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Tourism in China - Independent Traveller
This page offers general advice regarding Independent Travel in China (September 2008)
Your Destination:

Normally entry into China is fairly straight-forward
Entry from both Hong Kong and Macao, or via international flight etc, to any major city is quite common and easy.

Info Sheets
Over the years I have written several information sheets for first-time visitors to China. They cover all things I can think of, including: Weather, Electricity (220 V), Customs and Practices, Food and Drinks, etc. I intend to edit these into a single Word document and make it available for download very soon. In the meantime, if you would like the unedited version, then please ask via our Contact Page and I will return immediately

I have also produced several Word documents for general and local sight-seeing, City Breaks, and tours of greater China. Again, I wish to edit them before offering them here, but if you would like one please Contact Us and state places of interest

Notes for Independent Travellers Only:

1. Entry
Independent travellers crossing via unusual border crossings in remote parts of China can expect lengthy delays and possible 'local surcharges' - be sure you know what you are doing! Some of these areas may have political turbulence or terrorist activists. You may need to prove you are a simple tourist!

Please note that whilst I consider China to be one of the safest Countries in the World, you should check your planned itinerary first, especially when visiting unusual and remote parts. The British and Commonwealth Office offers excellent guidance and current advice relevant for all Western travellers

2. Travel
Given you enter and leave China via sensible border crossings, then you are bound for a truly wonderful adventure. We recommend you make use of local travel deals, which can give you very cheap access to internal flights, transfers, hotels. You may or may not want to do the associated day-long and continuous planned trips with the tour party, but some can be very useful.

We can offer practical advice and local knowledge, supported by experiences from other independent travellers who have gone before you. Contact Us for further information, stating you intended destination or what you would like to experience. For instance: in general, China does not do 'Hitch-hiking'

3. Personal Safety
Please ensure you have a safety-net, especially in places Foreigners do not usually go to. Generally your welcome from local people will be very warm, helpful, and friendly - but sometimes things can go wrong for no foreseeable reason.

a. Have some money available somewhere in the world, which can be accessed in your absence, and which can be sent to you if you have lost your cards.

b. We strongly urge you to have a contact telephone number of somebody in China! This will need to be a Chinese national = somebody who will immediately understand in Mandarin (Other language) what the problem is. If you are in any doubt, contact us immediately and we will arrange this for you, no charge and our pleasure

c. You should also ensure someone is looking out for you. We greatly admire your temerity for seeing the world as an Independent Traveller, but this does not mean you should also be niaive! Ensure there is a regular contact, say weekly, that if you miss - then alarm bells are sounded on your behalf. Most likely = you probably forgot, or ended up somewhere with dire communications. You could also have been kidnapped, or worse? A weekly 'hi, we're fine, bye' is all that is needed + a codeword if something is wrong and you cannot say so. This is highly unlikely in China, but don't be stupid!

d. Many Independent Travellers are backpackers on extended sojourn's often lasting many months. We will presume you have a supply of Iodine tablets for water purification and other purposes? Be cute about what you take with you, and consider a small, durable, fold-away solar panel (Or backpack with one integral). These normally come with outputs suitable for charging: mobile phones, cameras, radios, and even laptops on larger versions! Our friends at Excel Trading do have offers on some of these products. Get a key fob with 'Everlasting light', or a small rechargeable solar torch

4. Nepal and Tibet
We have very good friends in Nepal who can arrange made to order trips in Nepal, and also visits to Tibet + associated simple entry into China. These are ordinary Nepalese guides who usually see little of the money paid by International travellers to Nepali Agencies. We can put you in direct personal contact with the actual guides themselves.

5 . Other SouthEast Asian Countries

We also have links and personally trusted friends in virtually all other Southeast Asian Countries. If this is your thing, again Contact Us for further information and personal introduction. Our list includes: Bhutan, Northern Indian Provinces, Burma (Myanmar), Siam (Thailand), Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Vietnam, and The Philippines.

Vaguely related: We can offer similar in Peru, Brazil, Russia, and Malawi

During Autumn 2008 this page will expand to include common destinations and more in-depth advice. We welcome feedback, information, and advice from other Independent Travellers who have done this before.

Please call back later, Contact Us, and also read sections for General Tourism - as these include basic tips not reproduced again above

This information is as supplied by the Chinese Embassy in UK, as dated 20th June 2008, and/or other reliable sources. Please check this information yourself as it may alter without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
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