Heading to China? Here are the answers to some of your burning questions.
China is set in a diverse and vast landscape. With grassland and desert, mountains and rivers, cities and coastlines, there’s plenty to explore and experience.
If you’re contemplating a trip to China you no doubt have some questions you’d like answered. It’s time to indulge in the culture and customs of the world’s most populous country.
What to know before you go
How to spend money in China
You’ll have no problem using a travel-friendy debit or credit card in China, however, cash is the preferred method of payment. The currency used in China is renminbi — or more commonly called yuan. US dollars will do you no good in China as yuan is the only currency accepted.
You’ll have no problem locating an ATM in busy areas of the city, just be aware of withdrawing money with your credit card as you’ll be hit with a hefty cash advance fee.
Also, don’t worry about tipping in China — it is not a common practice.
Is China a communist country?
Although China is a communist country, it does allow capitalism. In practice this means that Chinese companies belong to the state, and any profits become the property of the state. China is officially known as the People’s Republic of China, and is governed by the Communist Party of China.
Does China have Facebook?
Facebook is blocked in China. The block followed the Urumqi riot in July 2009 as government officials derived that Facebook was being used for communication between independence activists.
The block excludes Hong Kong and Macau where it is not enforced.
Do I need a visa for China?
Yes. You need a visa to visit China and must apply for one before leaving home.
The exception is travelers who are traveling through Shanghai, Hangzhou or Nanjing for less than 144 hours. Travel elsewhere is limited to 72 hours. You need an onward ticket from the same airport to be eligible.
Can I fly direct to China?
You can fly direct to China from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Detroit, Washington DC, Honolulu and San Francisco. Prices and flight times vary depending on which city you’re flying from and to.
Questions about safety and health
Is China safe?
In general, China is a safe country and most of its inhabitants are honest and friendly. There are currently no major threats in China. The largest risk factors in China remain the day-to-day risks you can experience anywhere, such as road traffic accidents or petty crime.
You should be vigilant in respect of your personal safety and belongings, and avoid wandering alone down dark alleyways.
Catching taxis in China
There will be an abundance of taxis available in busy city areas, although, many drivers will not speak English. It’s best to have a map to show where you’re going or have your destination written in Chinese to give to the driver.
Does China have Uber?
No. Uber quit the market in China in August 2016.
Didi Chuxing bought Uber’s China unit and removed the English-language interface. It has introduced an English-version app, but this is only in operation in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.