China

The biggest country in Asia, China is always very close to my heart. I spent a wonderful year in Shanghai to learn Chinese and learn more about their culture and I hope I will be visiting again one day.

We have different sections devoted to China. In our China Travel Tips you will find everything you need to know if you want to travel to China. Useful tips on Mandarin Chinese, how to learn Chinese and how to communicate in Mandarin Chinese during your China trip, as well as the best tours to China and hotels suggestions.

On the other hand, in our China Travel Guides, you will find detailed guides about Beijing and Shanghai.

Practical tips for planning a trip to China

Visa

Everyone needs a visa to enter China. The only few exceptions are if you are on a long stopover in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, the passengers of 53 countries can get a 72-hour visa-free transit (I think extended up to 144 hours). Check with the local embassy if your nationality is included and what are the areas you can visit.

Hotel booking

It’s always a good idea to book your hotel as early as you can so you have more chances to find good deals.

On websites like Booking you can book hotels in all Chinese cities, while others like TripAdvisor and HotelsCombined let you compare the prices and deals among several booking sites.

Safety

China is very safe. In one year spent in Shanghai and travelling also to other cities like Beijing and Qingdao, I never felt under pressure. Even taking the taxi at night I never felt uncomfortable.

Obviously, pickpockets happen, like in every other country, so it would be a good idea to adopt some safety measures like leaving your passport in your hotel room and carry with you a copy and wear safety clothes for money, credit card and personal belongings.

In general, when you travel it’s always a good idea to purchase a travel insurance. World Nomads is one of the best and with a wide coverage.

Holidays

The most important holiday in China is the Chinese New Year in February. For almost a month, most Chinese are on holiday. This often means that for at least two weeks (more yes, hardly less), they go back home and cities like Shanghai are very quiet, many places are closed and especially street vendors are nowhere to be found.

I was in Shanghai during New Year and I actually loved it. The city was quiet, traffic much less and yet all services were up and running as well as shops and restaurants. I also enjoyed their celebrations in the old town, so if you are interested in the local culture, this might be a nice time to go.

» For more information on how to organise your first trip to China, click here.

Tours to China and package deals

There are many companies that organise tours to China. Tours are perfect for who doesn’t want to go through the hassle of organising the whole trip, dealing with logistics such as booking hotels and domestic transport.

Often, tours also provide a better a better understanding of the place and the culture. In China, you will visit places like the Great Wall, cruise the Yangzi River, travel to Tibet, visit Hong Kong and more.

Check out GAdventures and Intrepid Travel for some great deals and expeditions, or TourRadar to compare different tour operators.

Discover China and its culture with us