Bird Flu - Information for Travelers
If an Avian Bird Flu pandemic strikes theres no doubt it will have a devastating effect on the travel industry. This document touches briefly on Bird Flu and provides advice for Travelers who are going to be ultimately more susceptible if a pandemic...
Chengdu Travel, an Easy-going City
Located in the west Sichuan Basin of Southwestern China, Chengdu
was once cited by a magazine as the most stress-free city in
China. Bestowed with rich rainfall, fertile land, and a low cost
of living, Chengdu is imbued with an atmosphere of ease...
Four Ways to Free/Low cost Travel Around Greece... and not only!
FOUR WAYS TO FREE/LOW COST TRAVEL AROUND GREECE... AND NOT ONLY!
1.Free lodging! Find a pen friend. Maybe you havenít thought of this. Itís the best solution to your budget problems, but you canít have it overnight! Greek people are...
Health Insurance for Canada Travel
While we as U.S. residents think often about travel insurance coverage when we're traveling overseas we're not so quick to worry about health insurance for Canada travel. This is especially true if our voyage to Canadian provinces is by car and not...
How to Travel for Free by Leading or Promoting Tours
Whether you're 16 or 60, you CAN travel just about anywhere in the world for free -- and even with a nice stash of cash in your pocket -- by telling like-minded people about a trip and convincing them to go...
Travel tips for the first time business or leisure traveller to China
Travel Tips for China
China is a large country at a size of 9,596,960 sq km. China was only partially open to the world from 1979 onwards and has been a communist country for many decades. Although there is much progress in the travel industry and infrastructure of China, there remain parts that needs to be improved before it can match the level that most tourist would require.
However, much of the fun remain that it is different from the rest of the world. China will be the host nation for the Olympics in Year 2008. Travel facilities and infrastructure will be improving quickly as we approach Year 2008.
Chinese is rich in culture and history. Visit the Great Wall of China in Beijing, sip Chinese tea in Xiamen, dance with ethnic tribes in Yunnan, check out 19th Century European buildings in Qingdao - there are just so much to do, see and learn in China!
Below are some travel tips to make your travel in China easier:
China require entry visa from most countries. Apply at the Chinese consulate or through your travel agent before travelling to China.
Extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north. Be prepared with the right seasonal clothing.
The Chinese unit of currency is known as Remembi (RMB) or Yuan. Get some Chinese Yuan in your local country before travelling. When in China, exchange foreign currency for local currency in the banks or at the hotel. Banks tend to give slightly better rates than hotels. Take note that some banks close for a noon siesta between 12-2pm.
Most better class hotels and shopping centres take Credit Card or Travellers cheques. Smaller hotels and shops take cash only. Once
out of the bigger cities, credit card and ATM cards tend to be almost impossible to utilize. Cash is still king in Chinese business and trade.
Counterfeit notes are common in China. Check carefully before accepting change, especially if it consists mostly 100RMB notes. You can feel a texture difference where counterfeit notes is concerned.
Understanding of English
Most civil servants, custom officials, police and hotel staff and men in the street do not speak English or at best a smattering of English.
Most signboards and notices will carry both English and Chinese. However, be aware that some translations can be so notorious that one can hardly understand what was it's original Chinese intention.
Do not expect hotels or shops to understand English. Only the very big hotels will have staff that will understand English.
Most young people can understand basic English if you speak slowly.
China is generally a safe country. However, hang on tight to your wallet especially in crowded, popular tourist sites in tourist cities such as Beijing and Xian.
These Chinese cities that are popular with tourist also has a lot of touts in the streets touting tourist from currency exchange to jewelleries to female companionships. Avoid at all cost!
Bus, train, ferries and domestic flights are quite well developed. Avoid the crowd at the stations and book your tickets through the hotel tour desk or the nearest tour agent. Prices are likely to be competitive and tickets will be delivered to your hotel room. Again, avoid ticket touts who approach you in the streets.
Local buses are cheap (US$0.10 or YS$0.20) and you may want to try out. Taxis are convenient and are available at all hours. Starting fares differ from each city and may be as cheap as US$0.70 in Weihai and US$1.50 in Shenzhen.
Avoid travel during peak holiday seasons or book tickets well ahead.
There is a good choice of hotels in China ranging from one star to the most luxurious 6 stars. Most of the time, the rooms are safe and clean and in my opinion, cheap does not mean bad.
There are many websites selling hotel rooms on the internet. You can also check out the travel counters which are available in most train, bus stations as well as airport.
Book ahead if travelling in peak seasons.
Peak Tourist Seasons
Chinese New Year: Date varies but generally late January or early February.
May Day: First two weeks of May
China National Day: Middle two weeks of October
Avoid travelling during these period. Book rooms and travel modes way early if need to travel.
Local food is absolutely fabulous. Try as much Chinese food as your wallet or stomach can afford. Restaurants are available everywhere and open to late hours. Most restaurants will have menu that includes photographs or simply point at the food of your neighbouring table, especially if it looks good!
However, avoid street side stalls and drinking directly from the taps if you have delicate stomach.
Mobile phone coverage is good in most locations. Global auto-roaming is not a problem.
There are cyber-cafes everywhere, especially in tourist areas. Most are patronised by young people playing online games but you still can check your Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. Access may be a bit slow for international websites.
You will need to show your passport as China has tight regulations at Internet CyberCafes.
One of the worst experience many has with China is the atrocious toilet facilities. Things has improved very much but it may still be a good idea to empty your stomach or bladder at every opportunity in a hotel, restaurant or departmental store. Public toilets and toilets in small shops can be a nose hazard!
* Useful China travel tips *
Try to get a English speaking tour guide at every opportunity you can. China has a rich and wonderful history and culture and without a guide, somehow, the flavour and significance of most tour sites can be lost.
*Sneaky tip: Hang around a group that has a English speaking guide if you cannot afford one!
Always ask for a receipt from a taxi driver so that you can complain if you have been cheated or for tracing purposes if you happen to leave your camera behind in the taxi.
Try to take the namecard for each hotel that you are staying at as these cards will have a Chinese address and the map of your hotel location. This is useful if you need to seek assistance to find your way back as the English version or pronounciation of a hotel or a street name may be quite different from the Chinese version.
After a tiring day, check out Chinese foot reflexology or Chinese TuiNa (Chinese massage). Wonderful for the body after a hard day and very cheap to boot. Just look out for any shop that has two feet as it's signboard!
Make friends with the Chinese whenever you can. They love to meet foreigners and will make good tour guides. Just buy a small present as a small token of appreciation.
About the Author
Ken Cheong worked and live in Mainland China for 5 years. He has great admiration for the Chinese people who has suffered for many years from war and political unrest to become a up and coming economy today. He shares his experience in China with people interested in visiting or working in China in his chinese culture website.