Everyone traveling more for more than 3 days or outside of Beijing and Shanghai must have a visa, even if you are arriving for just a day. Normally a tourist visa is for a 30 day stay but you may be able to get up to 90 days if you ask. You can also get double entry visas easily for a little more money while a multiple entry visa may be more difficult. You can normally get your visa extended while in China so if you think you don’t have enough time don’t worry too much.
Unless you are traveling as part of a group, you will normally need to arrange your own visa. It may be that your travel agent can help you for a fee. Search on the internet for the Chinese embassy or consulate in you country nearest to you. Some countries such as the USA also have visa agents but this adds substantially to the cost. If you can go straight to the embassy/consulate it will be cheapest.
Apply for your tourist visa 30 to 60 days before departure. If you apply too far in advance the visa will expire as it has an “enter by” date. Details and application forms can be found on the web site of the Chinese embassy for your country. Visas are normally processed in 3-4 working days but you can pay extra to rush it. If you go to the visa office you may be able to get a visa on the same day for a fee.
You normally need one photograph, a filled in form for each person and a bank check or credit card. Fedex or other courier can handle the transfer and return.
Application fees vary from country to country, as it's a tit-for-tat on the costs. If your country charges Chinese citizens a lot in visa application fees, then they charge you a lot back. Thus a Chinese visa for an Australian passport holder is less than half the cost of an American.
Visas are generally easy to obtain in Hong Kong and other Asian capitals in 1 to 3 days, so if you are traveling this is an option. Make sure to show up at the right time to apply (usually before lunch), with cash and be ready to wait in line (bring a newspaper or book!).
Beijing and Shanghai 72-hour visaFrom January 1st, 2013 citizens of the following countries will be granted 72-hour visa-free entry to the cities Beijing and Shanghai:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia,the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar
If you are in possession of a valid third country visa and confirmed onward plane ticket, you may apply for a transit without visa permit (TWOV) at Beijing Capital International airport (PEK), Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA).
This will allow you to enter China without a visa for up to 72 hours. Your 72 hours will begin to be counted from the moment you receive your TWOV permit at the Exit and Entry Administration desk at each of the above mentioned airports.
This 72-hour permit will allow you to remain in the city you entered through only (for example, if you fly into Shanghai Pudong or Shanghai Hongqiao International Aiport, you are not allowed to leave the city of Shanghai).
For more details, please check with your local Chinese Consulate or Embassy.
This tour is designed for those who want to see China in depth, without rushing from place to place. Highlights include being a zoo keeper in Chengdu and feeding giant pandas, an epic walk on the great wall, drinks high atop Shanghai's Grand Hyatt, a ride on the fastest train in the world, several shows and hands on classes. We make sure each day is special.
Beijing → Luoyang → Xi'an → Chengdu → Shanghai → Water Towns → Suzhou → Shanghai
We pick you up from the Canton (Guangzhou) cruise ship port and return you back there after a day tour of the city. As you are on a tight schedule, we do not waste time in commission shopping markets. Instead, we fill your day with great sights and delicious meals. The price gets less expensive the more people in your group, so if you can recruit others to join your tour everyone will save...
Departing and returning Guilin in the same day, you will drive to Ping'an village. On arrival you have a break for lunch with free time to explore the village. You may then hike around the area before returning to Guilin. If you prefer to stay overnight then check our two day Ping'an tour which lets you explore the area at a more leisurely pace.
Guilin → Longsheng Rice Terraces → Guilin
1 day • CNY 360
This tour will give you a look into early 20th century Shanghai. First, you will stroll along historic Duolun Road, home to many of the most famous Chinese writers and revolutionaries of the 1920s and '30s. Next, you will visit the sights of Shanghai's American concession, home to many Jewish refugees during WWII. Spend the afternoon exploring Shanghai's elegant French Concession,...
Travel up and down Emei Shan mountain in one day, departing and returning to your hotel outside the park. While this makes for a long day, it is what most people do. You depart from the bus station in the village and drive over an hour to the end of the bus line, where you then walk to the cable car station, about 1 hour to cover the 2 miles. The path is generally crowded which will limit...
This tour starts and ends at your hotel in Chengdu. You drive two hours to Leshan and start by taking a boat on the river to view the Giant Buddha from this perspective. After returning to shore you can either have lunch or visit the Buddha mimed immediately. While visiting the buddha on foot you start from the top and work you way down past the head and shoulder and down to its feet. ...
1 day • CNY 890
Our one day Chongqing tour includes the municipality's most famous sights. Our guide and driver will pick you up in the morning and take you to the new Three Gorges Museum. For lunch, you will enjoy an excellent Chongqing hot pot meal. The afternoon will be spent visiting the Dazu Grottoes, one of China's four ancient Buddhist cave art sites. As with all our tours, the itinerary is...
On this epic journey you spend a night in a permanent tent camp at Mount Everest Base Camp. Imagine the climbers who have slept in the same location staging their journey to the top of the world's highest peak, rising before dawn to begin their climb. Along the way you have time on the road to see other sights outside Lhasa. Samye Monastery and Shigatse are two of the points you will...
Beijing → Tibet / Lhasa → Tsedang → Gyantse → Shigatse → Mount Everest Base Camp → Shigatse → Tibet / Lhasa
See Datong's famous sights including the Yungang Grottoes and the Hanging Temple in a two day tour beginning and ending in Beijing. With an early morning flight over and an early evening flight back you will have two full days to take in all the sights.
Beijing → Datong → Beijing
Travel from Beijing to Luoyang and back in first class on the new high speed train line, surpassing 300 kph. Much more fun, spacious and reliable than flying. On arrival we take you straight to check into your theme suite at Christian's hotel. We can discuss the options for your itinerary, hotel and meals. Have a look at some of the hotel room photos by clicking on the hotel name.
Beijing → Luoyang → Beijing