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.
1 day • CNY 440
Passing through Beijing? Don’t miss your chance to experience the best that China’s bustling capital city has to offer. As your time is limited, we won’t waste it. Your short trip will be all about good food, great service and Beijing’s best attractions. Whether your stopover is 12 hours or 72, we have countless Beijing-based activities to suit your schedule. Stroll around...
1 day • CNY 390
Cuandixia is a preserved Ming style village located a couple of hours outside Beijing, and is the perfect getaway from city life. Nestled in the hills, the people of Cuandixia live simply, much as they did hundreds of years ago. Hike to the village viewpoint for some stunning views and visit an ancient Ming-era temple. We also offer an overnight stay package that gives you a chance to...
1 day • CNY 2,930
Fly from Shanghai to Beijing for a day of exploration in China’s lively capital. If you are on a tight schedule then this is the tour for you. Start at Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world, before moving on to the Forbidden City, home to dozens of Emperors over hundreds of years. Learn about the fascinating story of the Great Wall while you are standing right on...
Shanghai → Beijing → Shanghai
This private one day tour takes you from your hotel in Shanghai and shows you Hangzhou's major sights and then back to your Shanghai hotel all in one day. Famed for its natural scenery, Hangzhou and its West Lake have been subject matter for countless poets and artists. Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 until 1276 when the Mongol invasion occured. The...
Shanghai → Hangzhou → Shanghai
Pamper yourself with this Great Wall and hot spring tour. Not far from Beijing, Mutianyu is one of the most easily accessible sections of the Wall that is not overrun with tourists. Spend a morning marveling at the vistas of the Wall followed by an authentic Chinese meal, complete with the local specialty – freshly caught fish. The elegant Chunhuiyuan Hot Spring Resort offers an all-out...
1 day • CNY 540
Everyone comes to Shanghai to see China's modern metropolis. Yet, across from the impressive skyline is a city packed with some of China's most fascinating history. In this tour, you will experience Shanghai's as a city divided by Western powers, a safe haven for refugees and a hotbed for revolutionary writers. Spend the day wandering the city's small lanes, marvel at the...
This 2-day tour of Zhangjiajie takes in all the highlights, including the Ten Mile Gallery, Tianzi Mountain, and Golden Whip Stream. The route is relatively easy since the uphill routes are replaced with the Bailong Elevator and epic Tianzi Mountain Cable Car. The walking paths of Yuanjiajie and Golden Whip Stream are wide and flat. For more serious hikers, we suggest staying an extra day to...
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...
A day of high altitude sport, start the day by playing 18 holes of golf on the highest golf course in the world. The air is so thin you can drive the ball further than normal, which is good because there is a par 5 hole over 800 yards long. After your round of golf you can get lunch in the golf club. We don't include it in the price, you can order and pay for your drinks and meal...
For history buffs, Qufu makes for an excellent day trip from Beijing. The bullet train takes about two hours leaving you most of the day to explore the three major city sites: the Confucius Temple, Confucius Mansion, and Confucius Forest.
Beijing → Qufu → Beijing