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China

Travel guide, tips & inspiration

From the awe-inspiring skyscrapers of Hong Kong to the ancient Great Wall, the mighty Yangtze river to the incredible Terracotta Warriors, China is a fascinating country where centuries old traditions blend with new age flair, where rugged natural scenery and cutting edge cities both have their place.

China Fast Facts

Languages Spoken

The official language spoken in China is Mandarin, but you will also come across Cantonese, Wú and Hakka amongst others.

Currency

Name: Renminbi
Code: RMB
Symbol: ¥
100 RMB is approx £11

Time Zone

Time zone: China Standard Time (UTC+08:00)

Top cities in China

It's no secret that China is one of the world's most visited countries. Famous for its rich culture and history, China has a number of ancient national cities that are waiting to be explored. Check out our top recommended destinations below.
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Shanghai

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Beijing

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Tibet

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Hong Kong

China Fast Facts

The typical cost of a domestic beer in China is ¥5.00 (approx 56p) whereas the average cost of imported beer is ¥19 (approx £2.13).

A typical lunch in China can be anything from rice and noodles to even dumplings for breakfast. The cost of a meal in a local restaurant in China ranges between ¥15.00 (approx £1.68) and ¥35.00 (approx £3.92) but you can also find Western breakfast food like coffee which usually starts at ¥7.00 (approx 78p).

Taxi fares can range between ¥8.00 (approx 90p) - ¥50.00 (approx £5.60) depending on where you travel. Top tip: Most taxi drivers will not speak English, so make sure you have your destination of choice written down on paper beforehand!

Given the language difficulties and strict systems in the country, it can be difficult for independent travellers to get around China easily. However there are public buses and trains available in all key cities.

The great thing about some hostels in China is that staff are friendly and speak English. Accommodation can range from ¥25-50 (between approx £2.80-£5.60) per night.

The cost of a night at a budget hotel in China will range from ¥60-90 (approx £6.72-£10) with the cost of a double room in a midrange hotel costing between ¥200-600 (approx £22-£67).

Traveling to China

China Highlights

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Volunteer with Pandas

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Great Wall of China

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Travel Visas

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The Trans-Mongolian

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China Adventure Tours

Beijing to Shanghai Adventure
Beijing to Shanghai Adventure
Get a real mix of modern and old China on this eight-day adventure tour. Starting in ancient Beijing, barter in markets and discover the Forbidden City, plus walk the Great Wall of China. Head to Xian to see the famous Terracotta Warriors before arriving in cosmopolitan Shanghai where you can explore the rooftop cocktail bars. 
8 days | From £499
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Hong Kong to Beijing on a Shoestring
Hong Kong to Beijing on a Shoestring
Enjoy 13 days exploring China's major sights and out-of-the-way gems. Sip on cocktails in Hong Kong, get up and close with pandas in Chengdu, say hello to Leshans giant Buddha, and learn about kung fu while staying overnight at a Shaolin monastery. End up in bustling Beijing where you can discover the ancient city. 
 

13 days | From £845

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Essential China
Essential China
Encounter the essence of China in all its wonderful diversity on this three-week tour between Beijing and Hong Kong. Climb the Great Wall, visit the Terracotta Warriors, explore the ancient monasteries at Mt. Emei Shan, float down the world-famous Yangtze River and see the beautiful pandas in Chengdu. 
 

21 days | From £1,839

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What are China's visa requirements?

Holiday visa: British nationals need a visa to visit mainland China and this must be obtained prior to arrival from your local embassy. Once in China you need to register where you’re staying within the first 24 hours. If you’re staying at a hotel this is done on your behalf when you check in, alternatively you can do this at the local police station. You must also have a passport with at least 6 months validity remaining. If you want further details of entry requirements, then contact the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre.

Working holiday visa: There are currently no working holiday agreements between China or any other countries, but you are able to volunteer in China. Volunteering opportunities can include teaching English, Panda Conservation, or local community projects.

What's the weather like in China?

The climate in China varies between seasons and regions, for example, in the north east it is hot and dry in the summer, and winter is freezing cold. This is similar to the north and central regions, however they have more frequent rainfall. 

Looking for more inspiration? Then check out our STA Travel Blog!

STA Travel Blog

9 foods to try in China that you (probably) won't find at your local takeaway

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