Please ensure that you visit your doctor to enquire about any vaccination requirements you may need for your visit to China. It may be worthwhile taking a copy of your itinerary with you to show the exact areas you will be travelling to within China.
It is vital that ALL members of the travelling party are fully insured for the dates of travel.
All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken in regards to the type of holiday you are taking. The Big Journey Company Limited holds no responsibility to any travelling persons or their belongings that do not hold a valid insurance policy. Please provide us with your insurer’s details prior to your departure.
If you are a British or Irish citizen you must have your own full 10 year passport which is valid for at least 6 months after your expected return date.
All British, EU, US and citizens of other countries need a visa to enter China. Visas for UK passengers can be obtained from the China Visa Application Service Centre (CVASC), Morley House, 26 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2AT, either in person by making an online appointment via the website (www.visaforchina.org), or by postal service. There is also an office in Manchester, First Floor, 75 Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3HR. Visas are valid for entry within 3 months of the date of issue, so the ideal time to apply is about a month or two before you go. The postal service takes about 7 to 10 days.
Visas are generally issued for a stay of up to 30 days. Longer stays are granted at the discretion of the embassy officials. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of entry to China.
Information on how US passport holders can obtain a Chinese Visa can be obtained here.
All passengers will need a letter of invitation in order to apply for your visas which will be provided to you by The Big Journey Company Ltd.
Your luggage allowance is 1 bag per person weighing no more than 23 Kg. Should your luggage weigh any more than this, you will be subject to any additional charges by the aircraft carrier. Hand luggage should be limited to one bag per person. You must be able to lift the bag into the overhead locker unaided.
It is difficult to generalise about weather is such a large country, but September, October and early November are generally considered the best times to visit as they are the most temperate. Winters are cold, particularly in the north, northwest and northeast, and summers are hot, and often wet and humid in central and south China. The south of the country is subtropical, so winters here are generally milder, but the climate here divides between a wet season in summer and a dry season in winter.
For more specific weather prior to departure, please go to www.bbc.co.uk/ weather and type in your China location.
Beijing: Average temperature in October is 13°C/55°F.
Hong Kong: Average temperature in October: 25°C / 77°F
WHAT TO PACK
Light casual clothing is recommended such as t-shirts, shirts, linen type trousers/short/skirts along with fleeces/cardigans in case of cooler weather and evenings. Don’t forget your swimwear. Ensure to bring some comfortable footwear for walking. It may also be a good idea to pack a light waterproof jacket should there be any rain. In regards to your Yangtze River cruise, Casual attire is recommended on board and ashore. For the captain’s cocktail party and farewell banquet, we suggest a shirt and tie for gentlemen and dress or dress pants for ladies. Sunscreen and a sunhat are recommended. Don’t forget to pack your Cameras, Video Cameras and Chargers.
We can’t give advice on any medication but please ensure you are prepared for any minor ailments that may occur whilst you are away. Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour. This includes the use of sleep apnea machines, and medication that you may need to be stored in a particular way whilst away e.g. refrigerated insulin.
Electricity supply is at 220 volts. Plugs are mostly two-pin, but you may also find 3-pin plugs. It is advisable to take an international adaptor.
: GMT+ 8.Despite the vast size of the country, Beijing time is the same throughout China.
Please check with your mobile phone provider about your roaming charges for calls and texts before you go as it can be very expensive and you could be presented with a large bill when you get home.
Chinese currency, called Renminbi, is issued by the People’s Bank of China. The standard unit is the Yuan. There are also jiao (onetenth of a Yuan) and fen (one tenth of a Jiao). Renminbi comes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 100 Yuan; 1, 2, 5 Jiao; and 1, 2 and 5 fen (although you are unlikely to see any fen).
Only limited amounts of Chinese currency can be bought in advance, so you will have to change money once in China. This can be done at hotels or branches of the Bank of China. Travellers’ cheques have a slightly better exchange rate than cash. You should have few problems changing sterling cash or US dollars or travellers’ cheques in major tourist cities, but this may be more difficult in more remote areas. Here US dollars are more likely to be recognised and changeable.
Credit cards are also accepted in large hotels, department stores and shops. Some ATM cash machines in big cities can also give cash advances on credit cards. Please make sure that you contact your bank to inform them that you will be travelling to China if you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards whilst you are away.
Tipping in hotels and at meals and on the river cruise is normal practice in China. Feedback from previous tours with Diamond members has led us to suggest an overall tips package for your journey where we would take care of tipping throughout which would include tips at restaurants where the meal is included, your driver, your local guides as well as hotel and support staff. Tips for 2018 are 1300 CNY per guest given to your tour leader on arrival in China.
ARRIVAL IN BEIJING
Upon arrival in Beijing, once you have cleared customs and immigration and collected your luggage, make your way to the arrivals hall where you will be greeted by our escorts/guides and directed to your transportation. Look out for a sign with ‘The Big Journey Company” on it. From the airport, you will be transferred to your hotel.
If you are arriving into Beijing earlier than the tour start date or departing after the tour ends and have arranged your own accommodation, please ensure that you also arrange your transfers from/to the airport and your hotel of choice. If you have arranged extra night’s pre or post tour with The Big Journey Company we will have included the additional transfer costs into the cost of your accommodation and you will be met at the airport as above.
Please note that there aren’t many double rooms in Chinese hotels. Most are twin rooms and the provisions of double rooms are subject to availability. (In the unlikely event of any amendments to your accommodation, our Chinese Ground Agents reserve the right to change the hotels at any time prior to departure but will always ensure that it is of the same quality and standard.)
Travel in China can be frenetic, tiring and confusing and the language barrier can sometimes make small difficulties seem complex problems. Therefore your tour will include the services of local Chinese guides. They are English-speaking and based in their home cities. At each stage, along with your Big Journey Company Escort, they will meet you at the airport, arrange transfers to your hotel, accompany excursions, book tickets, check-in your luggage and see you off on your onward journey.
TIBET TOUR EXTENSION
Please see the additional 'Useful Information' for Tibet for further information about visas etc.