Telephone

Both international and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. Domestic long-distance rates in the PRC vary according to distance and are usually inexpensive. Local calls are either at a very low rate or free of charge depending on the hotel. International Direct Dial (IDD) calls made from hotel room could be expensive when hotel adds surcharge on top of China's already high IDD rates. Some hotels may request that you pay a deposit before you can access international line from your hotel room. Use a phone card for international calls; it is becoming more widely available and the rate is reasonable. Simply consult your Tour guide regarding this matter, he (she) will be more than happy to assist you.

* Calling North America from Mainland China

Dial 00(international access code) + 1(North America country code) + local number

* Calling China from North America

Dial 011(international access code) + 86(China country code, or 852 for Hong Kong regional code) + China area code (minus initial zero) + local number

* Essential Numbers in China

There are several telephone numbers that are the same throughout China. However, only International Assistance and Local Weather Forecast are likely to have English-speaking operator.

International Assistance: 115

Local Directory Enquiries: 114

Long Distance Enquiries: 113 or 173

Local Weather Forecast: 121

Police Hotline: 110

Fire Hotline: 119

Internet & Fax

Fax and internet access are commonly available at your hotels. Some hotel provide free wireless service in the guest rooms.

Mail

Your China Tour hotels have postal service allowing you to send postcard and letter to overseas. It usually takes more than 10 days for a postcard to reach North-America. The postage is charged in Chinese RMB equivalent to about 70 cents U.S. for a postcard, and about $1 for a letter up to 20 gram.

Packing for a China Tour

Pack light and you'll soon find you are better off with less!

The best packing question a traveler can ask is "do people where I am headed live without this item"? Don't pack the stuff which is readily available in the hotels you will be staying. Don't cram your suitcase with unnecessary items so you'll have room for the "treasures" you collect along the way. Remember that you will have access to:

* Convenient, same day laundry service in all your hotels, if you send clothes in the morning you should have them back in the evening. Price is reasonable. For any destination city you stay 2 nights or more you can do laundry.

* A hair dryer and iron are readily available at most hotels for your use; simply contact Housekeeping.

* Bath accessories in your private bathroom include disposable tooth brush and toothpaste, comb, soap, shampoo, body lotion, sewing kit, sanitary bag, shower cap etc.

* You can easily purchase a shoulder bag or small piece of luggage to carry your purchase back home.

* Virtually anything you require can be secured along the way. It is part of the adventure.

Travel in China involves a lot of walking. Comfortable walking shoes are essential. Make sure to check current weather before you decide what clothes to pack. Consult our Essentials to Pack list.

Medication

If you take prescription medication, be sure to bring enough to last the entire trip. Always carry medications in the original prescription container when traveling. Keep the medications with you and do not pack them in checked baggage.

Long-term travel overseas might cause tourists to develop stomach upset; a change in water, food, sleep habits and/or climate may all cause discomfort. Bring anti-diarrhea medications such as Imodium and Lomotil just in case.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are not mandatory to travel to China. However we remind you that traveling in China does require certain precautions. It is therefore highly recommended that you check with your personal physician to verify your particular needs. For the latest overseas travel health information, please contact the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by visiting www.cdc.gov/travel or by calling toll-free 1-888-232-3228.

Gratuities

Tipping is often confusing for the traveler. Your China national guide, local guides, drivers and porters are professional, conscientious, and are most thankful for your acknowledgment. We realize that tipping can be confusing on a group tour; the following gratuity guideline is introduced solely for the convenience of our group travelers:

A. For group size of 14 or less: $4 per person per day for the local tour guide; $3 per person per day for driver. $3 per room per check-in and check-out for bellboys.

B. For group size of 15 or more: $2.5 per person per day for the national tour guide; $2.5 per person per day for the local tour guide; $2 per per- son per day for the driver. $3 per room per check-in and check-out for bellboys.

Included Meals: gratuities are not expected

Outside Dining: service charge is included

Detailed gratuity suggestions are also listed for specific programs and will be sent to you with you travel documents. Since your national guide will accompany you throughout the trip, and is responsible directly to you, you may choose to give all gratuities to your national guide entrusting him/her dispense them along the way on your behalf. With gratuities given this way you will enjoy the journey in a more relaxing way. Under any circumstances, gratuities are customary and totally depend on the satisfaction of the services.

Shopping

Shopping is always a part of the travel experience. China is known as bargain shoppers' paradise, offering a marvelous selection of arts and crafts such as jade, silk, rugs, cloisonné, ceramics, antique, painting, furniture and more. Purchasing an item in the area where it is "noted for" has proven to be the best value. Your China tour national guide and local guides will be glad to assist you with detailed shopping orientation.

When shopping it wise to use credit card for large purchases. Retain all receipts. Purchase insurance for items that you have shipped. A supply of one dollar bills is very handy when shopping with street vendors.

Always keep in mind that a purchase is between the buyer and the seller. Holiday ChinaChina is not involved in and is not responsible for any purchases you make during your China Tour, whether that merchant is part of the scheduled itinerary or not.

Travel Insurance

Accident insurance in China is covered in all China tour packages. You can buy cancellation insurance from Holiday ChinaChina. The cost is 5.5% of the total package price.

U.S. Duty-free Exemption

When shopping in China, keep receipts of all purchases. Upon reentering U.S, be ready to show customs officials what you've bought. Effective November 4, 2002, the standard personal duty-free exemption is $800 if you are a returning U.S. resident and the items you acquired abroad accompany you.

Duty on items you mail home to yourself will be waived if the value is $200 or less. Antiques that are at least 100 years old, and fine art may enter duty-free, but folk art and handicrafts are generally dutiable.

Only 1 liter of alcohol and 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars may be included in this exemption. Items purchased in "Duty Free" shops are subject to duty if the value of your total purchases exceeds $800.

Family members who live in the same household and are returning together to the United States may combine their standard personal exemptions. Children and infants are allowed the same exemption as adults, except for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

 

© Holiday ChinaChina