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China - Traveling

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Moving about in the city is mostly by taxis; there are a lot of them (60,000 in Beijing) and they are quite inexpensive. The size of the cities makes walking around difficult. The cities are very congested, so it is better to plan and leave early for an appointment. Beijing has 5 metro lines while Shanghai has 9 of them. Magnetic charge cards for the metro are very useful since they can be used to pay taxis also. They can be charged at all the metro station ticket counters and at the local grocery stores. Buses are plenty and cheap, but uncomfortable since they are often jam-packed.
Very important: Keep addresses of places where you want to go written in Chinese since the pronunciation does not often correspond to the transcription in Pinyin.
Maps of urban networks: Maporama

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

Bus: is the primary means of transport between cities.
Train: Generally in good condition although links are usually slow (for example: Canton-Beijing: 36 hours)
Airplane: Domestic companies have a low rate of accidents. The schedules are generally adhered to although the airports have reached their saturation levels.

Visit the China Vista website for further advice on the means of transport in China.

Name Type Domestic flights International flights
Air China Major Yes Yes
China Southern Airlines Major Yes Yes
Jetstar/Jetstar Asia/Valuair low cost No Yes
Shanghai Airlines Major Yes Yes
China Eastern Airlines Major Yes Yes
Spring Airlines low cost Yes No
Elong Major Yes Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: The state of the road network, which is rapidly developing, is overall satisfactory on the major roads although they are poorly marked. Driving in China is risky. It is better to rent a car with a driver or to hire a driver if you buy a car.
Find an itinerary: Google Maps


Different forms of tourism

Historical: Modern China has not quite obliterated ancient China as yet but ancient China is only surviving with difficulty.
Cultural: Museums, temples, etc.
Nature: In the west, Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, Xinjiang, large stretches of land
Religious: Several Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian temples .
Thermal: No spas in the European sense
Beach: The Hainan island, Sanya, the city of Qingdao in the Shandong province.
Winter sports: Not well developed.
Outdoor activities: Few
Shopping: Big department stores and shopping malls are being built all over the country. Western brands are established in the main Chinese cities. Markets such as Xiushui street and the antique market Panjiayuan in Beijing are good places to buy souvenirs.

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: There is no mandatory vaccination but vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B, meningococcal disease and poliomyelitis are strongly recommended. In Yunnan and the island of Hainan, as well as in the provinces of Guangxi and Guizhou, vaccination against Japanese encephalitis is advised if you are staying in the countryside.
For further information on sanitary conditions: Ministry of Health, People's Republic of China

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Beijing (GMT+8. Officially, a single time, Beijing time for the entire country. However, in the Xinjiang province, there is a lag of two hours with respect to Beijing time (usage).)
Summer time period: No time change in China.
Climate: In the southern part of China the climate is hot and very humid especially in summer; in the north the climate is continental.


Food specialties: Chinese cuisine is one of the richest and most refined cuisines in the world. There are four regional varieties:
- Beijing and Shandong cuisine gives a lot of importance to steamed noodles and the specialties are Peking duck and Beggar's chicken (wrapped in lotus leaves and cooked over the embers for a whole day);
- Cantonese and Chaozhou cuisine is the most famous Chinese cuisine abroad. It favors steam cooking, boiled or sautéed preparations and among its specialties are the dim-sum (small, steamed or fried dishes), snake soup, dog, rat or owl stew;
- Eastern Chinese cuisine specializes in spare ribs, seafood and soups;
- The Sichuan cuisine is said to have 4,000 dishes, among which gonbao jiding (chicken fried with peanuts and chili peppers), mapo doufu (pork with tofu and onions), guoba roupian (puffed rice served with pork in its gravy).
Shanghai cuisine in which the cuisines of North and South China meet, is quite sweet. The most popular dishes are xiaolongbao.
Drinks: Beer (píjiÇ”) is very common in China and is served everywhere. The most popular label is Tsingtao. Chinese beers are light and generally have an alcohol content of 3%-4%. Their price is from 2.5 to 4 CNY in stores, 6 CNY to 20 CNY in restaurants, about 20 CNY in a regular bar and 30 CNY to 60 CNY in the trendiest bars.
Red wine is common and reasonably priced at 15 CNY in stores and about 100-150 CNY in trendy bars. Great Wall, Chang Yu and Dynasty are the major labels with wines at different prices.
BáijiÇ” , The Chinese people often translate baijiu (Lit. "white alcohol") as "white wine", but this sorghum spirit has 40-60% alcohol.
Dietary taboos: Culinary restrictions vary from one religion to another.


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