Before you jet off to China, it's important to know your stuff. What to pack, what to expect - you don't want to turn up in the airport and realise you've got a suitcase full of irrelevant clothes and no visa! China can be a difficult country to navigate so having a good knowledge of the place you're going to be exploring before you arrive means you'll have a bit less culture shock to deal with. Never fear - Travel Nation is here to help! Here are our a few things you need to know before travelling to China.

1. The Great Firewall of China

The Great Wall of China

Several websites are difficult to access in China, including Google mail, Twitter and Facebook. If any of these sites are your main way of keeping in touch with friends and family at home, make sure you warn them that they may not hear from you for a while to avoid any worry or confusion.

2. Entry - denied!

Chinese visa

To enter China you need a visa in your passport before you arrive, you can't buy one on arrival. We recommend using the services of a company like The VisaMachine for quick and easy visa processing that will take the hassle out of getting your Chinese visa (especially if it is part of a multi-country itinerary).

Jonny Goodall
Jonny: "The VisaMachine take the leg work out of arranging visas, and will check your application, submit it and collect your visa(s) from the embassy for you which certainly reduces the chance of errors and the level of frustration."



3. Long train running...

Bullet train, Guangzhou, China

Chinese trains are the most efficient way of travelling long distances but they book up very very early, especially at peak times like summer and Chinese New Year. If you want to do a train journey, make sure you book ahead or you might be stuck somewhere for a lot longer than you planned!

Chris West
Chris: "For longer journeys across China, overnight trains and very good. There are 3 levels of comfort on the train; hard seat (not great), hard sleeper or soft sleeper (the best). Go for hard sleeper as a minimum on very long journeys."



4. Layered living

Pack light clothes with lots of layers. In China you can go from shivering on the Great Wall to baking hot in muggy Yangshuo so layers mean you can easily stay comfortable during your visit.

5. Culture shocking customs

In the UK, spitting and burping in a public place is frowned upon but in China, not so much. Don't be shocked if people walking past suddenly spit audibly right next to you or your taxi driver burps loudly during your journey. It might be a surprise, and you might not like it, but each place you'll travel to is different and this is one of China's quirks.

Chris West
Chris: Once they've got used to the spitting, Brits often forget there's no queueing system, so you might notice you've been in a queue for an hour and gone backwards! One tip - wear a backpack and swing from side to side to stop people pushing in!


    Interested in visiting China?

    China's certainly a fascinating destination! If you're interested in visiting, we can show you how to include China in your round the world ticket, and we can also help create a 'soft landing' when you arrive. If you're looking for a tailor-made China holiday, we can arrange flights, transfers, accommodation and local tours - just call us on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email.

    Request a quote