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Seeking advice: Brit visiting China

Seeking advice: Brit visiting China

Old Jun 5, 18, 3:19 pm
  #1  
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Seeking advice: Brit visiting China

Hi everyone,
This is my first post here so if I've broken any guidelines sorry - point them out and I'll hopefully be able to correct them.

I'm thinking about heading over to China (Guangzhou) for a visit (first of hopefully a few since it's such a big country to explore).
Any advice/experiences/lessons learned for me?
I'm aware I need to apply for a visa and have heard something about finding a hotel being a bit more awkward as a foreigner. These are the two areas I'm keen to make sure I don't have mistakes with.

Thanks
E

Last edited by stut; Jun 7, 18 at 8:17 am
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Old Jun 5, 18, 4:34 pm
  #2  
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Moderator notified to move your question to the China forum ... that's what you're asking about, not UK and Ireland.
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Old Jun 6, 18, 2:12 am
  #3  

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[QUOTE=edot8;29832900]Hi everyone,
This is my first post here so if I've broken any guidelines sorry - point them out and I'll hopefully be able to correct them.

I'm thinking about heading over to China (Guangzhou) for a visit (first of hopefully a few since it's such a big country to explore).
Any advice/experiences/lessons learned for me?
I'm aware I need to apply for a visa and have heard something about finding a hotel being a bit more awkward as a foreigner. These are the two areas I'm keen to make sure I don't have mistakes with.

Thanks
E[/QUOTE

A friend got her visa last year. I think they've changed it mow all you can get is a multi-year entry visa and it's quite expensive.
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Old Jun 6, 18, 6:36 am
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As already mentioned, this is best dealt with in the China forum and I think your post will move there soon.

However, first question: why Guanzhou for a first visit to China? If not visiting friends or family, I would heartily recommend somewhere else...e.g. Beijing (for the classic 'big' tourist sites) or Shanghai (if into megacity vibe). Hotels are very easy to book..use any online travel site...and you will need to book your flight and hotel in advance of applying for a tourist visa...

Good luck!

tb
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Old Jun 6, 18, 4:43 pm
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Originally Posted by trueblu View Post
As already mentioned, this is best dealt with in the China forum and I think your post will move there soon.

However, first question: why Guanzhou for a first visit to China? If not visiting friends or family, I would heartily recommend somewhere else...e.g. Beijing (for the classic 'big' tourist sites) or Shanghai (if into megacity vibe). Hotels are very easy to book..use any online travel site...and you will need to book your flight and hotel in advance of applying for a tourist visa...

Good luck!

tb
I'm not sure how to move the post to another thread or even how to delete it. It's probably looking at right at me but I can't seem to find it. Didn't want to open another thread if I was able to move/delete this one.

GZ first because I have some personal matters to handle there first and my family wants to go to BJ SH GZ SZ next year so I'd be tagging along for that tourism trip then.
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Old Jun 7, 18, 7:12 am
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Originally Posted by edot8 View Post
I'm not sure how to move the post to another thread or even how to delete it. It's probably looking at right at me but I can't seem to find it. Didn't want to open another thread if I was able to move/delete this one.

GZ first because I have some personal matters to handle there first and my family wants to go to BJ SH GZ SZ next year so I'd be tagging along for that tourism trip then.
Don't worry, the moderators will move it in due course...As mentioned, hotel booking is straight forward and the visa process is relatively easy, assuming you are British or have indefinite leave to remain or a long-term visa (it's tricky to get visas in third countries), and you weren't previously a Chinese citizen...

tb
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Old Jun 7, 18, 8:17 am
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Apologies, a glitch in the matrix meant the move I did on the app the other night didnt go through. Moving to China (the thread, not me) now.

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Old Jun 7, 18, 8:57 am
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-- Given you are British and are planning a trip to China this year and next, be sure to get your visa beforehand in the UK, where you'll normally get a two-year multiple-entry visa permitting a stay of up to 90 days per entry. If you apply in Hong Kong, say, you'll probably get just a single-entry visa with a 30-day stay.

-- If you roam the streets looking for a hotel in Guangzhou, you probably will encounter "no-foreigner" places. For this reason, and because roaming the streets with your luggage is no fun, you should book ahead, either on websites of major chains or on sites like Agoda, booking.com and ctrip (English). These sites generally note if a place doesn't accept foreigners, but aren't absolutely reliable. Best approach is to check the reviews, looking for recent ones in English. Or contact the hotel directly and confirm your stay will not be a problem.

-- Guangzhou is an interesting enough place for a visit, but if you're travelling in summer note it can be awfully hot and muggy then, making exploring the city not too comfortable.

-- Airfares Europe to Hong Kong are usually cheaper than to Mainland China, so you might find it cheaper to travel through HK. It's an easy train ride from Hong Kong to Guangzhou.
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Old Jun 8, 18, 6:51 am
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
...
-- Airfares Europe to Hong Kong are usually cheaper than to Mainland China, so you might find it cheaper to travel through HK. It's an easy train ride from Hong Kong to Guangzhou.
Not necessarily, Cathay Pacific had a recent sale which made tickets much cheaper to CAN while transiting in HKG as opposed to ending in HKG; so best to shop around.

If you're convinced about Guangzhou then you should also book your hotel. Visa application may require reservations. Guangzhou is much too big a city to just wander around with your luggage to find a hotel, 14 million people live there. Beware of the summer temps, humidity is off the charts. Expect temps in the 30-40C range.

If you're considering southern China, why not just do Hong Kong? It's an extremely travel friendly city with a lot of western influence. Very easy to immerse in Chinese/HK culture. If you want Chinese mega-city, Shanghai, Beijing. Something a little off the beaten path would be Hangzhou or Nanjing, both close the Shanghai.
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Old Jun 8, 18, 10:44 am
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“Not necessarily."
Didn't I say "usually" and "might" right there in my post?

In any event, Cathay is notorious for expensive fares in and out of Hong Kong. The key isn't what "discounts" Cathay is offering if you fly to Guangzhou instead, but how those "discounted" fares to Guangzhou stack up against fares on other airlines to Hong Kong. I highly suspect, almost to a certainty, that even with Cathay's "discounts" you're still far better off flying another airline in and out of Hong Kong.
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Old Jun 8, 18, 11:34 am
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Originally Posted by synthkeys View Post
Not necessarily, Cathay Pacific had a recent sale which made tickets much cheaper to CAN while transiting in HKG as opposed to ending in HKG; so best to shop around
+1
Found this out when I booked JNB-HKG. So I ended up going JNB-xHKG-CAN (the last leg was on KA I recall). I saved a few hundred bucks in J.
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Old Jun 8, 18, 12:50 pm
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Originally Posted by synthkeys View Post
Not necessarily, Cathay Pacific had a recent sale which made tickets much cheaper to CAN while transiting in HKG as opposed to ending in HKG; so best to shop around.

If you're convinced about Guangzhou then you should also book your hotel. Visa application may require reservations. Guangzhou is much too big a city to just wander around with your luggage to find a hotel, 14 million people live there. Beware of the summer temps, humidity is off the charts. Expect temps in the 30-40C range.

If you're considering southern China, why not just do Hong Kong? It's an extremely travel friendly city with a lot of western influence. Very easy to immerse in Chinese/HK culture. If you want Chinese mega-city, Shanghai, Beijing. Something a little off the beaten path would be Hangzhou or Nanjing, both close the Shanghai.
I've been to HK a handful of times over the past couple years. Will be doing BJ SH etc next year. I'm going to GZ to handle some other matters.
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Old Jun 8, 18, 8:11 pm
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
-- If you roam the streets looking for a hotel in Guangzhou, you probably will encounter "no-foreigner" places. For this reason, and because roaming the streets with your luggage is no fun, you should book ahead, either on websites of major chains or on sites like Agoda, booking.com and ctrip (English). These sites generally note if a place doesn't accept foreigners, but aren't absolutely reliable. Best approach is to check the reviews, looking for recent ones in English. Or contact the hotel directly and confirm your stay will not be a problem.
Second this. We had a hard time in Chengdu because of this. The hotel was booked by a Chinese relative who forgot about the issues with foreigners. When we were turned away we thought we had another place--but my wife took one look at the room and said no. It turned into a couple of hours of hauling luggage down the street trying to find someplace that would take foreigners and she would accept. At that, we had a lot easier time of it than you would--my wife and her sisters are native speakers and in practice many hotels that aren't able to accept foreigners will turn a blind eye to foreigners in a room registered to a local. Since this was only a side trip the lack of a registration wouldn't show up on their records. (It would look like we were still at her sister's place in Shanghai.)
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Old Jul 5, 18, 11:21 am
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If you’re a non smoker strongly suggest you reserve a major Western chain hotel. The more local hotels often have strong residues of cigarette smoke in rooms and public areas

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Old Jul 5, 18, 8:36 pm
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Originally Posted by jerseygirl View Post
If you’re a non smoker strongly suggest you reserve a major Western chain hotel. The more local hotels often have strong residues of cigarette smoke in rooms and public areas

Big western chains are not exempt from this either unless you're staying a hotel that meets western 5 star standards.
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