Practical China Travel Information

China travel tips – Useful information

Time difference: During the summertime it’s 7 hours later in China than it is in the UK. During winter time it’s 8 hours later in China.

Best time to travel: The best time to travel is during the months Aprtil through October. However, it’s best to avoid the first week of May and the first week of October. These are Chinese national holidays.

Language: Mandarin Chinese is spoken in most of China. However, countless dialects are also spoken. English is gaining popularity in China, but you still won’t find many people who speak English, especially in rural China. Bring along a Chinese pocket dictionary.

Currency: The official Chinese currency is known as the renminbi (‘peoples money’), RMB for short. The monetary unit is the Yuan. Hong Kong has its own currency – the Hong Kong Dollar. The Hong Kong Dollar is pegged to the American Dollar. It’s accepted in Guangzhou (Canton) and Shenzhen.

Tips: Tipping is customary for guides and drivers. They are generally reliant on tips for a large portion of their salaries. It’s not customary to tip in restaurants.

Visas: You’ll need a Chinese visa in order to travel in China. You’ll have to apply for your own visa at the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre (CVASC). A single entry Chinese visa will cost you around £60. This is made up of a £30 visa fee, and a £30 processing fee.

Telephone calls: Phoning home during your China trip using your mobile usually isn’t a problem, but it can be a very costly affair. Internet Phone (IP) cards are the cheapest way to phone home. You can buy these cards at kiosks and hotels in larger cities. If you want to use your own mobile phone during your trip, it’s best to buy a prepaid sim card at a Chinese phone shop.

Internet: Nearly all parts of China offer Internet access. You’ll find more and more cafés and bars that offer mobile Internet in China.

Photography: The Chinese are usually honoured if you would like to take their picture. Don’t forget to ask their permission first though. Taking pictures or shooting a video at military sites in China is highly illegal. Many museums, palaces and temples also do not allow pictures to be taken or only allow you to take pictures for a fee. It’s best to always be on the look-out for the signs posted regarding photography and to be careful.

Voltage: Electricity in China is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. It’s best to bring along a universal plug adaptor.

Hygiene: Using public bathrooms during your China trip will be quite an experience. The level of hygiene is commonly poor and you’ll have little privacy. Be sure to add toilet paper or tissues, anti-bacterial hand wipes and disinfectant to your China Travel Plan packing list.

Handy Traveler Information About The Kingdom Of Swaziland

Swaziland is a geographically small country of just above one million inhabitants. It is located in the southern hemisphere in what is known in geopolitical terms as southern Africa. The Kingdom of Swaziland, as it is officially known, is one of the last four remaining monarchies in Africa. Its only neighbors are south Africa and Mozambique. It is a country of relative political stability. In recent years, Swaziland has increasingly faced economic challenges which have often resulted in political tensions.

In terms of tourism, the country is a relatively popular tourist destination. International travelers from as far as Switzerland, United States, Australia and the UK visit the country every year. This small nation has been immortalized by the famous annual reed dance, a cultural activity involving thousands of young women. This event has over the years attracted a lot of travelers to Swaziland.

Perhaps the first things to be aware of is how does one gate to Swaziland. International travelers to Swaziland often travel by air. Currently, there are no direct commercial flights to this Kingdom nation. It is usually the case that tourists travel first to Johannesburg, South Africa by air and then connect for the last leg to Swaziland. There is only one airport in the country called Matsapha International Airport. This is a small airport which only caters for very small jets. Plans are afoot but seem delayed to complete a new airport to handle bigger aircraft such as the Boeing 747.

Most countries particularly those with a history of sending many tourists such as the ones mentioned above do not require a visa to enter Swaziland. This applies for stays not exceeding 30 days. This is often long enough for many tourists to explore this small Kingdom with no difficulties. Once in Swaziland, many tourists find accommodation in the Ezwilini Valley. This is found near the capital Mbabane and is somewhat located at the center of the country. The Ezwilini Valley is also special because of its often unique weather, great views of mountains and the lush valley itself and affordable accommodation.

Once in the Valley, there are many activities to do. Some of the things to do include visiting the cultural village, the candle making factory, the glass making factory and historical shrines. Some attractions involve travel distance away from the Valley. All in all, with determination it is easy to explore the entire country in a few days. This is in light of the fact that the maximum breath of the country is some 200kms.

Apart from traveling to the country by air, it is also possible to come in by road. This happens frequently with tour buses that originate in Johannesburg. A visit to Swaziland can even be a short two day or three day visit. It takes about 3 hours to travel from Johannesburg to Mbabane by road.In many cases driving to Swaziland can prove advantageous as it will be much easier to explore the country. However, it is still not a difficult task to rent a car or to find taxes to move around once one gets on the ground. The hotels and lodges are also more than willing to help with internal travel arrangements.