leave someone else with what you don’t want.

Regional cuisines:

Several varieties of Chinese food have enough international popularity that you may already recognize some of them:

  • Cantonese cuisine (from Guangdong), is by far the most widely known type of Chinese food abroad. Neither bland nor spicy, Cantonese cuisine will use almost anything as an ingredient, often preserving the freshness by quickly stir-frying in a very hot wok or steaming. Fried rice, chow mein, char siu pork, and sweet and sour pork are just a handful of its most famous dishes.
  • Huaiyang cuisine (from the eastern area towards Shanghai) is considered a good mix of northern and southern Chinese cooking styles. Dishes tend to focus on a main ingredient, which is often seafood in this coastal region; flavors are often sweet, and almost never spicy. Its most famous dishes include xiaolongbao soup dumplings, red braised pork belly, drunken chicken, and sweet and sour mandarin fish.
  • Sichuan or Szechuan cuisine (from the western inland) is popular with many foreigners for its málà flavors, using Sichuan peppercorns for a tingling numbness (má) and chili peppers for spiciness (là). Using lots of meat, preserved foods, and chili oil, it’s famous for the original form of Kung Pao chicken, mapo tofu, twice-cooked pork, and dandan noodles.

Other major traditional cuisines include fragrant and vinegary Shandong, tender Fujian, spicy Hunan, herbal Anhui, and delicate Zhejiang. Ethnic cuisines in China include Korean, Uyghur, Tibetan, Mongolian, and Yunnan, while Northeastern Chinese cuisine is influenced by both Mongolian and Russian cuisines and includes dishes like potato dumplings and a type of borscht.

Dietary restrictions:

People with dietary restrictions will have a hard time in China. Kosher and Hindu food is virtually unknown. Halal food is hard to find outside areas with a significant Muslim population, but look for Lanzhou noodle (兰州拉面, Lánzhōu lāmiàn) restaurants, which may have a sign advertising “halal” in Arabic (حلال). Vegetarian food is often available at restaurants near major Buddhist temples, but elsewhere you’ll probably need to ask specifically and it may not always be available. Awareness of food allergies (食物过敏 shíwù guòmǐn) is limited, and gluten-free foods are virtually non-existent.

DRINK:

The Chinese love a tipple, but unless you are used to imbibing heavily, be careful when drinking with Chinese. The Chinese liquor báijiǔ is quite potent (up to 65% alcohol); it’s often drunk in small shot glasses for a good reason. When U.S. President Richard Nixon — who was an experienced drinker, if a bit of a lightweight — first visited China, his staff sent dire warnings that he not drink in response to toasts. (He diplomatically managed to toast every table at the banquet, taking very small sips.)

There are hardly any liquor laws in China. The legal drinking age is 18, but it’s basically not enforced, and you’ll never need to show ID. Alcohol can be purchased anywhere and drunk anywhere.

Toasting:

Toasts are made by saying “gānbēi” (干杯, lit. “dry glass”). Drinks are served in small glasses (even beer is usually drunk from oversized shot glasses), and traditionally you should drain the whole glass for a toast. Visitors are generally expected and pressured to have a toast with each person present; fortunately, it’s okay to stick to beer, and Chinese beer is usually low alcohol. You should also offer toasts and not just receive them; it may be considered rude if you don’t offer a toast whenever you take a drink, at least at the start of a meal.

If you want to take it easy but still be sociable, say “‘suíbiàn” (随便) or “pèngbeī” (碰杯) before you make the toast, then drink only part of the glass. It may also be possible to have three toasts (traditionally signifying friendship) with the entire company, rather than a separate toast for each person.

Alcohol:

The all-purpose word jiǔ (酒, “alcohol”) covers quite a range of alcoholic drinks.

Beer (啤酒 píjiǔ) is common in China and is served in nearly every restaurant and sold in many grocery stores. The most famous brand is Tsingtao (青島 Qīngdǎo) from Qingdao, which was at one point a German concession. Locally made grape wine (葡萄酒 pútáojiǔ) is common and much of it is reasonably priced, but usually bears only the faintest resemblance to Western wines. The Chinese like their wines red and very sweet, and they’re typically served over ice or mixed with Sprite.

There are also several brands and types of rice wine. Most of these resemble a watery rice pudding, they are usually sweet and contain a minute amount of alcohol for taste.

Baijiu (白酒 Báijiǔ) is distilled liquor, generally 40% to 60% alcohol by volume, made from sorghum and sometimes other grains depending on the region. Maotai or Moutai (茅台 Máotái), made in Guizhou Province, is China’s most famous brand of baijiu and China’s national liquor. Maotai and its expensive cousins (such as Kaoliang from Kinmen in Taiwan) are well known for their strong fragrance and are actually sweeter than western clear liquors as the sorghum taste is preserved — in a way.

Chinese brandy (白兰地 báilándì) is excellent value; all are drinkable.

The Chinese are also great fans of various supposedly medicinal liquors, which usually contain exotic herbs and/or animal parts. Some of these have prices in the normal range and include ingredients like ginseng. These can be palatable enough, if tending toward sweetness.

Bars, discos and karaoke:

Western style pubs are becoming increasingly popular across the country. Especially in the more affluent urban centres such as Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Hangzhou one can find painstakingly recreated replicas of traditional Irish or English pubs. Like their Western counterparts most will have a selection of foreign beers on tap as well as provide pub food (of varying quality) and often feature live cover bands. Most of these pubs cater to and are frequented by the expatriate communities so you should not expect to find many Chinese in these places. Imported beer can be very expensive compared to local brew.

To just go out for a few drinks with friends, pick a local restaurant and drink beer at around ¥5 for a 600 ml bottle. It will be Chinese lager, around 3% alcohol, with a limited choice of brand and may be served warm. Most mid- to high- range restaurants will have small private suites for gatherings (usually offered free if there is more than around 5 people), and the staff will generally not try to hustle you out even if you decide to stay until closing time. Many residents frequent outdoor restaurants or roadside stalls and barbecues (烧烤 shāokǎo) for a nice and inexpensive evening.

In discos and fancy bars with entertainment, you normally buy beer ¥100 at a time; this gets you anywhere from 4 import-brand beer (Heineken, Bud, Corona, Sol, etc.) to 10 local beers. A few places offer cocktails; fewer have good ones.

Other drinks are sold only by the bottle, not by the glass. Red wine is in the ¥80-200 range (served with ice and Sprite) and mediocre imported whiskeys (Chivas, Johnny Walker, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels; extremely rarely single malts) and cognacs, ¥300-800. Both are often mixed with sweet bottled green or red tea. Vodka, tequila and rum are less common, but sometimes available. Bogus “brand name” products are fairly common and may ruin your next day.

These places often have bar girls, young women who drink a lot and want to play drinking games to get you to consume more. They get a commission on whatever you buy. In general, these girls will not leave the bar with you; they are professional flirts, not prostitutes.

Karaoke (卡拉OK kǎlā’ōukèi) is huge in China and can be broadly split into two categories. More common is the no-frills karaoke box or KTV, where you rent a room, bring your friends and the house gives you a mike and sells you booze. Much favored by students, these are cheap and fun with the right crowd, although you need at least a few people for a memorable night. Bringing your own booze can keep the price tag down but must be done on the sly – many places have windows in the door so the staff can make sure you only drink liquor they sold to you.

Rather different is the distinctly dodgier special KTV lounge, more oriented to businessmen entertaining clients or letting their hair down, where the house provides anything and everything at a price. At these often opulent establishments — over-the-top Roman and Egyptian themes are standard — you’ll be joined by short-skirted professional karaoke girls, who charge by the hour for the pleasure of their company and whose services may not be limited to just singing badly and pouring your drinks. It’s highly advisable not to venture into these unless you’re absolutely sure somebody else is footing the bill, which can easily run into hundreds of dollars even if you keep your pants on.

As elsewhere, never never accept an invitation to a restaurant or bar from an available-looking woman who just picked you up in the street sometime after sundown. At best, suggest a different place. If she refuses, drop her on the spot. More than likely, she will steer you into a quiet little place with too many doormen and you will find yourself saddled with a modest meal and beer that will cost you ¥1,000 or worse. And the doormen won’t let you leave till you pay up. This is somewhat rare. But it does happen.

Tea:

China is the birthplace of tea culture, and at the risk of stating the obvious, there’s a lot of tea (茶 chá) in China. Green tea (绿茶 lǜchá) is served up for free in some restaurants (depending on region) or for a small fee. For more information, see Chinese cuisine#Tea.

The most common types served are:

  • gunpowder tea (珠茶 zhūchá): a green tea named after the appearance of the bunched-up leaves used to brew it
  • jasmine tea (茉莉花茶 mòlihuachá): green-tea scented with jasmine flowers
  • oolong (烏龍 wūlóng): a half-fermented mountain tea.

Specialist tea houses serve a vast variety of brews, ranging from the pale, delicate white tea (白茶 báichá) to the powerful fermented and aged pu’er tea (普洱茶 pǔ’ěrchá). Most tea shops will be more than happy to let you sit down and try different varieties of tea. “Ten Fu Tea” is a national chain.

Chinese teas are drunk without sugar or milk. However, in some areas you will find Hong Kong style “milk tea” (奶茶 nǎichá) or Tibetan “butter tea”. Taiwanese bubble tea (珍珠奶茶 Zhēnzhū Nǎichá) is also popular; the “bubbles” are balls of tapioca and milk or fruit are often mixed in.

Coffee:

Coffee (咖啡 kāfēi) is becoming quite popular in urban China, though it can be quite difficult to find in smaller towns. Several chains of coffee shops have branches in many cities, including Starbucks (星巴克), UBC Coffee (上岛咖啡), Ming Tien Coffee Language and SPR. There are many small independent coffee shops or local chains.

Cold drinks:

Many drinks that are usually served chilled or with ice in the West are served at room temperature in China. Ask for beer or soda in a restaurant, and it may arrive at room temperature, though beer is more commonly served cold, at least in the summer. Water will generally be served hot. That is actually good, because only boiled (or bottled) water is safe to drink, but non-Chinese generally do not find it pleasant to drink hot water in the summer.

Small grocery stores and restaurants sell cold drinks, just look for the cooler (even though it might not actually be cool). You can try bringing a cold beverage into a restaurant. Most small restaurants won’t mind—if they even notice—and there is no such thing as a “cork” charge in China. Most people will be drinking tea, which is free anyway, so the restaurant is probably not expecting to profit on your beverage consumption.

Asking for ice is best avoided. Many, perhaps most, places just don’t have it. The ice they do have may well be made from unfiltered tap water and arguably unsafe for travellers sweating bullets about diarrhea.

Availability of accommodation for tourists is generally good and ranges from shared dorm rooms to 5-star luxury hotels. Sleeper trains and sleeper buses can also be a decent option if you schedule your long-distance travel overnight (see the Get around section of this page for more information).

In the past, only a few hotels were allowed to take foreign guests and the police monitored those, but restrictions now vary from city to city. Even in restricted cities and towns, family-run operations in particular may check you in if they feel they can get enough information from you to get you registered in the system or feel that they can get away without such reporting. Any hotel will still require a photocopy of your passport, some will check if your visa has expired, and they are supposed to share information with the authorities. On rare occasions, someone from your hotel will escort you to the local police station to satisfy the establishment’s reporting requirement.

Finding a hotel when arriving in a Chinese city is difficult if you don’t know where to look and what you’re looking for. In general, neither star ratings nor price are an accurate indication of the quality of the hotel, so research before booking. If you’re willing to pay ¥180 or more for a room, you’ll probably have little problem finding one. You could, for example, search Google Maps with the name of a chain hotel listed under “mid-range”, below, determine what the address would be in Chinese, and then write that down on a note which you give to a taxi driver. There are usually cheap hotels near the train or bus station. If you do plan on just showing up in town and looking for a place to sleep, it’s best to arrive before 18:00 or the most popular places will be booked for the night. If you are absolutely at a loss for finding housing, the local police (警察) or Public Security Bureau (公安局) can help you find a place to crash – at least for one night.

Prices are often negotiable, and a sharp reduction from the price listed on the wall can often be had, even in nicer hotels, by simply asking “what’s the lowest price?” (最低多少 zuìdī duōshǎo). When staying for more than a few days it is also usually possible to negotiate a lower daily rate. However, these negotiating tactics won’t work during the busy Chinese holiday seasons when prices sky-rocket and rooms are hard to get. Many hotels, both chains and individual establishments, have membership cards offering discounts to frequent guests.

In mid-range and above hotels, it was once quite common for guests to receive phone calls offering “massage” services (that actually offered additional physical services) but this has become rarer such that male guests might just encounter business cards stuffed under the door.

Booking a room over the Internet with a credit card can be a convenient and speedy method of making sure you have a room when you arrive at your destination, and there are numerous websites that cater for this. Credit cards are not widely used in China, particularly in smaller and cheaper hotels. Such hotels usually ask to be paid in cash, and many hotels ask for a cash security deposit of a few hundred yuan up front. Some new online services allow you to book without a credit card and pay cash at the hotel. During Chinese holidays, when it is difficult to get a room anywhere, this may be an acceptable option, but in the off-season, rooms are plentiful almost everywhere and it may be just as easy to find a room upon arrival as it is to book one over the Internet.

Across China, check-out is normally noon, and there is often the possibility of paying half a day’s cost to get an 18:00 checkout.

For those staying in China on a more permanent basis, rental is possible with the obvious caveat that all contracts are in Chinese. Real estate prices are exorbitant in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, surpassing even those of many major Western cities.

Low-cost housing:

Many ultra-cheap options would not appeal to most travellers from developed countries for security and cleanliness reasons. In the cheapest range of hotels it is important to ask if hot water is available 24 hours-a-day (有没有二十四个小时的热水 yǒuméiyǒu èrshisì ge xiǎoshí de rèshuǐ), and check if the shower, sink and toilet actually work. It is also advisable to avoid checking into a room next to a busy street as traffic may keep you up late and wake you up early.

  • Hostels (青年旅社) are the most comfortable low-cost options. They typically cater to foreigners, have English-speaking employees, and provide cheap, convenient transport around town. Some of them are even cleaner and better furnished than more expensive places. Hostels also have a cozy, international atmosphere and are a good place to meet other travellers and get some half-decent Western food. In most cities of any size there is at least one hostel available, and in travel hot spots there are plenty of hostels, although they can still fill up quickly because of their popularity with backpackers. Hostels can often be booked on-line in advance although you definitely should bring a print-out of your confirmation as not all hostels are aware that you can book their rooms (and pay a portion of the cost) on-line in advance. In Beijing, many hostels are in hutongs – traditional courtyard homes in the midst of a maze of traditional streets and architecture. While many of Beijing’s Hutongs have been demolished, a movement to save those which remain has led to a boom in youth hostels for backpackers and boutique hotels for the mid-range traveller.
  • Dorm rooms (宿舍) are found on university campuses, near rural tourist attractions and as part of some hotels. Most travellers have spotty luck with dorms. It is common to have rowdy or intoxicated roommates, and shared bathrooms can take some getting used to, especially if you’re not used to traditional squat toilets or taking cold showers. However, in some areas, especially on top of some of China’s holy mountains, dorm rooms might be the only budget option in a sea of luxury resorts.
  • Zhùsù (住宿), which simply translates as “accommodation”, can refer to any kind of sleeping accommodation, but those places that have the Chinese characters for zhusu written on the wall outside are the cheapest. A zhusu is not a hotel, but simply rooms for rent in homes, restaurants, and near train and bus stations. Zhusu rooms are universally spartan and bathrooms are almost always shared. The price can be quite low, costing only a few dozen renminbi. Officially a zhusu should not provide a room to a foreigner, but many times the caretaker is eager to get a client and will be willing to rent to anyone. There are never any English signs advertising a zhusu, so if you can’t read Chinese you may have to print out the characters for your hunt. Security in zhusu’s is sketchy, so this option is not recommended if you have valuables with you.
  • Spas: spa costs vary but can be as low as ¥25. Admission to a spa is typically for 24 hours, but entering a spa late at night (after 01:00) and leaving before noon may get you a 50% discount. Spas provide beds or reclining couches and a small locker for bags and personal possessions (this is ideal if you are travelling light), but there is no privacy because usually everyone sleeps in one room (so there is more security than in a dorm, since there are attendants who watch over the area, and your belongings (even your clothes!) are stored away in a locker). There are also showers, saunas, complimentary food, and paid services such as massages and body scrubbing. Don’t be fooled when receptionists try to make up reasons why you have to pay more than the listed rate. They may try to convince you that the listed rates are only for members, locals, women, men, or include only one part of the spa (i.e. shower, but no bed/couch). To verify any claims, strike up a conversation with a local a good distance away from the spa and inquire about the prices. Don’t let them know that you are checking the spa’s claims. Just act as if you are thinking about going there if the price is good. If they know that the spa is trying to overcharge you, they will typically support the spa’s claim.

Budget hotels:

The next level of hotels, which cater to Chinese clients, are usually officially off-limits to foreigners but you may be able to convince them to accept you, especially if you can speak a smattering of Chinese. The cheapest range of Chinese budget hotels (one step above the zhusu) are called zhāodàisuǒ (招待所). Unlike zhusu these are licensed accommodations but are similarly spartan and utilitarian, often with shared bathrooms. Slightly more luxurious budget hotels and Chinese business hotels may or may not have English signs and usually have the words lǚguǎn (旅馆, meaning “travel hotel”), bīnguǎn or jiǔdiàn (宾馆 and 酒店, respectively, meaning “hotel”) in their name. Room options typically include singles and doubles with attached bathrooms, and dorms with shared baths. Some budget hotels include complementary toiletries and Internet. In small towns a night’s stay might be as cheap as ¥25; in bigger cities rooms usually cost ¥80-120. One problem with such hotels is that they can be quite noisy as patrons and staff may be yelling to each other across the halls into the wee hours of the morning. Another potential inconvenience is taking a room with a shared bath as you may have to wait to use a shower or squat toilet that moreover isn’t in any sort of appealing condition. In smaller budget hotels the family running the place may simply lock up late at night when it appears no more customers are coming. If you plan to arrive late, explain this in advance or else you may have to call the front desk, bang on the door, or climb over the gate to get in.

Mid-range hotels:

These are usually large, clean and comfortable, with rooms ranging from ¥150 to over ¥300. Frequently the same hotels will also have more expensive and luxurious rooms. The doubles are usually quite nice and up to Western standards, with a clean private bathroom that has towels and free toiletries. A buffet breakfast may be included, or a breakfast ticket can be purchased for around ¥10.

Sprouting up around China are a number of Western-quality mid-range hotels that include the following chains, all of which have rooms in the ¥150-300 range and on-line advance booking:

  • 7 Days Inns. (7天连锁酒店)
  • JinJiang Inns. (锦江之星)
  • Home Inns (如家快捷酒店).
  • Motel 168. (莫泰168)
  • Green Tree Inns (格林豪泰酒店). (English)

Splurge:

The high end includes international hotel chains and resorts, such as Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and Shangri-La and their Chinese competitors. These charge hundreds or thousands of yuan per night for luxurious accommodations with 24-hour room service, satellite TV, spas, and western breakfast buffets. There are suites in Shanghai, for example, for over ¥10,000 a night. Many of these establishments cater to travelling business-types with expense accounts and charge accordingly for food and amenities (i.e. ¥20 for a bottle of water which costs ¥2 at a convenience store). Internet (wired or wireless) which is usually free in mid-range accommodations is often a pay service in high-end hotels.

Some hotels in the ¥400-700 range such as Ramada or Days Inn are willing to lower their prices when business is slow. Chinese three and four-star hotels will often give block pricing or better deals for stays of more than 5 days. If you are coming to China on a tour, the tour company may be able to get you a room in a true luxury hotel for a fraction of the listed price.

  • Porcelain: with a long history of porcelain manufacture, China still makes great porcelain today.
  • Furniture: in the 1990s and 2000s China became a major source of antique furniture.
  • Art and Fine Art: Traditional painting, modern art, and hand-painted reproductions of great works.
  • Jade There are two types of jade in China today: one type is pale and almost colorless and is made from a variety of stones mined in China. The other type is green in color and is imported from Myanmar (Burma) – if genuine!
  • Carpets: China is home to a remarkable variety of carpet-making traditions, including Mongolian, Ningxia, Tibetan and modern types.
  • Pearls & pearl jewellery: cultured Akoya and freshwater pearls are mass-produced and sold at markets across China.
  • Other arts and crafts: Cloisonné (colored enamels on a metal base), lacquer work, opera masks, kites, shadow puppets, Socialist-realist propaganda posters, wood carvings, scholar’s rocks (decorative rocks, some natural, some less so), paper-cuts, and so on.
  • Clothing: China is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of clothing, shoes and accessories. There are affordable tailors anywhere in China.
  • Brand-name goods: genuine branded foreign goods won’t be cheaper than in Western countries. There are a number of sources of potential knock-offs or fake brand-name goods.
  • Software, music and movies: Most CDs (music or software) and DVDs in China are unauthorized copies.
  • Endangered species: avoid purchasing — coral, ivory and parts from endangered animal species. Anyone buying such products risks substantial fines and/or jail time either when trying to leave China with them or when trying to import them into another country.
**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/China
TOP ATTRACTIONS
PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: The Great Wall of China
Location: China
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe with an eye to expansion. Several walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC; these were later joined together and made bigger by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Later on, many successive dynasties have repaired, maintained, and newly built multiple stretches of border walls. The most well-known of the walls were built during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

Apart from defense, other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Today, the Great Wall is generally recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_China
Name: Terracotta Army
Location: Shaanxi, China
The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife.

The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong County, outside Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits near Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.

The Terracotta Army is part of a much larger necropolis. Ground-penetrating radar and core sampling have measured the area to be approximately 98 square kilometers.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terracotta_Army
Name: Forbidden City
Location: Beijing, China
The Forbidden City is a palace complex in central Beijing, China. The former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty (the years 1420 to 1912), it now houses the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government for almost 500 years.

Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares. The palace exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Since 2012, the Forbidden City has seen an average of 15 million visitors annually.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbidden_City
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN CHINA / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

Please do also view our introductory video at the following web link:

https://usglobalvisas.com/personal/more/about-us

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

Global Immigration Leader, Big 4

“Manny. You have really gone the extra mile in supporting the US Business Visitor Service. You have demonstrated real commitment and energy, working a late shift night while we try and find others to fill the position. I know that the other night you stayed until 4am. You are always so positive and your cheerful disposition and attention to detail has resulted in excellent client feedback. On Monday the key client came to London and she was effusive about the service. This is largely due the cover you provide.”

Internal stakeholder, Big 4

“Manny is a big reason why the move from (external provider) to the UK firm’s passport and visa provision has been so smooth. He’s an extremely likeable honest hard working guy who takes his role very seriously. We’re very fortunate to have him leading our dedicated team”

External client, Private practice

“Most of my contact was with Manpreet Singh Johal. He did the best job someone could imagine. Extraordinary service from his side.”

Team member, Big 4

“Working on two priority accounts is naturally pressurised especially where he has also been responsible for billing on both accounts; yet Manny delivers every time and this I believe is an exceptional quality.”

Please think before printing – click here for more info

WEB LINKS

LOCATIONS