A valid passport and visa are required documents to enter China. You need a valid passport with an expiration date at least six months beyond the reentry date. After you obtain the passport, we will send you the Visa form to complete. An agency will help us to obtain Visas for this great trip.
1 passport photo is needed for the visa application form (e.g. Costco will print 4 for $5). The cost for the Visa is about $210, which is not included in the Tour Package Price.
Chinese people are very happy and pleased to see us. You can walk around the city by yourself in the early morning or dance with Chinese people in the park in the evening. You can grab a map and enjoy your free time. You can have a relaxing massage with your friends. And of course can buy souvenirs in cash or on visa cards. I’m sure you will feel secure and safe in China.
There are no major health risks at your destinations. Bottled water and all kinds of soft drinks are inexpensive (cost ~ 20 cents) and available everywhere. Air pollution is the only significant issue you may encounter. Air masks can be purchased and quite common. Also you can get either Chinese traditional medicine or western pills in pharmacy. If you need any prescriptions, bring enough for the 15 days. Any food allergies should be announced before the trip starts so that we can accommodate you.
Primary transportation will be overnight sleeper train ,tour bus, local bus, and walking. Overnight sleeper train is for traveling from one city to another. We will take tour bus traveling around the cities 2-3 days in the whole trip. Local bus, subways and walking are the best way to see the cities. All of the above ways will be good experience for you to the daily life as Chinese people.
Train tickets and local bus passes are offered by us. Average walking distance while sightseeing on some days might be 8-10 miles except during the cruise or tour bus portion. Please bring comfortable walking shoes.
The Chinese Yuan(RMB) is the currency you’ll be using on this trip. Better rates of exchange are available in China than through your local bank. Add the amount you want to exchange to your trip payment (500USD/person or 700USD/couple is suggested for 15 days).Upon arrival, Cathy Cao will have RMB already exchanged for you. The rate is 1 USD= 6.5 RMB.
We strongly suggest bringing some cash ($50 or $100 new/clean bills—not torn, written on, or defaced). You can change it with us anytime and change back to USD after you come back home. If you bring credit card, inform the card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges. Travelers Checks are not accepted, and credit cards are not widely accepted in China.
Another recommendation is bringing a nylon money belt to hide passport, credit card, and cash under your clothes.
We are going to 2 cities, plus the 5-day Yangtze River Cruise. The best luggage to take is a 22” carry-on with wheels (check-in suit case is too big for train). Think small, portable and pack light. A few changes of clothes are enough. You will be able to wash clothes in the bathrooms or local laundry. Two or three out fits should be all you will need. The weather in May is very nice in Beijing and Xi’an—daytime: mid 70s to lower 80s.
Main food in China will be rice, steamed buns with meat, or noodles and Chinese traditional dishes. There will be about 7 group meals in Beijing and Xi’an, which will be arranged as a group. Each group meal usually offers 10 dishes on average. It cost about $7~10/person. We will collect $60 from each person at the beginning of the trip.
Most of the breakfast and other meals are on your own. Street food is safe, cheap and delicious (not too spicy nor too bland). It is also very easy to get food in local McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks or DQ.
The hotel rooms in Beijing and Xi’an are like a Day’s Inn or Motel 6--not fancy, but functional and clean. Each room has a separate shower and Western style toilets with a seat. Daily use are offered, like hair dryer, towels and laundry soap. The locations of the hotels are in downtown, close to subway, bus station, restaurant, super market and bakery.
The cabins on the 5-star cruise ship are full size rooms with 2 full size beds and a separate sitting area on the balcony. The cabin includes full size private western bathroom.
Package price is for double occupancy. If you would like a single room, price is $30 more per night.
Tipping is not generally done in China. However, the tour companies do charge us a gratuity fee. The cost to you for all the gratuities for the entire trip is $200/person. We will collect this before we leave for China, and pay the tips for the entire group.
China has 220 volts instead of 110 volts. Most of your cell phones, camera battery chargers, and computers will adapt to either voltage.
Wifi is available and free in the hotels in Beijing and Xi’an (available but weak on the ship). It is convenient to work on emails, communicating back home and video chatting. Bring any device to access the internet (e.g. iPad). Laptop computers are not suggested for this trip.
Roaming charges are expensive (with Verizon the talk time is $2.00 per minute, text message receiving is $.05, and text sending is $.50). If you are taking your cell phone, make arrangements with your carrier for travel to China.
Generally, expenses on souvenirs and gifts depends on how much you wish to purchase. Our guests have spent as little as a couple of hundred dollars up to a thousand dollars. You will have the opportunity to purchase Chinese Jade, pearls or silk products, these souvenirs and gifts will be more expensive items.
Any question is welcome to ask Cathy or Verl through email or phone call. 24 hours available. If you have special need, let us know. We will do our best to help you get ready.