1: Do I need a visa to travel to China?
Yes, you do need a China Visa. Foreign visitors can obtain individual or group visas from Chinese embassies and consulates, usually within a day or two. For individual travelers, single-entry visas are valid for entry within three months. For business people and other regular visitors there are multiple-entry visas good for six months at a time. Each visa is valid for a stay of 30 or 60 days, and can be extended while in China. Visitors should be sure to carry their passports while in China as they are needed to check into hotels, make plane or train reservations, exchange money or establish the holder's identity.
If you need Visa Invitation Letter from us, please inform us at least one month ahead of your arrival date in China. Usually, it will take us about one week to process the Visa Invitation Letter. If you need hotel confirmation to get China Visa, please also advise us in advance.
2: What is Single Room Supplement and what are the room types in your tour package?
Single Room Supplement is a charge paid by a traveler who is staying at a single room to compensate hotel or cruise ship for losses incurred because only one person is using a room or cabin. ICT tour package price is based on two or three travelers staying at a twin/double/triple room. If you stay at a single room you need to pay Single Room Supplement.
We offer the following room types:
Twin Room: a room with two beds to accommodate two person.
Double Room: a room for two person with one King size bed.
Single Room: a room with one bed for one person.
Triple Room: a room to accommodate three person with two beds and one extra bed.
3. What about meals? Are they Halal?
Meals will be served as the itinerary specified. Breakfast will be both Western and Chinese buffet breakfast at hotel. Lunch & dinner will be at local Chinese Halal restaurants near sightseeing places. Please be assured that all lunch and dinner arranged by ICT will be at Halal restaurants. We don't arrange pork free meals. If you have special request for Indian, Pakistani, Indonesian, Turkish, Arabian or other cuisines, please advise us in advance and we will arrange accordingly. Please note that Indian, Pakistani, Indonesian, Turkish, Arabian restaurants are always more expensive than Chinese Halal meals. Halal restaurants arranged by ICT must have Halal certificate issued by related government offices. If you are eating at star rated hotels, food will be cooked with regular oils such as soil bean oil, peanut oil or canola oil. However, a lot of Chinese cooking at local restaurant is done in lard, so you have to be careful even when eating vegetarian meals if it is not in a Halal restaurant or a star rated hotel. Halal in Chinese language is Qing Zhen; Halal Restaurant is Qing Zhen Can Ting in Chinese; Halal Food in Chinese is Qing Zhen Shi Pin.
For guests with allergies, please bring all necessary medicines with you. Guests are highly encouraged to inform ICT ahead of time of specific allergies, such as to peanuts, fish, etc., so that our guides can ensure these items, including peanut oil, are not used in restaurant meals.
4. Where do we perform solat? Is it at Masjid?
There are a total of over 40,000 mosques in China, ICT will arrange your solat at local mosques where you can pray together with Chinese Muslim brothers and sisters. ICT is very proud that China offers many of the historical mosques in the world with unique Chinese characteristics, such as the Niujie Mosque in Beijing which was built in 996, the Great Mosque in Xian which was built in 842, the Huaisheng Mosque built by Waqqas, Prophet Mohammed's uncle, around 650's.
5. What types of vehicles are used? What are the roads like during our trips?
Throughout the whole trip, GCT provides a private vehicle that is safe, comfortable and spacious and driven by experienced local drivers. In Beijing, Xian and Shanghai, all roads are well-paved and of good quality.
For 2 passengers, we use a private sedan car; for 3 to 6 passengers, we use a private MPV such as Hyundai Refine; for 7 to 10 passengers, we use a private Toyota Hiace; for 11 to 17 passengers, we use 21 seated King Long Bus; for more than 18 passengers, we use buses with 33 seats, 45 seats and 51 seats respectively based on the group size.
6. I heard that a deposit is needed when check in at hotels in China, is this true?
Yes, it is true. When you check in hotels in China, you are required to pay a deposit at the front desk though GCT has paid hotel for your accommodations. Deposit can be cash or you may pay the deposit with your credit card. This deposit is for your personal expenses at the hotel, such as mini bar, international phone calls, laundry and etc. Of course, the deposit will be refunded when you check out.
7. What about baggage regulations?
Allowance for carry-on luggage and checked luggage will vary with the class of your airline ticket, the dimensions of the bag, and individual airline policies. Usually, for domestic China flights, you are allowed to check one piece of luggage. The limitation is 20 Kilograms (44 pounds) total. A fee may be imposed for excess weight. Passengers traveling together can have their luggage allowances calculated together on a per-person basis. There is no free luggage allowance for holders of infant tickets. Passengers may apply for insurance coverage above the minimum value for checked luggage. On domestic trains there are no luggage restrictions, but few porters are available to help with luggage.
8. What is the tipping practice in China?
It is a common practice for visitors to tip the tour guide and driver in recognition of their good service. Our local guides and drivers do their utmost to make your trip smooth and pleasant. Gratuities are a way of showing your appreciation and also constitute a large part of their monthly income. We suggest $5 USD per person per day to both local guide and driver (you may tip them before you leave each city). Hotel Bellboys and luggage person will expect your tip for the delivery of your luggage, it is suggested that CNY5 for each delivery. It is not customary to leave tips at hotels or local restaurants as the bill usually includes a 10-15% service charge.
9. Is tap water drinkable in China?
Tap water at most hotels are not drinkable. Drink only bottled or boiled water. Bottled water is available everywhere and it is quite affordable. Almost all hotels provide drinking water in their rooms. Hot tea and hot water are provided with most meals.
10. What about electricity in China?
Electricity supply is 220 volts, 50 cycles throughout China. Plugs at hotel are normally two-pin flat (5 amp). Adaptors can be obtained from hotel housekeeping for free.
11. Can I use credit cards in China?
At present the Bank of China accepts Master, American Express, Visa, JCB, and Diners Club cards. Travelers may use these cards to draw cash over the exchange counters in China's banks, make purchases or pay bills at large department stores, restaurants and hotels in more than 100 major cities in China. A surcharge of 2% is always charged for card transactions.
12. What about the Chinese Currency?
RMB (Renminbi) is the sole legitimate currency of the People's Republic of China. The basic unit of RMB is yuan, (pronounced in local dialect as kuai), which is divided into 10 jiao (pronounced as mao), which is again divided into 10 fen. RMB paper notes include 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 yuan, and the smaller 1, 2 and 5 mao. There are also 1, 2, 5 yuan, 1, 2, 5 mao and 1, 2, 5fen coins.
You may change money at most four and five star hotels and at Bank of China. The exchange rate all over China is the same fixed by Bank of China. You should keep the form you fill in when changing money, because you will need to show it when you change RMB back into foreign currency.
13. What about counterfeit money?
Counterfeit money may be found in China and you may likely get counterfeit money as exchange from street vendors when you do shopping out on the street. Therefore, don't give big note money to street vendors. It is very common that shop and restaurant staff will carefully check your note when you pay. You may get counterfeit money outside the Summer Palace, outside the Forbidden City and in the street market outside the Great Mosque in Xian.
14. Is China a safe place to travel?
China has a low crime rate, comparing with a lot of other countries. Foreigners have seldom been victims of violent crime. It is still wise to be cautious with your personal possession in public place. There are pickpockets active in crowded areas such as train stations, markets, shopping areas, etc. Do not show off your money in public. Use your safe in the hotel room and don't bring too much cash with you when you don't need it.
15. Can you give me some examples of tourist traps or scams when traveling in China?
Art Student or Students Practicing English
Be careful when you encounter a student in China who wants to practice English with you. Sometimes they are real students who want to improve their oral English. However, in most cases, they pretend to be a student who makes a living by taking you to art galleries, bars or coffee shop where you will likely be ripped off. Here is a short scam story: "When walking down the Wangfujing area, a girl, dressed in student suit, asked me if I wanted to go for a cup of coffee so that she could practice her English. Certainly, I had no excuse to refuse, and then she brought me into a café. The menu is incredibly expensive, a small beer for 100RMB. The bill finally was 1200RMB. That's extremely terrible." You may easily encounter a student on Downtown Beijing's Wangfujing Street, the Bell & Drum Tower Square in Xian and the Bund & Nanjing Road in Shanghai.
Tea House, Coffee Shop or Nightclub Scam
At many tourist areas, you may be approached by elegant female or gentleman who will give you a free Hutong tour or something else for free. He or she will tell you something interesting about their city, even the history and culture of the city. After a while chat, he or she will invite you to go for a rest at the nearby tea house, coffee shop or a Karaoke Bar. There is the scam, and you will be asked to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Dressing up in traditional clothes for pictures at local tourist spots can be fun and memorable. It can also be expensive if you don’t clearly negotiate the price and know the price inclusions. Often they will tell you after you and a friend have posted that the price negotiated was per person. Or they will tell you the price is for only the smallest size print.