Travel Planning
Travel Planning

China at a Glance

China is a vast country with a densely populated eastern edge and a wide, often rural interior. As one of the world's oldest civilizations, China has two-thousand years worth of history, culture and ideas to share. Get ready for a busy and eye-opening trip.

China's Great Wall is a must-see for visitors even if it seems cliche. There are many places to visit the wall, each with its own sights and interests. Brush past the groups of vendors and hawkers that crowd the entrance to the Great Wall and then climb the stairs to the top of the wall. Guards stood watch in covered towers in strategic locations and messengers raced along the wall top. Since enormous stretches of the wall are still intact, you can hike along the wall for almost as long as you please. Take in the view and the grandeur of such an enormous building project. 

For a change of pace, enter any one of China's mega-metropolises. Sleek new stores, fine dining, bars, clubs, museums and all the trappings of city life await you. There's almost an endless array of sights to see and activities to do. China's urban landscape is growing so quickly that you may see it change before your very eyes. 

Traveler photos
Top Forum Questions about China
Popular Places
  • Shanghai Shanghai
  • Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
  • Beijing Beijing
  • Suzhou Suzhou
  • Nanjing Nanjing
  • Hangzhou Hangzhou
  • Xian Xian
  • Guangzhou Guangzhou
Getting There
Major Airports
  • Major Airport Beijing Capital International Airport
  • Major Airport Shanghai Pudong International Airport
  • Major Airport Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
  • Major Airport Sunan Shuofang International Airport
  • Major Airport Xi'an Xianyang International Airport
  • Major Airport Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
  • Regional Airport Hehua Airport
  • Major Airport Nanjing Lukou International Airport

Passport / Visa Requirements

Visitors to China need a passport with at least six months of validity remaining and a visa appropriate to the type of visit they are making. Travelers will need to visit the website of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China to learn their exact requirements and to prepare the appropriate documents. The process is a bit complicated and the requirements must be met in full in order to enter and exit the country successfully. Once in China, all visitors must register with the state.  American citizens can find out more about the process through the U.S State Department's website. 

Need to Know

Severe Weather and Seismic Activity China has earthquakes so be aware of earthquake safety when traveling. Summer in China can be blisteringly hot. The southern coast experiences typhoons during the summer as well. During intense heat, stay cool and drink enough water to reduce the risk of heat related illness. Pay attention to weather updates for the region you are in. 

Safety Concerns Petty criminals and pickpockets target foreigners. Keep your money and valuables out of sight while on the street and consider putting little used valuables in a safe at your hotel, or in a money belt. 

Health Concerns Smog is a concern in China and many residents wear face masks when out in the streets. Check air-quality ratings before you go out and plan accordingly. Visitors to China should drink bottled water or boil or purify the local water. Only eat fruits and vegetables that can be peeled and be sure to wash food using the purified water. 

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Language: Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese
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