Fast Facts: China

Below are some of the most common questions from our travelers.

Do I need a passport? What is required for entry?

Travelers to China must have a passport valid for at least 8 months after your return date. Passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible.

U.S. citizens must also obtain a China visa, no more than 180 days prior to departure. To enter Tibet, you must also have a Tibet Travel Permit.

For U.S. citizens, we recommend obtaining China travel visas through our preferred provider, CITS USA, which offers fast and easy processing at a discounted rate for our travelers. For travelers booked on tours with Scheduled Dates, we will send a visa support letter and instructions via e-mail after you have completed your travel registration form and made your final payment, approximately 60 days prior to departure. Please apply for your visa only after receiving this letter.

If your tour includes Tibet, we will obtain the necessary travel permit on your behalf after we receive your final payment. To process this permit, we need: 1) a scanned color copy of the photo page of each traveler's passport; 2) a scanned color copy of each traveler's Chinese travel visa; 3) a scanned color copy of a 2" x 2" passport size photo; and 4) the occupation of each traveler. Please send this information to documents@friendlyplanet.com as soon as you have it so we can process your permit in a timely manner.

What is the weather like?

Northern China is best seen in September and October, and southern China is best seen in November and December. Winters range from extremely cold in the north to moderate in the south.

Check out the current weather conditions in China

Are there any health precautions I should take?

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are no requirements for travel to China, but immunization against polio, tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis are recommended. Also ask your doctor about malaria suppressants if you will be visiting Hainan Island and areas close to the Laotian and Myanmar borders. Be sure to take insect repellant!

A note on blood and transfusions: RH negative and type O bloods are not commonly stored in China. There have also been problems with HIV contaminated blood supplies.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

What is the currency?

In China, the national currency is the Yuan. Please review the current exchange rate for the Yuan.

ATMs are not always hooked up to international banking networks. Machines accepting foreign ATM cards have CIRRUS or MAESTRO logos. It is preferable to take along cash, travelers checks or credit cards.

Are tips & service charges customary?

Do not leave a tip in restaurants, even if a service charge is not added. If you do, it will be refused. Hotel porters, however, do expect 10 yuan for carrying your luggage to your room or taxi.

What are the best items to shop for?

The best shopping is often at public markets. Shop for carpets, chops (ink seals), stone and jade carvings, wood-block prints, cloisonne, patent medicines, embroidered linens, reproductions of old art, glass items, silk, handpainted snuff bottles, musical instruments, and ethnic tribal crafts.

What are the voltage requirements?

220 volts. Plugs A, I & G. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit before your tour to China. View more information about electrical standards around the world.

Can I take my cell phone?

See our blog post on using your cell phone abroad.

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