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Travel to China

Customs Regulations
Quarantine & Immunizations
Foreign Exchange
Climate and Clothing
Emergency Medical Service 
Telephone and Postal Service
Tipping Practice for Visitors to China 

Customs Regulations

Entry:  Tourists must fill out a baggage declaration form (in two copies) and hand it in to customs, retaining the carbon to show upon exit.

Personal belongings will be admitted duty free, including food, two bottles of liquor and two cartons of cigarettes. Wristwatches, radios, tape recorders, cameras, movie cameras, and similar items may be brought in for personal use but cannot be sold or transferred to others and must be brought out of China.
Gifts for relatives or friends in China, or articles carried on behalf of other, must also be declared.
Visitors can bring in an unlimited amount of foreign currency and Chinese Renminbi (RMB) traveler's checks, and the unspent portion can be taken out.

Bringing in the following articles is prohibited:

  • Arms, ammunition, and explosives of all kinds 
  • Radio transmitters-receivers and principal parts
  • Renminbi (RMB) in cash
  • Manuscripts, printed matter, films, photographs, gramophone records, cinematographic films, loaded recording tapes and videotapes, etc. which are detrimental to China's politics, economy, culture, and ethics
  • Poisonous drugs, habit-forming drugs, opium, morphine, heroin, etc.
  • Animals, plants and products thereof infected with or carrying germs and insect pests
  • Unsanitary foodstuffs and germ-carrying food-stuffs from infected areas
  • Other articles the import of which is prohibited by state regulations

Exit: On leaving China, tourists must again submit the baggage declaration form for customs inspection (the second copy). Travelers by ship are exempted.
Items purchased in China with RMB converted from foreign currencies may be taken out or mailed out of the country after receipts are presented for customs inspection. In cities where a Customs Office does not exit, this can be arranged through the local Friendship Store.

Taking out the following articles is prohibited:

  • Arms, ammunition, and explosives of all kinds
  • Radio transmitters-receivers and principal parts
  • Renminbi (Chinese currency) in cash and negotiable securities in RMB
  • Ungratified foreign currency, foreign notes or drafts
  • Manuscripts, printed matter, films, photographs, gramophone records, cinematographic films, loaded recording tapes and videotapes, etc. which are detrimental to China's national security
  • Rare and precious copies of books about Chinese revolution, history, culture and art that are not for sale
  • Valuable animals, plants, and seeds
  • Precious metals, pearls, and jewels (things declared to the customs are exempted)
  • Other articles the export of which is prohibited by state regulations

Quarantine & Immunizations 
Those who carry such special articles as microorganisms, human body tissues, biological products, and blood and its products, should declare to a quarantine department, and subject these articles to quarantine inspections. Passengers from yellow fever-infested areas should, when entering China, display to the quarantine department effective certificates showing that they have been inoculated against yellow fever. He who does not have such a valid certificate shall be retained for observation for six days beginning from the day he left the infested area, or he shall be inoculated and retained until the certificate comes into effect. It is the task of the Chinese quarantine authorities to prevent foreigners suffering AIDS, venereal diseases, leprosy, mental diseases and open tuberculosis from entering China.  

There are no particular immunizations required for entry into China, unless the traveler is coming from a yellow fever infected area. The Canadian and US disease control and prevention authorities recommend the all travelers have current polio and tetanus immunizations. For traveling into the countryside and remote areas, immune globulin is also recommended to combat hepatitis A, as is typhoid immunization. It is very important that you consult your own doctor or local clinic for more information.  We advise you to bring along a supply of antibiotics, an anti-diarrhea agent, and any other prescription drugs required by your current medical conditions.

The Chinese currency is called Renminbi, and is issued by the People's Bank of China. The unit of Renminbi is the yuan and the smaller units are the jiao (10 jiao=1 yuan). Yuan an Jiao are issued as paper banknotes but there are also yuan, five jiao coins. Denominations of yuan banknotes are 1 yuan, 2 yuan, 5 yuan, 10 yuan, 20 yuan, 50 yuan and 100 yuan. Jiao banknotes are 1 jiao, 2 jiao and 5 jiao. The abbreviation for Chinese currency is RMB¥. Many hotels and stores accept major credit cards. At present, the following credit cards can be used in China: Master Card, Visa Card, American Express, JCB, Diners Card. Holders of these cards can draw cash from the Bank of China, buy goods and pay for purchases at exchange centers of the Bank of China, appointed shops, hotels and restaurants. 

For the convenience of tourists, the Bank of China can cash travelers' checks sold by international commercial banks and travelers' check companies in the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany and other countries and regions. Also the Bank of China sells travelers' checks for such banks as American Express, Citibank, Tongjilong Travelers' Check Co., the Sumitomo Bank of Japan, the Swiss Banking Corporation and others. 
Foreign Exchange      
Foreign currency cannot be circulated within the People's Republic of China or used to determine the price and settle accounts. At present, China will accept and convert into Chinese Renminbi such foreign currencies as the US dollar, British pound, Euro, Japanese yen, Australian dollar, Austrian schilling, Belgian franc, Canadian dollar, HK dollar, Swiss franc, Danish Krone, Singapore dollar, Malaysian ringgit, Italian lira, Macao dollar, Finnish markka, and Taiwan dollar. Exchange rates are issued every day by the State Administration of Exchange Control. Before leaving China, unused Chinese Renminbi can be converted back into foreign currency with a "foreign exchange certificate" which is valid for six months.  


Climate and Clothing     
China has a continental and seasonal climate. Most parts are in the temperate zone but southern areas are in the tropical or subtropical zone while northern areas are in the frigid zone.  Climates in different areas are complicated. For instance, northern Heilongjiang Province has a winter climate the year round without summer, while Hainan Island has a summer climate the year round without winter.  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, rain wear 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.


China can be visited through out the year because of the stretch of its territories and activities it can offer. Deciding when to visit China depends on which places you wish to visit, what type of weather you enjoy, and how much a bargain you want. China is a huge country with many different climates and types of landscape. Think of it in terms of the United States, which China resembles in size and shape. Traveling along the Golden Route (Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guilin) is like visiting New York, Chicago, Santa Fe, and Jacksonville, Florida all in one trip. 
July, August, September and October are the peak tourist months at China’s most popular destinations when the weather is the most comfortable. Prices drop a bit in the shoulder season, which runs from November through June. However, the winter months are peak season for trips to China’s Hainan Island and to the Northeast Harbin for its world-famous ice-lantern festival.  This months are also packed with New Year holidays, Chinese Spring Festival and other national or local happy fairs.  Summer months are great time to explore China’s Far East-Manchuria.


Emergency Medical Service 
The clinics in large hotels and restaurants offer medical and first aid services to travelers. If you feel uncomfortable while on a tour, you may call the outpatient department of a local hotel, or ask your guide to take you to see the doctor. 
China uses metric system for measurement.  


A comparison between Chinese system and Anglo-American system: 

Length, Square Measures, Weight and Volume



1 km (1,000 m) = 2 li = 0.621 mile = 0.54 sea mile

1 m = 3 chi = 3.281 ft = 1.094 yard

li = 0.5 km = 0.311 mile = 0.27 sea mile

chi = 0.333 m = 1.094 ft

1 mile = 1.609 km = 3.219 li = 0.868 sea mile

1 ft = 0.305 m = 0.914 chi

1 sea mile = 1.852 km = 3.704 li = 1.15 mile


1 hectare = 15 mu = 2.47 acre

1 mu = 0.067 hectare = 0.164 acre

1 acre = 0.405 hectare = 6.07 mu

1 kg = 2 jin = 2.205 pound

jin = 0.5 kg = 1.102 pound

1 UK pound = 0.454 kg = 0.907 jin

1 liter = 1 sheng = 0.22 UK gallon

1 UK gallon = 4.546 liter = 4.546 sheng


The electricity used in China is 220 volt AC. Many middle and high-class hotel wash rooms have transformer plugs for electric shavers and hair dryers, but it is better to be prepared with an adapter plug.  


Telephone and Postal Service
In towns and cities, IDD service is provided at all hotels and post offices. Phone cards are available in post offices inside hotels or in the streets. Even more conveniently, most newsstands in major cities also carry phone cards. Telephone booths in the streets are mostly for local calls.
Tourist hotels provide postal services. If you want to send important items such as antiques and cultural relics that are under customs control, you will have to ask for the help of the local branch of the international post office, instead of the small post office in a hotel.


Some Useful Numbers 
112--Inner-city telephone mishaps 
113--Operator of domestic long-distance calls 
114--Inner-city telephone number inquiries 
115--Operator of international long-distance calls 
116--Information on domestic long-distance calls 
121--Weather forecasts    




  • Arts and Crafts
    China is a treasure house of arts and crafts which are an important part of the Nation's cultural inheritance. Products such as carving, embroidery, pottery and porcelain, glassware and dyeing, replicas of ancient cultural relics are all exquisitely crafted. Other well-known crafts are weaving, printing and dyeing. Cloisonne is a special traditional handicraft of Beijing while Jiangxi Jingdezhen ware is a representative of China's fine porcelain. China's handmade carpets are much sought after in international markets. Suzhou, Hunan, Guangdong and Sichuan embroidery are four of China's best-known embroideries. Some of the regional art and craft specialties include the wood carving of Dongyang and the bamboo products of Shengxian from Zhejiang Province, the clay figurine of Master Zhang from Tianjin, the grass and wickerwork from Shandong Province, the three color-glaze Tang ware of Luoyang from Henan Province, the batik from Guizhou Province and the Huishan clay figurine of Wuxi from Jiangsu Province. Also well-know are the four treasures of study of Xuan paper and ink stick from Anhui Province, Duan ink slab from Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, and Shanlianhu writing brush from Wuxing, Zhejiang Province. There are many other famous handicrafts, such as folk paper cuts created by women farmers. 

  • Other popular Chinese products include:


  • Silk:  Chinese silk is famous in the world for its magnificent quality, color and variety. Representative samples are brocade from Hangzhou, Sichuan brocade from Chengdu, the fine, tough silk and pure silk crepe from Suzhou and tussah silk from Dandong. 

  • Tea: China is the home of tea. Tea is divided into green, black, perfumed, white and Wulong tea. Longjing (green tea) and Biluochun (green tea), are famous throughout the world.

  • Liquors and Wines: Since ancient times, China’s spirits and wines have developed in their unique way and have won many international awards. Famous liquors include Maotai from Guizhou, Fen and Zhuyeqing from Shanxi, Wuliangye, Jiannanchun and Luzhou Laojiao from Sichuan, Gujing tribute liquor from Anhui, Yanghe Daqu from Jiangsu and Dong Liquor from Guizhou. Fruit wines include gold medal brandy, red grape wine and Weimeisi from Yantai, China red grape wine from Beijing, Shacheng white grape wine form Hebei, Minquan white grape wine from Henan. Yellow rice wines include rice wine from Shaoxing, sinking-in-jar wine from Longyan and sealed jar wine from Danyang. Yanjing and Qingdao are two famous brands of the many varieties of fine beers available in China.  

  • Traditional Chinese medicine: The body of knowledge that makes up traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been accumulated over thousands of years. It is a school of its own. Numerous herbal and other drugs are being used for their high curative efficacy, and those with a high tonic value are favorites with the Chinese.


Tipping Practice for Visitors to China
It is a common practice for visitors to tip the tour guide and driver in recognition of their good service. Hotel bellboy expects your tips as well. It is not customary to leave tips at hotel or local restaurant as the bill usually includes 10-15% service charge.


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