Information on People’s Republic of China

Comparison of temperatures


System of government:

The Socialist People’s Republic of China (founded 01.10.1949) under the sole leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The country has a one-party system. The Chinese head of state is President Xi Jingping.


Peking (Beijing), metropolitan area: population ca. 21.5 million, including ca. 8 million migrant workers.


Atheistic state ideology; Buddhism, Islam, Taoism, Protestant and Catholic “state churches” as well as independent home churches.


Standard Mandarin, various dialects of Chinese; various minority languages (Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur, Turkic languages, Korean).


Continental in the north, subtropical in the south.


220-250 volt alternating current, 50 hertz. An adapter is necessary.

Local time:

Despite the very large surface area of China there is only one time zone (Peking Standard Time). The time difference with the UK is +7 hours in summer and +8 hours in winter.

Making telephone calls:

The dialling code for long-distance calls from the UK to China is 0086, and from China to the UK the dialling code is 0044. The zero is omitted when making local calls.

Country and people:

China has one of the world’s oldest civilisations and, with 1,256,200,000 inhabitants, has the largest population in the world. In order limit further population growth, the one-child policy was introduced in the 1980s. In 2015 the regulation was relaxed and now couples are allowed to have two children, subject to state permission. When greeting a person, Chinese nod politely or make a small bow. Apart from the large crowds of people in which physical contact is unavoidable, Chinese do not touch anyone whom they don’t know. A smile is always preferred to a pat on the shoulder or a similar gesture. This rule should be observed with particular care in contacts with older people or with people in important positions.

Food and drink:

The main products are potatoes, tofu, crushed maize flour, rice and other types of cereals. Noodles are also widespread. Dishes with beef, pork and chicken or fish are popular but also very expensive. The specialities vary from region to region, from the typical Peking duck to hot and spicy dishes in the province of Sichuan Sheng. Chopsticks are the standard eating utensils. Food is placed in the middle of the table and can comprise more than one main dish. This is usually accompanied by rice. After the meal one does not place the chopsticks in the rice bowl but instead clean on the table.

Entry requirements for British citizens:

British citizens require a visa to visit mainland China and thus for this cultural tour (although not for Hong Kong or Macao). This visa can be applied for at the China Visa Application Service Center (CVASC).
Further information at: At the time you apply for the visa, your passport must be valid for at least another 6 months and must have at least two blank visa pages.
For further information and application, go to the CVASC website at:
Under “Please choose your location”, select “United Kingdom” and then select “London”, “Manchester” or “Edinburgh”.
Citizens of other countries are advised to ask the Chinese embassy about the entry requirements applying to them.

Tour guides: Your expert tour guides will be able to provide you with detailed information about the country, people, history, culture, etc., and offer advice and assistance for organising your trip. They can also help with room allocation and look forward to welcoming you with initial information. Here you will find out all you need to know and useful information about the trip. We have put together a varied programme including numerous highlights, enabling you to experience the culture and diversity of landscape that China has to offer, and learn all about the country and its people. Although your trip already includes a comprehensive package, you also have the option of choosing added extras on arrival. We recommend booking the following packages when you get there.
Gourmet package: This package includes 8x dinner with Chinese specialties and 1x traditional “Peking Duck”: only £170 per person.
Explorer package: At only £210 per person, this package includes the following excursions:
• Day 4: Day trip to the water village of Zhujiajiao in Shanghai
• Day 9: Excursion to Dazu with its Taoist-Buddhist caves
• Day 11: Terracotta Army, Big Wild Goose Pagoda
• Day 13: Great Wall of China, Ming tombs with the “Path of Souls” in Beijing

Currency/Banks/Credit cards:

The official currency in China is the renminbi (“people’s currency”). It is also known as the yuan (CNY). CNY 1 = 10 jiao.
Exchange rate (updated: February 2017) 1 pound sterling (GBP) = ca. CNY 8.71, CNY 1 = ca. 0.11 pound sterling (GBP).
Cash payment is the usual method in China, although card payments are gaining in popularity. Withdrawing money from ATMs using British EC cards is only possible in very few cases. However, payment using credit cards issued by British banks presents no problems, at least in cities.

Customs regulations:

Duty-free import: 400 cigarettes, 2 bottles of spirits (750 ml each). Foreign currency: up to USD 5,000 (or equivalent in other foreign currencies) for non-Chinese citizens. Otherwise an import declaration must be made. In addition, up to CNY 20,000 may be imported.
Export: The export of antiques is subject to strict regulations, with different specifications for the type and importance of the art items. Coins dating from before 1949 may no longer be exported at all, and most antiques only if they bear the red seal of the Chinese Cultural Office.
Foreign currency: Up to USD 5,000 (or equivalent in other foreign currencies) for non-Chinese citizens. Amounts exceeding these limits only to the level of the previous import declaration. You can obtain further customs information on the import of goods from the embassy of your country of destination. This is the only source of legally binding information. You can find the customs regulations for the UK on the website of HM Revenue & Customs customs/services-information, together with contact details.

Special criminal law provisions:

The security situation in China can generally be rated as good. Foreigners aged over 16 must be able to display a passport with a valid Chinese visa at any time. Police checks are possible at any time, especially as part of increased security measures associated with major events or days of remembrance. We recommend that you keep copies of your passport and airline tickets safe in your hotel and always carry your passport with valid visa with you so that you can display it during police checks. The import or possession of even relatively small quantities of drugs can lead to long prison sentences or even the death penalty. Khat has also been defined as a drug since 01.01.2014; import into China is forbidden and possession is a crime. Travellers are thus urgently warned against transporting items with unknown content on behalf of third parties. Photographing certain sites such as military installations is forbidden. One should first ask permission before taking photos of persons.

Medical information:

Vaccinations: Via its Travel Health Pro website the UK Government recommends various vaccinations depending on individual status and requirements (see „Vaccine_recommendations“ and Vaccinations against hepatitis A and tetanus are recommended for all travellers to China.
Diarrhoeal diseases: Most diarrhoeal diseases can be avoided by appropriate food and drinking water hygiene. Here are a few basic rules: Only drink water from a safe source, e.g. bottled water, never water from a tap. In emergencies use filtered, disinfected or boiled water. Also use safe drinking water when cleaning your teeth at any time. With regard to food, cook it or peel it yourself. Be careful to keep flies off your food and drink. Wash your hands with soap as often as possible, always after visiting the toilet and always before preparing food and before eating. Regularly disinfect your hands and use disposable hand towels. Infectious diseases: Before travelling to the People’s Republic of China, consult a medical advisory centre or a doctor specialising in travel medicine about possible infectious diseases.

Medical care:

There is no system of practice-based physicians in China. As a result, medical care is concentrated in hospitals. Very large clinical centres with highly modern facilities can be found in cities, but in rural areas the available medical care may still be very rudimentary. Hygiene does not always meet European standards. The main problem in medical care for foreigners is the language barrier and the different medical culture. Due to a lack of English-speaking medical staff, communication without Chinese language skills can be very difficult. We urgently recommend sufficient medical insurance cover that is also valid for China as well as repatriation insurance cover. A personal first-aid and pharmaceutical travel kit is recommended. There is no bilateral Social Security agreement between the UK and China, meaning that doctor’s bills or hospital bills will need to be paid in cash immediately after treatment. In most cases payment using a Chinese credit card is possible. Foreign credit cards are only accepted in a very few international clinics in a few cities. The customer must establish for himself that his physical and mental state is compatible with the selected journey. He is obliged to obtain information about the degrees of physical mobility and mental autonomy required for this journey.

All information is subject to change/Last updated: February 2017

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