Discover China travel guide

The second largest country in the world by land area, China is an ancient, mysterious and beautiful country.

It abounds in ancient artefacts, large neon cities, remote mountain villages, and magnificent natural and man-made attractions.

China shares a land border with 14 other countries. Some of the largest are Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Myanmar and North Korea. Despite the country spanning five geographical timezones, time in China follows a single standard time offset of UTC+08:00, which is eight hours ahead of Universal Coordinated Time.

 

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Emergency Numbers

Police dial 110
Fire dial 119
Ambulance dial 120
Police, Fire and Ambulance (HongKong) dial 999

 
Main Ethnic Groups

92% Han

 
Main Religion

The Chinese Communist Party that rules the
nation is officially atheist, although it is
becoming more tolerant of other religions.

61% Non-religious
26% Taoist or Confucian
6% Buddhism
2% Christians

 
Geographic Facts Capital city: Beijing (21.5 million people)
Largest city: Shanghai (24.2 million people)
 
  • Present day Chinese culture is an amalgamation of old world traditions and a westernised lifestyle — although people in rural areas tend to hold to more traditional ways than those in the big cites.

  • Confucian and Taoist values are prevalent in social interactions, with emphasis on good etiquette, manners, honesty and respect for elders and superiors.
  • ‘Face’ is a very important concept. Arguments and emotional scenes in public mean a ‘loss of face’ and are very embarrassing for all involved.
  • Queuing isn’t compulsory and personal space is less respected than in Australia, so don’t get upset if people push and shove their way ahead of you in crowded places.
  • Ni Hao = Hello
  • Xie Xie = Thank you
  • Dou shao qian = How much?
  • Gan Bei = Cheers!
  • Zhù nî háoyùn = Good luck!
  • Bàibài = Goodbye
Autumn is the best time to travel as temperatures are more reasonable throughout China. There is also less rain during Autumn, which means you will have more sunny days to experience the sights.
Seasons and weather in China can vary due to the massive size of the country. Beijing and Shanghai are separated by over a thousand kilometres. The guide here is based on the seasons in the capital, Beijing.
Summer
Jun to Aug
20° / 30°
Autumn
Sep to Oct
11° / 22°
Winter
Nov to Mar
-4° / 6°
Spring
Apr to May
11° / 23°
Very few people in China own cars, so the public transport system is extensive and efficient. Taxis are everywhere — you can hail one on the street or find them queuing outside train stations, airports and other hubs. Rail systems and domestic airlines criss-cross the country. In big cities, public transport such as trains and buses can get very crowded.
Spoken Chinese is a family of closely-related but mutually unintelligible languages. These languages are known variously as fangyán (regional languages), dialects of Chinese or varieties of Chinese. The majority language is Mandarin, followed by Cantonese, Mindong, Minnan, Xiang, Gan and many other minority languages.
Dialing code +86

 
Visa - Canadians require a visa to travel to China. The Chinese visa proceedings can be done in two ways: using the online visa service offered by China Visa Direct (online service and for groups of mininum 2 travellers) or through the Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC) with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa.
The drinking age in China is 18 or over.
Tipping is not customary in China for restaurants, taxis, spas and hotels. However, tipping is becoming more common, but mainly in high-end restaurants and hotels where a 10-15% service charge may be added to the bill and you may leave the bellhops or concierges $10 per item of luggage, respectively.
Language
Mandarin (71%).
 
Electrical / device: 220V - China alternates between three different plugs types: A, I and C & F.
Drive on the right side of the road.
 
Currency 
Yuan Renminbi
(CAD$1 = CNY5.10)
*average rate, 2015-2020.
  • China is the world’s most populous country.
  • Largest jigsaw made of tents: 900 tents were placed on a beach in Qingdao, Shandong province to form a Chinese dragon.
  • Longest duration balancing on four fingers: 19.23 seconds.
  • Oldest panda ever in captivity was 36 years old in 1978.
National icons are the Giant Panda, the Great Wall of China,  and the colours red and yellow.
DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information as of the date of publishing, Allianz Global Assistance does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. Allianz Global Assistance strongly recommends seeking the guidance of a professional travel agent/agency for further information on a specific destination. On your next trip, whether to another province or country, ensure you have travel insurance as it may assist you in cases of unforeseen medical emergencies and other types of mishaps that can happen while you travel. Travel insurance does not cover everything, please always refer to the policy document for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd.
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