We receive a lot of questions from travelers preparing to embark on their China trip and while we have written on each of the following topics at length before, we want to make a list that’s easy to navigate through, so you can get to what’s most relevant for you.
Check out the topics below, but if you do have more questions, feel free to comment or contact us via ChinaClickGo.com!
You might be traveling in China for a long time or plan to enjoy the 72/144-hour visa-free regulation, but in any case, make sure you double-check the requirements for obtaining a visa according to your nationality.
Here are a few things to consider:
- You might be able to enjoy the visa-free program upon entry, but if traveling with a cruise, you might be able to use it only once. So be sure you have a valid visa in your passport then.
- Unfortunately, not all countries can take advantage of the convenient free-visa regulations. Double-check if yours is on the list.
- Traveling to Hong Kong from mainland China is like traveling abroad. If your visa only has one entry, keep in mind that you won’t be able to come back into mainland China with that same visa.
Read more about visa regulation to China HERE
The Language Barrier
China’s English-speaking population is growing, but don’t always expect to find English-speakers working at your hotel or in a nearby restaurant. More than 90% of travelers in China are Chinese, hence non-Chinese speakers may not be local travel services main priority. Of course, it is possible to travel on our own without knowing Chinese, but it will require more preparation on your end.
Our recommendation is that you either prepare your trip with a travel consultant who can provide you with all relevant information in advance or book some local guided tours to make things easier on yourself.
Set Realistic Budget Expectations
China is no longer a cheap travel destination. While, yes, you can choose to stay at local hostels and travel by bus, if you are on a short trip and don’t speak Chinese, it might be more difficult to do so. If you are looking for clean hotels, booking a flight or bullet train, and, of course, visit parks and attractions, expect to spend more than one would on a backpacker’s budget.
In China, there are a lot of high-end service providers and then, many low-end ones as well (we usually refer to them as “shopping tours”). Services in the middle-ground exist too, but these usually get less exposure. Nonetheless, we highly recommend you keep an eye out for them as you can get great services at very reasonable prices.
The Great Firewall
We are amazed that even today, travelers still don’t know about the Great Firewall of China. Yes, the rumors are true – Facebook, Twitter and Google are blocked here. One thing people often overlook as well is that they won’t be able to go on the Chrome search app either. WhatsApp was blocked last year too, and you will find many other websites you might log onto back home are not available for use in China.
So, what you can do?
- Buy an internet package before leaving home and keep surfing on your servers from home.
- Download WeChat to your phone for messaging, calling, and getting connected to people while traveling in China overall. It’s also a great source for finding reliable information.
- If you choose to rely on local Wi-Fi networks, you will need to buy a local SIM card which can be purchased at the airport or at any of the China Unicom/Telecom stores with your passport. If you choose this method, we also recommend that you download or buy a good VPN service in advance, as this will be the only way for you to connect to blocked websites.
Understand the Size and Distances Across China
China is huge – as big as Europe itself – and planning a trip should take this into consideration. Realistically speaking, you won’t be able to make it to more than 3 destinations in 7 days. Even within cities, transportation can be complicated if you do not speak the language and traffic can be horrible, so it’d be wise to plan your schedule well in advance with these things in mind.
Try to avoid traveling in China during national holidays, mainly Spring Festival which changes every year but will fall in either January or February and the Golden Week in early October. Other than those two celebrations, there are smaller holidays, but they are usually not quite as crowded. Weather-wise, it is advised that you visit during spring and autumn and avoid summer or winter times if possible.
Read more about when to travel China HERE
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