Before your trip

Before your trip

China

 VISA   

  • Passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the return.
  • A visa is needed for all tourists entering China. Visa must be obtained by traveler prior to arrival in China. To obtain a China visa, traveler may visit the nearest Chinese Consulate Office or its website. Visa application form can be downloaded from the consulate or Peony Tours website:
    http://newyork.china-consulate.org;
    http://losangeles.china-consulate.org;
    http://www.chinaconsulatesf.org.
  • For travelers who join Peony Tours to Tibet, China entry visa is travelers’ own responsibility, Peony Tours will obtain the required Tibet Travel Permit through local agent for you.
  • Peony Tours is not responsible when you are denied entrance for any reason at any foreign country, even if you have a valid passport and visa. The tour fare does not include any fees of passport and visas.

 TRAVEL INSURANCE & HEALTH MATTERS

  • For your own protection, all travelers are strongly advised to purchase travel insurance prior to depart on your trip.
  • Due to the length of the trip and local traveling conditions especially to Tibet, Silk Road or Mongolia, it is advised that you consult your doctor for existing medical / dental conditions before departure.
  • If you are taking prescription medicine, please full label and pack in your hand luggage sufficient quantity for the duration of the trip.
  • In case of illness during the trip, please immediately notify your tour conductor and local guide for assistance.

 TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

  • Please bring with you the name, phone number and address of the person you wish to contact in case of emergency while on tour. We suggest you make copies of all your travel documents and keep them in a safe place. Also, we recommend that your passport, air tickets, cash and other travel documents not be kept together, so you would not lose everything in case something happens. Be sure you have everything with you before leaving for the airport.
  • For re-entry into the States, Resident Aliens need both a passport and an Alien Resident Card.

 TAXES &FUEL SURCHARGE ON AIR TICKET

  • Airport taxes, airline fuel surcharges and government fees are included in your air tickets.

 CLOTHING

  • Check newspaper or visit Weather Channel Service at www.weather.com for weather information before you go, and pack accordingly. We suggest you bring comfortable, casual clothing and two pairs of good walking shoes for the trip. A raincoat, an umbrella and a light jacket are useful for traveling in all seasons.

 BAGGAGE

  • Baggage allowance on tour coach is one large suitcase and one small bag per passenger. Do not over pack, leave some space for purchases during the tour. Since your suitcase will be transported frequently during the trip, be sure it is strong enough to withstand all the handling. Also be sure it has wheels, a luggage tag showing the name and contact information, and a lock. (Please use Peony Tours tags for easy identification by our airport staff). Unless you use a TSA approved lock, otherwise do not lock your luggage before the security check at airport. For more information on the TSA approved locks, please check TSA’s website at: http://www.tsa.gov
  • Baggage allowance for USA-China flights vary by airlines and is subject to change at any time. Travelers are required to check airline’s website for baggage policy before departure.
    • Air China (CA) : www.airchina.us Its standard free baggage allowance is two pieces per person for checked baggage with size allowed (length + width + height) 62 in/158 cm each, maximum free weight allowed 50 lbs/23 kgs each, carry-on baggage is limited to one piece and 5 kg.
    • Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) : www.cathaypacific.com Its standard free baggage allowance is one piece carry-on baggage and two pieces checked baggage per person. The maximum free weight allowed for checked baggage is 50 lbs/23 kg each.
  • For China domestic flight, high-speed rails and trains, explosives and dangerous items including knives, any weapons, etc are strictly prohibited. Each passenger is allowed one checked luggage, up to 44 lbs/20 kgs, and one carry-on bag. Checked luggage must have a lock (combination locks are recommended). Baggage without a lock may be refused for transport.
  • Consider packing one change of clothing, one set of underwear and toiletry in your carry-on bag to avoid inconvenience caused by delayed or lost luggage.
  • DO NOT pack prescription medicine, valuables and other personal necessities in checked luggage. Keep them in your carry-on bag.

 THINGS TO BRING

  • Your contact lenses solution and aspirin, over-the-counter medicine for flu, indigestion, motion sickness, etc.
  • Sunglasses, hat, casual clothes and shoes.
  • Books, magazines, snacks, music & iPad, etc.
  • Hair dryer, shavers, electrical converter and adapters (220V in China).
  • Camera, video recorder, extra quantities of films, tapes, battery, chargers, and memory card. You may not have time during the tour to replace something or finding the brands you like, it maybe worthwhile to bring extra quantities of certain items.
  • To protect the global environment, more and more hotels in China stop providing toothbrush, toothpaste, combs, razors, nail polish and shoes brushes, unless guests request. Travelers are strongly advised to prepare these items for yourself.

 MONEY MATTERS

  • Chinese currency is called Ren Min BI (RMB) and is issued by the state bank, the People’s Bank of China. We suggest you bring a combination of cash (in various denominations) and traveler’s checks for your trip. US dollars in cash form are accepted at many places while traveler’s checks must be converted into RMB first. Converting RMB back to US dollars you will need original receipts.
  • Major credit cards such as Visa, Master Card are widely accepted by international hotels, big department stores and shops in major cities in China. Cash advance by credit card is not common and is only possible at a few assigned banks. In general, US dollars are more convenient than traveler’s check. Prepare some cash in $100, $50, $20, and $1 for small purchase.
  • ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) are popular in big cities in Mainland of China and Hong Kong (i.e. Beijing and Shanghai). Cash advance service fee will be applied. Most ATMs can only be used for withdrawing RMB. The exchange rate on ATM withdrawals is similar to credit cards but there is a limited daily withdrawal amount.
  • Personal Checks are NOT acceptable in China.
  • Mongolian Tugrik (MNT) can be converted in hotels or banks from Ren Min Bi (RMB) or US dollars.
  • As of November 2018, the exchange rate apply:
    1 USD = 6.90 CNY (Chinese Yuan Renminbi)
    1 USD = 7.83 HKD (Hong Kong Dollar)
    1 USD = 2,620.00 MNT (Mongolian Tugrik)

 CHINESE CUSTOMS PROCEDURES

  • China Customs: Foreign visitors are allowed to import, free of duty, one carton of cigarettes, one bottle of 750ml alcohol. There are no restrictions on importing the following items for personal use: medicine, camera/camcorder, rolls of film, foreign currency, etc. Professional recording equipment is not allowed without an import permit. Pornographic magazines, weapons, inflammable and explosive items, books of a political nature and certain drugs are illegal and are not allowed to be taken into China. Merchandise labeled as “cultural relics” or “antique” may not be taken out of China without an official export license. Save all your currency exchange receipts and purchase receipts for possible Customs inspection. For details of China Customs regulations, please check www.customs.gov.cn
  • U.S. Customs: Observe US Customs restrictions when bring in duty free goods from China. Fruits, vegetable, meat products are not allowed into the U.S. The importation of counterfeit and pirated goods is prohibited or restricted for all travelers return to the U.S. It is your responsibility to ensure you are not breaking the law. For detail regulations please the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Department’s website: www.cbp.gov.

 TELEPHONE / INTERNET

  • Telephone call: For direct dialing from China, the international access code is 00, China country code is 86. Major city codes: Beijing-10, Shanghai-21, Guangzhou-20. For other city codes, please contact telephone operator for assistance.
    Calling North America from Mainland China, dial:
    00 + 1 + City Area Code + Telephone Number
    Calling China from North America, dial:
    011 + 86 + City Area Code + Telephone Number
  • Blackberry and iPhone can roam to China with fees. Check with your phone company for international roaming plan. You may buy SIM card in China to use on your tri-band unlocked cell phone. The cards are prepaid and cheaper than hotel international call service.
  • Internet: Internet access is available at most of our hotels on your Peony Tours' trip. Many hotels offer free internet access at hotel lobby. Wi-Fi in room will be charged from $12 - $20 per day at some hotels. Fees are applied on Yangtze River Cruise.

 ELECTRICAL REQUIREMENT

  • China and Hong Kong’s electrical system operates at 220V/50 Hz, different from the USA (120V/60Hz) and Taiwan (110V/60Hz). The electrical outlets are either for fat round pins or for flat angled blades. Most of the hotels in China have both 110V and 220V electrical outlets in the bathrooms, though in guest rooms 220V sockets are usually the only type available. It is strongly advised to bring your own international voltage converter and portable plug adapter.

 FOOD AND DRINKS

  • Meals are included as per itinerary in China. Lunch and dinner are Chinese, and most meals are served as a set menu with 10 people per table. One glass of local beer or soft drinks or mineral water is included with lunch and dinner. Unlimited amount of tea is included with all meals. Additional drinks at mealtime are available for purchase. Please verify cost before ordering. Drinks in your hotel mini bar are extremely expensive. Do not take drinks from the mini bar and try to replace them later. YOU WILL BE CHARGED ACCORDINGLY since the mini bar accounting takes place in the morning, before you can replace anything. Hotel stores generally carry a variety of soft drinks and bottled water.
  • Costs that are responsibility of the traveler: anything of a personal nature, walking sticks and porter services (for touring the Mt. Huangshan), cost of special exhibits and attractions inside a tourist site after paid entrance.

 GRATUITIES

  • Tipping is customary all over the world. It encourages and rewards quality service. Your tour conductor, local guides, drivers, and other service personnel do their best to make your trip smooth and pleasant. Gratuities are tokens of appreciation. For your convenience, the Peony Tours national guide maycollect the gratuities on behalf of the local guide and driver on the last day in each city. You may use your discretion in this matter if extra services are rendered or some services are not received.
    Peony Tours suggests tipping in the following manner:
    $10 per person per day (in US dollars) to be distributed between drivers and guides.
    For the Yangtze River Cruise, tipping is separate from the above. For recommended amount, please refer to cruise company’s website: www.victoriacruises.com.

 CHINA NATIONAL HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

  • National Holidays:
    January 1 - New Year’s Day
    May 1 - Labor Day
    October 1 - National Day
  • National Festivals:
    Chinese Lunar New Year and Spring Festival - First day of the first lunar month
    Dragon Festival – The 15th day of the fifth lunar month
    Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival) - The 15th day of the eighth lunar month

 MISC. REMINDERS

  • It is very important that you bring with you on tour your passport or the ID that you present at the time of booking of reservation. Names on airline tickets, cruise lines, trains, hotels, attractions, and Tibet visa will match the name on your passport or the ID that you use at reservation.
  • Please keep an eye on your valuables at all time. Watch out for pickpockets while sightseeing.
  • Respect other group members, your tour guides and drivers. Never walk alone at night.
  • Bring name and phone number of an emergency contact. Read your itinerary and hotel information carefully before departure. Leave a copy of your itinerary and hotel list with your family.
  • For special requests (China domestic flight reservation, flight change & confirmation, Hong Kong & China hotel reservation etc), please have all the arrangements made with your travel agency before departure. Peony Tours do not take any responsibilities for itinerary deviations or bookings made by other travel agencies
  • Individual domestic flights in China must be re-confirmed at the airlines office (of the departing city) 3 days prior to departure. Re-confirmation by phone is not accepted. Since you may not have sufficient time for re-confirmation after arrival in a city, Peony Tours can help by arranging to have the ticket issued locally and re-confirmed.

 CHECK IN TO AIRLINE & EMERGENCY CONTACT

  • It is very important to check in to the airline at least three hours before an international flight and two hours before a domestic flight.
  • Checking in online is pretty much standard now with many airlines. The time that check in opens varies from one airline to another, from 48 hours to 24 hours before the flight. Check your airline’s website for accurate and further information. Bear in mind, at this stage you may be able to select or change your seat if you have not done so.
  • Look for Peony Tours representative at the arrival airport in China. Wear the red PEONY TOURS NAME BADGE at departure and arrival airports for easy identification. For missed, delayed or cancelled flights or other emergency, please contact one of the following offices:
  • DURING OFFICE HOURS: 
    Monday-Friday, 9 AM-5:30 PM
    Headquarters:   626-289-2450
    Los Angeles:  626-289-1010
    New York:  212-973-1998
    San Francisco:  650-259-9983
  • AFTER OFFICE HOURS:  
    Please call  626-592-8448
  • If we miss your calls, please leave your message with your name and phone number. Your message is very important to us. We'll call you back as soon as we can. 
  • Air China (CA) North America Call Center:   
    1-800-882-8122
  • Cathay Pacific (CX) North America Customer Center: 
    1-800-233-2742

 Average Temperature of Major Cities in China