China Travel FAQ

 

Common China Travel FAQ

  • If you are in an private tour, your travel agency will have a plan B and change the tickets for you.

    If you travel alone, we suggest that you get to the ticket office of the railway station immediately to see if you can have your ticket changed. A ticket can be cancelled or changed at least 2 hours before departure time, but you can still change your ticket at some stations within 2 hours after the train leaves. 

  • Below are some tips to help you define if the travel agency you choose is real.
     

    1. By Business License

      If a company is real, it must have been authorized to receive a Business License by the local Administration for Industry and Commerce and it can be found out on the related Administration for Industry and Commerce website via the Business License number, the name of the company or the enterprise legal person.

      Please note that most Administration for Industry and Commerce websites do not have English versions, you may ask for help from someone who knows Chinese. Besides, due to some unknown reasons, some companies cannot be found out on the related website, you may then need to have someone went to the local Administration for Industry and Commerce to check it for you.
       

    2. By Bank Account

      If a company is real, definitely it has a bank account. Consult the related bank to see if there is such a company by using its bank account.
       

    3. By Contact Information

      If a company is real, usually it will have an available address and fixed telephone number. You may check if the address exists or not. Also, you may write to or call them to see if anyone replies.
       

    4. By Feedback from Other Websites or Social Media

      You can go to some travel related websites or forum and ask if anyone knows about this travel agency. Or go to their Facebook page to see they have some real engagement with "real" friends. 

  • We advise you to be more careful about these travel agencies. Tour price is a very important factor that most clients care about. However, please do not only judge the tour by comparing the price.

    Just like an old Chinese saying: the higher is the price the better is the quality of the merchandise. Some operators offer quite a low price, while they are unable to provide an international standard service. Even worse they will not meet your expectation, or maybe put you into a shopping tour.

  • No, it is not true. 

    Chinese government did not grant their permission for the establishment of any travel agency until Deng Xiaoping's opening door policy in 1978.

  • We are currently able to process on-line payments, for the following credit cards:

    • Visa 
    • Master Card
    • JCB Card
    • Bank of China
    • China Merchants Bank
    • China Construction Bank

Transportation in China

  • In some big cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, English is used while in some small cities, only Chinese is available.

  • There are 3 ticket classes on the trains in China. These include:

    • Soft Sleeper: Each compartment is enclosed by a lockable door, and contains 4 berths, with two to a side.The bunks are wider and most comfortable of any class. Air-conditioning is provided, and there is a shared toilet for each car.

      This class of service is the highest level provided on China Railways.

       

    • Hard Sleeper: There are 6 berths in each cabin where. There is a small difference of price between the berths, with the upper berth being the cheapest and the lower berth the most expensive. A clean pillow and sheet are provided.

       

    • Hard Seat: The coaches are usually overcrowded as standing tickets are sold for these carriages. It is the equivalent of a 3rd class ticket.

    On the modern high speed trains, there are 2 ticket classes. These include:

    1st and 2nd class seats: These 2 classes of seats are only available on the new high-speed C, D & G category trains. Both of them are soft seats, and 1st class seats will offer a larger space. 

  • If you are in an organized private tour, the first thing you should do is to call your tour guides and let them to handle this issue. 

    If you are an independent traveler, you should report the loss of ticket at the ticket office of the railway station by presenting your ID certificate or your valid passport and pay for a new ticket for the same seat/berth on the same train. A service fee of 2 Yuan is charged.

    Once boarding the train, you should tell the conductor that you lost your ticket and have bought a new one. The chief conductor will give you a passenger transport record before you reach your destination. With the record, the new ticket and your passport, you can have the new ticket refunded and get the money back within 24 hours after you arrive at your destination.  

  • The toilet conditions are not good on the trains. Western toilets are not offered on most of the trains. However, The toilets on the modern high-speed express category trains are immaculate, so no worries there!

    Additionally, it's always a good idea to take your own supply of toilet paper.  

  • The luggage limitation on Chinese trains is:

    • For adults: 20 kg. (44 lb.)
    • For children: 10 kg. (22 lb.)

    The maximum dimension of any item should not exceed 160 cm. (63 inch.). 

    You can also pay for a baggage ticket for the bags in excess of the official limits.

  • Yes. Most long-distance trains have a dinning car, with waiter service of drinks, snacks and meals.  Some of them have menus in both Chinese and English.

    Hot meals cost on average 30 yuan per person. Many locals express the flavor is not up to snuff. In addition, railway staff also regularly walk by with pushcarts offering snacks, mineral water and drinks. 

  • No. Most railway stations and booking offices only accept cash.

    However, credits cards are accepted if you book the train tickets online, through your hotel or a travel agency. 

  • Yes. You can buy the train tickets for your friend by presenting the original or a copy of your friend's passport or their own ID certificate.

  • Yes. China Railway Customer Service Center (12306.cn) provides on-line ticket booking service. It is valid to present your passport, but the website only has Chinese version.

    Lots of travel agents like WindhorseTour also offer this service. Currently, we can help you to book the rail journey from almost any cities in mainland China. Please start a reservation by contacting us!

  • Reservations open 18 days, or 20 days (for online bookings) before departure for all long-distance express trains. We recommend you to book the train tickets as soon as the reservation opens. 

    You cannot buy tickets before reservations open. The booking horizon increased from 10 days to 18 days for stations, and from 12 to 20 days for online bookings, as from 1 January 2013. Read more about China trains.

China Travel Documents

  • Starting from 2013, passport holders from 45 countries can be issued a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours while in transit via Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. You only need to to have your passport and the flight tickets.

    During your 72 hours stay you are not allowed to leave the transit city. 

  • Entries for China visa vary from single, double and multiple. A single entry is printed as 01(壹), while double as 02(贰), and multiple as M(多). Entries means the number of entry you can use it to enter China mainland during its validity period. 

  • Basic requirements are your original passport with at least 6 months validity and 2 blank pages, one legibly, completely and truly filled Application Form, one recent passport photo affixed on the application form.

  • The regular processing time is 4 working days. You can ask for the express service, which will reduce the time to 2 to 3 days. An additional fee of 20 USD will be charged per visa.

  • Yes, the application can be presented by someone else, such as your friends, relatives, or travel agency, but the form should be completed and signed by yourself. Someone else can also pick up it on your behalf as long as he can show the "Pick Up Form". 

  • Please apply only 1 or 2 months (at least 2 weeks) before your planned date for visit. Do not apply for it too early since if you don’t use it, the visa will expire after 90 days starting from the day you obtained it.

  • No. It is very difficult for a traveler to get a Visa On Arrival at the entry ports. We strongly recommend you to apply for your visa in your home country before departure.

  • You should apply from Chinese Embassies or Consulates in your home country. If you are currently residing or traveling in other countries, you can also apply at the local Chinese Embassy or Consulate.