China Destination Guide – More
For contrast, Shanghai is one of Asia’s fastest growing and most modern cities. A centre for commercial trade with the west during the 1800s, by the 1930s it was both famous and infamous as a cosmopolitan world city. Today soaring skyscrapers overlooking the Bund are testament to Shanghai’s influential economic position.
And beyond the obvious, there is also Xian, once an ancient capital on the Silk Road. Xian is most famous for the discovery of its Terracotta Warriors – over 7000 warriors and horses have been excavated from a site first discovered by a group of peasants who uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby in 1974.
Then there is Guilin, the Yangtze River, Zhouzhuang, Zhengzhou, Xiamen, Lhasa and so much more. A country certainly worthy of more than one visit, and with so much choice perfectly positioned to suit every requirement.
China — a country so vast, a history so rich and a culture so profound… Home to over one billion people, China is a mysterious and fascinating nation with an incredible array of iconic historical sites, traditions and civilizations that date back many thousands of years, breathtaking country landscapes and futuristic cities.
China has often been referred to as the Nation of Etiquette. According to many westerners, however, Chinese people often act in what appears to be a discourteous manner. The reason for this anomaly lies in the different cultural and historical views of social decorum.
Handshaking is considered formal greeting behavior in China. It is used to show respect, but only if the person is someone important, like a government official or a businessman.
Mianzi, commonly referred to as ‘face’, is a reflection of a person’s level of status in the eyes of his or her peers. Having ‘face’ means you are viewed by your peers, superiors, and subordinates as one in harmony with the prevailing disposition of society. It is a subtlety that is not openly discussed in Chinese society, but exists as a conversational skill nonetheless. Mianzi can best be understood as the avoidance of embarrassment in front of others.
The number Four, which sounds like death in Chinese, is considered an unlucky number in China. You will see that in many buildings, levels 4 and 13 are non-existent for this reason.
When eating with chopsticks, at the conclusion of the meal, do not leave your chopsticks sticking in the rice so that they stand upwards. This is considered unlucky as it looks similar to incense that is often burnt at funerals.
If you want to ‘toast’ your glass with a Chinese person, it is considered a sign of respect to toast the top of your glass lower than theirs.
Traveling in China
Travelling around China is becoming more and more trouble free as parts of the country go through development to make them more accessible to the overseas tourist. There are numerous domestic airlines that fly to almost every corner of the country and where flights are not available there are land routes that can be travelled by train or bus.
As the economy of China continues to grow, many leading brand named hotels are entering the secondary cities, so travellers can expect to be met with the service and facilities they expect. For those looking for a more traditional touch, there are also a number of locally managed properties that cater to this market.
In the main cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, travel around the city is easy and efficient. Taxis, trains and buses are easily accessible and affordable means of transport.
One important issue to keep in mind in China is that, even in the main cities, English is not widely spoken so travellers should be well prepared to have their destinations translated to Chinese in advance. It is also important to have the contact numbers of the hotels you wish to stay at, should you find yourself in a situation where you may need some directions from staff at the hotel.
From Beijing to Shanghai, Xian and Guilin and even more remote areas such as Lhasa and Lijiang, travel within China is now easier than ever, however the journey to reach a destination is still an adventure in itself.
Know Before You Go: You need a visa and a passport with at least six months validity to enter China. If you do not have a valid passport and the appropriate Chinese visa, you will not be allowed to enter China and will be fined and subject to immediate deportation. U.S. citizens should apply for a year-long multiple-entry visa. A multiple-entry visa is essential if you plan to re-enterChina, especially if you plan to visit either Hong Kong or Macau. Visit the Embassy of China’s website for the most current visa information.
If you are a dual-national U.S. citizen with a Chinese passport and you enter the country on your Chinese passport rather than your U.S. passport, you may encounter problems. China does not recognize dual citizenship, and the Chinese government routinely denies U.S. officials access to arrested or detained U.S. citizens who do not enter China using their U.S. passport.
In general, if you are travelling through China en route to a different country, you do not need a visa as long as you plan to stay inChina less than 24 hours and do not leave the airport. If, however, you are a transit passenger and have more than one stopover inChina, you must exit the transit lounge at the first stop to apply for an endorsement in your passport that permits multiple stops inChina. As long as you have a ticket that continues on to an international destination, the endorsement should be routine. In Shanghai, you can transit through Pudong Airport or Hongqiao Airport and stay in Shanghai for 48 hours as long as you have a valid passport, a visa for your onward destination, and a valid ticket for an international destination.
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