- 1 Climate
- 2 Getting There
- 3 Cultural Info
- 4 Health and Safety
- 5 Resources
Visas and Documentation
Australians need a visa to enter China. The process for tourists requires presentation of an itinerary. Alternatively if you have business contacts in China an invitation from them will suffice. The simplest thing is to let your travel agent sort it out. The visa application form has become a little more detailed in the lead up to the Olympics, and presumably wanting to keep journalists out of Tibet.
Arrival is quite efficient in Beijing (and the new terminal which has just opened will probably be better). There are more security and identity checks as you try to leave, which is interesting.
Customs and Quarantine
The major holiday in China is Spring Festival, which occurs with the lunar New Year around March. The place pretty much shuts down and large numbers of the population travel to visit other bits of the population. The shutdown seems to last a couple of weeks.
They drive like madfolk, but there is no road rage. They allow for bicycles, low powered tricycles, grossly overloaded trucks and high powered limousines. It all works, but there is no obvious reason how or why it works. It looks like total chaos, although constant horn blowing appears to be part of the system. You may encounter herds of goats on the freeways. Lane markings are advisory at best. Overtake at 160km/hr in the breakdown lane? Why not? I would be very reluctant to drive a car in China, and drivers and taxis are cheap. In the east major cities are connected by excellent toll motorways. The tolls seem quite high. Fuel is sometimes rationed.
Formerly Chinese airlines had a reputation for dodgy and ancient planes. However the extraordinary economic boom of the past few years has meant that, at least for major airlines, the ancient planes have been sidelined. Most planes seem to be less than about 5 years old. Not all cities have airports, but these are being built at a rapid rate.
Food and Drink
Chinese eat every part of an animal, and you can never be sure which bit you are eating. Your hosts may take great delight in presenting a delicacy and telling you what it is after you have tasted it. (Fish stomach anyone? Pigs' ear?) If you can ignore the "Ewww yuck" factor you will eat some delicious food.
Some western fast food chains are penetrating the cities. You can get KFC and Pizza Hut in many places. McDonalds does not seem to have penetrated too much but is around. Bejing is the exception, with over 100 McDonalds on offer!!!! After a couple of weeks on a purely Chinese diet even KFC can be attractive for a hit of western food.
Many hotels advertise western restaurants, but often these are closed. There are usually some western dishes on the breakfast buffet of luxury hotels.
Technology and Networks
3G mobile phones work if global roaming is enabled, although connections can be unpredictable. Internet connections and email are also occasionally dodgy, although persistence means you can get through.
Some sites are blocked in China by the Great Firewall of China. This is political censorship. Some large information providers have surrendered to the censorship and provide sanitised versions for China. Other sites, like flickr, are intermittently available depending on what the GFW has blocked. It is prudent to assume that traffic may be monitored.
Health and Safety
- Information source: Wikipedia
- Information source: Template:Source skicomau
- Travel Warnings : Smart Traveller
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