The term “Middle Kingdom” has repeatedly taken on a new meaning. From the imperial empire to the communist people’s republic to the capitalist superpower – you can experience this development in the world’s most populous state up close, for China offers everything from ancient cultural treasures to scenic walks and pandas to the vibrant city life and lots of shopping.
On this page you will find practical information and facts about China. Visit thenailmythology.com for China – the center of Asia.
PRACTICAL INFO ABOUT TRAVELING IN CHINA
Climate and best travel time
Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Beijing, as high summer can be unbearably hot and winter bitterly cold. On the other hand, the southernmost provinces are preferable in winter because this is the mild and dry season – here the monsoon prevails in summer. If, on the other hand, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia or Manchuria are the target, then the whole summer season is the right time, as it gets unbearably cold in the winter.
Our recommendations for the best travel period in China are based on how the climate has been in previous years. The weather in China can be very changeable and unpredictable and therefore our forecasts are indicative only.
In China and Tibet, in the larger cities you can withdraw money with your credit card at, among others, the Bank of China, where in many cases there are ATMs just outside the bank (maximum 2000 yuan). Always carry a reserve of dollars or euros in cash (and possibly traveler’s checks).
NOTE. Remember to get plenty of yuan before traveling to the smaller cities, where there are often few or no ways to use a credit card or currency. This applies, for example, to the provinces of Gansu and Sichuan.
rules are subject to change at short notice, so We recommend that you check the current conditions at the country’s embassy. The information below is subject to change.
Visas can be applied for at the China Visa Application Service Center in Stockholm or in Gothenburg. Here, all regulations regarding the visit are notified, including regarding passport validity – the passport must have a longer validity period than six months, even in transit.
Over longer distances, the train is clearly preferable even if it is slightly more expensive than a bus. There are rail links in all provinces. The trains have several travel classes: hard seat, hard sleeper (6 people in open compartment), soft sleeper (4 people in closed compartment) and soft seat. A trip in a hard seat is often both lively and interesting, but few have a seat for more than five or six hours! Soft sleeper costs about the same as domestic flights, but then there is also some luxury on the menu! It is possible to buy food and drink on board the trains.
On some routes there is no train connection and then the bus is often the best solution. The standard varies greatly – from luxury buses on lines along the east coast to worn-out old bins through the inner and western provinces. Buying bus and train tickets in China can be a business, so prepare well before you go to the station, bring a good dose of patience and forget all about service, and everything will work out sooner or later. You can always try again the next day if it does not work!
If you want to cover several provinces in a relatively short time (which is rarely a good idea) it can be good to take flights. There are many domestic flights in China.
Previously, there were many ferry routes in China along the coast and also to Japan and Korea, but today it is mostly on the rivers that there is still activity in the passenger boats. Although there are still some connections to Korea and Japan, including the Shanghai-Kobe ferry, boat transportation in China for most travelers is like a cruise on the Yangze River or a boat trip on the canals between Guilin and Yangshuo.
In many countries, tips are counted as part of the salary of employees in the service industry. Therefore, it is good (and sometimes directly necessary) to give tips to, for example, cleaning staff, waiters, guides, drivers and more depending on which country you visit. We therefore recommend that you familiarize yourself with how much is normal to give in tips and to whom before departure. Such information can be found, for example, in Lonely Planet guidebooks.
CLIMATE: SUBTROPICAL TO TEMPERATE
CURRENCY: YUAN / YUAN
RELIGION: NO OFFICIAL RELIGION
China – Middle Kingdom
China is a country that evokes many thoughts and for millennia, travelers have been attracted to this huge empire. The explosive development that the country is undergoing is of great importance to most Chinese and at the same time, due to its enormous size, living conditions vary greatly. From modest farmers on the beautiful banks of the Yangtze River to newly rich metropolitan potentates in ultra-modern Shanghai or Hong Kong. To a visitor, this difference seems like a dizzying experience.
China has an impressive nature and a diverse wildlife. For example, Yunnan Province offers picturesque mountains and almost fabulous scenery, and in Guangxi Province you can experience isolated minority populations and go on breathtaking hikes. The yellow mountains of Anhui Province live up to the image of China’s traditional nature with steep, narrow mountain peaks and bonsai-like trees framed in fog banks. China’s varied nature includes both the snow-covered highlands of Tibet and the Himalayan region and the dam plains of the Gobi Desert. But the trip to China can also include beach experiences on, for example, the tropical island of Hainan.
China has a large and varied natural wealth with an abundance of exciting plants and a variety of beautiful and exotic animals that you can experience in the approximately 500 nature reserves that exist in the country. You can also, of course, visit a panda center and meet the rare and charming animals.
China’s historical trade traditions
Ever since the days of the Silk Road and the Opium Wars, China has traded with the outside world. For example, ceramics, fireworks and noodles were completely unknown in Europe before they were imported from China. The Chinese trade spirit is really characteristic. Almost all prices are negotiable and the seller is happy to start happily at well over double what the price may end up being. Yes, the country’s unique history really defines the China that the visitor experiences today. Here are the many historical sights, such as the Forbidden City in the capital Beijing, the giant Great Wall of China or Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s large funeral army of terracotta warriors in the city of Xi’an. You can also take the Tibetan Express from Beijing to Lhasa, one of the world’s most beautiful train rides where the clouds pass through the azure sky.