The following are a few suggestions for planning your trip to China.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS All foreign visitors to China must possess a valid passport (usually valid for at least 6 months beyond your visit). Your passport must be stamped with a visa from a Chinese Consulate. China Road Ltd. can assist you in determining which Chinese consulate is likely to be most appropriate for your visa application. Travelers are responsible for obtaining their own tourist visas. Detailed information on visas can be found at the "Chinese Tourist Visa" page of this website.
IMPORT/EXPORT RESTRICTIONS Like most countries, China restricts the import and export of certain items. Animals and plant matter, illegal drugs, pornography, anti-Chinese propaganda materials, firearms and certain computer equipment are among the items that may be restricted or prohibited for import into China. It may also be illegal to bring antiques out of China, unless they are accompanied by documentation showing that they were lawfully purchased from a government store.
CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS The national currency of China is the renminbi (RMB), which is sometimes called the yuan. It is easy to exchange money when you first arrive in a Chinese international airport, and hotel front desks can also handle such exchanges. Visitors who want to change their RMB back when they leave China may be required to show the exchange paper that they received when purchasing the currency in China. Major American credit cards are widely accepted, but cash can still be helpful in smaller shop, so travelers should exchange an appropriate amount of money upon their arrival in China.
PACKING CHECKLIST Some Chinese cities are thoroughly modern, offering a wide selection of products that Western travelers would expect to find at home. In other Chinese cities and in the countryside, however, conditions of life are simpler, and travelers are advised to pack accordingly. While you should have no difficulty obtaining such items as extra clothing and shoes, China Road Ltd. recommends that you consider the following items in your travel packing list: -- comfortable walking shoes with tread in good condition -- any prescription medicines required during the tour -- any vitamin supplements that the traveler may prefer -- standard remedies for colds and allergies from which the traveler may suffer -- a surgical-type mask for use in crowded areas when recommended -- non-prescription medicine for stomach upset or diarrhea (experienced by many tourists as they adjust to unfamiliar foods and water) -- preferred photographic memory chips and batteries -- electric plug adapters for the variety of Chinese 220v outlets -- a roll of toilet paper (not necessary in the hotels that we book, but sometimes useful in less modern public restrooms that you may encounter during a day's tour) -- dialing instructions for making telephone calls from China with the long distance company of your choice (if you do not want to pay hotel rates for direct dial calls)
HEALTH The COVID-19 virus led to many new precautions by Chinese government agencies to assure public health, and they also led to quarantine restrictions being imposed on visitors returning to the U.S. from China. Travelers should check on the status of this issue before booking a tour. Special immunizations are not otherwise generally required for entering China or for returning from China to the U.S. or Canada. You should, however, check with your physician to determine if any immunizations are recommended in your particular case. Although water in hotels will generally be potable, it can cause upset stomachs for many foreigners. It is therefore recommended that you use bottled water, which is widely and cheaply available.
LANGUAGE Local Chinese will be pleased if you learn a few simple greetings or other words to use during your travels. Through your guides and hotel staff, however, you will have access to English-speaking assistance at any time when you require it.
SHOPPING With many centuries of traditional arts and handicrafts, China offers many unique handmade products for sale to visitors. Your guides can answer questions about the products for which each region is best known, and you will have some opportunity to see some traditional crafts being made. China Road's tours are, however, primarily oriented to cultural, scenic and culinary highlights, so visitors with extensive shopping plans may want to add a day or two at the end of their tour for this purpose. China Road Ltd. does not accept any promotional fee from any retail establishment in China.
PHOTOGRAPHY Visitors are generally free to take photographs or videotapes of the places they visit in China. As in many countries, however, visitors may be prohibited from taking pictures of military or police installations. Photography is also restricted or prohibited in certain museums and in temples or monasteries where religious rites are actively practiced.