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Thread

I need advice to go to China

From: United States Ohio Elyria @poetry26 Time : 2016-07-27 12:04:35

This will be my first trip to China from America.



1. How far in advance should I plan my trip?



2. Coming from the US, what is the best travel agency to use?  How long should I make my trip for?



3. Will I have to make a purchase for the trip first before obtaining a US passport and a Tourist Visa?



4. My lady friend lives in the southwest province of Yunnan, in the city of Xishuangbanna.  Is there a direct flight that goes to that city from the US?  I thought that Xishuangbanna has only a small airport, but my friend says that it has an international airport.



5. Does China accept US currency or do I have to make some sort of currency exchange once I arrive?  I also have a debit card from mastercard.



6. Her English is only little to fair.  She is concerned that I may get lost in the airport if I have to change planes in China, because my Mandarin is not so good. 



I am open to hearing other advice and comments that I'm sure I am leaving out.  Please feel free to fill me in on what more I should know to make my first trip to China a successful one. 



Thank you very much!



poetry26



 


Comments to Thread
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From: China 辽宁(liao ning) 沈阳(shen yang ) @AchrisT Time : 2016-07-28 16:48:30 #1


Hi and you will enjoy the trip I am sure. These are great questions and I will answer them from my experience of coming here to China, from Boston.

1. How far in advance should I plan my trip? Chose to come I set my plans for thirty days, but after getting the multi-entrance visa the Chinese government gave me a 6 month stay with the multi-entrance. So I ended up staying for 4 months. Once I returned back to Boston, I got my work visa and headed back.

2. Coming from the US, what is the best travel agency to use?  How long should I make my trip for? I could tell you who to use in Boston, but I think the easiest thing was for me was talked to some American Chinese and see who they recommend. I just headed to Chinatown in south Boston. talked to some of the business owners that spoke English. Chinese Travel agency did all the work for my Visa and never charged a thing for their service. You can send them a message and see if they can recommend someone. (fetitravel.com) If you go to their site it does a great job explaining what you need

3. Will I have to make a purchase for the trip first before obtaining a US passport and a Tourist Visa? You are going to need a letter of invitation so you can get your visa. So I wouldn't set up any permit plans before getting everything set.

4. My lady friend lives in the southwest province of Yunnan, in the city of Xishuangbanna.  Is there a direct flight that goes to that city from the US?  I thought that Xishuangbanna has only a small airport, but my friend says that it has an international airport. Well you will need to go through one of the main hubs first. I am not sure if it is one or not. Once you get into China at the main hub, you will need to collect your baggage and go through Customs. re-check your baggage and head for security. People have a problem with this end up leaving the checked baggage at the hub. They think because it is checked for the final destination that they don't have to check it through customs.

5. Does China accept US currency or do I have to make some sort of currency exchange once I arrive?  I also have a debit card from MasterCard. I would use your debit card with a MasterCard or Visa Logo. Bank of China accepts it and will exchange it for you. The exchange rate is 6.68 RMB to one, When I use my Debit card I usually get 6.6 when the exchange is 6.68. The fee is charged from my bank back Stateside. If you exchange in the airport the Exchange center is going to rake you over the coals. In the international airport hub will have a bunch of shops and ATMs there in the airport, not sure if there is a fee. I have always waited till I got where I was going.

6. Her English is only little to fair.  She is concerned that I may get lost in the airport if I have to change planes in China, because my Mandarin is not so good. It is like any other airport; the signs are in Chinese as well as English. There are always someone around that speaks English in the big airports. The small ones I am not sure, but I would bet there is someone you can reach out to help you. Get your ladies WeChat address also. You can connect her if there is a problem. Overall I have lived in China now since 2014/04, I still don't speak Chinese, so I always have found the Chinese more willing to assist and get around any difficult situation.

Have a good time.


From: China 辽宁(liao ning) 沈阳(shen yang ) @AchrisT Time : 2016-07-28 22:30:21 #2

Oh Poetry, I forgot to tell you do need to apply and  get your US Passport, that can take a little time to obtain at this time of year I believe it is listed at least 16 weeks. Unless you want to pay to speed it up. you will need it to send it with the legal letters from her and your application to the Chinese Embassy that handles the area of your residence.

Anonymous25075
@Anonymous25075 Time : 2016-07-29 01:48:16 #3

congrats on planning your first trip to see your chinese gf in China.

-Do you already have an american passport? If so you need to obtain a Visitors Visa from the nearest Chinese Consulate to you or use a reputable travel agency that usually can do the Visa stuff for you for a small fee.

-most people in Chinese airports can speak english. Almost all signs are bilingual(chinese/english) but I see her point as most of the main chinese airports are huge by western standards

-China does not use US money but it is easy to change there as well you can directly withdraw Chinese money from most ATM machines, your bank will charge for this but is easy to do.

-US Visitor Visas are for a length of time no more than 2 months, if you get multiple entries you only need to apply for the visa once, I think the length of the Visa can last up to 10 years..check on this as I am not totally sure.

-Any reputable travel angency can handle your vacation plans..

-plan at least 3 months in advance to have time for Visa processing, getting good pricing on flights, times, transfers etc

-my advice to you is to let her handle hotel bookings as she is much more in tiune with what is good, fair price etc...

-most of the time you need an invite letter from her with her info, id's etc I have never had to present it when I obtained my visitors visa but just in case you do need it, it is best to have it.

-I do not know about your flights from Ohio to Yunnan Province

 

Good luck and I wish you success on your trip

-

 

 

From: Netherlands @Macchap Time : 2016-07-29 04:43:54 #4

Perhaps a little harsh but after I had read your questions I wondered what you have done yourself to finding answers to your questions or do you expect them to be handed to you on a plate? The Internet is a great resource to finding answers to your questions. Please do your homework first and if after that you still have questions you can come back and ask them here. Good luck with your search.

From: United States Florida Pensacola @dbear2015 Time : 2016-07-29 09:05:58 #5

@poetry26. I have just been thru the process of receiving my 10 year visa. First obtain your passport, Second You will need a letter of invitation from Yunnan. The chinese consulate has an info page of what the letter needs to contain. Third make your flight reservations you need to include your flight details with your application. Forth fill out the 4 page application available on the chinese consulate website, it must be complete. check with the chinese embassy to see which consulate serves your state. if you are going to go to the consulate yourself that is fine you can get it done in one day. however if this is not possable you will need to contact a visa service to handle it for you. I use "Travel Visa Pro" you will send your documents, application, and passport to them it will usually take 3 to 5 days and they will return your passport to you with the visa installed. China is a cash society so you must exchange your US Dollars for Yuan RMB. I would only exchange about 100 dollars in the US they will charge you a full percent. example (LAX exchange rate 5.4, china bank rate 6.57) You will most likely arrive at Beijing Capital Airport or Shanghai Pudong Airport, the Bank of China will exchange money at bank rates at the airport. Navigating the airport was not hard, I figure if I can do it anyone can haha. the signs are well posted and most airport staff speak english. Hope this helps, have a great trip, wish you both all the best.

From: United States Ohio Elyria @poetry26 Time : 2016-07-29 20:41:58 #6

@AchrisT.  I appreciate the info and advice you have given me.  Thank you kindly, sir!

From: United States Ohio Elyria @poetry26 Time : 2016-07-29 20:47:07 #7

@Anonymous25075.  Thank you for your input!  I appreciate it.

From: United States Ohio Elyria @poetry26 Time : 2016-07-29 20:49:37 #8

@dbear2015.  Thank you for taking the time to answer a few of my questions.

From: United States Ohio Elyria @poetry26 Time : 2016-07-29 21:01:09 #9

@Macchap.  I had done some searching of my own, as you have explicitly stated.  Asking members of CLM was my last resort.  I figure it doesn't hurt to ask someone's expert advice.  A person who has been there and done that.  Sorry, you wasted your time.  Thank you just the same.

Anonymous25099
@Anonymous25099 Time : 2016-07-31 02:04:37 #10

Macchap- chill out man, this is not Yahoo chat. This man is here looking for help in regards to his trip to see his sweetie in China and you give him flak? Good thing all the Chinese women here do not say that to their sisters when they ask the similar questions of the women folk and men folk here...

I guess you did not realize by his questions he had done some research already.....

 

(sun)

From: United Kingdom @good88person Time : 2016-08-01 01:09:59 #11

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From: China 山东(shan dong) 济宁(ji ning ) @paulfox1 Time : 2016-08-02 22:29:22 #12

How far in advance should I plan my trip? How long is a piece of string?

 

2. Coming from the US, what is the best travel agency to use?  How long should I make my trip for? Never use agencies. Book direct online. As long as you want. Visa's last for 30 days.


 

3. Will I have to make a purchase for the trip first before obtaining a US passport and a Tourist Visa? No, but it's a good idea to get a passport FIRST !


 

4. My lady friend lives in the southwest province of Yunnan, in the city of Xishuangbanna.  Is there a direct flight that goes to that city from the US?  I thought that Xishuangbanna has only a small airport, but my friend says that it has an international airport.

Google it !


 

5. Does China accept US currency or do I have to make some sort of currency exchange once I arrive?  I also have a debit card from mastercard. Debit cards are good. Chinese RMB (Yuan) is not tradeable. US dollars are OK - change them in the bank.


 

6. Her English is only little to fair.  She is concerned that I may get lost in the airport if I have to change planes in China, because my Mandarin is not so good. 

 

Signs are in English as well as Chinese. Info desks often have English speakers. Not difficult !

From: United States Ohio Elyria @poetry26 Time : 2016-08-15 07:20:16 #13

@good88person.  Thanks for your helpful advice.

From: United States Ohio Elyria @poetry26 Time : 2016-08-15 07:21:46 #14

@paulfox1.  Thank you very much.

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