China Travel Guide

In China, the skylines offer dazzling shows of lights and modern architecture, while the countryside is peaceful and at times, even surreal. It’s a country of contrasts, where old traditions mix and mingle alongside packed cities that open into lush, vast landscapes before meeting with xenocentric buildings. And the result is simply astounding.

The Highlights

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    May to September

    China essentially has several peak seasons, especially during the summer from June through September when the kids are out of school and during major holidays like Labour Day, National Day or the Spring Festival when everyone’s off work and out celebrating. Prices are steep, crowds are thick and it’s rather difficult to secure tickets and accommodations unless you’re booking very early. In the summertime, temperatures also soar so it can get quite uncomfortable. If you don’t mind the high rates and the throngs of people, going during the vibrant Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) might just offer such elevating experiences.

  2. Low Season

    October to April

    If you’re looking for bargains and thinner crowds, China’s less busy seasons are ideal. However, they’re not necessarily the best time to visit for all of China. The country is massive and the weather can vary depending on the region. Xinjiang, Heilongjiang and the other northern parts might not be ideal to visit from April through early June; however, the rest of China is. Just know that it is the rainy season and flight cancellations are expected. For a destination-flexible season, come in the fall from September to October when the weather has cooled, there are fewer tourists and the landscape colours are quite enchanting to behold.

China Tours

FAQs about China

  • Do you tip in China?

    While tipping isn't part of the culture in China, tour guides are the exception to the rule, as are very high-end establishments used by foreigners. It's recommended to tip around 80 RMB per day per guide and half that to the driver. Porters may also expect a small tip.
  • What is the internet access like?

    Internet access is widely available and free in many cafes, as is 4G and Wi-Fi. However, the Internet is censored in China so not everything will available, particularly social networks like Facebook.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    No. Buy bottled water, boil the tap water or use water purification pills. Most restaurants will serve tea for free.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    No, credit cards are not widely accepted in China. Outside of chain or high-end hotels and restaurants, cash is still king.
  • What are the public holidays?

    China has five major holidays: Chinese New Year (Jan/Feb), Qingming Festival (early April), Labor Day (May 1), Dragon Boat Festival (5th day of the 5th lunar month), mid-Autumn Day (15th day of the 8th lunar month), and National Day (Oct 1).
  • What are the toilets like?

    While Western toilets are available in most tourist places, hotels and airports, squat toilets outnumber them considerably. Public restrooms don't stock it, and can't handle toilet paper so bring your own and throw it in the rubbish bin.
  • Is pollution that bad in China?

    In the big cities, air pollution is bad. However, the country is cracking down on the problem and the air quality in these areas is improving but wear a face mask or avoid going outdoors for long periods of time on particularly smoggy days. 
  • What are things you must not do in China?

    Don’t stick your chopsticks in your food so they’re upright and don’t tap into your bowls with them. Don’t wear revealing outfits. And don’t be offended by their lack of personal space and blunt comments.