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China country information

China map
People's Republic of China
Area: 9,640,821 sq km
Population: 1,321,851,888
Population density: 140 per sq km
Capital: Beijing
Passport & Visa
Passport Required?
British Yes
Australian Yes
Canadian Yes
USA Yes
Other EU Yes
Visa Required?
British Yes/1/2
Australian Yes/2
Canadian Yes/2
USA Yes/2
Other EU Yes/2

Note :
Those wishing to visit Tibet are strongly advised to join a travel group. Individual travellers need an Alien's Travel Permit issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. Applicants will need to show their Chinese Visa also.

Passports

Required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. Passports must be valid for a minimum of 6 months for a single entry, 12 months for a double entry or six month multiple entry and 18 months for a 12 month multiple entry visa.

Passport Note

(a) China does not recognise dual nationality.
(b) HIV-positive travellers are not permitted to enter the country.

Visas

Required by all nationals referred to in the chart above except:
(a) 1. nationals of the UK travelling to Hong Kong only for stays of up to 180 days;
(b) 2. all nationals referred to in the chart above travelling only to Macao for stays of up to 90 days (except nationals of the USA for stays up to 30 days; and nationals of the UK for stays up to six months);
(c) transit passengers continuing their journey by the same or first connecting plane to another country within 24 hours who hold valid onward documentation and do not leave the airport;
(d) some passengers (not including nationals of the USA or UK) who transit through Pudong or Hongqiao airports only, with all necessary documentation, within 48 hours.

Visa Note

(a) Journalists need to apply for accreditation from the press department of the Chinese embassy before applying for a visa.
(b) Business travellers are required to provide an official invitation from the company or institution in China when applying for a visa.
(c) Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

Types of Visa and Cost

Tourist/Business/Transit UK nationals: 30 (single-entry); 45 (double-entry); 60 (multiple-entry; six months); 90 (multiple-entry; 12 months and two to five years). Group (at least five people): 24 per person. US nationals: 65 (single-, double- and multiple-entry). Group (at least five people): 55 per person. Visa charges for other nationals vary; check with embassy for further information.

There is a service charge of £34.50 (normal service) and £46.00 (express service) in addition to that for applicants applying at a visa centre. As the Chinese embassy in London and the Chinese consulate in Manchester are no longer taking applications, this essentially applies to everyone living outside Scotland.

Validity

Single entry visas are normally valid for three months, double entry for six months, multiple entry either six, 12 or 24 months. A transit visa generally allows you to stay in the country for seven days but is valid for either three or six months depending on the number of entries (single / double).

Applications to:

The Chinese embassy in London and the consulate in Manchester no longer accept applications. Applicants from anywhere in the UK except Scotland need to apply through the visa centre. Applicants who live in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Derbyshire, Tyne and Wear, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Durham may apply at the centre in Manchester, everyone else at the centre in London. Applications are also accepted by post at the London centre from anywhere within the UK.

Working Days Required

Four. Two weeks for Group visas. Applications should be made one month in advance. The express service (15 fee) requires three days.
Getting there

Getting There by Air

The flag carrier is Air China (CA) (website: www.airchina.com.cn or www.air-china.co.uk ).

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Beijing is approximately 10 hours and from New York is 14 hours 30 minutes.

Note: Flights are often overbooked, so travellers are strongly advised to re-confirm their return flight reservations.

Main Airports

Beijing Capital International (PEK/BJS) airport is 28km (18 miles) northeast of the city. To/from the airport: Buses and taxis area available (journey time - 40 minutes). An Airport Express subway line between the airport and central Beijing opened in 2008.

Guangzhou Baiyun International (CAN) airport is 12km (7 miles) north of Guangzhou (journey time - 25 minutes).

Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) airport is 13km (8 miles) southwest of the city (journey time - 25 to 40 minutes). It is mainly served by domestic flights.

Shanghai Pudong (PVG) airport, in the eastern financial district, is 30km (19 miles) from the city centre. To/from the airport: Buses and taxis are available (journey time - 50 minutes). Pudong is a major international airport with the Maglev magnetic levitation train and an underground link (due for expansion to connect Pudong with Hongqiao by early 2010). The Maglev takes passengers to Longyang Road, where it is possible to connect to the Shanghai Metro.

Facilities: All the above airports include duty-free shops, banks/bureaux de change, ATMs, post offices, business facilities, Internet, bars and restaurants.
Departure Tax
105, usually included in the airfare. Children under 12 and transit passengers (proceeding within 24 hours) are exempt.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Fuzhou (Foochow), Guangzhou (Canton), Hong Kong/Kowloon, Qingdao (Tsingtao) and Shanghai.

Several major cruise lines offer cruises to China. There are regular ferry services linking Chinese ports with Kobe in Japan and the west coast of Korea (Dem Rep). There are regular ferries between Shanghai and Osaka in Japan. Regular ferry services operate between Weihai, Qingdao, Tianjin and Shanghai in China to Incheon in Korea (Dem Rep). There are regular fast ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau and a number of towns and cities in Guangdong province, including Shenzhen and Zhuhai, operated by Chu Kong Passenger Transport Co (tel: +852 2858 3876, in Hong Kong; www.cksp.com.hk ) and TurboJET (tel: +852 2859 3333, in Hong Kong; www.turbojet.com.hk ).

Getting There by Rail

International services run from Beijing to Moscow (Russian Federation), on both the Trans-Mongolian Railway (via Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia) and the Trans-Manchurian Railway (via Zabaikalsk in northern China). The Trans-Siberian Express operates two weekly services, a train to Russia servicing Moscow and Beijing via Harbin and a China train via Ulaanbaatar. A service operates between Nanning, in Guangxi province, and Hanoi, Vietnam. A second cross-border service runs from Kunming via Lao Cai to Hanoi. There are also services from Beijing to Pyongyang (Korea, Dem Rep). Owing to demand, it may be necessary to book up to two months in advance. 
 
A regular train service runs from Hong Kong to Guangzhou (Canton). There are several trains daily. Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (tel: +852 2929 3399, in Hong Kong; www.kcrc.com ) has express trains servicing Kowloon to Guangzhou and an indirect Kowloon to Lowu service. The services between Shanghai-Kowloon/Hong Kong (journey time - 25 hours) and Beijing-Kowloon/Hong Kong (journey time - 24 hours) both run on alternate days. There are twice-weekly trains from Almaty in Kazakhstan to Urumqi. There are three types of fare: hard sleeper, soft sleeper and deluxe soft sleeper.

Further information on rail services is available from the Chinese Ministry of Railways ( www.chinamor.cn.net , in Chinese only).

Note: Travellers on the Trans-Mongolian or Trans-Manchurian Railways are strongly advised to search their compartments and lock the doors before departure, owing to an increase in smuggling via this route.

Getting There by Road

The principal road routes into China follow the historical trade routes through Myanmar, India, the former Soviet republics and Mongolia. It is also possible to travel from Pakistan to Xinjiang on the Karakoram highway. Motorways exist between Guangzhou and Shenzhen and Guangzhou and Zhuhai. These roads link the cities of Dongguan, Zhongshan, Foshan, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Shunda to Hong Kong and Macau. Motorway links to major cities in neighbouring countries are few.
Cycling & Maps

Tibet Travel Map
Reise Know-How
scale 1:1 500 000

Rip & Waterproof

Cost of living
China: all prices in Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY)
drinks and snacks

food: local markets; restaurants; and stores

water (mineral)
juice
soft drink (can)
soft drink (bottle)

1 litre
1 litre
300ml
1 litre
5.00
13.00
tba
6.25

bread loaf-white
bread loaf-whole grain

600g
750g
7.80
10.50
market bowl of noodles
basic market meal
vegetarian restaurant
pizza - takeaway
one serving
one serving
one meal
med
5.00
10-15.00
15-25.00
tba
beer - local
wine
330ml
750ml
2.00
60.00+
tea
coffee (cafe / bar)
Nescafe instant
coffee - ground
25 bags
per cup
125g
500g
14.30
24.00
23.80
57.00
rice (white)
pasta
eggs
tinned tomatoes

kg
500g
per dozen
250g

5.30
6.20
8.90
7.00
milk
yoghurt / curd
cheese
Magnum icecream
1 litre
500g
kg
each

7.30
9.60
75.00
tba

potatoes
onions
tomatoes
green beans
kg
kg
kg
kg
5.20
4.40
7.20
5.90
chips
salted peanuts
dried apricots
200g packet
kg
kg
tba
tba
tba
apples
oranges
bananas
kg
kg
kg
11.70
14.00
9.20

cornflakes
chocolate

biscuits - plain
biscuits- chocolate

375g packet
100g block

200g packet
200g packet
30.00
9.00

4.50
6.50
pineapple (can)
oil (corn)
500g can
500ml
11.50
9.20
peanut paste
jam
500g jar
400g jar
tba
10.30
 
accommodation personal
budget city hostel
budget city hotel
15.00 per dorm bed
(double) with bathroom (335)
deodorant - roll-on
soap
shampoo
toothbrush
toothpaste
disposable razor
toilet paper
50ml
150g bar2
00ml
each
150ml
5 pack
each
27.40
4.00 19.50
tba
7.30 36.40
tba
camping

tba

internet 30 per hour

* tba = price to be announced
* January 2009: at time of writing 1.00 USD = 6.85 CNY
all prices have been taken from internet resources such as wikitravel, hostel world, leading supermarket chains, travel blogs, forums and of course our own travel experiences and purchases of everyday products in food markets, bazaars and local shopping facilities. They are only an indication and designed to give you a general impression of the cost of living in China. Items are geared towards the budget conscious traveller with an occasional craving for a bit of luxury.
Accommodation
Food & drink
Bike shops
Dali | Yunnan Giant store
1 Cang Shan Road
Dali, Yunnan
Tel: 0872-2123398
   
Guilin | Guangxi Giant store
26 Peach Road, Guilin, Yangshuo

Guilin, Guangxi
Tel: 0773-3998866
   
 
Giant store
16 Liberation Road,
Guilin, Guangxi
Tel: 0773-2861286
   
Hong Kong Sun Ping Bicycle Co.
G/F 21A Tak Lung Back St.
(opposite Sai Kung market)
Sai Kung, N.T.
Tel: 2792 3116
   
Jinghong | Yunnan Li Hua Rong
Mob: 13035975555
next to Banna Café
N22 00.329 E100 48.000
(thanks to Jürg for this admission)
   
Nanning | Guangxi

Giant store
78-11 City Road Jinchengjiang
Nanning, Guangxi

Tel: 0778-2283311,2891616

   
 

Giant store
Hang Wen Lan Road 18, Wuzhou
Nanning, Guangxi
Tel: 0774-3854979

   
  Giant store
199 Liuzhou Road, Ping Shan

Nanning, Guangxi
Tel: 0772-3824782
   
  Giant store
68 New Rd
Nanning, Beihai
Tel: 0771-2666917
   
  Giant store
27 Xinmin Road
Nanning
, Guangxi
Tel: 0771-3092102
   
  Giant store
1 Xinhua Road
Nanning, Guangxi
Tel: 0771-2666927
   
  Giant store
1 East Zhongshan Road

Nanning, Guangxi
   
Kashgar | Xinjiang Giant bikeshop **
Jiankang Road no. 37
phone.: 0998 - 6401616
mobile (Li Hua / manager): 137 65661700
e-mail: ws-giant1@163.com
  Directions: Jiankang Road is the continuation of Kezi Leduwei Road is eastern direction. The Giant store is on the left side a few hundred meters after the traffic lights on the intersection with Tiannan Road.
  Our experiences: small shop with a few western parts and accessories (Giant and Shimano for example), though probably your best bet in a few thousand kilometre radius. Friendly staff, little English spoken.
   
  Merida bikeshop **
Xiaba Road
downstairs of Xinlong restaurant
Kashgar
Tel. 0998 - 6468099
  Directions: Xiaba Road is the continuation of Jiankang Road, which is the continuation of Kezi Leduwei Road is eastern direction. The Merida store is on the right side a kilometer after the traffic lights on the intersection with Tiannan Road and past the park.
   
Kunming | Yunnan Fat Tire Montain Bike Club
Qianju Jie 61 hao, Beimen Jie 1 hao, fu 5.
Kunming, Yunnan
owner: Xiong Jinwu
Tel: 0871-5301755
Mob: 1370 8410315
email: bear_bike@hotmail.com
website: www.ftfbikes.com
   
  Giant store / road bike supermarket Matt Baker
71 Xi'an
Kunming, Yunnan

Tel: 0871-5314279
   
  Giant store
688 Xichang Road
Kunming, Yunnan
Tel: 0871-5315357
   
  Giant store
192 East Renmin Road
Kunming, Yunnan

Tel: 0871-3391108
   
Lhasa | Tibet Bicycle Fans
Zangyi lu, Lhasa
Tel :+8613648984661
e-mail: tibetcycle@hotmail.com
   
  Spinn Café
Spinn Cafe (Fengzhuan Kafei Guan),
Qin Gu Alley,
135 Beijing East Road, Lhasa, Tibet 850000
Mob: 13659523997
website: www.cafespinn.com
   
Yuxi City (Hongta) | Yunnan Giant store
2 Coral Road
Yuxi City (Hongta), Yunnan
Tel: 0877-8899290
Climate

climate chart Beijing China climate chart Changsha China
climate chart Guiling China climate chart Hong Kong China
climate chart Kunming China
climate chart Lhasa Tibet China climate chart Qingdao China
climate chart Shanghai China climate chart Wuhan China
climate chart Xi'an China

Road distances
Central Asia road distance chart

Karakorum Highway road distance chart


Detailed distance chart from our trip through western China 2007
km.
total:
       
  Ulugqat
55
55
Ulugqat pass
32
87
pass Kansu
39
126
Kansu Wuqia
23
149
Wuqia turn-off Turugart
38
187
turn-off Turugart S309 meets G134
38
225
G314 Kashgar
20
245
   
Kashgar Shufu
16
16
Shufu Opal
32
48
Opal Oytaq
39
87
Oytaq Kuluk
24
111
Kuluk Ghez
14
125
Ghez Ghez river bridge
24
149
Ghez river bridge Maji turn off
4
153

Maji t.o

Karakol lake
39
192
Karakol lake start Ulugrabat Daban pass
23
215
start pass Ùlugrabat Pass (4098 meters)
6
221
Ulugrabat pass Tajikistan turn off
10
231
Tajikistan t.o. Beshkurgan
31
262
Beshkurgan Tashkurgan
30
292
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