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Know Before Your Departure

Necessary Travel documents checklist

  • Your passports
  • China Visas
  • Other travel authorizations.

Packing list

  • Necessary Travel documents
  • Casual outdoor clothing depending on the time of year you travel and your destination. A pair of good walking shoes is absolutely necessary. Many of the tours involve a considerable amount of walking, often on hard or uneven surfaces as well as up and down stairs or steps. Many attractions are also quite exposed to the elements – sun, wind, rain, etc.For example the Forbidden City has many large open spaces, and many of the temples have large courtyards between their halls and pagodas.
  • Wallet.
  • Credit cards.
  • Travelers’ checks.
  • Airline, Cruise or Train tickets.
  • First-aid kit.
  • Medicines, prescription drugs, and vitamins sufficient to last your entire trip. Also bring your medical records if you have a chronic condition.
  • Hat, sunscreen, lip creams and sunglasses, depending on the season and your destination. If you go to high altitude destinations such as Tibet, parts of Sichuan, Yunnan and Xinjiang provinces, these items are vital to protect your skin and eyes, as the high altitude and the thin atmosphere allows the sun's radiation to strike the earth with higher intensity.
  • Address and telephone number list. A list of e-mail addresses, mailing addresses and telephone numbers will help keep you in touch. Type them onto a sheet instead of taking a whole address book. It will save weight.
  • Your final itinerary with confirmation numbers and addresses and phone numbers of the places you'll be staying. Also leave a copy with a friend or relative so that they know where to contact you in an emergency.
  • Insect repellent, especially for summer months and for travelers who are visiting rural areas.
  • Daily necessities such as toiletries. But these are readily available throughout China, so you may wish to save space by purchasing these items as needed as you travel.


"Carry On" luggage for air travel in China is limited to two pieces for first class travelers and one piece for business and economy class travelers. The dimensions of each cannot exceed 20x40x55cm (approximately 8x16x23 inches) and the total weight of the above two pieces shall not exceed 5 kg (12 lbs). The carry-on items in excess of the above two pieces cannot exceed 5 kg. Carry-on items in excess of the above mentioned pieces, weight or size should be checked-in as checked baggage according to regulations.


Breakfast is always at your hotel. Usually there will be a substantial breakfast buffet, including both Chinese and Western dishes. Lunch and dinner will be in designated tourist restaurants with good quality food. Normally for lunch or dinner, only one glass of drinks like Coke, Sprite, mineral water, or beer is included. Tea is also free of charge, but if you want an additional soft drink or order wine or coffee, you have to pay extra. Wine is usually sold by the bottle rather than by the glass.

If you are a vegetarian or if you do not eat meats such as chicken, pork, mutton, seafood, or beef, please let us know as soon as possible, so that we can notify the restaurants in advance and make special arrangements for you.

Potable water

If you want to buy drinks, crackers, bread or fruit, please shop at supermarkets or shop inside your hotel. If you do not know the location of a supermarket, you can ask the local guide or at the front desk of the hotel. Never buy provisions from street vendors or small grocery stores on the street since the quality there cannot be guaranteed.

If you become thirsty during sightseeing you can also buy refreshments at the designated tourist shops inside the scenic areas. For example in the Forbidden City and SummerPalace, there are many shops selling all kinds of drinks. These shops are state-run, and although the price is a bit higher, their quality is reliable.

If you want to sample the local cuisine we advise you to patronize the big restaurants. Never go to small restaurants or restaurants on the street, since the sanitary conditions there can be poor, and there is a good chance that you will get an upset stomach (or more) if you eat there.


Electricity in China is 220V. All outlets in hotel rooms are 220V, but in the bathroom there is a 110V outlet. Before you use any outlet to recharge your electric razor or other appliances you must check the voltage to decide which one to use. If you use the wrong outlet your razor will be shorted out and damaged. Call housekeeping if you need a converter or transformer.

Time Difference

China covers five time zones. But the standard times (Beijing Time) used in China Mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are the same, for they all belong to the same time zone (UTC+8), 8 hours ahead of the Universal Time Coordinated. For reference, the time in China (Beijing Time) is 13 hrs ahead of Washington and 8 hrs ahead of London.

Money Matter

  • You can convert your foreign currency into RMB at all banks, bank branches or hotels according to the exchange rate on that day. The State Foreign Exchange Administration sets the exchange rate daily. For your convenience, you can change money at the front desk of your hotel. You will fill in a currency exchange form, and at some hotels you will need to show your passport. After finishing a foreign currency conversion transaction, you will be given a receipt. With it, you may convert your surplus RMB back into foreign currency and take it out of China within a grace period of six months prior to departure from China. So when you exchange currency, we advise you to keep all your receipts.
  • The black market in foreign currency is forbidden in China, but sometimes you will meet people in front of hotels, at tourist spots, or banks who want to exchange money with you at black market rates, which are higher than the bank rate. This may be attractive, but you should be extremely careful because such transactions are not only illegal, but you also risk being cheated. Sometimes these people will not give you the correct amount in exchange if you don't count your money carefully or, even worse, they may give you counterfeit banknotes or just a bundle of plain paper with a few notes on the top.
  • For the convenience of travelers in China, the Bank of China cashes travelers’ checks sold by international commercial banks and travelers’ check companies in the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany and other countries. You can also cash your travelers’ checks at your hotel. When doing this, you will need to show your passport. The service charge is 0.74% of the total amount exchanged.

Phone call in China

1 If you want to reach a fix-lined phone number, you could directly dial the number. But if the phone number belongs to another city of the same province, an area code should be added before the phone number. For example, if you are in Fuzhou, Fujian, and you want to make a phone call to  Fuzhou, Fujian, “0591” should be added before the phone number. And if you dial a number of another province in China, an area code should also be added before the phone number. For example, if you are now in Beijing, and you want to call a phone in Shanghai, “021” should be added before the phone number. 

2. If you want to reach a mobile phone number in the city, you could directly dial the mobile number. But if the mobile number belongs to different cities or different provinces, “0” should be added before the mobile number. For example, you are now in Shanghai and you want to dial a mobile phone number in Beijing, you should dial 013609596500. 

Useful telephone numbers


112--Inner-city telephone mishaps

113--Operator of domestic long-distance calls

114--Inner-city telephone number inquiries

115--Operator of international long-distance calls

116--Information on domestic long-distance calls




121--Weather forecasts   

Health Issues

China is a remarkably healthy country despite its relative poverty and climatic variations, but you still must be aware of potential hazards and to act cautiously. The following are some useful tips to maintain your good health during your China trip:

  • Do not drink tap water. It is not safe. Although many locals drink tap water, we recommend that you drink only bottled mineral water or boiled water. You may use tap water to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth. Boiled water is available in all Chinese hotels and restaurants. There is usually an electric kettle supplied in the room at hotels, which you can use to boil water or make tea.
  • When you go sightseeing, take an umbrella or wear a hat to avoid sunburn and exposure (also wear enough clothes to keep warm, and dress in layers). Also wear comfortable shoes because you will usually walk a lot every day.
  • Public toilets will not provide tissues, so remember to bring along your own sanitary necessities when going outside your hotel.
  • The restaurants to which we will take you for lunch and dinner are all designated tourist restaurants and are very sanitary. Although the food is prepared fresh and cooked or cleaned thoroughly, you may not be accustomed to Chinese food, and stomach upsets are possible.We advise you to bring some appropriate medicine with you. Don't eat food purchased from street vendors and never eat uncooked meat or raw eggs.
  • Minor ailments such as sore throats and chest colds are also possible considering China's climatic extremes. Also, in cities such as Beijing it does not rain often and the summer months can be very dry and brutally hot, so it is necessary to address these extreme climactic conditions by drinking lots of liquids to prevent dehydration. We also advise eating fruits like pears and watermelons. Air pollution in large cities can be severe, particularly in winter. Respiratory ailments are common, so bring appropriate medicines with you.
  • If you are feeling ill, please seek qualified medical assistance. Self-diagnosis and treatment can be risky. The clinics in large hotels and restaurants offer basic treatment to travelers. You can also ask your local guide to take you to see a doctor as soon as possible. There are very good doctors in Chinese hospitals, so there is no need to be apprehensive.


There are many department stores and supermarkets in tourist cities in China. We advise you to buy your food and drink there, because the quality of products there can be guaranteed, but you will usually need to pay a higher price. Normally there is a department store or supermarket close tothe hotel you are staying. If you do not know its location, ask your local guide or at the front desk of the hotel.

Language may be a problem but with a little ingenuity, you can usually manage to communicate through a variety of gestures.

In most department stores and super markets in China, the prices are fixed and bargaining is not permitted. Foreign credit cards normally are not accepted here; so you will need to have some RMB when you go. Keep in mind that you should always ask for a receipt for what you paid.

If time permits, our local guide will take you to designated tourist shops to see handicrafts made with a distinctive local flavor. It is wonderful to see these delicate crafts and you can see the superb craftsmanship of our Chinese artisans. If you wish, you can buy them as souvenirs to keep or as gifts for your friends and relatives. Remember that all shopping is totally optional and your local guide must have your approval before taking you anywhere. At these shops no one will force you to buy anything. If you do not wish to visit any shops, please tell your local guide. If you have any complaints regarding shopping, please contact us. We promise you that we will handle the case immediately.


Tipping in china is not compulsory, but it is acceptable nowadays. After the tour ends in one city, it is a common practice to offer a tip to local guides and drivers as a gratuity for their service. You are advised to put the tips in an envelope and present it to the local guide and driver in the airport before you say goodbye to them. It is not necessary for you to offer the tips before the beginning of the tour. If you are not satisfied with the guide service, do not hesitate to let us know, and we will change the guide without hesitation.

For your reference, the usual tip is $8-10 USD/per day per guest (or the equivalent in RMB) for local guides in each city (for children, $4 USD/per person per day will be fine), $6-8 USD/per day per guest for drivers (for children, $3 USD/per person per day will be fine), depending on what you think of their services. For exceptional service you may wish, of course, to offer more to your guide and/or driver. If your luggage is heavy and you need bellboy service at your hotel when checking in and leaving, you will normally give them a tip. The suggested tip is $1 USD/per room per time.

Please feel free to tip or not to tip as you wish. But one thing is for sure, whether you tip or not, this will not affect the quality of service of our guides.

Travel Insurance

China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) issued a regulation in May, 2001 which instructs all travel agencies to buy insurance for their clients, effective September 1, 2001. According to the regulation, in order to secure tourists' interests and legal rights, especially those traveling to dangerous places, the National Tourism Administration issued a notice requiring all tourism agencies to buy "travel agencies' liability insurance." This insurance policy replaces the original Personal Accidence Insurance and becomes the new legal-based practice in China.
According to the notice, tourism agencies must compensate tourists, or their dependents, for losses in the following situations:

If physical injury or death occurs, tourism agencies must cover related costs of medicines, medical treatment, travel and accommodation charges;

They must cover losses if tourists' belongings are lost, broken or stolen;

They must cover all legal costs for their tourists if lawsuits are brought against the agencies.

The administration also stipulated related compensation standards:
The limit for compensation to a tourist on domestic trips is set at RMB:¥80,000 (US$9,700); and RMB¥160,000 (US$19,400) for a tourist traveling overseas.

At the same time, the administration stipulated compensation limits for tourism agencies.
A tourism agency's annual compensation must be within 2 million Yuan (US$243,902) if it specializes in domestic trips, while an international tourism agency's limit is 4 million Yuan (US$487,804). If tourism agencies launch highly risky travel services, they must co-ordinate with relevant insurance companies about related compensation standards and limits.
This newly enacted regulation will definitely improve the travel security environment in China.


Taxis are a convenient means of transportation in cities in China. When you enter a taxi there is basic charge of 8 or 10 Yuan that will take you a certain distance. If you go beyond that, the additional fare is from 1 to 2 Yuan per km. All taxis with business permits have working meters installed inside. As you leave, pay the fare according to the meter. It is not necessary to tip the taxi driver.

You can easily hail a taxi by standing on the roadside and raising your hand. In big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, it can very difficult to get a taxi at rush hour, so we advise you to reserve a taxi in advance through the front desk of the hotel. Choose a taxi with a business permit and meter. Before you leave the taxi, ask the driver for a receipt. Most taxi drivers do not understand much English, although those in tourist cities are encouraged to learn and speak some simple English, so it is better to have your destinations written in Chinese and show the address to the cab driver.