FAQs

CHINA FAQ

China is commonly known as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and is one of the world’s oldest civilizations including 56 ethnic minority groups that have long been part of China’s community.

 

China has a population that now exceeds 1.3 billion and a landmass area of 9.6 million square kilometres.

China, Hong Kong and Macau are 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 8 hours) and 2 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

China and Hong Kong operate on an electrical supply voltage of 220 volts 50Hz. Pictured below are the 4 main types of electrical plugs used in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Adaptors for these kinds of electrical connections are readily available in most countries, international airports and in some convenience stores and many hotels in China and Hong Kong.

Public telephones are widely available across China. Long distance and international calls can be dialled directly from any public phone. Phone cards are a cheaper way for travellers to call overseas. Prepaid Chinese mobile sim cards can be easily purchased from any of the many mobile phone shops or corner stores. Mobile coverage is excellent in China and we advise you to check with your mobile service provider for international roaming availability and call costs prior to your departure.

 

Almost all hotels in China offer in-room and/or lobby access to broadband Internet — some of which is provided free of charge. Internet cafes are also readily located throughout China and are often inexpensive. In many major cities there are several coffee shops that offer free WiFi access for your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

The official language in mainland China is Mandarin, however, English is widely spoken around the main tourist destinations, hotels and amongst the younger generation.

The official language in Hong Kong is Cantonese and English. The official language in Macau is Cantonese and Portuguese. English is also taught and widely spoken in Macau.

China, Hong Kong and Macau are considered reasonably safe travel destinations. We encourage you to check with Smartraveller for the latest travel warnings and security updates relating to China, Hong Kong and Macau. We strongly recommend that Australian travellers register their details online before commencing any overseas travel.

We strongly recommend that you purchase Travel Insurance prior to your departure to safeguard against unforeseen events.

It is highly recommended that you seek professional medical advice regarding your fitness and suitability for overseas travel before making a booking. We also recommend that you check with your health professional to make sure that all your vaccinations are up to date. During your trip you are likely to do more walking than when at home and for this reason we advise you to maintain adequate hydration by drinking plenty of water. As a guide, we recommend a minimum of 2 litres per day. You should take all of your prescribed necessary medicines and be sure to carry an adequate supply with you for the length of your journey. Customs in Australia and overseas are on the watch for black-market trading of prescription medicines so it’s advisable to carry a letter from your doctor endorsing the various prescribed medicines you’ll be carrying.

 

For further information we recommend you visit the following websites to gain additional details and knowledge regarding good health practices when travelling overseas:

 

● The Travel Health Advisory Group;
●  The Traveller’s Medical and Vaccination Centre; and
●  Smartraveller

Climates differ from region to region in China due to the vast terrain and varying topography of the country. The following information only serves as a guide only and climatic fluctuations may occur.

 

Northern China experiences cold, dry and sunny winters and warm, short summers. Central China generally experience long and humid summers with high temperatures and cold winters.

 

Southern China has a typically higher rain fall each year than most parts of the country and can experience hot and humid summers and short winters.

 

North-western China experiences hot, dry summers and bitterly cold winters due to the vast desert landmasses – often with very little rain.

 

The Tibetan plateau due to its high altitude and thin air, often experiences sizable differences between day and night temperatures and also endure warm summers and cold winters.

Climates differ from region to region in China due to the vast terrain and varying topography of the country. The following information only serves as a guide only and climatic fluctuations may occur. 

Northern China experiences cold, dry and sunny winters and warm, short summers. Central China generally experience long and humid summers with high temperatures and cold winters.

Southern China has a typically higher rain fall each year than most parts of the country and can experience hot and humid summers and short winters. 

North-western China experiences hot, dry summers and bitterly cold winters due to the vast desert landmasses – often with very little rain.

The Tibetan plateau due to its high altitude and thin air, often experiences sizable differences between day and night temperatures and also endure warm summers and cold winters.

If you are travelling to mainland China you will need a visa for entry. There are several classes of visa, each dependent on a person’s reason for entry – for example: tourist (L visa), business (F visa), student to study (X visa), etc. Visalink offers a fast and professional online travel visa service to ensure prompt processing of your visa application.’ Please visit visalink.com.au.

 There are Visa Processing Centers in Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane. For contact details please visit visaforchina.org.

If you are an Australian resident travelling to Hong Kong, you do not require a visa if your stay is less than 90 days. For other passport holders, please check your visa and entry requirements by visiting the Immigration Department of Hong Kong for further details. If you are an Australian passport holder travelling to Macau, you do not require a visa if your stay is less than 30 days. For other passport holders, please check your visa and entry requirements by visiting the Macau Government’s tourism website.

For a complete world-wide list of all Australian embassies, consulates and high commissions, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. In China, the Australian embassy is located in Beijing and there are consulates in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

 

Australian Embassy in Beijing

Address: 21 Dongzhimenwai Dajie, Sanlitun, Beijing 100600 China
Tel: +86 10 5140 4111
Fax: +86 10 5140 4204

 

Australian Consulate in Hong Kong

Address: 23/F Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road, WanChai, Hong Kong
Tel: +85 2 2827 8881
Fax: + 85 2 2585 4457

 

Australian Consulate in Guangzhou

Address: 12th Floor, Development Centre, No.3 Linjiang Road, Zhujiang New City Guangzhou 510623 China
Tel: + 86 20 38140111
Fax: + 86 20 3814 0112

 

Australian Consulate in Shanghai

Address: Level 22, Citic Square, 1168 Nanjing West Road, Shanghai 200041 China
Tel: +86 21 5292 5500
Fax: +86 21 5292 5511

Hotel breakfasts are included in most of our tours (except ½ day or day tours) and we only use reputable restaurants for all other included meals. If you’re not on a tour and venturing on your own, there are a huge selection of restaurants, food courts, cafes and eateries in China, Hong Kong and Macau. As is the case when travelling to any overseas destination, we recommend you avoid eating raw food. As a general rule, only eat well-cooked food and choose restaurants that appear to be well patronised and clean. Tea is the most commonly served drink, with bottled water, soft drinks, local beers and wines also widely available. Tap water is not recommended for drinking in most Asian destinations and we highly recommend drinking bottled water bought from known supermarkets or stores. We also suggest you avoid ice in your drink unless it is from a hotel or trusted restaurant. As a general precaution we also advise against purchasing food, beverages and peeled fruit from street vendors whose hygiene standards are not guaranteed.

Tipping has now become widely accepted throughout China especially for Tour Guides and Drivers and when travelling on a Yangtze River Cruise. Although tipping is not mandatory, any tips are always greatly appreciated. Generally if you have been happy with a service provided to you and you would like to show your gratitude, then AU $6 -10 per person per day is currently an acceptable amount. If you do want to give someone a tip, we suggest that you offer it at the end of your tour or time with that person.

Although airlines vary with their luggage limits, we recommend that you restrict your single check-in luggage to no more than 20 kg. Limits are also influenced by the class of ticket you travel on so it is advisable to check with your airlines prior to departure. Due to increased airport security, there are also restrictions on what you can put in your carry-on luggage. In more recent years, there are new rules for taking liquids, aerosols and gels on flights. These new rules are needed to minimise the threat of liquid explosives. Each container of liquid, aerosol or gel in your carry-on baggage must be 100 millilitres/grams or less. All containers must be sealed in a transparent, one-litre plastic bag. You are only allowed one plastic bag. Any transparent resealable bag of one litre capacity or less is allowed. Please note these bags must be independently resealable and bags sealed with items such as sticky tape, rubber bands or ribbons will not be accepted. Travellers can seek further information in the aviation security section on the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure and Transport web site.

  • Medical and Ambulance – 120
  • Police – 110
  • Fire Brigade – 119
  • Weather Info – 121
  • Directory Assistance – 114
  • Emergency Service (Police, Ambulance, Fire) – 999
  • Department of Health – 2527 7177
  • Weather Info – 187 8066
  • Directory Enquiries – 1081

For a complete world-wide list of all Australian embassies, consulates and high commissions, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. In China, the Australian embassy is located in Beijing and there are consulates in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Australian Embassy in Beijing

Address: 21 Dongzhimenwai Dajie, Sanlitun, Beijing 100600 China
Tel: +86 10 5140 4111
Fax: +86 10 5140 4204

Australian Consulate in Hong Kong

Address: 23/F Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road, WanChai, Hong Kong
Tel: +85 2 2827 8881
Fax: + 85 2 2585 4457

Australian Consulate in Guangzhou

Address: 12th Floor, Development Centre, No.3 Linjiang Road, Zhujiang New City Guangzhou 510623 China
Tel: + 86 20 38140111
Fax: + 86 20 3814 0112

Australian Consulate in Shanghai

Address: Level 22, Citic Square, 1168 Nanjing West Road, Shanghai 200041 China
Tel: +86 21 5292 5500
Fax: +86 21 5292 5511