Great wall of China
Great wall of China

China, known as the People's Republic of China, is found in East Asia with a population of circa 1.428 billion in 2017. China's history is rich with art, politics, science, and philosophy. It is home to the oldest of the major world civilisations. China was ruled by various dynasties for much of its history. It is one of the world's four ancient civilisations and the written history of China dates back to the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), over 3,000 years ago. The Han Dynasty, which lasted over 400 years from 206 BC to 220 AD, was one of the most influential in China's history.

Reputedly 5500 miles (8850 km) long, The Great Wall is considered one of the wonders of the world and is China’s number one tourist attraction. The Great Wall of China is the collective name of a series of fortification systems generally built across the historical northern borders of China to protect and consolidate territories of Chinese states and empires against various nomadic groups of the steppe and their polities. Several walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC by ancient Chinese states, and selective stretches were later joined together by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first Emperor of China. Little of the Qin wall still remains. Later on, many successive dynasties have built and maintained multiple stretches of border walls. The most well-known sections of the wall were built by the Ming dynasty(1368–1644).

China’s rich heritage, ancient culture and diverse history make it one of the world’s most fascinating travel destinations.

Upcoming Departures

Activity Level
Expert Lecturer Amy Lee
Duration
15 days
Price from
£4,495
Next date
10 May 2021

Visa:  

UK: British nationals normally need a visa to enter mainland China, including Hainan Island, but not Hong Kong or Macao. All visa applicants aged between 14 and 70 need to make their visa application in person at a Visa Application Centre. As part of the application process, biometric data (scanned fingerprints) has to be provided.

USA: U.S. citizens must obtain a visa prior to arrival, and hold a passport with at least six months’ validity remaining. The lack of either will result in a fine and immediate deportation.

U.S. citizens traveling to China can apply for a 10-year multiple-entry visa, useful for repeated travel or trips to Hong Kong or Macau with returns to China. This visa may be in an expired passport if the traveler also carries a valid passport.

U.S. citizens must also have a valid visa to exit China and you must leave China before the expiration of the listed duration of stay. If you overstay in China, you may be detained and fined. If your visa has expired or will expire before you can depart China, you must apply for a visa extension from the Entry/Exit Bureau before attempting to leave the country. Requests for extensions from the Entry/Exit Bureau can take some time and may not be expedited to meet your travel needs.

Currency:

Chinese Yuan Renminbi.

Packing advice:

When planning what to wear in China, choose neat, tidy and conservative clothing. Pack casual, lightweight layers that aren't too revealing. A waterproof coat and sturdy shoes are a good idea for all-weather walking and sightseeing. Winter is very cold in the north and especially at altitude – choose several layers, thick shirts, jerseys, warm coats, jackets, gloves, socks, and a hat.

Cultural differences:

In China, there is a completely different way of addressing people and a very different standard of rudeness. Spitting on the street is acceptable, as is queue jumping. Crossing the road can be precarious as Chinese drivers frequently don't observe rules such as stopping for pedestrians on zebra crossings, or other road user conventions.

China is mainly a cash economy, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises visitors to carry plenty of money when leaving the major cities as there may not be an ATM or, possibly, shops that accept credit or debit cards.

The Chinese don't embrace in public unless you're a family member or very close friend. It's more usual to shake hands and kissing as a form of greeting is not acceptable.  

Language:

Mandarin.

Tipping:

In mainland China, tipping or gratuities are not common practice in most sectors of life, but it has become okay to tip tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff in recognition of good service. Tipping in Hong Kong and Macau is more common due to the Western influence. Generally, 10% - 15% of the bill is the most proper amount. Andante Travels will take care of gratuities to restaurant staff, local guides and drivers.

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