What you need to know going to China

How to prepare for your trip to China

Will you be traveling to China soon? Have you already thought about how best to prepare and What to take with you when you travel to China?

Let us help you with that! Below we have some helpful tips to help you get ready.

I. What to do before you travel

1) Documents and Visa

Passport and Visa for China

The first thing to keep in mind when traveling to China is that you must get a visa. Please note that the expiration date of your passport should not exceed 6 months from the end of your trip to China.

If you are planning a beach holiday in Hainan Island, you will be interested to know about visa-free Hainan.

In China it is VERY IMPORTANT to have your passport: without it they won’t let you in at the railway station, the airport, or check you in at the hotel. If you lose your passport, contact your travel consultant!

Tip:

Make photocopies of your passport and visa, and take photos of all documents on your phone and save them on your email. Keep the photocopies separate from your documents.

2) Hotel names and addresses

Keep the names and addresses of hotels in English and Chinese. This is helpful if you plan to order a cab, as drivers in China often do not know the English hotel names.

Print all information on one sheet so you don’t lose anything.

3) Currency Exchange and Banks in China

Currency exchange and banks in China

We advise you to buy Chinese yuan in advance of your trip.

In major Chinese cities you can withdraw cash from ATMs using Visa, MasterCard, and Cirrus cards (fees apply). Not all banks accept Russian cards, we advise you to use the following: Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China or Merchants Bank. Please note that the limit for cash withdrawal from cards of foreign banks in China is currently 10,000 yuan (CNY) per day.

4) Communication and Internet in China (VPN)

Before you travel, check whether you are connected to roaming. Install useful applications on your phone: maps, translators, etc.

Remember: Many websites and applications are blocked in China. First of all it concerns WhatsApp, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. To avoid inconvenience during your travels in China, download and install VPN for China.

Tip:

Just in case, install the Chinese messenger WeChat to stay in touch. Add your travel consultant’s contact.

5) Dress for the weather

Before you travel to China, Check the weather in the cities you are going to visit. Take seasonal clothing with you.

Take care of comfortable shoes that won’t chafe, as you will surely be walking a lot. Don’t forget rain and sun protection, sunglasses, and a hat in summer.

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II. Useful travel information

1) Plug sockets and adapters

China has adopted a 220V, 50Hz frequency standard. Thus, Russian residents will not need an adapter and converter (except for devices imported from the U.S., Japan, and some other countries).

2) Baggage allowance in airplanes and trains

Luggage allowance in China

In an airplane:

The weight of checked-in baggage in China (adults and children) is up to 20 kg for economy class, up to 30 kg for business class, and up to 40 kg for first class.

The maximum dimensions of each piece of baggage are 40 x 60 x 100 cm. Hand luggage weighing from 2 to 8 kg is also free, depending on the airline and the class of service you choose.

On trains:

You do not need to check in luggage on the train. Please note that China has instituted the following restrictions: you may bring no more than 20 ml of nail polish and hair dye, no more than 120 ml of spray cans, 2 cigarette lighters and 2 match boxes on board.

3) Safety

During your trip, keep your belongings safe, especially in crowded places: in the street, at sightseeing, in stores and markets, at the airport and the train station. Keep especially valuable items in the hotel safe in your room or at the reception. Be careful not to leave your belongings unattended when using the restroom in a restaurant or store.

Travel to China with China Highlights!

Going to China with China Highlights

Leave your family or friends information about your tour itinerary and how you can be contacted if needed. When traveling with China Highlights, you’ll be able to stay in touch both directly and through our office.

How to travel to China on your own

Detached trip to China

Learn how to arrange an independent trip to China in 2022. Visa, tickets, hotels, food, transportation, security. How much does it cost to go to China? Calculating the cost, tips and observations.

China does not yet accept tourists from Russia. Look at the list of open countries. For convenience, we give pre-departure prices for trips and flights. Information about visas and flights can be out of date, please check with official resources.

The material is based on the author’s personal experience of independent travel to China: three months of living in Shenzhen, as well as trips to Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

China is huge and very diverse, so it is impossible to say exactly where the prices and conditions are. I will start from Shenzhen, the center of all electronics, a young and fast-growing city in the very south of China, which borders on Hong Kong. I’ll cover what comes in handy for the tourist when planning an independent trip to China in 2022, as well as my own observations about the country and travel tips.

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Content:

How to make a visa to China by yourself

A visa to China for Russians is needed, except in rare cases. A normal single entry visa costs 1,500 rubles, a double entry visa costs 3,000 rubles and a multiple entry visa costs 4,500 rubles. Plus there is a bank commission of 2.5% per person.

Single entry urgent visa costs Br2,400, double entry urgent visa costs Br3,900, and multiple entry urgent visa costs Br5,400. There is also Express visa, which is more expensive.

Read in detail how to make a visa to China by yourself (tourist and transit), what documents are necessary, how much it costs, how to go to China without a visa and other useful information.

How much does a visa cost in China

Visa to China (Photo: Max Braun / flickr.com)

How much does it cost to fly to China: ticket prices

Where to find cheap tickets? Use the Aviasales search engine – it compares prices of all airlines. Learn the secrets of finding cheap airline tickets.

The price is per round-trip per person.

The cheapest flight to China is from Vladivostok – from 6,000 rubles to Beijing, to Harbin – from 12,000. The tickets for 11-22 thousand rubles are available from other cities in Siberia and the Far East: Irkutsk, Khabarovsk, Chita, Ulan-Ude, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Flights from Moscow to Chinese cities cost from 18 to 20 thousand roubles. The cheapest flights will be to Beijing, Urumqi and Guangzhou. From Saint Petersburg the cost starts at 20,000 roubles.

From Ekaterinburg you can fly to Beijing for 28 thousand rubles and from Novosibirsk to Urumqi for 18 thousand.

Helpful: changing planes in Beijing. Instructions for use

How much does it cost to get a ticket to China

Airport in Beijing (Photo: Enzojz / flickr.com)

How much do hotels in China cost in 2022

Going to China on your own, you will have to decide where to stay. Someone chooses the usual hotels, and someone rents an apartment or a room.

Hotels. Double rooms in hotels in downtown Beijing cost from $30 in summer and from $13 in low season. In Shenzhen off-season it’s from $22. You are advised to search for hotels on Roomguru.

It is better to stay in chain hotels, as they care about their reputation. The price for a night in a chain hotel starts at $30-40 for a double room. The best chain hotels in Shenzhen are Greentree Inn, Sheraton, Novotel, etc.

Tips:

  • Look for a hotel with good soundproofing – Chinese people are noisy.
  • Hotel photos do not always correspond to reality.
  • Sometimes a room can be clean and comfortable, but have extraneous odors, such as damp. Or the windows overlook the courtyard, where the dump or Chinese street cafeteria (which produces smells no better).
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Rent. If you want personal comfortable accommodation, rent a room, apartment or house. To rent an apartment in Beijing costs about $30-50 per day, in Shenzhen from $27. You can rent an apartment for about $600-$1500 for a month (rooms $500-$900). The price depends on the city, region and condition of the house. For example, in Shenzhen near the beach in the resort area a great apartment for $ 600. I will give you a discount if you rent for a long time.

How much does it cost to live in China?

Entrance to the Shenzhen Novotel Watergate (Photo: booking.com / Shenzhen Novotel Watergate)

Food and cuisine in China

Another difficulty you may encounter when traveling to China on your own in 2022 is the food. It’s very specific here, so going to a cafe can be difficult, especially if you don’t know the language. But that’s where McDonald’s and KFC come in. There are also many well-known European chains, where you can order food by picture. However, their prices are much higher – for example, a side dish with meat starts at $6. Sometimes the price includes tea. At McDonald’s a Big Mac (fries, coke, double cheeseburger) costs about $5.

In general, you can eat at cafes for $5 or more, in restaurants a simple meal costs from $10.

Where you can eat inexpensive and delicious in China:

  • Cafes for locals. In them you can eat for $ 1.5, but no one guarantees the quality of products and compliance with sanitary standards. Minus – it is difficult to order food, as often there are no or few pictures, and if there are, it is not clear what it is.
  • “Muslims” are local cafes run by Chinese Muslims. The food there is cooked to all standards and is very good indeed. I really love their noodles and I suggest you try them. They cook it in front of you and the process is interesting to watch. Cost from $1.50 for a huge portion.
  • Supermarket. A kilo of bananas costs $1-2$, apples $2-3$, tangerines $1-2$. I would not advise buying sausage products. This is not at all what we expect: Chinese sausages are made from soy with a lot of spices and additives. They taste sweet and have a peculiar smell, but for the sake of curiosity you can try it once.

Trip to China Price

(Photo: Jo@net / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0 license)

Internet and cellular communications in China

All sim-cards are sold only with a passport in specialized places. The cost of mobile communications is quite high – from $20 a month, plus they charge the same for the purchase of the card and the choice of tariff plan. To get a normal tariff and to understand everything you need to know the Chinese language. If you need internet in China, it’s easier to use Wi-Fi while traveling – you can find it everywhere in large cities.

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There is another unpleasantness that many people encounter – it’s blocking all the services of Google, YouTube, Instagram. To access them, you need to install a special VPN program.

Cell Phones in China

China Mobile is the largest mobile operator in the world (Photo: Open Grid Scheduler Grid Engine / flickr.com)

Transport in China

Transportation in China is excellent. The infrastructure is very well developed. Planes, ferries, trains (including high-speed trains), buses, subways and cabs. You can get anywhere without any problems. Bus fares start at $0.3 and metro fares start at $0.5.

If you plan to go to China for a month, buy a travel card. Plastic card can be recharged and used in the subway and buses, and then return and get money back. The cost is $4. This is very convenient: no need to find out the cost of tickets, buy tokens, standing in queues. Accordingly, the language problem disappears as well. For travel within the same city is enough $ 10-30 for a month.

A very common mode of transportation is electric pedals. It is essentially a cab, only less comfortable, more extreme and cheaper – from $2. The main advantage – no traffic jams, as mopeds go wherever they want. The only downside is the language. You have to negotiate the price and destination.

Go to china

(Photo: Lαin / flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)

ATMs and cards.

Be prepared that many stores may not accept your Visa or MasterCard because China has a different payment system, UnianPay. This card can be obtained free of charge from any bank. If you need to withdraw money from your own, there are plenty of ATMs for this.

The mentality of the Chinese

Don’t be surprised if in China you feel like a monkey everybody wants to take a picture with. For a chinese person to have a photo with a European is an indicator of coolness, status, so you will always be in the center of attention. People will always turn around and look at you point-blank without hesitation. In addition to the increased interest, the Chinese will try to make money on the “white man”. For them, we are walking money, so haggle in all stores. For example, we once knocked the price of a shirt from $35 to $5.

The culture and upbringing of most Chinese can be talked about for a long time. Give way to a girl, let her go first, let people get out of transport, throw trash in a trashcan – it’s not about them. They also have no sense of tact. Don’t be surprised if at the first meeting you will be asked about personal life, salary and health. The Chinese people themselves are very artful and enterprising, but good-natured at the same time.

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Useful words in Chinese for a traveler:

Safety in China

Do you know where the tradition of backpacking comes from? From China. Petty theft is very common there. In big cities, you can find a policeman everywhere, who is happy to help in any situation. There are also cameras in all buses, subways, shopping malls, and just on the street, so in large cities there is nothing to be afraid of when walking on the streets in the evening. From personal experience: I walked around with photo equipment, and not once did anyone try to molest.

There is also an unspoken rule in China that animals, children, and laowai (foreigners) are allowed anything.

Travel By Yourself

(Photo: Today is a good day / flickr.com / License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

How much does it cost to go to China on your own from Russia

Let’s calculate how much a trip to China for two people for 10 days when departing from Moscow costs:

  • Single entry visa – $52.
  • Flights from Moscow to Beijing and back – from $586.
  • Отель в центре Пекина в низкий сезон — 130$. Найти отель >>
  • Meals at local eateries – $120.
  • Insurance is $23.
  • Transportation and sightseeing – about $200.

So how much does it cost to go to China on your own? The minimum cost for a trip, if you are willing to save money – about $ 1111 for two people for 10 days.

If you are used to living in comfort, the trip will cost about $ 1711 for two (accommodation in a 3* hotel – $ 250 and meals in cafes and restaurants – $ 600). We spent $1,500 a month for two people.

How much does it cost to go to China?

Fragment of a 100 yuan bill (Photo: super.heavy / flickr.com)

Important nuances and tips

Take advantage of our helpful tips for traveling independently to China in 2022:

  • See how the Chinese count on their fingers before you travel. It only matches our counting up to 4, it’s different from there.
  • Be sure to download a translator into your phone.
  • Take the right medicine, as in the Chinese pharmacies you are unlikely to find something familiar. Most likely you will meet a dried toad, rather than activated charcoal.
  • Download the program Baidu on your phone and maps of cities where you are going to live. This program will help you choose a route, time and mode of transport, to determine the best way. With it you will not get lost. I highly recommend it!

I hope you have a general idea of the prices and conditions. And the language problem, as you see, is not so scary. Travel, because there is so much interesting things in the world!

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