Top China Hotels
China Quick Guide
- Banking Hours
- Local Telephone Codes
- International Airports
- International Airport Departure Tax
- Domestic Airports
- Domestic Airport Departure Tax
- Etiquette/Dress Code
- Diplomatic Missions
- Useful Sources of Information
- 5 Star Hotels in China
- 4 Star Hotels in China
- 3 Star Hotels in China
All foreign nationals require a visa to enter China and this can be obtained prior to departure through your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate or from a local branch of CITS. Alternatively, if spending time in Hong Kong before visiting Mainland China, a visa can be arranged quickly and easily from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, CTS, CITS or from one of the many travel agents specialising in Chinese visas.
Different types of visa are available depending on length and purpose of stay and these are valid from the date of issue, therefore do not apply for the visa too far in advance. The visa takes up an entire page and will not be issued if one clean page is not available in your passport. Once in the country, an extension for a period of up to 30 days can be applied for at the Foreign Affairs section of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) - a branch of the police force that can be found in most towns.
Once in China, personal identification must be carried at all times.
Unlimited foreign currency may be imported but must be declared on arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount that was imported and declared on arrival.
Visitors may take the following into China duty free:
- Alcohol - 2 litres of alcoholic beverages
- Tobacco - 400 cigarettes
Prohibited items: Arms, ammunition, radio transmitters/receivers, exposed but undeveloped film, fruit and certain vegetables.
Penalties for carrying or trafficking illegal drugs are extremely severe, ranging from long prison sentences to the death penalty.
A form must be completed declaring valuables such as jewellery, electronic goods, cameras etc. on arrival to ensure that they can be taken out of the country when you leave. Receipts for items purchased in the country such as jewellery, handicrafts and paintings must be kept as you may be asked to show these on departure.
The whole of China is in the same time zone: GMT + 8 hours
- Renminbi (RMB), also known as Yuan (Y) or Kwai - Check current exchange rates
- 10 jiao = 1RMB, 10 fen = 1 jiao
- Notes issued: 500RMB, 100RMB, 50RMB, 10RMB, 5RMB, 2RMB, 1RMB 5 jiao, 2 jiao, 1 jiao
- Coins issued: 1RMB, 1.5 jiao, 5 fen, 3 fen, 1 fen
Tipping is not standard practice in China and is actually discouraged, although it is becoming more acceptable within international tourist hotels and restaurants. Tip porters and hotel staff 5-10RMB.
Monday to Friday 9.00am to 12.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
The official language is Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua), however numerous dialects are also spoken throughout the mainland. Among these dialects, large groups speak Cantonese, Fukienese, Xiamenhua and Hakka. Cantonese is the main language of the Hong Kong and Macau SARs; whereas Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang (autonomous regions) have their own languages.
English is not widely spoken, therefore a phrase book would be extremely useful to point to key phrases written in Chinese characters. Another useful item would be a map with place names written in both English and Chinese.
The international dialling code for China is 86.
When making international telephone calls from China first dial 00 + country code + area code + telephone number.
Local Telephone Codes
- 220/240 V AC, 50Hz
- Either flat or square, two-pin and three-pin plugs are used. It is advisable to take a universal adapter, as these are difficult to find in China.
Tap water is considered unsafe to drink so stick to boiled and bottled water. Most hotels provide distilled water or flasks of hot water in rooms on request.
Make sure that you have adequate health insurance that covers evacuation, as although medical care is available, it is not always of the highest standard. Consider inoculations against typhoid, cholera, polio, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis and take advice regarding anti-malarials. It is always best to check the current situation and any vaccination requirements with your doctor when planning your trip.
In restaurants, avoid cracked crockery and rinse chopsticks, bowls and cups with hot tea before use, as they may have only been washed in cold water.
- Beijing - Capital International Central
- Dalian - Zhoushuizi
- Fuzhou - Yixu
- Gaoqi - Xiamen
- Qingdao - Liuting
- Shanghai - Hongqiao
- Tianjin - Zhangguizhuang
International Airport Departure Tax
There are numerous domestic airports throughout China, which include those mentioned above.
Domestic Airport Departure Tax
Casual clothes are acceptable everywhere, although smarter clothes can gain more respect. Revealing clothes should be avoided.
Problems that arise in China through cultural differences can often be put down to simple misunderstandings. In general, Chinese people are not forthcoming with information unless they are specifically asked for it, so be prepared to ask direct questions to get the information you need. Locals may not even speak honestly but will try to say what they think you want to hear. This is not done maliciously and an element of patience and understanding will ease the situation. Chinese people are courteous but reserved and politeness is appreciated at all times. Don't always be fooled by a smile as this can mean that the person is upset or embarrassed and try to avoid confrontational situations that may cause a loss of "face". Confrontation is not appreciated and will only worsen rather than resolve any situation.
Photography is not restricted around tourist areas but it is worth noting that taking photographs is not allowed in airports and permission should be gained before snapping away at any government or military bases.
Many countries have representative offices and consulates in China.
Useful Sources of Information
Further information on Chinese culture and tourist attractions:
- Travel Guide - China
- Tour in China
China's colossal landmass experiences a wide variety of climatic conditions.
Northern China exhibits diverse climatic changes; icy cold winters give way to blisteringly hot and humid summers with heavy rainfall.
Central China experiences a similar climate to the north, although temperatures are not as extreme.
Southern China is warmer, with slightly cooler temperatures along the coast. The summer months bring hot/humid weather and the possibility of typhoons in coastal areas between July and September. Winters can be cold but nowhere near the freezing temperatures found further north - a few warm layers of clothes are recommended.
Carry a lightweight jumper as it can be chillingly cold inside air-conditioned buildings during hot weather.
|Season||Average temperature||Average rainfall|
|Spring (April - May)||10 - 24°C||26mm|
|Summer (June - August)||20 - 31°C||154mm|
|Autumn (September - November)||6 - 18°C||28mm|
|Winter (December - March)||-7 - 5°C||5mm|
Beijing, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Hebei
Spring pays a fleeting visit with dusty winds carrying the sands of the Gobi desert south across the area. These "yellow winds" can be unpleasant at times but as they dispel, the sky has a quality of light that is quite unique. Dusty winds still blow in summer and autumn, although not as frequently as during spring.
July and August become increasingly hot, humid and wet with temperatures soaring above average.
November sees the temperature start to plummet as winter begins in earnest. Winter in the north can be long and bitter with temperatures occasionally reaching a very chilly -10C.
Best time to visit: Spring and autumn are pleasantly warm with very little rain and low humidity - although temperatures can drop away at night.
|Season||Average temperature||Average rainfall|
|Spring (April - May)||13 - 20°C||100mm|
|Summer (June - August)||24 - 32°C||152mm|
|Autumn (September - November)||13 - 23°C||83mm|
|Winter (December - March)||2 - 7°C||52mm|
Shanghai, Jiangsu, Henan, Anhui, Hubei
Summer gets very wet, hot and humid. In fact, temperatures can remain quite high from April onwards. An umbrella is a must for those frequent rain showers, although it should be noted that downpours are not solely restricted to the summer months.
Winters tend to be cold but not as bleak as further north. Temperatures can fall drastically below average, so be prepared for bitterly cold weather.
Best time to visit: Spring and autumn, when temperatures are bearable and humidity is low.
|Season||Average temperature||Average rainfall|
|Spring (April - May)||20 - 27°C||225mm|
|Summer (June - August)||24 - 32°C||263mm|
|Autumn (September - November)||20 - 28°C||42mm|
|Winter (December - March)||12 - 20°C||54mm|
Guangdong, Hunan, Guanxi, Yunnan
Spring can be very similar to summer, however temperatures and humidity are slightly lower on average.
Summer experiences the most rainfall and typhoons are likely to hit the southeast coast between July and September. Humidity becomes really oppressive at this time.
Winter months can be cold but nowhere near the freezing temperatures of the north. Visitors should be prepared for temperatures to fall below the noted average.
Apart from winter (which is quite dry), rainfall can be frequent at any time of the year. Lightweight clothes are vital in the summer and a mix of warm and cold weather clothes are advisable during spring and autumn.
Due to higher elevation, temperatures in Sichuan and Yunnan can fall slightly below average. Usually, the climate in these areas is much milder with warm summers and cool winters. Extra layers are required throughout the year as evening temperatures can fall dramatically.
Best time to visit: Spring and autumn when temperatures are at their best, although rain is still commonplace.