Travel Tips for First-time Visitors to China

Does the first travel to China make you a little nervous? As it is vast and mysterious and totally different from your country? No worries, there seems to be hundreds of thousands of advice and tips for China first-timers on guide book. However, here we offer you some common and practical tips that will save you from awkward situations and something unpredictable while traveling.

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Beijing Forbidden City

1. Carry toilet paper everywhere

Despite that you are most likely get free toilet tissue in the restrooms of most airports, upscale restaurants, clubs, or pubs, generally toilet paper is not supplied in China’s public restrooms. Therefore, make sure that you always travel with toilet paper.

2. Learn some simple Chinese phrases

Though Chinese children are learning English from primary school onwards today, the language barrier reminds the number one hurdle to overcome. You are suggested to learn some simple Chinese words and phrases before departure, or at least prepare an English-to-Chinese pocket dictionary. Ask the hotel for a Chinese-language business card, so you can show it to passers-by, taxi drivers or bus conductors.

Yangzi River

3. Beware of pickpockets

Keep a close watch over your personal belongings, such as purse, camera, and even bags, and luggage everywhere – near ATM machines, in the metro, train station… as pickpockets and thieves are hardly preventable. And your carelessness may result in loss.

4. When taking a taxi…

When taking a taxi, remember to first take hold of your luggage and then pay the taxi driver for the fare, in case that the taxi driver may drive away with your luggage (but that seldom happens). Beware of illegal or unlicensed taxi cabs, which are private drivers, and may charge higher fees.

Yu Garden in Shanghai

5. Be aware of fake money

China also suffers from counterfeiters like other countries; so when you receive 20, 50, or 100 yuan bill, check the bill, which is not considered rude. How to tell apart the real one and fake one? Read Money Matter (the last part).

6. Take care of your passport 

Carry your passport at all times, you’ll need it to check into hotels, for security check at airport and train station. Meanwhile take care of it and prevent having it stolen.

Traditional Chinese Cuisine

7. Food safety 

Chinese cuisine is world-famous, you are encouraged to try everything. But be careful of the unusual foods. And some street foods, usually regarded the best part of a city’s culinary experience, may be “dangerous” too, if you happen to have a weak stomachs.

8. Bargaining 

Bargain in small shops and market. It is common and interesting to bargain. Don’t be shy, start by offering one third of the asking price. However, for luxury brands, bargaining is useless.

Shopping Market in China

Harbin – Ice City Comes Alive in Winter

In the Heilongjiang Province of northeastern China, the capital city Harbin comes alive in winter especially with the opening of Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival (usually starts on Jan 5th and lasts for around one month). The city turns into a huge theme park – everything is made of snow and ice. Blocks of ice are carved into gorgeous buildings and sculptures of various shapes and sizes lining on the banks of frozen Songhua River. How fantastic to be here with the children!

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The Ice and Snow festival will be mainly held in Ice & Snow World”, Sun Island, and Zhaolin Park, where you are going to see the ice lanterns, the most luxurious and impressive ice sculptures, strung up with lights and music. Go for hitting the slope in nearby Yabuli Ski Resort – the largest and best of its kind in China with approximately 150 days good for skiing, and those fabulous winter activities everywhere, like dog sledding, snowmobile driving…

China’s most popular winter destinations…

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When touring Harbin in winter, make sure that casually wander down Zhongyang Pedestrian Street housing a large number of European-style structures, have a cup of hot coffee in a Russian café, watching locals flying kites, skating, having horse rides etc. , and have a visit to Siberian Tiger Park and St. Sophia Church.

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Yellow Mountain – A Silver Fairyland in Winter

In the southern part of Anhui Province, the Yellow Mountain offers some of China’s most breathtaking mountain views with all its grandeur and beauty. People’ d like to say that it is no need to visit any other mountains after touring Yellow Mountain. Today it holds the fascination for visitors, poets, painters and photographers with granite peaks and rocks emerging out of a sea of clouds. Yellow Mountain (Mt. Huangshan) takes a dramatic change through the year, and believe or not, it has the best scenery in winter, when snow becomes the eternal theme. Yellow Mountain is for sure one of the most popular winter destinations in China.

Yellow Mountain – A Silver Fairyland in Winter

 

More Winter Destinations in China

Yellow Mountain in Winter

Rimed odd-looking pines, snowy grotesque rocks, white peaks, crystal icefalls and fumy hot springs do make it a silver fairyland. With 88 sunny days on average in winter, visitors are more likely to see sunrise than any other period of year. Meanwhile the Sea of Clouds, one of the four wonders of Yellow Mountain, also emerges more frequently in winter. No wonder it is acclaimed as a heaven for hikers, photographers and painters. Furthermore, your holiday here in winter won’t be as cold as you might expect, with the temperature ranging from 25°F to 40°F. While you can embrace the rare tranquility, without hustle and bustle, and enjoy the prices at a minimum, as hotels and entry fee are giving huge discounts.

Cable Car Still Available in Winter

Mt. Huangshan was listed as a “World Cultural and Natural Heritage” by UNESCO, and is really an ideal destination to embrace the snow & ice and picturesque scenery in winter. There is more to explore nearby Yellow Mountain – Hongcun and Xidi Village, which are hot tourist attractions for well preserved architecture of Ming and Qing Dynasty after the Oscar winner Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was filmed here. In winter, there will be free of crowds. You can find elegant courtyards and gardens, refined doorframes made of black marbles, stone carvings of flowers, birds and beasts, brick carvings of pavilions and human figures as well as woodcarvings, colorful paintings and frescoes.

Sea of Clouds

Hongcun and Xidi Village Nearby Yellow Mountain

Hungarian Wingsuit Flyer Died after A Tragic Jump in Zhangjiajie, China

Hungarian wingsuit flyer Victor Kovats was confirmed dead on October 9, 2013, after plunging into a valley of Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park during his warming-up performing flight for the upcoming 2nd Redbull WWL World Wingsuit Championship in Zhangjiajie of Central China’s Hunan province on October 8, 2013. Kovats’ body was found with a smashed skull at the foot of 100m cliff by the next morning after more than 17 hours’ continuous search. Kovats’ death is believed to be either caused by equipment failure or gusting winds, which tragically lead him to lose control with the parachute failing to open before landing.

Victor Kovats dressed in orange wingsuit

Wingsuit skydiving is the ultimate in extreme sports and performed by highly experienced individuals who have trained for years. Statistics claim that only several hundred people around the world dare to try Wingsuit skydiving, and dozens of them have died for it.

Victor Kovats was a top extreme sports enthusiast, a veteran of 6 years’ experience and 700 wingsuit dives, and a three-time Hungary national champion wingsuiter. He was preparing to compete the Second World Wingsuit Championship, scheduled to be held from Oct. 11 to 13, on which competitors are challenged to jump about 700 meters (2,290 foot) from the steep cliffs of Tianmen Mountain.

The Red Bull World Wingsuit League expressed its condolences on Kovats’ death and promised to conduct a thorough review of the events that lead into this accident and adopt any appropriate changes to improve safety, but stopped short of canceling the event.

Last photos of Victor Kovats

Victor Kovats’ last jump and fatal jump

Victor Kovats’ and other contestants of the 2rd Wingsuit Flying World Championship

Kovats was found at the bottom of a 100m cliff with a cracked skull

Around 200 firefighters and police officers were involved in the search and rescue for Kovats in Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park

Contestants of the Wingsuit Flying World Championship mourn Kovats’ passing…

Hungarian wingsuit flyer Victor Kovats

Best Places to See Autumn Color in China

Does the autumn blues start to set in your mind? If so, combat them with more outdoor exercises and poetic autumn scenery. Actually, genial sunshine, gentle breeze, clear sky and fall foliage do make autumn the best season to head out of the downtown of city and take in the nature. China has taken a dramatic change this fall, mountains and forests are all tinged, displaying a picturesque charm. Why not go out to see and feel this enthralling view of nature?
Fragrant Hill in Beijing

Fragrance Hill finds itself 28km northwest of Beijing, and has the best red maples in the city. When the autumn arrives, the leaves start to change colors. Finally the whole hill is blanketed with fiery red leaves. Red Leaves Festival held from Mid-October to early November every year is expected to see most visitors. Cable cars are available on Fragrance Hill.

Yellow Mountain

Yellow Mountain or Mt. Huangshan shows respective and various beauty on each season, while in autumn, it catches people’s eyes by vibrant and ripe tones, with attractive red and yellow leaves and fruits. At that moment, Yellow Mountain enjoys the most magnificent and splendid before being replaced by the withered of winter. Never miss the sunrise and seas of cloud on it.

Jiuzhaigou Valley

Jiuzhaigou Valley in the northern part of Sichuan Province always reminds us of the heaven on earth, especially in fall, as almost all colors are displaying here, ranging from green to yellow, orange to deep red. And the various bright colors reflect in the water of different sized lakes, blue ponds, and waterfalls – simply beautiful to behold!

Daocheng in Yading

Yading in Daocheng County of southwest China’s Sichuan Province was once mistaken for Shangri-La by American explorer Joseph Rock in 1928 due to its breathtaking scenery. In autumn, you can travel and hike here to see red grasslands, colorful trees, snow mountains and original villages and relax at one of the quietest and purest place on earth.

Kanas (Hanas) Lake in Xinjiang

Located in the valley of Altai in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Kanas Lake is most famous for picturesque wild landscape which becomes a golden fairyland in autumn, widely loved by photographers. Best time for an autumn view of Kanas Lake is from late September to early October, when you will see golden leaves, peaceful green water, untouched plants and animals embraced by snow-capped mountains…

Longji Terraced Fields in Guilin

Longji Terraced Fields will be at its pretties in the harvest season – Autumn. Golden grain can be seen from the top to the bottom of mountains. Even the roads and houses seem to be dyed golden yellow. Ethnic minority culture is another highlight for a Longji Terraced Fields visit.

Fifty-Nine Greater China Exemplary Organizations Were Unveiled at 2013 China Travel and Meetings Industry Awards

The results of the 6th annual “China Travel & Meeting Industry Awards” were unveiled in Shanghai in September 2013, and this year 59 of Greater China’s best travel trade organizations were on the winner list for their outstanding achievements in the booming Chinese travel industry over the past year. The 59 award winners were decided by the industry professionals’ opinions – over 38,000 valid votes were cast by travel consultants, travel experts, tour operators and destination management companies, showing the award’s well-renowned justice and innovative originality.

“China Travel and Meetings Industry Awards” marked an important recognition by the industry with the aim of honoring the most outstanding enterprises in the travel and MICE industry in China. This year, in the Resort Hotel category , Banyan Tree Hangzhou was named the Best Resort in China, while StarWorld Macau garnered the “Best Service Hotel ” award. Other hotel & resort winners include Holiday Inn Resort Changbaishan, The Ritz-Carlton Guangzhou, Shangri-La Hotel Suzhou and Sheraton Shanghai Waigaoqiao Hotel.

20 organizations were first-time winners at the TTG China Travel Awards this year. And Chengdu also made its debut as Best City in China (Leisure Travel). Notably, Air China, Singapore Airlines, Shanghai, Ascott China, Holiday Inn Macau, The Garden Hotel, Guangzhou, and The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel were 7 long-time winners since the 1st TTG China Travel Award in 2008.

Click for the full list of winners

Banyan Tree Hangzhou