China, an amazing country has five thousand year of history. It covers large geological areas from Southern tropical Hainan Province to Northern winter town Mohe close to Russia. The fantastic tourism resources have large varieties of attractions: historical sites, natural attractions and combination of both culture and natural sites. China has 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites more than any other countries in the world.
1. Is it Safe to Visit China?
China is a very safe country to visit. Similar to Singapore, Chinese laws are very harsh against crimes, guns, drugs, controlled substances and prostitution. China’s GDP per Capital reached $10,276 USD in 2019, exceeding the 10,000 USD benchmark as the country continued to move towards becoming a “moderate prosperous society” in 2020. Chinese are very friendly to tourists and you will feel the hospitality to welcome you for your vacations in China.
2. Entry Visa to China
The following 14 countries have visa free access to China: San Marino, Mauritius, Seychelles, Bahamas, Fiji, Grenada, Ecuador, Tango, Serbia, Barbados, United Arab Emirates, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus and Qatar.
For other countries’ tourists, I strongly recommend them to apply a 10-year multiple-entry tourists visa from Chinese Consulates, Embassy or Visa Application Centers in your home country. I obtained my 10-year multiple-entry tourists visa for myself in 2014 and for my son in 2017. It was very easy process. I found the fee for 10-year multiple-entry tourist visa is the same as 1-year visa, so may as well get 10-year visa.
Chinese airlines have extremely good coverage for routes all around the world. If you need to transfer via a Chinese airport, please consult Chinese embassy or Consulate website for transit visa-free policy. Numerous Chinese airports now have 72 hours or 144 hours visa-free transit which allows tourists explore China during your layover.
3. Best Time to Visit
It is suitable to visit China any time all year around. No winters in most Southern Chinese provinces. In northern China, the coldest month is January. Try to avoid to travel during the Chinese National Holidays: Chinese New Year (either in January or February), May Day (the first week of May) and National Day (the first week of October) because local people will have one week off during these holidays. Students are off school in July and August, so you would see more tourists during this time as well.
4. Travel Budget
Food and customer products (e.g., clothes, shoes, electronics, computer products, household items, etc.) are extremely affordable. My recommendation is to avoid big department stores. Instead, shop at specialty stores or private store for better price. Supermarkets, Farmer’s Markets and restaurants can be found anywhere in the city. Please try traditional Chinese cuisine or local specialty foods. Restaurant food is as low as 2 USD per meal.
5. International Flights
More than 30 airlines offer route services from North America and Europe, so tourists enjoy the low flight fares due to airlines competition. You will see most seat sale for travel date between November to April. From Canada or USA, the return flight fare as low as $500 CAD (or $350 USD) including taxes. From Europe to China, the return fares are as low as 500 Euros.
You may stay at hotels or Airbnb properties in the Bahamas. Book Airbnb from the link below will save you $62 CAD/$43 USD/41 Euros instantly for your first stay anywhere around the world:
Hotels are not expensive in China. You may find local travel agent in China to book hotels for a huge discount.
7. Credit Card vs. Foreign Currencies
Credit cards are not well-accepted in China. Instead, local people use WeChat pay and Alipay for cashless transaction. You may use credit cards at airports and local big department stores. Make sure you have some Chinese currency (1 USD = 7 Yuan, 1 CAD = 5.2 Yuan, 1 Euro = 7.9 Yuan) available for your trip.
8. Chinese Domestic Train and Flight
China has the largest high-speed train network in the world. The train service is extremely safe and reliable. Due to the competition between high-speed train and Chinese domestic light, you will have flight seat sale up to 80% off, huge discount. you will not see in other countries.
9. What Part of China is Recommended to Visit?
China is my favourite top three countries (Italy, Jordan and China) to visit. I have been to China many times before. In July 1999 when I visited Beijing, I met a couple from Switzerland and they visited China 7 times before. They love China so much and every time they visited different places because China has so much to see.
I recommend tourists to visit the following Chinese cities:
Must Visit: Beijing, Piyao, Datong, Xi'an, Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Suzhou, Leshan, Luoyang (Longmen Grottoes), Taishan, Huangshan, Shilin (Stone Forest), Three Gorges, Jiuzaigou, Huanglong, Chongqing (Dazu Rock Carvings), Dunhuang (Mogao Caves) and Haiko.
My Other Recommend Places: Chengdu, Chengde, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Kunming, Nanjing, Benxi, Taihu, Lijing, Lushan, Majishan, Wutaishan, Penglai, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao (Shanhai Pass), Shenyang, Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Taiyuan (Jinci)
Beijing is the capital city with a total of 7 heritage sites listed in the UNESCO list. This is evidence of Beijing's splendid culture and long history, an important part of the total 55 UNESCO sites in China, making Beijing one of the most visited destinations in China. If you have limited time to visit China, please visit Beijing first.