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China Travel Services
Information on China Travel
Population: 1.357 billion (2013) World Bank
Gross domestic product: 9.24 trillion USD (2013) World Bank
GDP per capita: 6,807.43 USD (2013) World Bank
Government: Communist state, Socialist state, Single-party state
Officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a sovereign state located in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Chinese Communist Party, with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing.It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau). The PRC also claims the territories governed by the Republic of China (ROC), a separate political entity commonly known as Taiwan today, as a part of its territory, which includes the island of Taiwan as Taiwan Province, Kinmen and Matsu as a part of Fujian Province and islands the ROC controls in the South China Sea as a part of Hainan Province. These claims are controversial due to the complex political status of Taiwan.
Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, China is the world's second-largest country by land area, and either the third or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the method of measurement. China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometres (9,000 mi) long, and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas
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British nationals need a visa to enter mainland China, but not Hong Kong or Macao. For mainland China, you must get a visa prior to arrival, including for Hainan Island. For details of entry requirements to China contact the nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate in good time before your proposed trip.
Check your visa validity carefully. Don’t overstay your visa or work illegally. The authorities conduct regular checks and you may be fined or detained for not complying with the conditions of your visa or work permit. If you remain in China longer than 6 months, you may need to get a Residence Permit.
Travelling to Hong Kong
If you visit Hong Kong from the mainland of China and wish to return to the mainland, you will need a visa that allows you to make a second entry into China.
If you hold a British Citizen passport and are transiting by air through Beijing Capital International airport, Shanghai (Pudong and Hongqiao), Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Dalian,Shenyang or Kunming, and travelling on to a third country, you can enter China visa-free under a 72-hour visa waiver. You must remain in the city municipality (or within Guangdong province in the case of Guangzhou) and have evidence of your onward journey. Check with the Chinese Embassy in London or the Chinese visa application service centre for further information.
In all other circumstances, if your stopover requires you to leave the airport terminal you will need a transit visa for both the outward and return journeys. If you’re staying within the airport for up to 24 hours, you don’t need a transit visa.
Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of your visa application. If you have less than 6 months’ validity on your passport, but have a valid visa, you should be able to enter China for the duration of that visa.
The Chinese authorities have confirmed they will accept British passports extended by 12 months by British Embassies and Consulates under additional measures put in place in mid-2014.
Yellow Fever vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from China. You may be required to show a police report indicating how you lost your full passport.
If your ETD has been issued in China, you will need an exit visa from the Public Security Bureau before you can travel out of China. This process can take up to 5 working days. The ETD can be used for a return journey back to China providing you have evidence of residence within China.
Registering with the Chinese authorities
You must register your place of residence with the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival. Chinese authorities enforce this requirement with regular spot-checks of foreigners’ documentation. If you are staying in a hotel, registration is done on your behalf as part of the check-in process.
Stays of more than six months
If you are entering China for employment, study or private purposes for a stay of over six months, you must produce a health certificate, which includes a blood test for HIV, legalised by the Chinese Embassy.
Teaching in China can be a rewarding experience but it’s important that you research the school or university thoroughly before you travel. There have been increasing incidents of teachers being arrested and detained (which could lead to deportation) for working on the wrong visas. Some have also got into disputes with their employers, who have refused to pay their salaries.
You can help avoid this by making sure you (rather than an employment agency) research the institution and visa regulations properly before you leave the UK. It’s illegal to work in China on a tourist or business visit visa. If you intend to change employer in China you should check with the authorities whether a new visa is required.
Working in China
You should research your prospective employer before coming to China and get the correct visa to allow you to work legally. It’s illegal to work in China on a tourist or business visit visa. Contact the Chinese Embassy to check the documentation you will need. Violation of Chinese laws can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines, deportation or a travel ban which prevents you from leaving China. A travel ban can be imposed for an indefinite period.
Tourism in China
It has greatly expanded over the last few decades since the beginning of reform and opening. The emergence of a newly rich middle class and an easing of restrictions on movement by the Chinese authorities are both fueling this travel boom. China has become one of the world's most-watched and hottest inbound and outbound tourist markets. The world is on the cusp of a sustained Chinese tourism boom.
China is the third most visited country in the world. The number of overseas tourists was 55.98 million in 2010. Foreign exchange income was 45.8 billion U.S. dollars, the world's fourth largest in 2010. The number of domestic tourist visits totaled 1.61 billion, with a total income of 777.1 billion yua
According to the WTO, in 2020, China will become the largest tourist country and among the largest for overseas travel. In terms of total outbound travel spending, China is expected to be the fastest growing in the world from 2006 all the way to 2015, jumping into the number two slot for total travel spending by 2015.
China's growing economy is also generating a surge in business travel. In China, the percentage of sales dependent on business travel is higher (38%) as compared to the US (21%) and 28% in the UK, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council's 2013 business travel forecast for the Asia-Pacific region.
Top Ten Destinations in China |
1. The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City, or Palace Museum, sits at the center of Beijing, directly north of Tiananmen Square where the famous portrait of Mao Zedong hangs on the palatial crimson wall. It was the imperial seat for Ming and Qing dynasty emperors from 1420 until 1912 when the last emperor, Pu Yi, abdicated. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
2. The Great Wall
The Great Wall winds its way across China covering over 5,500 miles (8,850 km). While the latest construction occurred after 1368 during the Ming Dynasty, construction of the Great Wall began over 2,000 years ago. In fact, the Great Wall is actually made up of a number of interconnecting walls spanning China that different dynasties and warlords constructed over the years.
3. The Terracotta Warriors
Discovered in 1974 when a local farmer was digging a well, the terracotta army, buried in 210 BC with the first emporer of the Qin dynasty, is a breathtaking site. The thousands of life-size figures have individually unique faces and hair and armor styles appropriate to their rank. The museum of the Terracotta Army is located in Xi'An, Shanxi province.
4. Karst Mountains in Yangshuo
Illustrating the 20 Renminbi (Chinese currency) note, the karst mountains are famously beautiful in China. Located in the south of China in Guangxi province, they can best be viewed from Yangshuo, a small town outside Guilin, a major city in Guangxi Province.
5. Hangzhou - Paradise on Earth
China's "Paradise on Earth", Hangzhou is a lovely city centered around the famed West Lake. This green city is full of gardens, tranquil temples and pavilions and bustling historic streets to venture through. The hills surrounding the city grow the famous longjing green tea. Hangzhou is close to Shanghai but is a much more laid-back, cultural city.
Jiuzhaigou Valley is a nature reserve located in China's Sichuan province. A beautiful example of China's varied landscape, Jiuzhaigou is famous for crystal blue lakes and multi-level waterfalls. It is populated by a number of Tibetan villages so is also a superb place to see and experience Tibetan local culture.
7. Potala Palace, Lhasa
Now a Chinese museum, the Potala Palace was traditionally the seat of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhists' spiritual leader. Famous for its imposing white walls surrounding the inner red palace, the building sits at 3,700 meters or over 12,000 feet. The Potala Palace is located in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
8. The Bund, Shanghai
The Bund, meaning embankment, was historically the seat of Shanghai's most powerful businessmen in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Bund is a fabulous place to see examples of Shanghai's rich architectural history, illustrated by the HSBC Building, built in 1923 and at the time said to be "the most luxurious building between the Suez Canal and the Bering Strait.
9. Giant Pandas and Chengdu
Heading out to Chengdu is a great way to get a taste of Sichuan as well as an in-depth understanding of Giant Pandas at the Breeding Research Base
10. Modernity in Hong Kong
See modern China - and Asia - at the cutting edge with a visit to Hong Kong. Walking down the Kowloon side promenade gives the traveler a view of some of the most beautiful modern architecture in China, dominated by the Bank of China Tower designed by I.M.