Despite China being one of the world’s largest countries, we have effectively only traveled to 1 of its 22 provinces, so our blog articles will mostly focus on Yunnan, although we will include some general information about the entire country.
Yunnan is a gorgeous and very diverse southern province in China. The area is home to valleys, gorges, mountains, beautiful rice terraces, surreal landscape and so much more. Almost half of China’s ethnic minorities call Yunnan their home, making the colourful region famous for its different languages and dialects, culture, food and customs. Since Yunnan borders Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, similarities between Yunnan ethnic groups and Southeast Asians are often evident.
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Some facts about China
- The country’s official name is the People’s Republic of China.
- China is home to the world’s largest population.
- Every year is represented by one of 12 animals.
- The mortar in the Great Wall of China was made with sticky rice.
- The widest-spoken first language in the world is Mandarin.
- China has only one time zone.
- White is the colour of mourning in Chinese culture.
- Celebrations for the Chinese New Year, the most important celebration in China, last 15 days.
Best time to travel to China
It is difficult to establish the best time to travel to one of the largest countries in the world, due to its huge diversity of temperatures and sites. Chinese new year might not be the best time for traveling around the country due to closure of tourist attractions and limited public transport availability because of ongoing celebrations.
July & August are peak travel months. April & May and September & October are great months to visit most of the country, however do check for specific weather conditions in the regions you are planning to visit.
Time in China
Language in China
The official language of China is Mandarin with English also being a recognized language. Other Chinese dialects are widely spoken. Autonomous regions have their own additional official languages.
The visa situation in China
Visa requirements and conditions are subject to frequent changes. Always check the latest requirements with your Chinese embassy or consulate to determine which type of visa (if any at all) is the most suitable
Visa-free stopover: 144-hours or 72-hours visa free stopover in granted to nationals of several countries if they fulfil a number of set conditions.
Visa-free entry: granted to nationals of some countries.
Tourist Visa: should be obtained prior to arrival and is normally valid for 30 days, extensions are sometimes possible.
A Tibet Travel Permit is required to enter Tibet
Traveling in China
Buses and trains are very often used as mode of transport in China although flights are used to cover longer distances.
English and other western languages are rare in mainland China and most signs are written in Chinese, so it is best to have your destination written on a piece of paper in Mandarin which you can show to local people who might direct you to the right terminal.
Although we don’t speak a word of Mandarin, we managed pretty well with buses and trains when traveling around Yunnan.
Food in China
‘Chinese Food” is rather popular in the western world, and travelers might be relieved to find out that the food in China is a far cry from that served at western Chinese restaurants. Indeed we though that the food that we ate in Yunnan was some of the best we’ve had on our travels! Fried rice and fried noodles are ubiquitous, but every region, almost every village actually, has its own specialties which makes the cuisine incredibly diverse.
Western-style clothing is common in China but it is best to err on the conservative side. Be sure to pack lots of warm clothing and at least one thick jacket if you plan in visiting in winter!
The power sockets in China are of type A, C and I. A universal adaptor will allow you to use the socket to charge your electronic devices when abroad.
Don’t forget to pack:
Read our packing list of essential items!<coming soon>