Of all the places on earth, there are not many as exquisite as China. Covering over three million square miles and home to 1.3 billion people, China offers scenery, cities and experiences that are unlike anywhere else on Earth. From the Great Wall in the North and the Tibetan region in the West to the bustling streets of Shanghai in the East and the tropical climates of Guangzhou in the South, each region of the country has something incredible to offer to travellers. Below you’ll find the essential information you need to travel this truly mesmerising country, with a further variety of articles on the country throughout this blog. Enjoy!
Time Difference: GMT +8
Capital City: Beijing
Like most of Asia, China can be incredibly cheap or incredibly expensive depending on your lifestyle and choices. For the most part, the larger cities are more expensive and countryside regions are cheaper in line with Chinese wages and living costs.
For cities such as Shanghai and Beijing you can expect to pay anywhere between 400 and 1000元 a night for a hotel room, although hostels can be found for around 100. In the small cities and countryside regions you can expect to pay around 200-500元 for a night in a good hotel room, hostels are again cheaper.
Food prices again vary across China and the type of cuisine available is different per by region and province. An average breakfast can cost around 5-10元 if bought from a street vendor, lunches around 20元 and evening meals in a local restaurant can cost between 25-100元 depending on the type of food and location.
Alcohol in China is also incredibly cheap, with a bottle of Tsing Dao costing between 15-40元. Spirits are not as widely available as they are in the West, with most local people either drinking Baijiu (which tastes like paint stripper but should be tried at least once) or beers such as Tsing Dao or Harbin.
Transportation again generally depends on how much you’re willing to slum it. From cheap hard seat train and bus fares to first class tickets on the bullet trains, transportation can be found for every budget. I would highly reccomend looking up train tickets on Trip, as it allows you to buy tickets in advance and avoid some of the difficulties of ordering train tickets at stations. I’ll soon create a guide on how to do this!
If you’re a UK citizen looking to travel to China, you must get a visa. These are usually valid for 30 days and must be bought before entering the country. Chinese visas for the UK can be obtained in London, Manchester, Edinburgh or Belfast.
As of 2019, the cost for a Chinese visa for a UK citizen is £151 and full details about to apply for a tourist visa can be found here.
If you’re looking to apply for a residence permit as teacher, student or business person, the process is a little different. I will write a full article about how to obtain a visa as a TEFL teacher (this is how I lived and worked in China) but the process usually involves a contract, a medical certificate, notorised and legalised documents and forms from your host company or organisation. Most companies, schools or universities will aid you with this process.