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China

Traveling China is not always the first place that comes to people’s minds. Especially these days. China is many things. What is sometimes easy to forget is that a country and its people and what it has to offer cannot be grouped together with its government. This extraordinary country offers a look into the past often overlooked in Western history books that is both ancient and timeless.  It has such a rich culture and wide variety of traditions, food, wildlife and nature that the hardest part of your trip here will be trying to decide which awesome thing to do over another.  China will push you outside your comfort zone, it will open your eyes to a side of this country that you might never see portrayed in the media and you will walk away from it better than when you came. 

Shanghai old town night china-min

Basic Info

Drinking water: Do not drink from the tap

Plugs: Type A, C and I (See photo below)

Covid Updates

Must be fully vaccinated and provide both a PCR AND a rapid antigen test upon arrival. 

Money

Official currency: ¥ Chinese Renminbi

Budget: In between SE Asia and Australia/NZ.  Depending on how long you’ll be there (and how many cities you’re visiting) transit can start to add up but accommodation and food are reasonably priced with hostels averaging $15 USD in Beijing and Shanghai and even less outside those cities. Expect to pay less than $2USD for a beer.  That being said, you can reasonably expect to budget $66/day when it spreads across all other things. 

Credit cards: Accepted in most major tourist areas but not always as common in other areas. Small transactions are much easier with cash.

Tipping: Not customary and sometimes considered rude, but places catering to Western tourists have often become accustomed to receiving them. 

Visas

Only 18 countries can enter visa free including a handful from Africa and Asia, 3 from South America and a few European countries. Transit visas are available for varying amounts of time depending on your country but to see China for more than a day or two most will need a visa. 

**Always check with your government for the most up to date information on visa requirements.**

Vaccinations

None

**Assuming you are current on routine vaccinations. Always check with your government for the most accurate and up to date information on required vaccinations specific to your home country**

Safety

Exercise Normal Precautions

China – Hong Kong relations is something to keep an eye on both if you plan on traveling to Hong Kong or to China as protests happen in both.  

**Always check with your government for the most accurate and up to date information on safety**

Language

Official Languages: Mandarin

Hello: Nǐhǎo (Nee how)      

Goodbye: Zàijiàn (Zhai-jian)

Thank-you: Xièxiè (Shieh-shieh)

Yes: Shì (Sheh)      

No: Bù shì (Bu-sheh)

 

When to go

China experiences seasons like most of the Northern Hemisphere but in such a large country, that can mean different things regionally.

Overall, the best time to travel China would be spring or fall with the milder temps and less rainfall than summer. Avoid major holidays if possible as that is when all of the 1.3 billion people will also be traveling.  

Chinese New Year: Based on the Lunar calendar and lasts 2-3 weeks. It changes every year but normally lands around mid – late January.  It’s the busiest time to travel as everyone gets so much time off but also offers festivals and fireworks

Labor Day: May 1st usually bridged into the weekend 

National Day: Starts October 1 and lasts for a week. Beijing and The Great Wall are both particularly crowded  

Responsible Travel

Gulags are modern day concentration camps. These incredible graphics explain in a clear and concise way. 

Stay away from any Chinese medicine that uses animal parts and anything that involves animals except for the Chengdu Panda and Research Center. 

I have not included Tibet as a part of China, but here is some introductory information: What is China’s Argument on Tibet? 

China travel guides