What to know for a trip to China

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

China, located in the eastern part of the Asian continent, is the most populous state in the world, with about 1,4 billion inhabitants.
Its millenary culture cannot but intrigue: just think of its eternal symbols, such as the Great Wall of China Forbidden City ol 'Terracotta Army.

To organize a trip to this vast territory, rich in unmissable historical monuments and hidden beauties, such as deep lakes and high mountains, it is necessary to keep in mind some criteria that make a holiday in the land of a thousand wonders unforgettable. Here's what to know for a trip to China!


  1. Best time
  2. Required documents
  3. How many days
  4. How to dress and what to bring
  5. To see
  6. Getting around
  7. What to book in advance
  8. Accomodation
  9. Where to eat
  10. How much
  11. How to pay
  12. Safety
  13. Useful advice and rules of conduct
  14. User questions and comments

Best time

The best seasons are spring and autumn. In particular, the months of April and May for Hanami, the blooms, in places such as Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Zhejiang, Guilin, and Luoyang, the ancient imperial capital, are filled with peonies. The surrounding landscapes become more colorful and festive and the heat begins to be felt, although light rain is frequent.
In addition, in April, in Taijiang, Guizhou (central-southern China), the event called Sisters' Lunch is held, an ancient tradition of the Miao minority, during which local girls wear ceremonial clothes and people meet near the Taijiang River.
Summer is the season taken by storm by most tourists, and in some cities the scorching heat can make the holiday less pleasant.

Required documents

Foreign travelers must have passport with residual validity of at least 6 months and two blank pages, the Visa which is valid for 30 days, the return ticket and the hotel reservation where you will be staying.
Furthermore, the new rule for which fingerprints must be issued at the China Visa Center in Rome or Milan (in this regard it is necessary to book an appointment).
Travel insurance and vaccinations are recommended (such as those for hepatitis A and B, rabies, typhus, for developing areas and malaria).

How many days

  • Minimum travel time: at least 15 days
  • Recommended duration of the trip: at least 20 days

How to dress and what to bring

Rather light clothes and an umbrella and a rain jacket, comfortable shoes and suitable for long walks. To enter religious buildings, care must be taken to cover one's back.
A small one is also very useful stock up on essential drugs.

To see

For a first trip some stops are essential, such as Beijing with a tour of the Great Wall, Forbidden City, a visit to the fascinating Terracotta Army in the city of i Xi'an, relaxing trips on the Western Lake, tours to discover Shanghai, to yours Yu mandarin garden and cruises on the Huangp River. And then you can't miss the most touristic cities of Chengdu, Canton e Gulin.

Among the places to visit during a nice return to China are: the Lugu Lake, located in the mountains at a height of more than 2 thousand meters, in Yunnan, on the border with Tibet, the mount Heng, in Shanxi, where the wonderful is located Hengshan Temple, suspended 75 meters high, a reckless walk on the Mount Hua, in Shaanxi and the sunken city of Shi Cheng, in the seabed of Qiandao Lake, in Zhejiang.
And then also the Detian waterfalls, Juizhaigou natural park el 'Gulangyu island.

  • If you are visiting the destination for the first time: Beijing, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Army, the West Lake, Shanghai, Chengdu, Canton and Gulin.
  • If you are returning to the destination: Lugu Lake, Mount Heng, Hengshan Temple, Mount Hua, Qiandao Lake, Detian Waterfalls, Juizhaigou Natural Park and Gulangyu Island.

Getting around

To move in such a vast country sometimes you have to take the plane, then use domestic flights (for example to travel from Beijing to Shanghai you will have to fly for about 2 hours, ticket cost 900 yuan - € 120,00).

Recently, China has improved the network of high-speed trains, which are the most comfortable and economical means for many trips between regions, especially in the center and north.
High speed trains are those classified as D or G, while ordinary ones are T or K (which travel often at night), for example a G train travels from Beijing to Shanghai in 6 hours and the ticket costs 553 yuan - € 72,78 , ).

Very fascinating, then, for those who want to experience a panoramic journey, it is the Qinghai line, which reaches incredible peaks and arrives in Tibet.

Not recommended for long journeys are buses, even if cheap, while economic and safe for moving within cities is the metro (ticket cost approximately 1,90 yuan - € 0,25).

The rate of taxi starts at 13 yuan - € 1,71, but you have to consider the fact that most taxi drivers don't speak English.

What to book in advance

Booking some tours in advance allows you to secure your visit to major attractions, avoiding queues and making the most of the time available.
Recommended bookings include a visit to the Jinshanling Great Wall, excursions for Beijing and the Forbidden City, sightseeing tours to Shanghai and Chongqing, the most populated metropolis in the world, and finally, the guided tour of the Grand Canyon of Zhangjiajie with glass bridge and cruise.


Most tourists stay in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai. In the latter case, the prices are much higher (starting from 1066 yuan - € 140,00), while in Beijing it is possible to find rooms in modern and supper equipped hotels at cheaper prices (starting from 610 yuan - € 80,00 , ).
The choice of sleeping near the national parks is very fascinating, such as in Wulingyuan, a small town with an excellent offer of hotels and hostels near the Zhangjiajie National Park (starting from 720 yuan - € 2,70).
Almost all cities also offer cheaper accommodation in hostels, in Beijing it starts at 125 yuan - € 17,00, half in the more rural areas.
Hotels, hostels and b & b from € 17,00 -

Where to eat

Restaurants specializing in Chinese cuisine cost less than those offering international cuisine, and you can discover the authentic culinary tradition of the country, based on rice dishes, meat, fish, many spices, while the most popular drink is tea.
Eating out is also an economic choice, in restaurants you spend an average of about 40 yuan - € 5,50, and then street food should not be missed: noodles and soups according to local traditions await you in all the main streets of the cities and in the small towns (from 8 yuan - € 1,00).
Among the cities in which to consume the finest tea there are Huangsan, Hangzhou e Suzhou.

How much

  • Cost of flights and travel: € 814,00
  • Cost of accommodation: from € 15,00 to € 140,00 per night
  • Minimum daily budget for meals and attractions: € 50,00

How to pay

The local currency is the Renminbi (RMB) and in common parlance the term yuan is used.
At the main Chinese banks cash withdrawals are possible from your credit card, however, it's always better notify your travel bank that is being undertaken, both to avoid any security blocks, and to be informed about the costs of the commission.

International credit cards are accepted in hotels and shopping centers as a payment method, but this is rarely the case in restaurants and shops, while cash is no longer in use.

Most people pay through two applications downloaded to your smartphone and that allow payments by scanning QR codes. Among the apps you can use is Alipay, which accepts connections with international cards, otherwise the advice is to run with a fair amount of cash, especially for rural areas.
Please note that € 1,00 = 7,61 yuan.


The country is essentially stable and safe and the only recommendation that is made to tourists concerns the danger of mugging, theft and scams, so you must pay the utmost attention, especially in the most crowded places. Therefore, avoid secluding with unknown locals, who can often deceive the tourist and induce him to pay large sums of money.

Finally, make sure through your travel agency if the places you intend to visit are not among those considered at risk, or among those Chinese regions for which entry to foreigners is prohibited.
To find out more, see the China section on the Farnesina website.

Useful advice and rules of conduct

  1. Greet with a handshake and entertain yourself for a few seconds longer than Western standards.
  2. If you are invited into your home by a local, always remove your shoes before entering and show up with a gift (excluding watches, objects with the number 4, knives, scissors, all associated with negativity).
  3. Leave a small tip, but only for young workers.
  4. When crossing the road, be very careful: the right of way is not always for pedestrians.
  5. In places of worship, dress appropriately, remove your hat and cover your shoulders.
  6. Travel / health insurance: recommended.

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