Question: Compare your tour with other China tour, what is the different?
Answer: I am a ceramic artist and writer who born in China, and we have all kinds of connections with Chinese artists, art schools, ceramic factories, and Chinese governments in many areas. We are going to hire the Chinese travel agent, which including the bilingual national tour guide and local tour guide. We provide professional and the Western standard services. We provide first class train (soft seats), three-star and up hotel rooms (or the best in the town), eight dishes and one soup for lunches or dinners at decent restaurants.
TRAVEL IN CHINA - THINGS TO DO AND TO KNOW
About Passport and Chinese Visa: Your passport must be at least 6 months before expiration. Carry a copy of your passport in a separate place, in case your passport is lost or stolen. The visa application fee is $100 for one year/multi-entry. You can print the visa application form at: http://www.chinaconsulatesf.org (San Francisco), or http://www.visarite.com/China_visa.htm to find the consulate that close to your home. No mail application. If you need help to get the visa, send us your passport, one 2í▒ photo, application form with fees. Please contact us at ChineseClayArt@hotmail.com (US citizens or residents only).
About the time zoon in China: There is only one time in whole country called Beijing Time (+8/H). Time zone between China and the United States is 16 hours difference for East coast, 13 hours difference for West coast. Jet lag could be a problem for everyone. Eastward flights have stronger effects than westward. Avoid heavy food, alcohol, coffee and tea, be relaxed and try to get enough sleep on the airplane.
About the Air-lines, Times and Connection Flights to China: There are a few of airlines got direct from the US to China. If you are going to depart from San Francisco, you may use United Air or Air China. Usually, it takes 10 to 12 hours on one way. We may help you to get the connection air lines from your hometown to San Francisco, or direct to China.
About the Weather and Clothing: Ware comfortable dress, in natural fibers to allow your skin to breathe. Bring more T-shirts and underwear. It will be warm, but a light jacket or sweater is needed for cool evening in some areas. For updated weather information, visit: www.weather.com.
About Your Luggage: Two medium-sized pieces are preferable, plus one "Carry-on" size. International flights are limited check-in luggage two pieces and 50 ponds each; Domestic airlines in China limited one check-in luggage only. You may buy second check-in luggage in China when needed). Shoulder and / or wheeled luggage will help during long walks through train station. Pack lightly -- Leave room for acquisition of pottery, books and other mementos of the tour. An extra, collapsible bag can be carried in your luggage for the return home.
About Chinese Money: The Chinese currency is called RMB (Ren-Ming-Bi). The exchange rate between currencies of US and China is about $1USD = 7.40RMB. (Please visit: www.xe.com or www.oanda.com, currency sites for business traders and travelers to access foreign exchange data and services). Travelerí»s checks may difficult to cash in many cities, but the cash of US dollars is always welcome in everywhere. Credit cards may be accepted by the larger stores or hotels only. Do not exchange money on streets. You may get counterfeit currency.
About the Electricity and Battery Charges: The electricity voltage is 220 in China. Most battery charges of electrical devices can be used from voltage of 110 to 240. An adapter may doní»t needed, but you may to need buy a plug convert to fit the Chinese plug styles.
About the Internet Access: Most of hotels have Business Centers where you may send mails, fax, or use their computers to access internet. Up to now, about 50% of the hotel may have internet access in the rooms if you got your own laptop.
About Cellular Phone and Calling Cards in China: You may contact with your cellular phone company for the services and the rate for the phone using in China. Or you may buy a phone about $70 to $80 US. Also, you may buy pre-paid calling card in China to make international phone calls. There are two different cards. One is for local city use only, the other one you may use anywhere in China. Please make sure you got the national-wide card or you may not able to use them after you arrived in net cities.
Calling from the US to China. Chinese Country code is: 86, plus city code and phone numbers. Check with your long distance company for discount of Asian countries.
About Hotel Rooms and Meals: We are going to use the licensed travel agent to help use for the transportations, hotel rooms and meals. It will be 3 or 4-Star hotel (or the best in the town) and meals usually will be Chinese food, eight dishes plus a soup. One soft drink (such as beer or soda) is free, and you may pay the extra drinks yourself.
For Exchange with Local Artists: You may bring a CD with your biography, resume and some pictures of your work for the ceramic cultural exchange with local artists. Also, bring postcards / printed materials of your work. Small ceramic objects exchanged as gifts are also appreciated.
About business card printed: Print your business cards with both English and Chinese (highly recommended). It costs about $16 for 100 pieces for translate and printing in China. Please contact us two weeks before departure. Please send us the content of your card (by email or mail one of the samples with the check). You will receive the cards in Shanghai, right after you got arrived China. Please send the hard copy to:
Chinese Clay Art Corp. PO Box 1733, Cupertino, CA 95015.
Sanitation: Do not buy food on the streets, do not drink water from hotel bathroom faucet. You may also want to purchase packaged moist "Towlettes" to wash your hands before eating, or sanitized packaged alcohol wipe for sanitizing any eating utensils you are worried about.
Safety and Other Issues: Crime is not a great problem in China, but pickpockets are common. Carry your money, credit cards and passport in a concealed pouch or money belt for protection. Bring a copy of medical record in case if you need see doctors in China. Toilet paper is not provided in many toilet facilities. You may purchase a dozen pocket packs of Kleenex tissues before departing, and carry one with you at all time. You may also bring sun glasses, raincoat or portable umbrella, also a pairs of sandals.
Pay Tips: For the tours handled by travel agent, it will be about $5 per day for driver and local tour guide, and $3 per day for national tour guide in recommended. You may need to pay additional tips for luggage carrying at hotel, airport or train stations.