Travel Tips & General Info for Your Trip to China
CHINESE CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES
When you arrive in China, you will proceed through Immigration and passport inspection. You will then proceed to the baggage carousel and claim your checked luggage. From there go through Customs and present your "Customs Declaration Form" which you filled out on your flight. You will be given the carbon copy of this Customs Declaration Form. Be sure not to lose it, as you will have to show it to the Customs Officer upon exiting China. Continue out to the waiting area where you will meet your guide who will transfer you to your hotel.
"Travel Light" is the best advice we can give you. While traveling on flights domestically within China, you will be allowed only 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of checked luggage. Internationally you are permitted two pieces of checked luggage per person weighing up to 70 pounds per piece. Hence, you might want to do your souvenir shopping around the end of your trip.
We suggest that you dress casually and comfortably throughout your trip. There are no occasions where you will be required to wear formal clothing on your tour. Comfortable and reliable walking shoes are a must to enjoy the sightseeing tours. A collapsible umbrella or raincoat is also advised although you can purchase these items in China as well.
Breakfast is served in your hotel as either western buffet or Chinese buffet style. Lunches and dinners which are included (check your itinerary to see which meals are included) are served in a local restaurant during your day of sightseeing. A fixed supply of beverages is served with the meals at no charge. Additional beverages, including alcoholic beverages, are available at a modest additional charge.
Although ""tap water"" in China is theoretically safe by World Health Organization standards, we do not recommend you drink it. In most modern hotels in the larger cities they operate their own ""in-house"" water treatment systems providing safe drinking water throughout the hotel. Other hotels provide thermos bottles of safe drinking water. Bottled mineral water is also available in your hotel mini-bar at an additional charge.
Laundry and dry-cleaning services are available at each of the hotels. It's fast and of high quality. Items collected in the morning are returned the same evening. Charges are included in your personal room bill for payment upon checking out.
Standard voltage in China is 220 and wall plugs vary from city to city. Some hotels supply a plug with a 110 current adapter in the bathroom, but we suggest you bring along your own adapters and converters for your electrical appliances.
You will have to change your U.S. dollars to Chinese currency for all purchases in China. Airports, hotels and many tourist facilities have a currency exchange counter where you can exchange travelers checks and/or cash at the official exchange rate, which is the same throughout China for that given day.
The currency local people use is called ""Renminbi"", often represented by the initials ""RMB"". The local unit of currency is called the ""Yuan"". There are one hundred ""Fen"" in a ""Yuan"" and ten ""Fen"" in a ""Jiao"". There are 1,2, and 5 Fen coins and different size and colored bills for 10 and 50 Fen, and for 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 Yuan. If traveling to Hong Kong please be aware they still use Hong Kong Dollars, they do not use Chinese Renminbi.
Credit cards are accepted in major cities and tourist hotels and stores. Traveler checks from any bank are recommended as the safest and most convenient way to carry your funds. Due to a black market in foreign currency we suggest that you do not exchange money with any strangers.
Click to view Bank of China Foreign Exchange Rate
China is a wonderfully colorful country to photograph. The only restrictions are that you may not photograph military facilities and certain cultural sties such as the Terra Cotta Warrior Excavations. Common courtesy is in order when photographing strangers. Bring plenty of film and extra batteries.
LOCAL TRANSPORTATION/GETTING AROUND
Most major sites are included in your sightseeing program and transportation is provided in an air-conditioned vehicle. If you wish to do some sightseeing or travel to some place on your own, you will find taxis are readily available. Fares are generally quite inexpensive and most taxis are metered. Taxi rates can be different depending upon the 'grade"" of the taxi. Taxi drivers don't necessarily speak English so be sure to get directions written out in advance in Chinese. Hotel staff and local guides will be happy to help.
The people expecting tips include: hotel bellboys and luggage person (you may tip them when they move your luggage). Tips to restaurant, hotel waiters and taxi drivers are not expected. Chambermaids and porters should also be tipped when appropriate and are not included and is the same as going on any trip worldwide. If you are in a hotel bar, tipping is customary.
Your tour guide might not be an expert on gemstones, porcelain, jade, paintings, etc., so if you intend to purchase items of this nature, please do some research before departing and have an idea of what you are looking for as well as the price you are prepared to pay. In addition, please carefully check the quality of the products, and always ask for a receipt with product descriptions.
Health preparations are up to you and your physician. On the one hand, some public health departments recommend a long list of inoculations, while the Chinese, Hong Kong and the U.S. government do not require inoculations for travel within China. We recommend you consult your local physician prior to your trip.
Source: China Travel Service Inc.