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Practical information about China

Practical information about China
Practical information about China

Practical information about China

Best time to travel

China is one of the world’s largest countries, so there are significant differences in the climate depending on where you are in the country. Northern China lies in the temperate zone, while further south, the country lies in both the subtropical and tropical zone.

China generally has four seasons just as here the UK:

  • Spring: March to May
  • Summer: June to August
  • Autumn: September to October
  • Winter: November to February

The different season can shift a little depending on the area.

Beijing is located in the temperate zone.

Winter is cold and dry, while summer is wet and warm. In the spring and autumn, there is very little rain and mild temperatures. The coldest month is January, while the rainiest months are July and August.

Weather statistics for Beijing: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature  2 4 11 20 26 30 31 30 26 19 10 3
Average minimum temperature  -9 -7 -1 7 13 18 22 20 14 7 0 -7
Rainfall mm  3 6 9 26 29 71 176 182 49 19 6 2

Xi’an is located in the temperate zone.

As in Beijing, the winter is cold, dry and sometimes foggy, while the summer brings really hot, wet weather. Spring and Autumn are relatively dry, and the rainiest months are in late summer/early autumn.

Weather statistics for Xi’an: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 5 8 13 21 26 30 31 30 25 20 12 6
Average minimum temperature -4 -2 3 9 14 19 21 20 16 10 3 -3
Rainfall mm 10 10 40 40 70 60 100 70 110 60 20 10

Shanghai is located in the subtropical zone.

The winter here is dry and cold, but a little milder than in Beijing, for example. While night-time temperatures often drop below zero, it rarely snows. The summer offers very hot temperatures, which sometimes hit 40 degrees. The summer months are also characterised by heavy showers. On the other hand, spring and autumn generally offer dry weather and pleasant temperatures. However, you should be aware that temperatures can change quickly in the autumn.

Weather statistics for Shanghai: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 8 9 13 19 24 27 32 32 27 22 17 11
Average minimum temperature 0 2 5 11 16 20 25 25 20 15 9 2
Rainfall mm 39 59 81 102 115 152 128 133 156 61 51 35

Chengdu (Sichuan Province in south-west China) is located in the subtropical zone.

The climate here is mild, with relatively pleasant temperatures even in the coldest months.

The weather is hottest and wettest during the summer months, especially in July and August, and it can be quite muggy. The winter, on the other hand, is not quite as cold as in other places, but it may be foggy and humid, making it feel colder. The spring starts out mild, getting warmer as the season progresses, and autumn starts out hot but becomes milder. The weather is changeable in both spring and autumn, with hot days rapidly replaced by cooler days – and vice versa.

Weather statistics for Chengdu: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 10 11 15 21 26 28 29 29 25 21 16 11
Average minimum temperature 3 5 8 12 17 21 22 22 18 15 10 4
Rainfall mm 10 20 20 50 100 110 200 190 130 40 20 10

Yangshuo (Guangxi Province – one of China’s southernmost provinces) lies in the subtropical zone.

Yangshuo is generally a little warmer than Shanghai, but gets a lot more rain. The winter months are the driest of the year with mild temperatures, while in the summer and for much of the spring, a lot of rain falls. Autumn is relatively warm and gets a little more rain than in the winter.

Weather statistics for Yangshuo: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 11 14 17 23 28 30 33 33 31 27 21 15
Average minimum temperature 4 8 11 16 20 23 24 24 21 17 11 6
Rainfall mm 53 81 114 224 312 293 200 186 83 85 69 44
Passport & visa

As a British citizen, you must be in possession of a valid British passport. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the day you leave China.

Please note that a passport which has been reported missing and which has been found again may cause problems and, in the worst case, you may be refused entry into China. We therefore recommend that you apply for a new passport before departure if this is the case.

As a British citizen, you will need to obtain a visa to visit China.

Tourist visa:

A tourist visa is issued by Chinese Visa Application Service Center and is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.

You can apply for a visa 3 months before departure at the earliest, and no later than 1 month before departure.

Before you proceed with the visa application itself, we recommend that you read the step-by-step application guide carefully. You will find the guide here.

When you start your visa application, you should have the following to hand:

  • Your passport
  • A digital passport photo that meets the specific requirements. Read more here
  • The invitation letter you receive from us together with your confirmation of the tour

The visa application should be completed online via the following link: China visa

The application consists of 10 parts. You are required to upload a digital passport photo, fill in your personal details, educational and work-related information and previous travel activity, and provide our partner’s licence number and address of your accommodation as indicated in your invitation letter.

From 23rd October, 2023 the London Chinese Visa Application Service Centre has cancel the visa appointment booking system. Visa applicants can directly visit the Visa Centre without appointment with the completed online application form and related supporting documents for visa processing. The address is 12 Old Jewry, London, EC2R 8DU and the centre is open on weekdays from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm. Please note that the visa centre is closed on British and Chinese public holidays.

Remember to print out your visa application before visiting the visa centre. This must be brought to the visa centre together with a copy of the data and photo page of your passport, a physical passport photo in colour, a copy of your invitation letter and a copy of your airline ticket.

Before the meeting, you should also decide whether you will pick up your visa when it is ready or whether you would like it to be posted to you. If you choose to receive it by post, please remember to bring a stamped, addressed envelope showing the tracking number.

When you arrive at the visa centre, you should proceed to the check-in desk, where you will be given a queue number. When your number is called, you should proceed to the desk indicated. It is important that you inform the clerk immediately if you wish to have your visa posted to you and hand in the stamped, addressed envelope showing the name and tracking number. After submitting all your documents and answering any questions, your fingerprints will be taken if you are aged between 14 and 70 and have not applied for a Chinese visa within the past 5 years. You will then be given a queue number for the payment desk. Payment must be made on the same day that you submit your visa application. Payment can be made by cash or card. After payment, you will receive a receipt – a so-called pick-up form – which you should bring with you when you collect your visa if you have not chosen to have it posted to you.

You can keep track of how far your visa is in the process and when it’s ready for pick-up or posting here.

If you are unable to pick up your visa yourself, a friend or family member can do it on your behalf. Be sure to write a power of attorney letter of authorisation and also ensure that the person has a copy of the receipt to be used for pick-up. The person who picks up your visa must be able to provide photo ID.

When you receive your visa, please check that all information is correct.

You can also read more about the visa rules on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.

You are, of course, always welcome to ask us if you have any questions.

Travel documents

Before your departure, you will be sent a document containing contact information for and our local partner in China, your itinerary and a voucher for your tour, which confirms that you have booked and pre-paid your hotel accommodation, excursions and transfers. Remember to bring these with you on the tour.

If your tour involves domestic flights or journeys by train in China, it is our partner who books and issues the tickets, which your guide will give you at the destination.

We recommend that you download the WhatsApp app to your smartphone and add the phone numbers of our business partners. You can send messages and call them for free using the app when you have a Wi-Fi connection.


We recommend that you contact a medical specialist, your GP or an authorised vaccination clinic for information about vaccinations. You can also read more about the rules regarding travel vaccinations here.

Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another country where yellow fever is present. Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. Your vaccination certificate should therefore always be carried with you in your hand luggage when you travel.


There is currently no Covid-19 vaccination requirement for entry into China. These rules may, however, change at short notice. It is your responsibility to check these rules before departure.

Please note that certain Covid-19 rules may apply at the stopover airports on your way to/from China. It is also your responsibility to check these rules before departure.

You’re always very welcome to contact us if you have any questions about this.

Travel terms and conditions

Please read our general travel terms and conditions carefully, as these are part of the agreement terms for tours purchased at TourCompass. Tours purchased from us are covered under the “Package Travel Act”.

Click here to read our travel terms and conditions.

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it.
Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate click here.

Travel insurance

We always advise you to obtain comprehensive travel insurance when heading off on your dream holiday. It is also highly recommended to acquire cancellation insurance for extra protection. 

Click here to proceed to our page on insurance, where you can read more about our recommendations.

Currency, price level & tipping

The Chinese currency is called the yuan renminbi (CNY). The current exchange rate of the yuan renminbi can be found here.

Visa and MasterCard can generally only be used at hotels, so make sure you always have some cash on you. You’ll see cash machines in most cities, but not many of them accept international credit cards. Banks whose cash machines accept international credit cards are: Bank of China, China Merchant’s Bank and ICBC.

Tips are appreciated, but it is up to you whether or not to tip. You can give as much or as little as you want. The following is an indicative guide:

  • Guides: 35-70 CNY per person per day depending on the service provided
  • Drivers: 15-35 CNY per person per day depending on the service provided
  • Porters: 7-15 CNY per item of luggage
  • Maids: 15 CNY per room per day
  • Restaurants: At restaurants of an international nature, you can leave 10-35 CNY on the table when you leave if the service and food have been good. Tips are not expected at small local restaurants and street kitchens.
Food & allergies

At the vast majority of our destinations, we are able to take allergies, as well as allergens or preferences into account when it comes to food, however it is important that you inform us of this when you book the tour.

Telephones, Wi-Fi & electricity

Telephones & Wi-Fi:

It’s expensive to use data and roaming abroad if it’s not already included in your mobile subscription. Contact your mobile company to find out what services are included in your subscription and what prices apply to you when travelling abroad.

If data and roaming are not included in your mobile subscription when travelling abroad, we recommend that you use Wi-Fi when you’re at your hotel or restaurants.

Please note, however, that the internet in China is highly censored and blocks access to a number of Western media, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, HBO, and Netflix, etc. To access these media, we recommend that you download a VPN connection in the App Store or Google Play on your phone.



The voltage in China is 220V. We recommend that you bring an adapter with you, as the Chinese plugs can have 2 and pins, round and flat.

What to pack

Make sure you pack all your important and indispensable things in your hand luggage. This applies to items such as passports, visas, vaccination cards, travel documents, insurance documents, credit cards, money, computers, mobile phones and cameras, as well as information about your health and vital medicines.


Visiting temples

When visiting temples, there is a strict dress code. Your knees and shoulders must be covered, your clothes must not be see-through, and you must take off your shoes.

Bringing plant products into the UK

Visitors are not permitted to bring plants, seeds, fruit and other plant products into the UK from their travels outside the UK, unless they are accompanied by a plant health (phytosanitary) certificate. These rules also apply to small quantities of plants and plant products.

Read more about the rules here.

Travellers with impaired mobility

Please note that this tour is not generally suitable for people with impaired mobility. Please contact us for information about your options in relation to your specific needs.

Airline tickets

Most airlines have electronic tickets (e-tickets).

It is important that you check your name for spelling errors, as the name on the reservation must be exactly as it appears on your passport. If your name needs to be corrected, please contact us as soon as possible. Please note that this may incur a fee from the airline.

Seat reservation

The airline will assign you a seat on the plane at check-in. If you have specific wishes regarding where you sit on the plane, you can make a seat reservation yourself on the airline’s website or in their app. Please note that most airlines require payment for a seat reservation.

It varies when airlines open for seat reservations, but as a general rule, you can book seats from the time of booking and up to 48 hours before departure.

We also point out that the airline has complete control over all seats on the plane and that they are therefore entitled to make changes to the reservation at any time.
If you do not make a seat reservation before departure, the airline will assign you a seat at check-in.


Your passport and your booking reference, which appears on your itinerary, are required to check in.

We recommend that you download the airline’s app on your phone. In the app, there is an option for online check-in, which typically opens 24 to 48 hours before departure. The app also allows you to stay informed of any flight changes and other important information about your flight.

Please note that the flight times may have changed in relation to those listed on the travel itinerary you received when you booked your holiday. It is always the flight times in the airline’s app or on the airline’s website that apply.

At the airport

We recommend that you arrive at the airport to check in at least two hours before departure. It is a good idea to check the airport’s website for the latest updates.


We use many different airlines for our destinations. You can check the exact rules for hand luggage and checked baggage on the airline’s website or in their app.

Delayed baggage

If your baggage is delayed, please contact the staff in the baggage reclaim area to report your missing baggage.

It is important that you have your baggage receipt when completing your PIR (Property Irregularity Report).

Please note that you must not leave the baggage area at the airport until you have completed the report.

In the event of delayed baggage, we ask you to contact our partner, who will ensure that your guide/driver waits for you.

Flight delays or cancellations

Should any changes occur in connection with your flight reservation before departure, we will of course contact you to let you know.

Should your flight be delayed after check-in, the airline is responsible for rebooking your flight. They will typically book the next possible flight and arrange any meals and accommodation if necessary.

Our partner checks for any changes in arrival times and will naturally still wait for you, even if your flight is delayed.

If, due to a delay or cancellation, the airline books you on another flight number after you have arrived at the airport, please contact us on TourCompass’ emergency number.

Immigration & Customs


When you arrive at your final destination, you will go through immigration, where your passport and any entry documents and visas are checked. In many places, you will be required to provide fingerprints, and a photo of your face will also be taken for biometric recognition. You may also be asked questions about your travel plans in the country and possibly where you are staying.


Once you’ve cleared immigration and picked up your luggage, you will head through customs. If you have nothing to declare, you can go through “nothing to declare”. If, on the other hand, you have something to declare, it is important that you go through “declare”. It’s your own responsibility to check the customs regulations that apply in the country you are travelling to.


On your arrival, you will be met by a guide/driver who will be ready to welcome you with a TourCompass sign.

In the unexpected event that you cannot find your guide/driver, please contact our partner on the emergency number which appears on the travel documents.

Hotel check-in and check-out

Normal check-in is typically from 2 pm, and, therefore, you cannot count on getting your room earlier. If you’d like to check in early, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

When you check in, the receptionist will generally register your credit card and may reserve an amount. This is not an additional fee, but customary at hotels to ensure payment of any consumption from the minibar and the like. When you check out, the amount will be automatically released if you have not made use of this.

It is very normal for hotels to take a copy of your passport. In some places, this is a requirement of the local authorities.

Check-out is normally by 10 am. If you’re not travelling until the afternoon or evening, you can have your luggage stored until it’s time to leave. If you would like a late check-out instead, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

Type of tour and transport

Our tours to China are individual tours, however excursions and transfers take place in international groups of 1–14 people and with TourCompass’ own guests only.

In the event of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, blocked roads or otherwise, it may be necessary to change the order of sightseeing tours and attractions in your itinerary.

Public toilets

The toilet facilities in China can be an experience in themselves. Hotels and international-style restaurants have Western-style toilet facilities, but you should be prepared for traditional Chinese toilets in most public toilets (also on trains), which can best be described as “squat toilets”. In some places, there are closed toilet cubicles, while elsewhere you may find that there is no door! Please note that toilet paper and soap are not always available in public toilets, so we recommend that you bring your own toilet paper or a pack of wet wipes and hand sanitizer.

Need for help during the tour?

We have a 24-hour emergency hotline so that you can always get in touch with us should anything unforeseen occur during your tour. You will also be sent the telephone numbers and emergency telephone numbers of our partners at the destination. In some cases, it may be easiest and fastest to contact our partners due to time differences, if, for example, you find yourself in a situation where your pick-up for an excursion or transfer is more than 15 minutes delayed.


We rely on happy travellers, and we would therefore very much like to hear from you after your return home. Send us an email at or call us on tel.: 01279 704 135.

Laura Arundell Trelborg

Laura loves to travel and is extremely passionate about helping others achieve their travel dreams.

Opening hours
Monday-Thursday 9-15
Friday 9-13