Passports and Visas
All nationalities are required to possess a valid passport. An entry visa is required to enter the PRC. Most travelers will seek a type L visa, stemming from the Chinese word: luxing (travel). This letter is stamped directly onto the visa. Visas are easily obtainable from most Chinese embassies or consulates abroad and issued within 3 to 5 days from application. Express visas are available for an additional fee. If you are applying for a visa by mail, it can take 3 to 4 weeks for approval. Most nationalities qualify for a 30 day visa which is activated on your first day in China, and must be used within 3 months of its issuance. There are also 60 and 90 day visas available. The 90 day visas where once difficult to get but are now more easily obtainable. A Chinese visa covers virtually the entire country with the exception of some restricted areas and Tibet.
Recommended vaccinations include: Adult diphtheria and tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Measles, mumps and rubella, Typhoid, Varicella, Influenza, Japanese B encephalitis, Pneumonia, Rabies, and Tuberculosis. If you are arriving from a country infected with Yellow Fever, a certificate is required within six days. Please speak to your doctor for the most up to date information.
China is a big country with a massive land and the climates is extremely diverse that varies from region to region. The climate of China at the north is mostly subtropical during summer and very cold in winter. Only a few months have an intense raining and often cause flooding at the central and southern part of China. The overall temperature can range from 6°C to 31°C which in some parts of China is freezing as low as -4°C and some region with high temperature that can rise up to 35°C. Therefore it is hard to summarize the climate in general but it is possible to divide into different regions where we tour.
Chengdu, Sichuan This area has a subtropical monsoon climate. It is fairly warm in the winter, dry in the spring, hot in the summer, and rainy in the autumn. The average temperature in January is 5-8 degrees Celsius (41-46 degree Fahrenheit). The average temperature in July is 25-29 degrees Celsius (77-84 degrees Fahrenheit). There are 250 to 300 cloudy and rainy days a year in the plain. The rainy season extends from May through September, and the dry season extends from October through April.
The Western Sichuan plateau areas are quite cool and have an average annual temperature of less than 8 degrees Celsius. The climate can be summarized as a late spring, a short summer, a short autumn and a cold winter. The average temperature is 5 degrees below zero in January, 5 to 10 degrees in April, 10 to 15 degrees in June and 5 degrees in October. Spring is from May to June when normally the snow will melt up on the mountain tops. July and August are the rainy season, with the average temperature range from 20 °C (65 °F) and 28 °C (83 °F) during daytime. Autumn comes in early September and winter can come by November.
Weather in Yunnan is considered the warmest part of China compared to other regions where we cycle from Kunming to Shangri-La in this region. An average daily high temperature is only 24°C. The climate is almost moderate but there is still some months with high humidity. Hot season temperature's range is only 22°C to 25°C from March to September, making May and June the hottest. Cold season occurs for the whole year with temperature ranging from only 3°C to highest at only 17°C making January and December the freezing month. Rainy season starts in May and ends in October with an intense raining for June, July and August.
Meals are included as per the itinerary where B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner. Most meals are some variety of traditional Chinese dishes. The staple of any meal in China is either rice or noodles, and most meals will include these. Chinese cuisine is world famous and we make sure our meals allow you to sample as much variety as possible including local specilaties. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let us know at the time of booking.
Keeping you completely hydrated is a job we take very seriously. Cold water, some energy-restoring local fruit and soft drinks are included in the tour price. Beer is freely available everywhere in China, but is NOT included in the price.
SpiceRoads does not require you to pay a surcharge for travelling alone. We will arrange for you to share accommodation with another traveller of the same gender and if we can not match you up we will provide a single room at no extra charge. If you prefer not to share a single supplement is payable to guarantee your own room. The cost of the single supplement is listed above.
We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$10, for incidentals.
Renminbi can be exchanged for foreign currency or travelers checks at border crossings, international airports, branches of the Bank of China, tourist hotels and some large department stores. The official rate is given almost everywhere and the exchange charge is standardized, so there is little need to shop around for the best deal. ATMs are common in all sizable towns and cities and you can use Visa, Master Card, Cirrus, Maestro, Plus and American Express (AmEx) to withdraw cash but there is a maximum daily withdrawal amount.