How to Plan a Trip to China, Step-by-Step
WITH THANKS TO CHINATRAVEL.COM
If you are planning a tour to China, this page will definitely help you. You will find travelling to China is not as tough as you thought. Welcome to ask for advice.
Now, let’s get started… step-by-step from your door to China!
- Why to Visit China
You should be excited about visiting China: it’s very different from Western countries.
There are new sights, unique natural landscapes, exotic Eastern cultures and customs, giant pandas, various Chinese foods, kung fu, a unique tonal and pictographic language spoken by one fifth of the world’s population, and many other fantastic things for you to explore.
- When to Go
Best Times to Visit
China is a vast country, and only the less-remote areas are suitable for a tour all year round.
A lot will depend on what sort of weather you want or can tolerate. The comfortable seasons in major tourist destinations are fall (September and October) and spring (April and May), during which you just need to wear light clothes, maybe with a light jacket.
Pay Attention to China’s National Holidays
It is recommended to avoid the major Chinese public holidays, unless you want to join in some celebrations. These major holidays are: Chinese New Year (February 5, 2019), Labor Day (May 1st to 3rd) and National Day (October 1st to 7th). Thousands of Chinese people head home or travel around. The transportation is terrible, while the price of hotels can go up by double, or more.
- Where to Go
China, full of stunning sights, rich cultures, and mysterious places, is a large country with an extensive range of tour options. There are lots of wonderful places to see and things to do.
Where to Go?
- Beijing — the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Tian’anmen Square, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall, the hutongs…
- Xi’an — the Terracotta Army, biking along the Ancient City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda
- Guilin – the Li River cruises, West Street, Reed Flute Cave, Longji’s Terraced Fields…
- Chengdu — Giant pandas, How to Plan a Panda Tour, Xiling Ski Resort, Mount Emei, Leshan Giant Buddha…
- How Long to Stay
You decide. It’s up to you.
Family is precious. Enjoying a family tour boosts the strength of a family. China is a modern and safe country for your family holiday.
There are several things that we recommend you keep in mind when arranging a family tour:
- Arrange a slower paced tour than a regular one. Your kids may not have much energy as you have to walk for long distances.
- Book some activities to keep your kids entertained, such as: visiting the pandas, Hutong rickshaw exploring, dumpling making and bike excursions.
- Traveling in China on Your Own
- China Family Tour
- Things to do with Kids in Beijing
- Things to do with Kids in Chengdu
- Travel with Children
- Tips for Senior Travelers
- Obtaining a China Visa
A China Visa is required by most foreign passport holders upon entry into China. Some cities and regions of China are Visa Free, under certain circumstances. It is no longer needed for 51 countries on 72-hour transit or stopover entries from 16 cities in China.
- What to Book
Round-trip International Airplane Tickets
Getting to China is very easy as there are numerous daily non-stop flights from many cities in America, Europe, Australia, Singapore, the Middle East, and many other countries and areas. More routes to China are added every year. Remember, a China Visa is required for most visitors.
- Money Matters/How to Pay?
The official currency of China is the Ren Min Bi. This is often shortened to RMB or CNY, and is used throughout mainland China. The basic monetary unit of the RMB is the yuan, also called “kuai” by Chinese people, which has the same function with “Dollars” and “Pounds” (the monetary units of USA and UK).
Use a Credit/Debit Card
Hotels, international restaurants, and the larger shopping centers accept credit/debit cards. However, they are not yet widely accepted in other places in China.
Use Chinese Cash
You will need cash for just about everything else: taxis, small shops and restaurants, ticket counters, etc. Carry enough yuan for visiting the countryside, eating, transportation, and tickets for activities.
You may still have many questions about where to change money, will your ATM card work, how much should you bring. Do not worry! You will get your answers here:
- Consider Travel Insurance
Travel Insurance will make your trip safer. It is not only for medical emergencies, but also for providing assistance in cases of lost baggage, trip delays or interruptions, like snowstorms, heavy rain and evacuations.
- Learn Some Mandarin
Learning some simple Mandarin before you arrive in China will enable you to become more confident, closer to Chinese people and have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Chinese culture.
Here are some simple, but practical Chinese phrases:
|English words||Chinese characters||Pronunciation||Chinese Pinyin (no tones)|
|Good morning||早上好||/Dzaoww-shung haoww/||Zaoshang hao|
|Good afternoon||下午好||/Sshyaa-woo haoww/||Xiawu hao|
|Good evening||晚上好||/Wann-shung haoww/||Wanshang hao|
|Hello||你好||/Nee haoww/||Ni hao|
|Excuse me||打扰一下||/Daa-raoww ee-sshyaa/||Darao yixia|
|How much is it?||这个多少钱？||/jer-guh dwor-shaoww chyen/||Zhege duoshao qian?|
- Packing and Luggage Allowance
We suggest that you do not over-pack, just take some useful and essential items, especially when you travel with children.
- When in China
In an era of information, internet access, telecommunication and electricity are the three essential factors for tourists. Be aware of the differences that exist between China and your home country. Your phone can still work in China, and you can also access the internet. You may need an adapter, a converter, or both to charge your batteries, mobile devices and laptops.
Stay Safe and Healthy
Is China safe? Yes! It is approaching developed country standards in many places with good policing, tight gun control, and relatively few natural disasters and health risks. Most Chinese people are friendly and trustworthy. However, crime, bad weather and accidents do happen, so buying Travel Insurance is important.
Is Chinese food safe? If you go to reputable establishments, yes, but take care at street stalls and avoid less hygienic eateries.
Can I drink the water? Most tap water in China needs boiling (well) before drinking. In some areas avoid tap water altogether and buy bottled water.
Taste Chinese Food
Taste Local Food
Chinese food has a long history, with many different varieties and styles. Chinese Cuisine is a profound element of Chinese culture itself. Cultures in different regions are respectively distinctive. The same is true for the food cultures.
Here are some of the popular foods we recommend:
- 北京烤鸭Beijing roasted duck (The most famous restaurant is Quanjude)
- 上海灌汤包Steamed pork buns in Shanghai
- 西安肉夹馍Chinese hamburgers in Xi’an
- 桂林米粉Guilin rice noodles
If you have the desire to learn some Chinese cooking, you can contact us for more information.
Deeper Cultural Experiences
China is one of the “Four Ancient Civilizations”, with 3,600 years of written history and profound culture. Many people are attracted by the unique Chinese culture, noting that experiencing it is one of the main reasons why they visit.
Whether to give a tip or not always confuses a lot of foreign travelers during their journey in China. Actually, to not give a tip is acceptable in the mainland of China, so travelers can choose to leave a tip or not. However, travelers tend to tip guides and drivers as a thank-you for caring for them during the tour.
- Shopping and Bargaining
When in China, you may want to buy some souvenirs. With so many options available, shopping can be confusing. Here are our ‘Top 10’ souvenirs worth buying in China:
- Silk or Qipao or Embroidery
- Art — Calligraphy, Paper Cutting, Chinese painting, Postcards
- Paper Umbrella
- Panda Paraphernalia
- Opera Mask
- Rice Writing
- Thangka (sheepskin wall hangings)
One important tip is to be cautious of fake items.
Bargaining in Chinese
If you have chosen an item that you like, don’t purchase with impulse. Bargain with the vendor for a while to get a better price:
- 太贵了Tai guile (Teye gway-luh) — Too expensive.
- 便宜点? Pianyi dian? — Could you reduce the price?
- 不要Buyao (boo-yaoww) — I don’t want it.
- 再看看Zai kankan (dzeye can-can) — I’ll have another look (elsewhere).
- How to Bargain
- Avoid Tourist Traps
Tourist traps intend to exploit tourists. What they offer is not worth the time or the money, and tourists generally leave feeling disappointed, bored, or cheated. From viewing about China Travel, you will know that we are a reliable operator.
Currency Exchange Trap
Beware of people on the street who offer services for money exchange. If you need to exchange money, do it in the Bank of China, or at the star-rated hotels.
- Tailor-Making a First China Tour
If you do decide to come to China with us, we can guide you as much or as little as you like.
If you want to be taken care of for the entirety of your trip and do not wish to worry about things like accommodation, transport, language, guides and visas, just tell us. We will tailor make a tour meeting your requirements, interests and budget.