Most travellers need a visa prior to entry. There are 4 types of visa – Ordinary, Service, Courtesy and Diplomatic. Ordinary Visa is a visa for tourists and family visits.
Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan holding ordinary passports may enter China without a visa through the ports of entry open to foreigners provided that they come to China for tourism, family visit, business or transit, and intend to stay in China for no more than 15 days
Nationals from UK, EU, USA, Canada and Australia are all required to obtain a visa upon entry.
Foreigners holding ordinary passports of the countries having diplomatic relations with China and on a tour to Hong Kong and Macao, and participating in group tours to the Zhu Jiang River (Pearl River) Delta Area for a stay of less than 6 days organized by the travel services legally registered in Hong Kong or Macao shall not need to apply for a visa. The Zhu Jiang River (Pearl River) Delta Area refers to the administrative area of the 10 cities below: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Shantou
Visa fees vary depending from the location of your application. Generally the fees are as follow:
- Country - Single Entry / Double Entry / Multiple Entry
- Australia A$40 / A$60 /A$80
- Canada C$50/ C$75 / C$100
- Korea 35,000Won / 53,000Won / 70,000
- Malaysia RM30 / RM50 / RM80
- Portugal, Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy £20 / £40
- UK £30 / £45 / £90
- USA US$130 / US$130
Please double check with your local Chinese Embassy / Consulate before travelling.
The official currency of China is the Yuan. For exchange rates with your local currency, www.xe.com has the latest updated foreign exchange.
Almost all of the visitors to China get there by air. There are many international airports in China. The most common are Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai. A considerable number of airlines also fly into China’s other major cities such as Guangzhou, Xiamen, Kunming and Guilin.
Air China (www.airchina.com) is the national airline of China. Air China has one of the best safety records in aviation history with only one fatal crash ever. Therefore, the airline should not be confused with China Airlines, a Taiwanese based airline which has a worse safety record. The airline is the world’s largest carrier in terms of market value and flies to many major cities in China and around the world.
Other airlines currently operating within China are China Southern Airlines (www.flychinasouthern.com), China Eastern Airlines (www.flychinaeastern.com), Hainan Airlines (www.global.hnair.com), Shanghai Airlines, Shangdong Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. Hainan Airlines is the only airline in China to get a 4-star airline rating by Skytrax.
There are many flights flying into Beijing and Shanghai. The cheapest option would be flying directly with Air China during their promotions period. Otherwise, there always good deals if you fly with Finnair, Thai Airways or Malaysia Airlines. Among them are:
Austrian Airlines flies direct from Vienna (www.austrian.com Beijing 010-6462 2161, Shanghai 021-6340 3411)
Air France flies from Paris (www.airfrance.com Beijing and Shanghai 4008 808 808)
British Airways flies direct from London (www.ba.com Beijing 010-8511 5599, Shanghai 021-6375 8866)
Finnair flies direct from Helsinki (www.finnair.com Beijing +86 (0) 10 6512 7180, Shanghai +86 (0) 21 6335 3999)
KLM flies direct from Amsterdam (www.klm.com Beijing 010-6505 3505, Shanghai 021-6884 6884)
Lufthansa flies direct from Frankfurt and Munich (www.lufthansa.com Beijing 010-6468 8838, Shanghai 021-5352 4999)
Scandinavian Airlines flies direct from Copenhagen (www.flysas.com Beijing 010-8527 6100, Shanghai 021-5228 5001)
Virgin Atlantic flies direct from London (www.virgin-atlantic.com Shanghai 021-5353 4600)
From USA and Canada
Air Canada flies from Toronto and Vancouver (www.aircanada.com Beijing 010-6468 2001, Shanghai 021-6279 2999)
American Airlines flies direct from Chicago and Los Angeles (www.aa.com Beijing and Shanghai 108004400296 / 108007440309)
Continental Airlines flies direct from Newark (www.continental.com Beijing and Shanghai 400 650 6686)
Delta Airlines flies direct from Seattle, Atlanta and Detroit (www.delta.com Beijing and Shanghai 86-40081-40081 )
United Airlines flies direct from Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco (www.united.com Beijing 010-6463 1111, Shanghai 021-3311 4567)
From Australia and NZ
Air Asia flies direct from Kuala Lumpur (www.airasia.com China call centre +86 20 2281 7666)
Cathay Pacific flies direct from Hong Kong (www.cathaypacific.com Beijing 010-8486 8532, Shanghai 852-2747 5000)
Emirates flies direct from Dubai (www.emirates.com Beijing +86 10 5108 8696 Shanghai +86 21 3222 9999)
Etihad Airways flies direct from Abu Dhabi (www.etihadairways.com Beijing +800 810 8883)
Garuda Indonesia flies direct from Jakarta (www.garuda-indonesia.com Beijing 010-6505 2901)
Malaysia Airlines flies direct from Kuala Lumpur (www.malaysiaairlines.com Beijing 8610 6505 2681 Shanghai 86 21 2329 3999)
Qatar Airways flies direct from Doha (www.qatarairways.com Beijing +86 10 5923 5100, Shanghai +86 21 2320 7555)
Singapore Airlines flies direct from Singapore (www.singaporeair.com Beijing +86 10 65052233 Shanghai +86-21-62887999)
Thai Airways flies direct from Bangkok (www.thaiair.com Beijing010-6460 8899, Shanghai 021-5298 5555)
There are many ways to get around China. Travelling by air is the fastest to get to long distance journey. There is a great network of trains and buses available connecting the country. Services vary, but there are an increasing number of high speed trains connecting throughout the country.
Beijing & Shanghai
Beijing and Shanghai has an extensive modern and punctual subway system. Both train network is extending and now connects most part of the city. Besides being an easy and cheap option to use, the subway is a convenient and effective way to get around anywhere in the city. It also connects to most tourist sites. The Beijing subway charges a flat one way ticket of 2Yuan whilst in Shanghai the cost of a one way journey ranges from 3-6 Yuan depending on the distance. You can check the maps available throughout the subway for fares. The Beijing Airport Express charges a fare of 25Yuan one way.
The Magnetic Levitation train or commonly known as the Maglev is the world’s fastest commercial train. It connects Shanghai’s Longyang Lu station with Pudong airport. with a speed of upto 270miles an hour (430km/h), it only takes 8 minutes to get to the airport. Ticket cost 40Yuan if you hold a valid boarding pass or 50Yuan without, for each way. Train runs every 20 minutes. If you love speed like I do, this is a ‘must try’ form of public transport.
Using a taxi is a great way to get to places away from the subway. There are plenty of taxis available around the city and it is easy to use. Taxis are metered and most drivers use the meters. The exception being the taxi touts on your arrivals at the airport.
(Coming very soon)