China Travel FAQs & Tips

We've got the answers to all your questions about China Tours, Yangtze River Cruise and Tibet Discovery - and some you'd never think to ask. Choose a topic below to read through a list of questions and answers. If you have a question of your own that we haven't answered here, feel free to contact us.

Documents like Passport, Visa & Permit

  • 1. Who needs a Chinese visa?

    Usually most foreigners traveling to mainland China require a visa, except those who are citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan and stay no more than 15 days for the purpose of travel and business.
  • 2. Can I visit China without a visa?

    There is no need to have Chinese visa for visa-required foreign citizens, if you visit the Pearl River Delta, Hainan Island, or some certain area of China. For more conditions without a visa, please click Chinese Visa Exemption to give you all details.
  • 3. Do I need a Chinese visa to transit via China solely?

    No, you shouldn’t have to apply it, if you transit through China within 24 hours. Besides, China has opened the 72 hours visa free for you to travel some cities within 72 hours. Click 72-Hour Visa-free Transit to read more details.
  • 4. How long would it take to get the Chinese visa?

    The application process generally takes three to five working days and if you are in hurry, you can choose express service or rush service with extra pay to shorten the time to 1-2 days.
  • 5. Could you send an invitation letter for the Chinese Embassy both in English and Chinese so we can get the visa more easily?

    Yes. We can send the Invitation Letter to assist your visa application only after the tour deposit is paid.
  • 6. We have already had a Chinese visa, so do we still need to have a Tibet permit?How do I get it?

    The Chinese visa is different from the Tibet Entry Permit, so for applying the Tibet Entry Permit, we will need your valid passport and visa scanning copies; you are not allowed to enter Tibet without having this Permit. And this Permit will be delivered to the Chinese hotel you will stay in before entering Tibet.
  • 7. Do we need Hong Kong visa if we enter there? Or double visa needed if we reach and depart from Hong Kong?

    Citizens of most countries in the world are allowed to enter Hong Kong for a stay from 14 days to 90 days with visa or entry permit. But a valid passport is required. If you need to stay overtime, you must apply the HKSAR visa. Traveling China and want to re-enter, you should apply a visa of double entries, like the route of Hong Kong – China Mainland (like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, etc.) – Hong Kong.

>>More Chinese Visa FAQs & tips

Money & Reservation

  • 1. What kind of payment method do you accept?

    PayPal, Wire Transfer/Bank Transfer, Western Union are acceptable before your arrival, and after your arrival, CASH is required.
  • 2. How soon before our trip do you need payment?

    Early booking is always better than being rushed, and we would suggest booking to be 2-3 month earlier than your arrival so as to guarantee the booking items. If you are interested in any of our tours, you can pay a deposit first and balance to be paid 30 days prior to your arrival. You can also choose to pay the full amount so as to avoid small loss caused by currency exchange rate fluctuation.
  • 3. When should we pay the deposit and the balance?

    Certain deposit will be paid if you decide to book, and balance is required to be paid 30 days prior to your arrival. If booking is less than 30 days, full payment is required.
  • 4. Is it a good idea to bring dollars in China for the trip or is it better to have RMB with us that we will withdraw from ATM?

    You can do both, many 4 to 5 stars hotels provide the currency exchange service, you may also change it in the Bank of China, and withdrawing money from ATM will also do. Please do not carry too much money with you when touring outside, keep your belongings safely is always better.
  • 5. How much cash should we take for tip, meals and others?

    The amount of cash you take is based on your length of traveling. For example, if you group with two take a China tour for 10 days, you may need to bring about 5000-6000 RMB in cash. You may spend tipping the tour guides, drivers and staff at the hotels, taking about 1000-1500 Yuan. Some other cost may spend having dinner, local food and snacks. If you want to go shopping or have other personal expenses, you can use Credit Card.

Tour Itinerary / Tour Arrangement

  • 1. I am interested in your website’s sample itinerary. Can I add more spots and tell more specific requirements and needs?

    Yes. Once you inquired your favorite China tour, you can tell your all about your ideas and needs by writing the additional requirements on the inquiry form, like the tourist spots, special needs to enjoy the tour, hotel level, food choices, physical condition, etc. One of our experienced travel experts will be your personal travel consultant, helping you modify your China tour based on your likes and requirements and send the quote to you.
  • 2. Can I modify the itinerary before I start the tour?

    Yes, you can modify the itinerary like the date of your travel, numbers of your group, length of your stay, destinations to visit, attractions to see before you making a confirmation. Your personal travel consultants will be very patient and friendly to amend your tour based on your specific ideas and give you a new quote every time. Once confirmed everything and you will move to next step to pay deposit.
  • 3. How flexible is China Discovery’s tour?

    Taking tours with China Discovery means “Discover China in your own way". All we want to do is to insure that you can enjoy a wonderful and enjoyable China vacation. You China tour can be 100% tailor made. That to say, your entire holiday is designed around your requirements. Explore your interests at your own speed. Select your preferred style of accommodation. Create the perfect trip with the help of our specialists.
  • 4. What does a private tour mean?

    PRIVATE PACKAGE means we will provide you with a private vehicle, which is big enough for your group of people, and a private driver and guide for private tours and transfers as listed in our itinerary. Private tour is more flexible and valuable. You could spend more time at places you feel like than what has been scheduled. You can take photos as you want.
  • 5. What are the differences between Private Tour and Group Tour?

    A: Private tours
    1. Private guide, driver and vehicle are for your exclusive use; no matter you are individually, or in a family or friends group. The tour is run exclusively for you without strangers.
    2. Every itinerary can be customized to meet your specific interests/ wishes, that is, you can choose your favored hotels, sightseeing spots, the tour length, means of transportation, budget, etc. All are free of charge.
    3. Start the tour on any date you want.
    4. Escort you through the whole tour. All private transfers during the tour are offered, including airport/train station transfer, hotel-attractions round trip transfer.
    5. The sightseeing during the tour could be based on your own timetable and pace. Flexible to change at your short notice.
    6. Ideal for people who need considerate care and assistance, such as elderly, the disabled, families with small children.
    B: Group tours
    1. Low Price;
    2. Share a guide and driver;
    3. Share a clean, safe and air-conditioned vehicle;
    4. Good chance for you to meet and make friends from all over the world;
    5. Tour date is fixed and unchangeable.
  • 6. Can I choose private tour, group tour and independent travel during my China travel?

    Yes, you can use our high quality private tour service and join in group tour with other travelers and even try independent travel even in one stay. For example, you can join in our group tour to visit Great Wall and Ming Dynasty Tombs and use our private guided tour to visit Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace or you can have free days to explore the city on your own. It is very flexible and China Discovery can arrange the tour you want.
  • 7. Is there are discount if we have many people in our group? And early bird booking?

    Yes, more members join in will cut the cost down and early bird booking will enjoy some discount. Detailed information please contact our professional travel consultants.
  • 8. If we have a lot free time and don’t want to stay in the hotels, what can we do?

    If you have a lot free time and don’t want to stay in the hotels, you can ask some ideas from your local tour guide and hotel staff. They would give you some useful suggestions and help you enjoy exploration near the hotel area. Please write down your hotel name and address and get your tour guides’ phone number.
    Moreover, you can enjoy some night shows and performance in each destination under the accompany of your tour guide. For more featured things to do, please head to our page Featured Activities and Shows in China.

Transportation like Flights & Trains

  • 1. Can you arrange flight and train tickets for us?

    Yes, we can book flight and train tickets to well match your China tour arrangement.
    To know more about China Flights and China Trains, please go head to our page Transportation in China.
  • 2. Can you arrange international flights from and back to our country?

    Yes, we can help to arrange international flights for you. But, we suggest you buy it yourselves for you may get some discount.
  • 3. What is the soft / hard sleeper car like? Is bumpy and loud? Can you send pic?

    Yes, we can send you some pictures for your reference.
    A soft sleeper carriage has 9 compartments, in each of which there are four bunks, two upper and two lower bunks. Each bed is about 75 cm wide and 190 cm long. The luggage rack inside the compartment is about 40cm high and 50cm wide, just big enough for a 20 inch suitcase. A door separates the compartments from the aisle, providing a quiet and private room for the four passengers inside.
    A hard sleeper carriage consists of 11 semi-open compartments. Each compartment has six berths going from two top, two middle and two bottom bunks. A ladder at the end of the beds is for passengers to go up and down. Basic beddings, such as a quilt, a pillow, and a sheet are provided. The berth is not big, only 60cm wide and 180cm long. Passengers on the middle and upper berth can hardly sit up straight, as the head spaces for the middle and upper berths are only 70cm and 65cm, respectively. It is also not as soft as the beds in hotels.
  • 4. What airlines/type of plane you may choose? Which is the most reliable airplane for safety?

    Usually, we choose the BIG FOUR Airlines in China – China Air, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines. Traveling with the largest air companies in China is very reliable for safety. In small destinations, we may arrange airlines according to your schedule and you may try other airlines, like Shandong Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, etc. Safety is always guaranteed and there is no need to worry if you take these airlines.

Tour Guide, Driver & Private Car

  • 1. Can we get a tour guide who can speak our language?

    Yes, we can arrange your tour guide who speaks your language. Normally, most of our tour guides speak English and we also have guide speaking other foreign language such as German, French, Spanish, Japanese, etc. When you book the tour, please tell us your special language requirement so that we can try our best to arrange the tour guide to meet your needs.
  • 2. What kind of vehicles do we use during our tour?

    We have sedan car, SUV, business van (MPV), different types of buses available, different vehicles will be used according to different group size. No matter where you are going to visit, your vehicle is air conditioned, clean, and expertly maintained. Your private driver is smiling, licensed, and very experienced.
  • 3. Can the private car have enough space to store our luggage?

    To maximize your comfort, we use vehicles with extra space for you and your luggage. Depending on how many are traveling together, we generally use sedans or mini vans (7 seats) for 4 people or less, large vans or small coaches (12-22 seats) for 5-12 people, medium coaches (33 – 37 seats) for 13 – 25 people, and large coaches (45 seats over) for more than 25 people.
  • 4. Can I only have driver without guide as I understand Chinese?

    Yes, you can only have a driver without guide to explore the destination and spots you want to go. If you can use Chinese to communicate, our driver will be glad to talk with you and give you help and useful suggestions.
  • 5. How can I contact our tour guide in each destination?

    Before your tour gets started, your personal travel consultants will give you detailed tour guide information, like the name and phone number. You can contact your guide before your tour.
  • 6. How can I find my tour guide at the airport / railway station?

    Upon your arrival in each destination no matter at the airport or the railway station, your local guide or driver will hold a sign on which says your name at the exit. You’ll find your guide or driver by the sign.
  • 7. What time will we be picked up from our hotel each day?

    Usually, your guide and driver will pick you at your hotel at 08:00 am or 09:00 am. After your arrival in each destination, your local guide will contact you to tell the pickup time and the arrangement next day. And also, you can discuss the time with your tour guide.
  • 8. Could you give me an idea as to what is expected in way of tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff, etc.?

    In recognition of the good service, tipping waiters and maids in high-level western restaurants, guides and drivers from an organized tour group, as well as bellhops who take your luggage to the room has become gradually accepted as common practice in China as elsewhere in the world. But it is still unnecessary to tip when taking a taxi, hiring a car or dining in Chinese restaurants. Please kindly note that in some Chinese cities but especially the internationalized metropolis of Hong Kong and Macau, tipping is very common. For more details, please check Tipping in China.

Food & Dining

  • 1. I see some lunches are not listed in your website’s sample itinerary, can you arrange lunch for our tour?

    The itineraries and arrangements in our website are the sample ones. Of course, we can arrange lunch for your tour.
    Usually, lunch is not included if visiting the mountain areas and remote area. We suggest you to prepare some food and snacks beforehand for the dining may be inconvenient in those places. Your local guide will try their best to take you to some clean restaurants to enjoy your meal. Please discuss it with your tour guide.
  • 2. I am a vegetarian. Will you provide vegetarian meals for me? How about Halal food or Moslem food?

    Yes, we can arrange vegetarian meals for you, as well as Halal food and Moslem food. It will be easier to find the vegetarian restaurants in big cities of china, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Hong Kong, etc. If you have any requirement towards to the food, please just let your guides know, they will try their best to help to make it.
  • 3. Can you include some authentic local food, like Sichuan cuisine, Hunan cuisine?

    Yes, we can include some authentic local food in the dining if you can taste spicy. If you visit Sichuan province like Chengdu, Leshan, Emeishan, we can arrange Sichuan cuisine for you. If you visit Hunan province like Changsha, Zhangjiajie or Fenghuang, we can arrange Hunan cuisine for you. Please tell your food requirements to your personal travel consultants or tour guide, they will try their best to help to make it.
  • 4. Do our tour guides and drivers have meals with us?

    The tour guides and driver will be at the same restaurants with you, but they will only join the meal when you invite. Sometimes the drivers are shy to join as they usually eat fast and could not understand English talk around the table, so the guide will be with you more often.
  • 5. I have some meals on our own. Can you give us some suggestions?

    There are some meals (usually dinner) excluded in your itinerary as you like, and your private guide will be delighted to give you some suggestions and take you to the local restaurants, if you are interested in local food tasting. But remember, some local snacks may not match your stomach, so ask your guide for more information before eating.

Accommodation

  • 1. What type of accommodation will we be staying in?

    There are many hotels you can choose, ranging from luxury 5 star hotels (both International brands and local brands), 4 star hotels and budget 3 star ones.
    Besides the hotels, you can have different accommodation experience in different destinations of China. In Inner Mongolian grasslands like Xilamuren Grassland, Gegentala Grassland and Huitengxile Grassland, you may have Mongolian yurt experience. In mountain climbing, you may have monastery experience. In rural village, you may stay in the clean hostels. In Fujian Tulou area, you can catch the chance to live in the real earthen buildings. In Tibet like Everest areas, you may stay in tent.
  • 2. Where are our chosen hotels located? Is it close to shopping area or scenic spots?

    Usually, the hotel we chosen for you are located in the downtown area of the city, with walk distance to the shopping area and scenic spots.
  • 3. Does the hotel staff speak English?

    From 3-star to 5 star hotels, the staff at the reception desk can speak English. There is no worry for checking-in and checking-out. The cleaners or porters in the hotels cannot speak rare English. If you have any needs, please tell the staff at the reception desk and they will help you anytime.
  • 4. Can I book the hotels by myself?

    Yes, you can book your favorite hotels by yourselves. China Discovery is here glad to offer you the hotel booking service to deliver you a worry free China vacation.
  • 5. Do we need to bring the converter or is there one at the hotels?

    If you're staying in a mid-level or luxury hotel, your room already might have 110V converter plugs built in. You may also leave anything that requires a converter at home. Some larger, fancier hotels offer 110V plug in the bathroom but it usually comes with the warning “for electric shavers only”. Nearly all hotels provide hair dryers these days and if you absolutely need other things, like hair curlers, then look for a travel set that doesn't require a converter.
    Adapters to Bring or Buy
    You can buy adapters before you leave at travel-supply stores and electronic stores. Airports also sell universal adapters, especially in the international departure gate area. But if you don't get one before you go, you'll be able to pick them up easily in China with cheaper price. Your hotel might also supply you one for free during your stay.

Yangtze River Cruises FAQs & Tips

  • 1. What's the best way to get to Chongqing from Chengdu?

    You can take the speed D-Train, it takes only 2 hours to reach Chengdu. We provide the train booking and Chengdu tour booking service, and we have office in Chengdu.
  • 2. How I can pick up my cruise cabin ticket?

    Yangtze Cruise does not need any paper tickets; you can simply show your passport on the ship front desk for check-in. The confirmation is the final and legal voucher from our company, the prove the contract and obligation between us and our clients.
  • 3. Is there any sightseeing of real interest at either Yichang or Chongqing to do before or after the cruise?

    Chongqing is more interesting than Yichang as Yichang is very small area. Chongqing we usually arrange: Chongqing Zoo for pandas, Three Gorges Museum, Ciqikou Ancient Town, Chongqing Auditorium Hall. And in Yichang the major attraction is Chinese Sturgeon Museum which is no very interesting comparing to sites in other cities.
  • 4. Can you offer pick-ups and drop-offs to and from the cruise?

    Yes we do offer the transfers and tours either in Chongqing, Yichang or Shanghai, and other parts of China, detailed price please kindly check with your travel consultant.
  • 5. Is it easy to get a taxi from the pier in Chongqing?

    Yes. It is easy to take taxi in Chongqing and comparatively safe. But many taxi drivers in Yichang are not very honest, they might ask for a high price or drive you a longer distance, and some family own van or cars there are used for transfers which are not a taxi-look, these type of vehicle do not have metors , so negotiate the price with the taxi driver is beforehand is suggested.
  • 6. How should we find the guide after we disembark from the boat?

    The guide will come to the ship for pickup, he or she will have a pickup board with your names on it, it’s not problem to find the guide. And we will also send you the guide information in our Confirmation Letter, in any case you could not find the guide timely, please ask the ship staff to call the guide's phone number immediately.
  • 7. What time can we start boarding the ship in Chongqing or Yichang?

    The boarding time for Chongqing to Yichang ships is usually from 17:00--21:00, Yichang to Chongqing is usually from 17:00-22:00, but this might change according to the weather or local government restrictions, we will write the boarding time in our confirmation letter after the cruise is booked, you may check that for details, and if there is any boarding time or boarding pier change, we will either call you or email you at the soonest time, so we suggest: 1) You can leave us a cellphone number so that we can call you; 2)Check your mailbox one day before your boarding to see if there is any update from our side; 3) The most secure way is to call the ship phone directly for the most recent information, the ship phone will be listed in our confirmation letter.

>>more Yangtze cruise FAQs & tips

Tibet Discovery FAQs & Tips

  • 1. What is the best season for tour in Tibet?

    Generally speaking, from April to October is the best season for Tibet tour. However, having a winter tour can be pleasant if you don't mind the cold weather, price is better during the slow month of November till March.
  • 2. What is the average temperature like in Lhasa?

    Lhasa is situated in a valley it is protected from the worst cold and heat. Lhasa gets a large amount of sunshine; the city is also known as ‘sunny city’ by the Tibetans. The rainy season is from July till September. However, most of the rain falls during the night. The average temperature is about 8 degree Celsius.
  • 3. What documents do I need for Tibet travel?

    You need to have a valid passport, a valid China visa and a Tibet travel permit (sometimes people call it Tibet Entry permit or TTB, or Tibet visa).
  • 4. Can your company organize the permit for Tibet?

    Yes we can arrange Tibet permits for clients who have booked the Tibet tours with us. Permit will not be granted to independent travelers due to government regulation.
  • 5. Can I extend my visa in Tibet?

    Visa extension is not allowed in Tibet, and it is also complicated to do in China, so better get a longer time visa before you arrive in China.
  • 6. How long before we come do you need our passport and visa copies?

    Usually the Tibet Entry Permit application takes 10 days and delivery takes another 2-3 days, so it is better to provide your passport and visa copies 13 days prior to your arrival.
  • 7. Is independent tour allowed in Tibet?

    Independent tour is prohibited in Tibet. You should take part in an organized group or have the local travel operator to arrange for you.
  • 8. How to enter Tibet?

    By air, there are several routes are available now: Beijing-Lhasa, Shanghai-Lhasa, Chengdu -Lhasa, Xi'an-Lhasa, Xining-Lhasa, Guangzhou-Lhasa, Chongqing-Lhasa, Kathmandu-Lhasa. By land, the possible routes are: Qinghai-Lhasa, Sichuan-Lhasa, Yunnan-Lhasa and Kathmandu-Lhasa. However, land transportation takes much longer time, and can be very tough, especially the Sichuan-Lhasa route, and the recent 2 years, foreign visitors are not allow to enter Tibet by car as the government regulates.
  • 9. What are some popular places in Tibet?

    Lhasa, Tsedang, Gyantse, Shigatse, Tingri, Zhangmu etc. are the most popular places in Tibet, for both normal and trekking itineraries. For expedition, Mt. Everest and Mt. Kailish are the most exciting and accessible areas.
  • 10. Do you arrange Nepal Tours?

    Yes we arrange Nepal part tours, please feel free to let your travel consultant to know and arrange it for you.
  • 11. Can we start a tour from Kathmandu and finish at Lhasa?

    Yes. Before you are coming to Lhasa from Katmandu, you must get a China visa from Katmandu no matter you've already got one in your country or not, this visa is called—China Group Visa, which is regulated in an official memo between China and Nepal. And the Tibet permit will be arranged by us in Tibet, we will also send the invitation letter to our local Kathmandu operator so as for your China Group Visa application.
  • 12. Can children be allowed to the Mt. Everest?

    It is not related to the child age, it is all subject to the physical condition, so that is why body examination is required before you leave your country, visitors should be clear to their physical condition and listen to their doctors advice when choosing a Tibet tour. We do not suggest any baby less than 2 years old or any pregnant female to travel Tibet.
  • 13. Can we take the northern route to Ali?

    A special military permit is required if you want to visit Ali, it can be arranged by Tibet Discovery, but we could not arrnage the Ali tour for Indian visitors due to local restrictions.
  • 14. Do the travelers need to ask the permissions before taking the photos of Tibetans?

    It is always good to ask permission first. Tibetans are very friendly. However, it might arouse the upset feelings of local Tibetans by photo-taking without asking the permission first.
  • 15. What should I keep in mind when I contact with the Tibetans?

    1) Do not photo them without permission, please show respect to them !
    2) Do not talk about the sensitive topics like political or t religious matters!
    3) Do not eat dog, donkey or horse in Tibet!
  • 16. What are the hotels like in Tibet?

    Tourism is Tibet is in its infancy and the number of 4 Star hotels is quite limited. The newer hotels have been built away from the city center in order to protect the city history and environment. These hotels have central heating which is used in winter but no cooling is available in summer. We would still warn that the facilities and service standard may not be as you would expect from a hotel with this rating in other parts of the world. Older hotels located in the city have a good location but will not provide the level of comfort of the newer hotels and may not have any central heating. The level of service and facilities may be quite basic. Staff will probably not speak much English. Hotels in small cities and the Everest Base camp are very basic. They will usually have a public bathroom with squat toilet.
  • 17. What can we eat in Tibet?

    In Lhasa, you can choose Chinese food, western food, Nepali food and Tibetan food ,Vegetarian food as well. But in remote towns and areas, choice is limited, Chinese food or Sichuan cuisine is the best choice.
  • 18. Do you think we need one more day in Tibet to get used to altitude?

    That will depends on your physical condition, if clients think they need one more day to adjust, it can be arranged, but during this free day, visit to any tourist attraction sites will be prohibited, but you can stay in hotel or just walk around.

>>Tibet Tours and Travel

Recommended Tours

Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Witness the countless Terracotta Warriors
8 Days Best of China Tour

Beijing / Xian / Shanghai

Relaxing Yangtze River Cruise
13 Days Classic China Tour with Yangtze Cruise

Beijing / Xian / Guilin / Yangshuo / Guilin / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Shanghai

Tibet Potala Palace Visit
15 Days China Tour with Tibet Discovery & Panda Visit

Shanghai / Guilin / Yangshuo / Guilin / Chengdu / Lhasa / Xian / Beijing

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