10 Step Guide to Travelling in China

China is home to 1.3 billion people, making it the single most populous country in the world. Covering a geographical area of some 9.76 million square kilometres, this East Asian country is a diverse and exciting destination for travellers and business visitors. From accommodation to culture and etiquette, our 10 step travel guide will provide you with a good overview for getting started with your next trip to this bustling and culturally rich destination.

1. Accommodation

Accommodation can vary dramatically in China. Budget hostels are widely available in the major tourist destinations. Luxury accommodation, as in Malaysia hotels and hotels elsewhere, rivals the best hotels anywhere in the world in terms of luxuriousness, facilities, and comfort. Major hotel chains can be found in the capital cities. As for Doha hotels or hotels elsewhere, great accommodation is key to an enjoyable experience in China.

2. Business and Economy

China is a rapidly changing state that presents significant opportunities for businesses. The world’s largest exporter and currently the second largest economy in the world, it is poised to overtake the US in 2016. Countless multinational companies have entered China as exporters or by establishing local operations.

3. Etiquette and Culture

Although China is a large country with diverse customs, language, and culture, there are some key cultural differences from the West to keep in mind. In general, Chinese culture emphasises seniority, developing relationships, and respecting ‘face’. These may impact on both personal and business relationships.

4. Leisure

Cinemas, western-style bars, pubs, and Japanese-style karaoke bars are popular in urban areas and cities. However, more traditional past times include:

  • Massage, which is widely available in most areas;
  • Martials arts and taichi;
  • Calligraphy; and
  • Visiting tea gardens and parks.

5. Climate

China’s climate is very diverse, with subtropical regions in southern China to subarctic conditions in the northern parts. It’s best to pack appropriately by checking average temperatures for your chosen Chinese destinations beforehand.

6. Travel Opportunities

Given its geographical and cultural diversity, China present an amazing array of travel opportunities for visitors. Frequent domestic flights help travellers cover the large distances relatively quickly. Some must-see places include the Forbidden City in Beijing, the terracotta warriors in Xian, the Great Wall of China, and the mega-metropolises of Shanghai, Beijing, and Chengdu.

7. Cuisine

Cuisine in China varies from region to region. Northern cuisines emphasis wheat products like noodles and buns while the south is oriented toward rice dishes. Shanghainese, Sichuanese, Beijing, and Cantonese are just some of the distinct cuisines within the country.

Both restaurants and hawker style eating places are available in the major cities, as are Western style fast food restaurants. Beer is common, as are Maotai and other local speciality wines.

8. Banking

It’s relatively easy to change money in China, though private currency exchanges are rare. You can exchange currency at banks, and ATMs can be found in large cities. Credit cards tend to be accepted only at majors and higher end restaurants. Tipping is not a common practice.

9. Shopping

There are many shopping outlets in major cities, with anything from markets to high end department stores. While not everything is as cheap as many first time travellers tend to expect, it’s possible to bargain down prices for retail goods in most outlets.

10. Visas

Passport holders from most countries will need a visa to enter China, even those with Hong Kong and Macau residence. If you’re just transiting through an airport, you may be permitted to stay up to 12 – 48 hours (depending on the airport) without a visa so long as you don’t leave the airport. Some countries, such as Japan, and Singapore, have agreements which allow their passport holders to remain up to 15 days without a visa.

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