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wheather & Climate of china

The climate in China varies from region to region since the country is massive!  In the northeast the summers are hot and dry and the winters are freezing cold.  The north and central regions have frequent bouts of rain coupled with hot summers and cold winters.  In the southeast there is plenty of rainfall, semi-tropical summers and cool winters.  Flooding can occur in the central, southern and western regions and the country in general can experience earthquakes.

Best time to go

The best timeto visit china climate wise is in spring,from March to April to or autumn from september to october.  Keen experience Chinese New Year?  Then you’ll need to be prepared in advance; hotels and flights are booked out around this time (usually the end of January of the beginning of February).

Five Temperature Zones

Temperatures vary a great deal. Influenced by latitude and monsoon activities, in winter, an isotherm of zero degrees traverses the Huaihe River-Qinling Mountain-southeast Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Areas north of the isotherm have temperatures below zero degrees and south of it, above zero. Mohe in Heilongjiang can hit an average of 30 degrees centigrade below zero, while the temperature of Sanya in Hainan Province is above 20 degrees. In summer, most of areas are above 20 degrees centigrade despite the high Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and other mountains such as Tianshan. Among these hot places, Turpan Basin in Xinjiang is the center for intense heat at 32 centigrade on average.

1. Cold-Temperate Zone: north part of Heilongjiang Province and Inner Mongolia (Representative city: Harbin)
2. Mid-Temperate Zone: Jilin, northern Xinjiang, and most of Heilongjiang, Liaoning, and Inner  Mongolia (Representative cities: Beijing, Shenyang, Dalian, Urumqi, Hohhot, Dunhuang, Lanzhou)
3. Warm-Temperate Zone: area of the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Hebei Province (Representative cities: Xian, Taiyuan, Luoyang, Jinan, Qingdao, Zhengzhou)
4. Subtropical Zone: South of isotherm of Qinling Mountain-Huaihe River, east of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (Representative cities: Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Guilin, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Chengdu)
5. Tropical Zone: Hainan province, southern Taiwan, Guangdong, and Yunnan Province (Representative cities: Haikou, Sanya)
6. Plateau Climate Zone: Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (Representative city: Lhasa)


As on 31 July 2013 1 CNY = 9.9743 INR

The official currency of the People's Republic of China is the renminbi ("People's Money"), often abbreviated RMB. The base unit of this currency is the yuan, international currency code CNY. All prices in China are given in yuan, usually either as ¥ or 元.
The RMB is not legal tender in the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, both of which issue their own currencies although occasionally it will be accepted on an unfavorable 1 to 1 basis with Hong Kong Dollars.
The yuan is currently hovering at ¥6.2 to the U.S. dollar and slowly rising in value (Feb 2012).



Dress Code, What to Wear

Different countries have different dress codes. But the same point is that you should wear suitably. As we know, the westerners are particular about clothes wearing. On different occasions, they wear different clothes. These occasions can be specified and include wedding, party, church, holyday, business, office and recreation and so on.

However, still some people hope to be special. For instance, when they are asked to wear black tie, they wear a pair of slippers; when they are invited to barbeque in the open air, they wear a swallow-tailed coat. Anyway, dress code is just dress code but not everybody use the same one.

Similarly, Chinese people pay much attention to their suit. As China is a very traditional oriental nation, it attaches much importance on etiquettes. Take dress wearing for an example. They think to respect others and esteem themselves, they should wear decent dress. So, it's infrequent to see Chinese girls in the very low dress in public. Wearing like that is a great challenge for them indeed.

As a foreign tourist who is getting around the coastal cities of China, you will seldom see bikini girls on the seashore. In many aspects, the easterners are more conservative than the westerners. Therefore, if you are a western lady, you are suggested to wear kind of conservative swimming suit. Otherwise, you will become a very eye-catching icon among the people.

During the traditional festivals like the Spring Festival, Chinese like dressing them up to join the banquet. Mid-aged woman like to wear cheong-sam or skirt; man usually wear a suit. Indecent clothes can make your dignity lost. Compared with senior people, youngsters would like to dress themselves semi-formally even when they are on the banquet. Fortunately, the seniors are always very kind to forgive the juniors.

In addition, Chinese like red colour very much. At festivals or great ceremonies, they prefer to wear red clothing. Even if some people don't like red, they also choose brightly-coloured clothes. In their mind, red symbolizes luck and fortune; only bright colors can match the atmosphere of festivals. If you travel to the country or visit your Chinese relatives during the Spring Festival, please prepare some brightly-coloured coat in advance. This is so-called ' When in Rome, do as Romans do.'

If you are going to visit a Chinese family, please don't worry about your clothing. Although Chinese people value various etiquettes, they are not very fussy about their guests' clothes. As long as you don't wear too weird or body-revealing closthes, it will be fine. Plain clothes are also acceptable.

When you're arranged to go on a package tour, you'd better prepare one formal dress at least, as sometimes the travel agency will arrange formal dinners, concerts or operas for you. If you look too unkempt due to your coat, you may not be allowed to enter in. For instance, if you come to Xian, China, you may take a chance to try the Dumpling Banquet and watch the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show. On these occasions, please wear formal clothes.



If there is a place that can satisfy the buyers' appetite most, it must be China. Abounding with various unusual and characteristic goods, China will never make you disappointed or worried about what to bring back. As wonderful mementos and gifts for your friends and relatives, special merchandise of various kinds, including Chinese silk, tea, antiques, paintings and calligraphy, Chinese medicines, jade and pearls, handicrafts, among others, are always available for your choice.
Distinctive things are mainly sold in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Chengdu, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Lhasa, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and especially Hong Kong, the city which is reputed world wide as a 'Shopping Paradise'. It is the shopping destination that tourists most long to visit. Different Chinese cities have different local specialities: Beijing is noted for cloisonne enamel and fresh water pearls; Shanghai is renowned for jade; Xian is celebrated for antiques and rugs, while Guilin is famous for scroll paintings and bijouterie. Particularly, Suzhou and Hangzhou are well known for silk and tea. All will provide plenty of ideas for fulfilling your shopping trip.

Points for Attention

Shopping in China is great fun, interesting and challenging. Here is some advice for smart shoppers:
Shops in China usually are open from 9:00am to 7:00pm, although others until 9:00pm. 'Night Market' may remain open until midnight or even all night during weekdays. However, times vary by season: hours are longer in summer and shorter in winter. 
Credit Cards including Master Card, Visa, American Express, JCB, Diners Club, Million, Federal, all are acceptable in most large Chinese department stores. However, cash is more prevalent in China. Be sure to carry sufficient small notes to facilitate buying from street vendors so they won't be required to make change for large notes.

Bargaining is the norm, especially in the market or small shops. Try to bargain whenever you shop. Be sure to bring a calculator to help you with conversion rates. If you make a counter offer, you should be prepared to buy the item if your offer is accepted.
Carefully check the quality of your purchases to ensure there are no flaws and to distinguish genuine from fake.
Always ask for receipt. It is a valid voucher if you need to return purchases. Furthermore, China customs sometimes will require receipts to be shown when you leave China.
Special local products are available, especially antiques, jade, pearls, paintings and calligraphy among others. You should be careful as to their authenticity. High value items should be bought in regular legal shops.

Make sure that the antiques you buy carry a wax seal indicating that it is authentic and is able to be exported from China. Be aware that antiques dating before 1795 cannot be legally exported. Please keep the purchase receipts as Customs will ask you to provide them when leaving China.

Guard against theft. Never show your wallet or big bills in the public. Keep some change available in your pocket to take out.
Be aware that some goods are not allowed to be exported from China, including jade carvings, cultural relics, etc. Before your purchase, you must confirm whether it can be allowed to pass the Chinese customs. 
Be cautious of forged notes when you are given change, especially where people are bustling about.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q1: How to use phone Cards and mobile phones in China?
A: Apart from calling IDD from your hotel room, there are various phone cards available in post offices inside hotels or at most newsstands on the street in China.
Among them IC card and IP card are the most popular ones .Most public telephones you see in booths are IC telephones, which allow you to call home directly. IC card is issued by China Telecom; international calls with IC telephone cards are relatively expensive, usually over 10 RMB/M. When you buy an IC card and want to call back home, simply just find a telephone booth either in hotel, restaurant, airport or some other places, insert the card into the phone, follow the vocal instructions to dial the number you want.

IP cards are issued by different issuers such as China Telecom, China Unicom, China Netcom and China Jitong, thus the Rates for international calls are different. China Unicom's rate for calls to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan usually is 1.5 RMB/M, 2.6 RMB/M to America and Canada while 3.6 RMB/M to other countries. The other's rates for international calls are either a little bit higher or lower than that of China Unicom. Currently, the IP phone service has covered the whole country, providing international service between China and over 200 countries and regions. There will be instruction on each IP card to tell you how to make a call, you can use the hotel phone to call with IP card and the hotel usually will charge some fare as that of city call.

Please note: some of the IC cards or IP cards can be used only in certain provinces or regions, so please check it and also the expired date before you purchase them.In China, GSM networks operated by China Mobile provide coverage in every major city, while CDMA network run by China Unicom is improving its coverage, so if you have a dual band or tri band mobile phone or use COSMOTE card, then you can use your mobile phone in China in most big cities, though any calls you make will be considered long-distance. A cheaper option is to buy GSM SIM card, which is a telephone number. There are mainly two kinds you can choose: Shenzhouxing issued by China Mobile, Ruyitong issued by China Unicom. Usually when you buy SIM card, no document is required but prepaid charge and you need to finish using that amount of prepaid charge before indicated date. You can buy charging card in amount of 50 RMB and 100 RMB to recharge in post offices, stores and newsstands easily.

The following is how to dial international call from China:

00+country code + region code + phone number

The country code for USA and Canada is 1, 44 for UK, 61 for Australia, 43 for Austria, 41 for Switzerland, 852 for Hong Kong, 39 for Italy, 31 for Holland, 64 for New Zealand, etc. For the other countries, please check the instruction book in the hotel room.

Q2: How to get the internet access in China?
A:  You can use the Internet service in the business center of the hotels; some rooms of certain hotels have the internet access, in which you can use your own computer. And internet cafes are a booming business in China and you should have no difficulty in finding one in cities, big or small, the charges in those internet cafes may be cheaper, but please don't go and stay there for too late for the sake of safety.

Q3: How many people can speak English in China?
A: As China continues to open up to the outside world more and more people are learning English. In our hotels, most staff members can speak moderate levels of English. However, on the streets and in local restaurants very few people can speak English and street signs and menus are mostly written in Chinese characters.

Q4: How are the Public Facilities in China?
A: In China, most public toilets are squatting ones which can be found in commercial areas and are usually well-marked. If you need to answer the nature's call, look for a "WC" sign. A useful word to know is Ce Suo ( washroom ), which is Chinese for toilet. Most public toilets are free but without toilet paper, so it is advisable to always carry some tissue paper with you at all times. If you can't seem to find a washroom, try to find a McDonalds or KFC or decent hotels, where there is a clean washroom available.

Q5: Can we take photos as we like in China?
A: You may photograph in most locations, except in most museums and archaeological sites (notably the main pit of the Terracotta Warriors), while some institutions allow you to take photos if you pay a fee in advance. Do ask for permission first if you try to take photos of people closely. Colour print film, memory stick for digital camera is widely available, especially in the medium-sized and big cities, black and white or slide film much less so. Video film can be found but not always readily. All security X-ray machines on mainland China and at Hong Kong airport are film-safe. It is advisable to have filters with you as sometimes it might be hazy in the city/area you are to visit.

Q6: How much money will I spend per day on tour?
A:  Approximately US$15 per person for day to day living. China is a country that offers great value for your money. For around US$15 you will be able to buy lunch and dinner at good restaurants, as well as refreshments (non-alcoholic) during the day. You will notice a major price difference for food between the major cities and provincial towns. Eating Western food will add to your food bill - as will some of the flash Western and Chinese restaurants in major cities.

Q7: What kinds of transport are used on tour?
A: For road journeys and inner city touring, air-conditioned coaches, coasters or mini-buses are generally used. These are modern, spacious, comfortable, well maintained, safe vehicles - good for small group travel. In cities and towns we use a combination of boats, bicycles (optional) and we also like to walk the streets and through the villages. All China tours involve at least one domestic flight. Flights are on modern Airbus or Boeing aircraft. Some China tours also involve at least one first class rail journey.

Q8: How is train travel in China?
A: Train travel is a fun, interesting and a comfortable way of moving around China. All rail journeys are in first class compartments. Accommodation is in shared, four-berth soft sleeper cabins that are air-conditioned. Sheets and blankets are provided and are generally of good standard. Western-style washrooms and toilets are located at one end of each compartment. Meals and drinks can be purchased in the train's restaurant carriage but you may prefer to bring your own snacks or pot noodles. Please note: porters are not always available at railway stations, so travellers must be prepared to carry their own luggage.

Q9: What are the necessary travel documents in China?
A: Passport, valid for at least 3 month after your visit China and the necessary visa or permits if you are traveling with our program. The visa should be approved prior to entering China and a permit for Tibet must be obtained 15 days before entering Tibet. If you only plan to travel and stay in Hong Kong you are exempt from applying for a China visa.
Most people only need to apply for a single-entry visa, which is usually valid for 3 months after the issuing date and will permit you to stay in China for a maximum of 30 days.
You need permits to go to Tibet. If you only go to Lhasa, a Tibet permit will be sufficient but, if you want to go further to the "unopened" areas, you also need an Alien's travel permit issued by the PSB of Tibet.
If you are to travel to Tibet, you are required to provide a doctor's certificate stating that you are fit to travel and your blood pressure and heart condition are normal in case that the very high altitude have the possible effects on you.
We suggest you take your medical record with you in case that you need it in the event of an emergency, and please also take with you your doctor's name, address and phone number, emergency contact name and phone number, and your insurance company's name, address and phone number.

Health Requirements

Immunization against smallpox and cholera is no longer required for entry into the People's Republic of China. While you travel to China with China Odyssey Tours, we always carefully select restaurants and hotels that are clean and safe in order to provide you with a safe and healthy environment. However, we do suggest you have sorts of vaccinations 4 to 6 weeks before your trip as the following, especially if you choose to go and visit those remote and /or rural areas.
Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)
Hepatitis B (We suggest 11 to 12-year-old children who did not receive it as infants have vaccination of Hepatitis B.)
Rabies, if you might have possibility to be exposed to wild or domestic animals.

Q10: What is the best time to travel to China?
A: From April to November are the best months for travelling through China. Outside of those months temperatures can fall well below 0 degrees Celsius, especially in the north. The ideal months are those of spring and autumn: April-May and September-October. Many China Tours focus on the south where climatic variations are less severe. Beijing experiences very cold conditions in December, January and February. On the far north western reaches of the Silk Road, it can be extremely cold from October through to March. July and August are very hot and dry in these regions. Tibet experiences cool weather year-round and travellers should prepare for four seasons in one day.

Q11: What type of restaurants and food will be available on tour?
A: Chinese cuisine incorporates a number of styles with each region having its own distinctive flavours. We endeavour to select restaurants that have a good balance of great food and atmosphere, good hygiene levels, and practical locations. Choose from a selection of seafood, chicken, beef, pork, duck and vegetable dishes. Some travellers prefer a mixture of international (Western) and Chinese food while touring. There is now some Western cuisine available in most places you visit, including the hotels we use. However, international options are limited in more isolated areas, especially on the Silk Road tour and throughout Tibet. Breakfast is included each day on tours and is usually a mix of western buffet, continental and Chinese styles, though again, remote areas tend to provide more local dishes. Vegetarians will find a reasonable selection of fresh foods available, with options more limited on the Silk Road and in Tibet. Vegetarians should specify this in their booking so that we and local guides can factor this into restaurant and meal suggestions
Q12: How about the restaurants we will have lunch or dinner?
A: Restaurants we will take you for lunch or dinner are all designated tourist restaurants approved by local tourist administration bureau. They have very good sanitary conditions and the food is prepared fresh and clean.

Q13: Where can I have the local dishes and snacks in the city?
A: In china, each city has its snack of local flavour. Normally it is not included in the program unless you have the specific request. If you have interest, you can ask the local guide to make arrangement for you. But you have to pay for the snack and the bus transportation. You can also go by yourself. Before you go, you can consult with your local guide and she or he will give you suggestions on what to eat and where to eat. Also you can follow-up the travel guide book's recommendation.
Credit card is only accepted in large hotels. For most of the restaurants in China, Cash in Chinese Yuan is acceptable. So bring some cash in Chinese Yuan before enjoy your meal.

Here are some delicious snacks in Chinese major cities
In Beijing, Peking Roast Duck, Mongolian Hot-pot, Imperial court cuisine, Tan-style cuisine
In Shanghai, Din sum dinner
In Xi'an, Tang Dynasty dinner and show, Dumpling dinner
In Guilin, Tea food banquet

Q14: What can we buy in China?
A: China has myriads of souvenirs to offer to its visitors. Just to name a few: silks, embroideries, brocades, traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, furniture, medicinal herbs, cloisonné, ceramics, carvings and sculptures, woven hand works, artistic fans, lacquer wares, traditional Chinese stationery, tea, beverages, folk arts and crafts of different ethnic backgrounds, and native products and local specialties.

China is a 'Kingdom of Silk" of world renown. Jiangsu, Guangdong, Hunan and Sichuan provinces abound in natural silk and products made of it. The most distinguished silk products, however, are found in Hangzhou, where they come in a dozen varieties including pongee, brocade, damask, faille, and satin. All of them are pleasantly colored and soft and smooth to the touch.

Embroideries and Brocades

Suzhou, Changsha,Guangdong and Chengdu are known as China's four major schools of embroidery. The most famous Chinese silk products include the cloudy-patterned embroidery of Nanjing, Song-style satins of Suzhou, and Sbu-style embroidery of Sichuan. Some ethnic minorities, such as Zhuang, Dai, Li, Dong and Tujia, produce silk products in distinct styles.

Calligraphy & Painting

With a long historical and cultural tradition, calligraphy and painting are an epitome of traditional Chinese culture. A finely wrought piece of calligraphy or painting always makes an ideal souvenir. Apart from the renowned xuan paper, there are a good variety of media for traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. These include shell mosaics produced in Dalian of Liaoning, Qingdao of Shandong, Beihai of Guangxi, Guangdong and Fujian; tree-bark pictures from Jilin; cork patchwork of Fuzhou; paintings on bamboo curtains from Sichuan; wheat straw patchwork from Chaozhou of Guangdong and Heilongjiang; and feather patchwork from Shenyang and Shandong.

Ceramics is a traditional Chinese handicraft with a long history. The best pottery-making centers are Yixing in Jiangsu Province, Shiwan in Guangdong Province, and Luoyang in Henan Province. Luoyang's tri-coloured pottery in Tang style is known throughout the world. Yixing's pottery is mostly made for everyday use and is especially known for its purplish brown, glazed, polychrome and refined products. Luoyang's tri-coloured pottery, glazed red, green and white, made a name for itself as early as the Tang Dynasty. Famous Chinese porcelains include celadon ware from Longquan of Zhejiang Province; the Ru-style porcelain ware (glazed grayish blue with a jade like material) from Linru, and the highly decorate Jun-style ware of Yuxian County of Henan Province; and products from Tangshan and Xuanhua of Hebei Province. None of these porcelain-making places, however, rival the fame of Jingdezhen, the 'Capital of Chinese Percelain-making Industry', and famille-rose, blue-and-white, eggshell-thin, and exquisite porcelains are its trademark products.

Carving & Sculpture

Traditional Chinese carving and sculpture are based on every material imaginable: jade, stone, wood, bamboo, black amber, crystals, tree roots, shells, and whatnot. Whatever the material, the products are distinguished by the ingenious integration of likeness of imagery with graphic expressiveness and spiritual resonance. There is no lack of exquisite works at your choice.

Cloisonne, also known as filigree enamel work, is perhaps the most famous of all traditional Chinese metal craftworks, with Beijing as the producing center. Cloisonne is called "jingtailan" because its popularity reached a peak during the Jingtai reign (1450-1457) of the Ming Dynasty. The Chinese cloisonne comes in such forms as vases, bowls, plates, table lamps, and cups used as prizes.

Traditional Stationery

Traditional Chinese stationery , more popularly known in this country as 'Four Treasures of the Study', namely, writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper, are a fitting symbol of traditional Chinese culture.

Among the more famous products are xuan paper produced in Jingxian County, Anhui Province; Huizhou-style ink sticks in Shexian County, Anhui Province; writing brushes in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province; and ink slabs produced in Zhaoqing of Guangdong Province, Shexian County of Anhui Province, Wuyuan of Jiangxi Province.

Lacquer Ware

Raw lacquer is a native Chinese product which can be processed and mixed with gay colour pigments for the making of traditional Chinese lacquer ware with consummate craftsmanship. Famous products in this field include Beijing's carved lacquer ware, Fujian's bodiless lacquer ware, and lacquer ware from Sichuan and Jiangsu Province's Yangzhou.

Basketry and Matting

Bamboo, rattan, palm fiber, grass, corn husk and wheat straw make inexpensive, yet excellent raw materials for basketry and matting, so popular that they can be found virtually in every nook and corner of the country. Famous products in this category include woven bamboo ware from Nanjing, sleeping mats from Anhui, woven bamboo mats from Hunan, articles of woven straw and plaited corn husk from Shandong and Henan provinces, rattan products from Guangdong province, and woven straw and hemp products from Zhejiang Province.

Artistic Fans

Handy, artistically decorated, superbly crafted and incessantly upgraded, fans are favorites with visitors to China who regard them as brilliant flowers in the Chinese garden of arts and crafts. Chinese fans come in a rich variety, including folding fans from Hangzhou, sandalwood fans from Suzhou, feather fans from Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, palmleaf fans from Guangdong Province, woven bamboo fans from Sichuan Province, and wheat-straw fans from Zhejiang Province.

Chinese tea is as famous as Chinese culture. Processed in different fashions, it falls into such categories as red tea, green tea, jasmine tea, and wulong tea. Among the better-known brands of Chinese tea are "Longjing" of Hangzhou, "Biluochun' of the Dongting Lake, "Tunlu" of Anhui, "Maojian" of Mount Huangshan, "Qihong" of Anhui, "Yihong" of Hubei, jasmine tea of Beijing, and "Tieguanyin" of Fujian. The Chinese take great delight in nursing a cup of tea while chatting with loved ones or friends.

A long history has endowed the land of China with innumerous cultural artifacts. All sorts of antiques and curios, traditional Chinese paintings and works of calligraphy, old time-pieces, carpets and ancient books are available in antique and curio fairs and shops operating in different places with government authorization. Browsing through these markets and shops and bargaining for a good price prove a fascinating experience in China.

Q15: Shall we have time to buy some souvenirs? Where can I find the shops?
A: Most visitors want to bring home something for their relatives and friends. China is the right place for buying the souvenirs because china is famous for many products like silk, jade carving and cloisonné which are cherished by foreigners. As our itinerary is not very busy, normally there is some free time for you after sightseeing. If you agree, the guide will take you to the designated tourist shops to buy the souvenirs.

Beijing is famous for jade carving and cloisonné, Xian is famous for replica of Terra Cotta soldiers and rugs and antiques, and Shanghai is famous for silk carpet, Hangzhou and Suzhou for silk products, Guilin for scroll paintings and China Southern Sea Pearls.

Q16: Will the tour guide allow us to decide what kind of factories we can go?
A: Usually the local guides may provide option for you. You can always let your guide know your interests and needs. Discussion is always a good way with your guide.

Q17: What should be careful if I want to go shopping in free market?
A: Foreigners always find it very interesting to stroll in the free market in china, where they can see different kind of people selling all variety of products. Maybe everything in the market is a novelty to you. If you have interest, you can also buy some products. But please keep in your mind that the quality of the merchandise is usually lower than in large stores, so it is not advisable to buy the food here. Also extensive bargaining is expected here, so better learn from local guide how to bargain before you go. If you want to buy something, prepare some small bills in Chinese currency, because the peddlers here are reluctant to take USD or any other foreign currency. As the free market is very crowded, please take good care of your valuables in crowds.

Q18: What is the basic dining etiquette & customs in China?
A: Dinning etiquette in China can be quite intricate and daunting at first. The following etiquette and customs may ease your nervousness and make you enjoy China's cuisine more.
In Chinese restaurants, knives should not be seen on the table. Chopsticks, bowls and soup spoons are the traditional table ware. Food is always cut into bite sized pieces, whole meats such as pig, fish and poultry are cooked till they are so tender that the meat can be removed right off the bones with chopsticks. When using chopsticks don't point them directly at people and never stick them standing upright in your rice bowl -- this is a reminder of the incense burned at funerals.

Use a clean spoon solely for taking food from communal plates for yourself or others, if you serve someone with your own chopsticks, use the blunt ends that don't go into your mouth. Though you may see that Chinese people take food directly with their own chopsticks sometimes, especially it will be like that when people have meals with their families, relatives and intimate friends. If you're invited to be a guest at a meal, don't be surprised that if your host orders more food than you can have, this is the way for Chinese people to "save face" and show their hospitality. And also, please don't be surprised if your host keeps serving you choice morsels of food even you don't ask for it, this is another way to show hospitality.

In Chinese customs, the inviter always pays for the meal, unless amongst friends or in an informal setting. It is polite to make an effort to pay, but expect strong resistance, that is why in many Chinese restaurants, it is a common sight to see two people arguing loudly after a meal-they're fighting for the right to pay. When you are not so sure what to do, simply ask your guides or do as local people do.

Q 19: What is the tipping practice in china?
A: As the time flies to 21 century, tipping is no longer illegal in China since 1980s. Tipping for tour guides and drivers in recognition of their good service has become a common practice. Hotel bellboys and housekeepers expect your tips as well. It is not customary to leave tips at hotel or local restaurants as the bill usually includes 10-15% service charge.
If you are travelling in a small party like 2 to 5 members, We suggest approximately US $8 to US $10 /per guest per day as tips for tour guide and US $4 to US $6 for the driver and about US $2 to US $3 for hotel bellboys as a gratitude for their service.
For example, if 2 of you are travelling together and will stay in Beijing for 3 nights, the tip from both of you may be from US$48 to US$60 for the tour guide, US$24 to US$36 for the driver.
But, for active tours like hiking, biking, rafting, we suggest you double the tipping.
If you are travelling in a party like 6 to 9 members, We suggest US $6 to US $8 /per guest per day as tips for the tour guide and US $3 to US $5 for the driver and about US $1 to US $2 for hotel bellboys as a gratitude for their service.
If you are travelling in a group with more than 10 people, We suggest US $3 to US $5 /per guest per day as tips for the tour guide and US $2 to US $3 for the driver and about US $3 to US $5 for hotel bellboys as a gratitude for their service.
The above is for your reference only, again tipping is a personal matter, you can always adjust the amount based on your satisfaction with the service you get from your tour guides, drivers, bellboys and so on.

Q20: Do I have to dress up when I attend performance?
A: Most people dress up when they participate in a concert or an opera (Nice pants and shirt. Coat and Tie is sometimes overkill). But for Kung Fu or Acrobatic shows, people dress casually (T-Shirt and jeans). You will find that, in general, China is much more informal than the West. In reality, you can go anyplace with a nice pants and a nice shirt.

Q21: Do I need a Chinese Visa? How do I get a visa for China?
A: A visa is required for all Canadians, Americans and people of most other nationalities who travel to China.  Access China Tours can help travellers to secure a Chinese visa for your trip abroad when you travel with us. Detailed instructions and a visa application form will be sent to you upon receipt of your tour deposit. 

Q22: What should I pack for travel in China?
A: One good rule of thumb to follow is to pack lightly and bring casual clothes. A sturdy, comfortable pair of walking shoes is an absolute must. A sports coat worn with a nice shirt for men, and one or two dresses or pantsuits for women will suit the most formal occasions to be encountered in China. Travellers should bring shirts, sweaters and jackets that can be worn in layers to suit a range of climates. Shorts (for both men and women) are fine for summer days though not recommended when visiting religious shrines. Remember to dress for comfort, not for style.

Common Checklist for Travelling in China:
Electrical converter and adapter plugs. China’s electrical system operates at 220 volts.

  • Hair dryer, razor, alarm clock.
  • Common toiletries, cold and digestive medications, lip balm, sanitary napkins and any over-the-counter medicines you generally use. (Almost all toiletries can be readily bought everywhere in China now).
  • Chewing gum, mints or throat lozenges to keep your mouth moist.
  • Reading materials, including a guidebook on the places you will see.
  • Sunscreen lotion and sunglasses.
  • A light raincoat or an umbrella, except in winter months.
  • Camera, batteries, memory cards and film. Be aware that while print film is available in most places, slide film may be difficult to find. Be sure to pack extra batteries.
  • A notebook to keep track of all the exciting things happening on the trip.

Q23: What is the electricity voltage in China? Is the electricity the same as in North America?
A: No, the electrical voltage in China is different. Electricity in China is at 220 Volts. You should pack an adapter if you decide to bring any type of electronics with you during the trip. Most Chinese electrical outlets use a two or three prong plug that does not fit with the North American type.

Q24: Are there baggage limits on the flight to China?
A: For domestic flights within China, you are allowed to check one piece of luggage. The limitation is 20 Kilograms (44 pounds) total. A fee may be imposed for extra pieces or excessive weight, up to 10 yuan ($1.50US) per kilogram (2.2 pounds). You can also take one carry-on plus a backpack or tote bag, all of which should fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat.

Q25: Can I drink the tap water in China?
A: Although many locals in China do drink the tap water, we recommend that you drink only bottled water or boiled water. Bottled water is available everywhere. People typically use the tap water to brush their teeth as it is not swallowed.



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