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FAQ

Do I need a visa to China?

General Guidance http://www.chinaconsulate.org.nz/eng/lsqz/gg/

Visa Application Guidance http://www.chinaconsulate.org.nz/eng/lsqz/gg/t1083148.htm

72-hour Transit Visa Exemption for Foreign Nationals (*subject to change without notice)

From the 1st December 2013, passport holders of the following 51 countries listed below will be granted a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours while in transit via Capital Airport in Beijing, Pudong International Airport and Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai,Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou and Shuangliu Airport in Chengdu, provided the travelers:

1. Have residency or a valid visa of the third country ; 2. Have onward air ticket with confirmed seats flying directly out of China; 3. Embark and disembark at the same airport within 72 hours; 4. Hold valid international travel documents.

Please be advised that Capital Airport in Beijing, Pudong International Airport and Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai, Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou and Shuangliu Airport in Chengdu are the only five entry-exit airports applicable to this policy. Passengers by train or any other vehicles should still apply for a transit visa in advance.

During transit period, all beneficiaries of the policy should have their passports with them all the time and are not permitted to leave the disembarkation city and go to other Chinese cities. Registering at local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival is required if beneficiaries of the policy do not plan to stay overnight in hotels. If the transit period is longer than 72 hours for an irresistible reason or beneficiaries of the policy would like to visit other places beyond the administration area of the disembarkation city, visa is required and can be obtained through the local exit and entry administrative department. Those who fail to comply with the regulation will be regarded as staying in China unlawfully.

These 51 counties are:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, United Kingdom, Irish Republic, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Korean, Japan, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Serbia, Republic of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania.

When to go?

China’s geographic area is slightly larger than the U.S.A; it covers similar latitudes, with the lion’s share located in the temperate zone. This provides endless year-round variety for visitors to the country, from ice festivals in the north to tropical beach resorts in the south. Keep in mind the vast distances between destinations when planning your trip. Traveling along the popular Golden Route (Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guilin) is the rough equivalent of visiting Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, and Miami, all in one trip. Weather-wise, Shanghai and Guangzhou’s climates resemble those of US southeastern coastal states, while Beijing’s climate is more like Chicago.

While China is a year-round destination, the months of May, September, and October are ideal months for travel anywhere in the country. In the north, the winters are cold, and summers are warm, with moist monsoon air streams making it hot (80% of China’s rainfall occurs between late May and early October, mostly in the Southern regions). June through August is a good time to visit central and northern China. Spring and autumn are the best months for travel in Southern China. The months of March and April are the lower-priced shoulder season; while the lowest price, off-season travel, is from November through the winter months. This is when adventuresome travelers are rewarded with unbelievably low prices and far fewer fellow tourists.

What to pack?

Pack lightly, and bring casual clothes. A sturdy, comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must.

A business suit and tie for men and one or two dresses or pant suits for women will suffice for most formal occasions. Bring a couple of shirts, sweaters, and a jacket (depending on the season) that can be worn in layers to accommodate China’s range of climates. All hotels offer reliable laundry and dry cleaning services.

Is there any travel insurance needed?

You should consider the benefits of travel insurance as part of your China travel planning. Most travelers look for travel tips that discuss the importance of travel insurance and the important role that this coverage might provide. These plans may include valuable medical expense coverage, trip interruption, medical emergency assistance and treatment services and more. Some even provide a 24-hour assistance line, and others even act as a travel guide, should your plans change. Your travel consultant can provide a quote

Is China a safe country to travel?

Yes, it is true that China is generally regarded a safe country to travel in although there are some unavoidable petty crimes, such as pickpockets and scammers. Travelers need to take routine safety precautions just as at home and especially be cautious with their personal possessions in public place. Following are some tips for travelers to avoid potential problems:

Do not show off large amounts of money in public and keep your wallet out of sight.

Carry your passport, visa, credit cards, or other travel documents in a safe place on yourself or leave it in the hotel safe.

Leave valuables in a safe place such as the hotel safe. Do not leave them in your room or carry them with you.

Take care of your own belongings in crowded areas such as railway and bus stations, local festivals, markets, tourist attractions and such.

Do not travel to any sites that are not open to foreigners.

If you do need to exchange money, do it in the banks, hotels or other official exchange offices. It’s illegal to exchange currency with others.

Respect the local customs and habits, and avoid dissension with people.

Follow the Chinese laws and rules when traveling China.

How about the taxi in China?

In most cities in China, there are quite a lot taxis available, which are cars painted either in red or yellow or green. Taxi fares may vary from city to city but they are supposed to be marked on the taxi window, and the drivers are supposed to use taximeter when you get in the taxi. Most taxi drivers do not speak English, it is better for you to have your destinations written down in Chinese so that you can show the address to the driver, and don’t forget to ask for a receipt or remember the number of the taxi in case you drop something in it.

CHINA TRAVEL INFORMATION

Currency and Credit Cards

China’s currency is the Renminbi (RMB), usually called the Yuan. Ten Jiao make up one Yuan. At present, the Yuan is worth about NZ$0.20, with slight daily fluctuations.

New Zealand dollars can not be exchanged in China. American dollars is more popular and can be easily exchanged in major cities in China. Visa, Master Card, American Express, Diner’s Club, Federal Card, Million Card, and JCB credit cards are accepted at most hotels and state run shops in the major cities. Travelers should be prepared to pay in Yuan when shopping in smaller shops, at restaurants, and in smaller hotels.

Electricity

Electrical appliances will require an adapter that can change the shape of the plug prongs, as well as an electrical voltage converter that will allow a normal 110-volt American appliance to take 220 Volt Chinese current. Throughout China, 220 volt is used, although 4 & 5-star hotels are wired for use of 110-volt electrical appliances. Most hotels have a hair-dryer in each room.

Mobile Phone

You can bring your own mobile phone into China, please check with your Mobile Service provider in New Zealand for the details of roaming. Prepaid SIM card is very easy to access, simply ask your local guide to help you enjoy your calls there.

Postal Service & Internet

The postal service is one of the most efficient systems in China. Local rates are inexpensive and international rates are reasonable. Tourist hotels usually have their own post offices and shipping services, but hotel front desks provide the most convenient places for travelers to drop mail. All major international courier services have offices in major Chinese cities, and travelers can arrange with their hotel for pickup. Internet connections are currently available in most hotels, and many more are installing with to accommodate business travelers.

Shopping

China today offers an incredible range of boutique shops, department stores, and hotel shopping arcades to browse through. Or try your hand at bargain-hunting at one of the new “free markets” that are springing up all over the country. You’re sure to be dazzled by the unique array of aesthetic and practical gifts available in China. You will find everything from high-quality silks and porcelains to antique screens and traditional Chinese herbal medicines. Throughout China, shops offer unique ceramics, paintings, stone rubbings, embroideries, carpets, furniture, jade carvings, antiques, books, and much more. Shop personnel will often pack and arrange for shipping bulky purchases back home. Prices are usually clearly marked in stores and shops, and English is spoken in most tourist areas. Don’t miss browsing through one of the state-run Friendship Stores; they are still some of the best places to find an excellent selection of quality merchandise, plus you’ll find a complete supermarket of Chinese delicacies to bring to friends back home.

Entertainment

The wide variety of nighttime activities available throughout China is a major attraction for travelers, with many exciting performances to see and experiences to have.

One of the highlights of any trip to China is a night at the Chinese Classical Opera. A feast for the senses, the opera features magnificent costumes and intriguing plots (even if you can’t understand the words verbatim). Performances by talented Chinese acrobats and animals such as pandas, dogs, and cats are also “must see” events. Other cultural favorites include colorful folk dancing, classical Chinese dance, and “wushu,” the traditional form of martial arts.

In larger tourist towns and cities, you’ll also find modern dance, jazz, classical and rock music. If you like movies, you’re in luck, since the Chinese do too. Most towns host dozens of cinemas, and seeing a Chinese film is fun even if you don’t understand the language. And, of course, there’s karaoke, the most popular evening entertainment in China. Drop in for a “pijiu” (beer), muster up your courage, and try singing a song (in English). You’re sure to make some new Chinese friends.

Just outside of some tourist cities are large folkloric and cultural centers where travelers have the opportunity to observe and participate in traditional ethnic minority folk dancing or craft-making activities. There are usually half-day or evening activities that are often included in tour itineraries.

Cuisine

China is a country of 10,000 cuisines! Authentic Chinese food is delectable in flavor and astounding in its sheer variety. With 56 ethnic minority groups contributing recipes cultivated over centuries from the farthest corners of the country, China is justifiably famous for its claim as home to the most popular cuisine in the world.

You would be remiss if you didn’t sample as many types of China’s regional cuisine as possible during the trip. For a true taste of authentic cuisine, stop by one of the food stalls at the local “night market” and join neighborhood residents in sampling delicious fresh local foods; it will be an evening to remember, and the prices are great too.

Those who prefer a meal more familiar to their tastes may be surprised to discover the quality and variety of international dishes available in China today. American, Italian, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Korean, German, and French restaurants can be found at many 4- and 5-star hotels, and in shopping areas around Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. Travelers with special dietary requests can make advance arrangements with most 4- and 5-star (or international chain operated) hotels for vegetarian or special dishes.

Health & Travel

Please visit http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/beforeugo/health.shtml

Please consult your GP as well.

Duty Free Allowance (Subject to change)

What is the allowance for the duty free concessions?All travelers aged 18 years and over are allowed to bring into China the followings goods duty free:

Tobacco: 400 cigarettes

Liquor: 2 litres of alcoholic beverages

Perfume: Reasonable amount for personal use

The above information is for your references only.

The New Zealand Customs allowances

When entering New Zealand you are entitled to a personal goods concession. This allows you to bring in goods free of duty (excluding alcohol and tobacco products) obtained overseas and/or purchased duty free in New Zealand, which have a total combined value of NZ$700. If the value of your goods is over NZ$700 then they may attract Customs duty and goods and services tax (GST).

A traveller may import the following quantities of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages free of Customs charges, if:

• (i) The goods accompany them through the Customs arrival process; and

• (ii) The goods are not being carried on behalf of any other person or persons; and

• (iii) The goods are not intended for sale or exchange.

1. Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco

• 200 cigarettes, or

• 250 grams of tobacco, or

• 50 cigars, or

A mixture of all three weighing not more than 250 grams

2. Alcoholic beverages

• Up to six bottles (4.5 litres) of wine, champagne, port or sherry

• Up to twelve cans (4.5 litres) of beer

• Three bottles (or other containers) each containing not more than 1125ml of spirits, liqueur, or other spirituous beverages.

Quantities imported in excess of the allowances, or that are housed in containers greater than the maximum stipulated bottle size, are liable for Customs charges.

More information is available on the New Zealand Customs site at www.customs.govt.nz or phone +64 9 275 9059.

Luggage

We suggest your single check in bag should not have dimensions exceeding 76 x 46 x 26 cm (or 30 x 18 x 10 inches) and weight not exceeding 20 kg. A penalty from airlines might apply for check-in bag weight exceeding 20kg.

Please note that airlines have restrictions on the size of the hand carry luggage. The total dimensions are measured by adding together the depth, height and length of the bag, which is:

115cm = 56cm (L) + 36cm (H) + 23cm (D)

for details of luggage regulation, please refer to below or visit the official website of the airlines that you are flying.

Coach

There is no on-board toilet on the coach when on tours. For the long journey, our guides and drivers will make enough rest stops on the way for your convenience.

For the comfort of all on board, smoking is not permitted on the coach. There are, however, plenty of opportunities to smoke during the frequent comfort stops.

Can I travel to Tibet independently?

According to Chinese official regulation, you cannot travel to Tibet independently .You have to book a tour package to Tibet through a tour company. You need a special travel permit to enter Tibet in addition to a valid China visa. CTS Tours has designed several flexible and affordable packages. Please contact us for further details

Safety

China is generally safe, and there has been no evidence of a threat from global terrorism. Serious crime against foreigners is very rare.

Climate

China covers extensive territory and has a complex topography, therefore the weather differs from region to region. The south east, below the Nanling Mountains, tends to be very wet with high temperatures all year round. In the central Yangtze and Huaihe river valleys there are four distinct seasons with very hot summers and extremely cold winters, and rain all year round. The dry north experiences a short but sunny summer, with long bitterly cold winters. The coast is humid and experiences monsoons during summer.

The following is a reference table for tourists to prepare clothing on their trips.

• Spring: 10-22°C, Western suits, jackets, sports coats, woolen jackets, long sleeve shirts and travel shoes.

• Summer: 22°C and above, T-shirts, short sleeve shirts, skirts, sandals, caps, rain wear.

• Autumn: 10-22°C, Western suits, jackets, sports coats, light woolen sweaters, and travel shoes.

• Winter: 10°C or lower, overcoat, cotton clothes, lined coats. In very cold areas a cap, gloves and cotton-padded shoes are required

Guaranteed Departure at Group Prices

At CTS Tours, all our group tours are guaranteed departures, whether the group be two or twenty-two people, we guarantee the departure dates. You can be confident in knowing your travel plans are set and then relax and prepare for a marvelous holiday.

*All guaranteed departure tour programs required a minimum of two persons to qualify for a guaranteed departure. CTS Tours reserves the right to cancel a departure that does not meet this requirement.

Group Size

Most of our groups are between 10-20 people; it might be popular in some departures for example in April, September and October,for your comfort, the maximum number for group will be 28 people.