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August 28, 2014 | Dhul-Qa`dah 3, 1435
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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IslamiCity > Travel > Program to China UMRA Program
 TRAVEL GUIDE FOR CHINA

 

 

Passports / Visas
A valid passport is required to travel abroad. A visa for China is required of all travelers except holders of a Chinese passport. Processing of visa applications can take weeks, so plan accordingly.Click here to see a list of Chinese embassies.

Climate
The weather in much of China during August is quite warm. Late evenings may be a bit cooler. The specific climate in the cities that we will be visited is as follows:

AUGUST
City Ave. High Temp Ave. Low Temp
Beijing 86F (30C)

69F (20C)

Xian 88F (31C) 70F (21C)
Hohhot 79F (26C) 57F (14C)
Shanghai 90F (32C) 75F (24C)

Travelers should pack light cotton clothes that conform to Islamic requirements, along with a light jacket for cool evenings.

Time
China is 8 hours + GMT. Click here for more information about time zones.

Money / Currency
Chinese currency is called Renminbi (people's money), often abbreviated as RMB. Issued by the People's Bank of China, it is the sole legal tender for both Chinese nationals and foreign tourists. The symbol of RMB is .

The unit of Renminbi is yuan and the smaller, jiao and fen. The conversion among the three is: 1 yuan = 10 jiao =100 fen.

RMB is issued both in notes and coins. The denominations of paper notes include 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen. The denominations of coins are 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen.

Note: in spoken Chinese, yuan is often called as kuai and the jiao as mao.

It is best to convert some currency at the airport in Beijing upon arrival, up to 1/3 or 1/2 of the total you intend to use. Banks are also good places to convert currency, and their rates vary slightly. Avoid converting currency at a hotel, where rates are not competitive.

The Bank of China can cash travelers' cheques sold by international commercial banks and companies in the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany and other countries and regions. Also the Bank of China sells travelers' cheques for sAmerican Express, Citibank, Tongjilong Travelers' Cheque Co., the Sumitomo Bank of Japan, the Swiss Banking Corporation and others.

Keep your currency exchange receipts, because you will need to show them when you change RMB back to your own currency at the end of your visit to the Republic. Currency rather than credit cards is essential in remote areas and you should ensure that you carry sufficient RMB and travelers' cheques to cover your requirements.

At present, the following credit cards are accepted in China: Master Card, Federal Card, Visa, American Express, JCB and Diners Card. Holders can draw cash from the Bank of China and pay for purchases at exchange centers of the Bank of China, appointed shops, hotels and restaurants. However, this applies only in major cities and they are not always accepted in remote areas.

ATMs that accept foreign cards are few and far between. Do not rely on them as a way of obtaining cash in mainland China.

Regulations:
There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency and foreign exchange bills that can be brought into China by tourists, but it must be declared to the customs. RMB should be converted back into foreign currency with the personal valid "foreign exchange certificate" before leaving China. Unused foreign exchange and RMB traveler's cheques are permitted to be taken out. Each tourist may take up to 6000 RMB out.

Phone / E-mail
You may purchase an international phone card in the United States or other home country before departing on the trip. You can also purchase phone cards in China. These cards may be used to phone family and friends. Avoid making phone calls from your hotel room, as surcharges are exorbitant.

To dial to China from another country, first dial the international long distance code (011), then the country code (86), followed by the telephone number. The city code for Beijing is 10 and for Xian is 29. To make an international call from China, obtain an international line, then dial the country code, the area code, and the telephone number.

Beijing and other cities have numerous cybercafes. Charges are quite reasonable. Connections tend to be stable but slow, however. Prior to embarking on the trip, participants should establish a web-based e-mail account (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.) to facilitate easy communication with family and friends.

 What to Pack (recommended checklist)
CLOTHING comfortable shoes for walking/hiking
slippers for shower/bathroom
socks, underwear, belts
loose-fitting cotton shirts / blouses
loose-fitting pants / long skirts
light sweater / sweatshirt
hats, caps / hijab
nice outfit for local dinner program
 
TOILETRIES & MEDICINE prescription medication & prescriptions
toothbrush & toothpaste
soap and shampoo
comb, brush
sunscreen, moisturizers, lotion
deodorant, Q-tips, cotton
hygiene products
razors, shaving cream
contact lenses & solution, eyeglasses
hand towel, bath towel
 
DOCUMENTS passport and visa
airline tickets
an emergency contact card
money belt or neck wallet
cash, traveler's checks, credit cards,
insurance information
international phone card
 
MISCELLANEOUS camera, film rolls & or cassettes
sun glasses, suncreen lotion, lip balm
travel journal
day pack, backpack, small tote
battery-operated alarm clock
moist towelettes
batteries
electrical adapters & voltage converters

Health Insurance / Medical Facilities
China is a remarkably healthy country despite its climatic variations. However, with such a vast territory, standards of hygiene can and do vary from place to place. Contact your doctor for health advice or a thorough check up if you have not had one for quite a while. Check your health insurance policy. If it does not provide for overseas visits, consider requesting your insurer to extend the policy. It is also advisable to take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of accidental injury as well as cover for medical expenses. Take along the copy of your medical record.

For those who take special medicine on a regular basis, make sure that you carry an adequate supply of the prescription medicines you use regularly to last throughout your trip. Carry them in the original containers to identify them as legally obtained drugs and pack them in your carry-on bag.

Safety Tips
China is far safer than many Western countries. Violent crime is very rare in China, but it is always a good idea to be alert and cautious anywhere. Beware of pick-pockets.

 

 
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