CHINA Capital: Beijing Language: Chinese Population: 1.35 Billion Time Zone: EST plus 12 hours Currency: Renminbi (yuan) Electricity: 220V/50Hz Fun Facts ● ● ● Ice cream was invented in China around 2000BC. The Chinese year is based on the cycle of the moon called the lunar schedule. A complete cycle takes 60 years. The Chinese calendar, the oldest known calendar, dates back to 2600 BC Despite its size, all of China is in one time zone. How does a person capture one of the oldest nations in the history of the world, one of the largest still in existence, a superpower of the world’s economy, home to the Great Wall, diverse with forests, desert, massive cities, multiple oceans, and mystical Tibet? In a lifetime, one cannot. But the chance to even glimpse this extraordinary destination is still a glimpse that will forever influence and astound those lucky enough to visit. Beijing Beijing, the capital of China, contains some of its oldest traditions and architecture, and is home to the Great Wall, making it the perfect place to start or end your adventure. The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square still possess the energy of the Ming Dynasty, when emperors ruled and resided there, and where you can stroll for hours absorbing the ancient architecture and the spiritual fervency that characterizes the soul of China. Few places on earth boast the enduring power and leadership of Beijing. Having withstood centuries of adversity and war, Beijing is now a shining symbol of pride and culture with some of the most sought-after landmarks and historical visions on earth. A number of history buffs and architectural gurus may wait a lifetime to see the Great Wall of China – the massive stone expanse that once stretched 4,000 miles across China’s barren northern terrain from the Bohai Sea to the Gobi Desert. Although it has been seen by millions over the centuries, it is impossible not to feel blessed that you are one of them. Other quintessential Beijing activities include a traditional Peking Duck dinner, taking in a Peking Opera performance, and riding a rickshaw through a Hutong – the city’s ancient alleyways where stories of the past live and permeate the air. Xi’an Slightly lesser known but just as impressive is the great city of Xi’an, an archeological treasure trove and one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities in the world when China dominated the silk trade. Here you will find the enormous tomb of China’s first emperor, which is guarded by a legion of terracotta warriors, still vigilant over the site after 2,000 years. Get a taste of ancient ritual with a Tang Dynasty performance, view the impressive Dayan Pagoda, or learn to write like a local during a traditional Chinese calligraphy class. Shanghai At the mouth of the mighty Yangtze River lies Shanghai, China’s center of trade and industry. A visit to this great city promises a wealth of great memories. Stroll along the Bund, the city’s famous riverfront boulevard lined with historic buildings and trade houses contrasted by spectacular skyscrapers that rise from the river bank. Dating back to the Ming Dynasty, Yu Yuan Gardens and its centerpiece, the exquisite Jade Rock, offer peace in the middle of this hectic city. A stroll through the former French Concession, once the city's premier residential and retail area, offers a glimpse of the past with its exquisite Art Deco architecture, charming Copyright, All rights reserved. shops, and quaint tree-lined streets. The Shanghai Museum has an extensive collection of ancient Chinese art ranging from bronze and ceramics to jade and calligraphy. At night you can’t miss the opportunity to witness a performance of the world-famous Shanghai Acrobats. Here you will see spectacular feats of strength, balance, and contortionism. Guilin Guilin possesses a beautifully quiet mystery and intrigue. The vistas and limestone mountains surrounding the famous Li River, despite attempts at capturing their allure in countless paintings and photographs, exhibit a power beyond description. In addition to the landscape, dotted with green and limestone spires, Guilin is a gracious and friendly town, easy to explore on foot and brimming over with charm. Ease into this magical nest in southern China and enjoy its sparkling reflection of pagodas at night along a river that has been the center of its livelihood for centuries. Chengdu Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan province and known for its flavorful food. When visiting this area, one should not miss the world’s tallest stone Buddha in Leshan, which sits at 233 ft. Created by a monk in hopes of making peace with the water spirits at the town’s three river confluence, the Leshan Giant Buddha took 90 years to complete and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another highlight to put on your agenda is the Giant Panda Research Base where you can see pandas up close and learn about conservation efforts in place to protect these beautiful animals. Hong Kong As China’s sparkling commercial empire, Hong Kong towers over its harbor with buildings of skyscraping height and beacons of light stretching out over the waters. Ride to the top of Victoria Peak for a chance at spectacular views of the city below. Hong Kong is a shopper’s paradise with end boutiques and a variety of interesting local markets. Here you will find items ranging from Couture dresses and custom made silk suits to tableware and knock-off purses. Trolling around the markets is also a fun way to interact with the locals! This city is a foodie’s delight, with over 11,000 restaurants. Cuisine ranges from local specialties like Dim Sum and Chinese barbecue to high-end international cuisine from around the world. Other things to consider are a sunset cruise on the harbor, a visit to nearby Lantau Island to see the giant Buddha, or an excursion to the lively city of Macau. Hong Kong has something for nearly everyone and is a true contrast of the old and new and of the East and West. Macau Located on the western bank of the Pearl River Delta in southern China, Macau is just 37 miles east of Hong Kong. Once a Portuguese settlement, visitors will immediately notice the fascinating integration of Chinese, Western, and Portuguese culture in its architecture, art, religion, cuisine, and traditions. The Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, holds over 20 ancient monuments and urban squares woven in the heart of the city, and serves as a living testimony to the city’s unique and rich heritage. Macau is a melting pot of ‘East Meets West,’ where churches and temples co-exist. Learn more during visits to any of the museums, including the Macau Museum. Lhasa, Tibet A destination of intrigue and awe, Tibet has been compelling residents of the world for centuries and continues to draw visitors of spiritual and natural interest to this day. At a staggering altitude of 14,000 feet, you’ll feel a sense of escape as the mountains of Tibet and its fascinating city, Lhasa, take you in. A visit to this distinct terrain allows visitors the chance to witness magnificence – the looming fortress of Potala Palace is a main attraction, a seat of government initiated by the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and the former winter residence of the current Dalai Lama. This impressive building, rich in artwork and design, watches over the peaceful town of Lhasa and beckons curious visitors with its compelling history. During lunch at a local home you will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the family and learn more about their daily life. Also, visit a traditional Tibetan Monastery, Jokhang Temple – one of Tibet’s oldest shrines – and take the rare opportunity to visit a Tibetan Hospital where you can learn about the culture’s ideas of medicinal treatments and health – a natural and open-minded approach that has influenced medicine around the world. Discover flavors, colors, culture, and visions of surpassing beauty in this distant and alluring “rooftop of the world”. Copyright, All rights reserved. China, massive in area and extensive in its history still maintains a weighted sense of tradition, heritage, and honor. It is a country of considerable architectural treasures, fast-moving city life, and a community of people eager to share their unique past with visitors from around the world. It is a privilege to be a small witness to one of the oldest, grandest, and most influential countries on the globe. VISAS AND PASSPORTS A visa for your visit to China is necessary for U.S. citizens. If you hold a passport from another country, check with your local consulate about requirements for travel to China. A visa is not required if you are only visiting Hong Kong or Macau. You must travel on Tourist passports and visas in China. Diplomatic or official passports will be denied travel, even when holding a Tourist visa. Tourist visas must be obtained before departing the US through an embassy or a visa service. The embassy or visa service will be able to advise the latest requirements for obtaining a visa. In general going through a visa service is more expensive but offers convenience and peace of mind. If you choose to go this route, we recommend contacting Generations Visa Services (GenVisa), our preferred partner for visa and passport services, at least 90 days prior to departure. GenVisa has a special website and toll-free number. Call (800) 845-8968, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their below web-sites for additional information. Our travelers receive discounted prices and other special services: ● For Globus, visit: genvisa.com/globus ● For Avalon, visit:genvisa.com/avalon ● For Monograms, visit: genvisa.com/monograms ● For Cosmos, visit genvisa.com/cosmos All passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport. Please carry proper identification (your passport) on you and do not leave in your suitcase or hotel room. Most countries have laws that require you to carry your passport with you at all times. COUNTRY CODES The country code for China is 86. When calling to China from overseas, dial your international access code (011 from the U.S./Canada) followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in China are 12-15 digits in length. Dialing from the U.S./Canada: 011 86 ### ##### ######. CURRENCY In China the local currency is the Chinese Yuan ¥ or Renimbi (RMB). 1 RMB = 10 jiao; 1 jiao = 10 fen ● Banknote denominations: ¥1, ¥2, ¥5, ¥10, ¥20, ¥50, ¥100 ● Coin denominations: 1, 2, 5 fen; 1, 5 jiao; ¥1 (yuan) For the most current exchange rates, please go to our website at globusfamily.com/currency. For initial convenience we recommend you bring some local currency with you from home in case you are not able to immediately access a money exchange or ATM. Major credit cards are widely accepted (Visa and MasterCard are most common) but some shops and restaurants require a minimum purchase amount when using them (so they are not appropriate for incidentals such as ice creams, snacks, etc.). You might consider bringing more than one card, as some outlets may not accept all types. Due to increasing credit card fraud worldwide, be prepared to show Copyright, All rights reserved. identification (i.e. your passport or driver's license) when making a transaction with your credit card. If you use a credit card for your purchase, you will be debited in the local currency, and your bank will establish the rate of exchange on the debit. BUDGETING AND SHOPPING The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person. Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel. The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is ¥5-10. An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately ¥25-35. A steak dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately ¥150-200. Shopping Prices are as marked in department stores, though in Asia it is customary to barter. Start negotiating with an offer at one-third or half the vendor's initial price. Please be warned that if you buy items on tour to be shipped to your home, customs import charges are hardly ever included in the price. Sales tax or GST (Goods & Services Tax) is normally already included on price tags; GST refunds, if applicable, are processed at the departing airport from the relevant country. TIPPING Tipping has become commonplace in China over the last few years. We recommend adding a 10% tip for good service in western restaurants. In local Chinese restaurants tipping is not customary but we still suggest recognizing good service with a tip of some sort. In some restaurants they may add a 5% to 15% surcharge on your bill so review carefully. Tipping for taxi drivers is not necessary but in some cases they may round up the fare for a tip. If you choose to tip hotel staff for services, ¥5 is appropriate. ELECTRICAL OUTLETS Voltage for outlets is 220V. North American voltage is generally 110V. Therefore, a converter may be necessary for your travels. Adapters will be necessary to adapt your plug into the outlet but may not convert the voltage, so both devices are necessary. China uses a round, 2-prong plug that looks like: Type C Type E TEMPERATURES To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for China. Copyright, All rights reserved. Beijing Guilin Hong Kong Lhasa Shanghai Xi'an January 15/34°F 41/53°F 47/74°F 15/45°F 32/45°F 24/40°F February 19/39°F 44/53°F 47/76°F 20/48°F 34/47°F 28/45°F March 30/52°F 51/62°F 52/81°F 27/54°F 41/54°F 37/57°F April 45/67°F 60/72°F 59/85°F 34/60°F 51/65°F 48/68°F May 55/79°F 68/81°F 68/90°F 41/68°F 60/74°F 56/78°F June 64/86°F 74/87°F 73/91°F 49/73°F 68/81°F 65/88°F July 70/87°F 77/91°F 74/92°F 50/72°F 76/88°F 70/89°F August 68/85°F 76/92°F 75/92°F 49/70°F 76/88°F 69/88°F September 57/78°F 71/87°F 72/91°F 46/68°F 68/81°F 59/76°F October 45/66°F 63/78°F 66/88°F 35/62°F 58/72°F 49/66°F November 31/50°F 53/68°F 56/82°F 23/53°F 47/62°F 37/53°F December 19/37°F 44/58°F 49/77°F 16/46°F 36/51°F 26/43°F To convert to Celsius, subtract 32, then multiply by 5 and then divide by 9. FOOD SPECIALTIES Chinese cuisine is influenced by many different regions throughout the country. Some important elements include rice, noodles, herbs, fresh vegetables, mushrooms, and soybean. Peking Duck is famous worldwide and a major tradition, and dim sum, a traditional Cantonese cuisine of small dishes served with tea, should not be missed. Another popular style of cuisine is called “Shabu-shabu” (actually a Japanese term, also referred to as “hot pot”) – it is an assortment of fresh vegetables and uncooked meat varieties that you cook to your own liking in a spicy broth. It’s delicious and fun – you get to cook it yourself. Drinking Water Tap water is generally not safe to drink throughout Asia. For sightseeing and excursions, we recommend you purchase bottled water to bring with you. Bottled water is also common in restaurants. CUSTOMS AND CULTURE ● ● Never place your chopsticks upright or vertical in your bowl, as it looks too similar to burning incense in honor of deceased family members. Instead, place them on the chopsticks holder or across your bowl if a holder is not available. Do not use your chopsticks to stab food like a spear. Smoking is common in Asia so locals tend to be less sensitive to issues regarding smoking around others and often ignore “non-smoking” signs. A FEW WORDS OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in China. A few words are below. Along the way, you may learn some helpful Cantonese words spoken in various parts of mainland China and Hong Kong. Mandarin: Good morning/day: Zao shang hao, Good evening: Wan shang hao, Hi: Ni hao, Please: Qing, Thank you: Xie xie, You're welcome: Bu keqi, Yes: Dui, No: Bu Dui, Do you speak English? Nin shuo ying yu ma?, I don't understand: Bu ming bai, How much? Duo Shao Qian?, 1: Yi, 2: Er, 3: San, 4: Si, 5:Wu, 6:Liu, 7:Qi, 8: Ba, 9: Kiu, 10: Shi, Where is...? Zai na il...?, Telephone: Dian hua, Bathroom: Xi shoujian, Tea: Cha, Coffee: Ka fei, Bottled water: Chun jing shui, Cheers! Gan bei!, Have a nice day! Zhu ni zouyun! Last Updated 8/4/16 Copyright, All rights reserved.