Archive for the ‘China Travel’ Category

10 Most Scenic Drives in China

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019
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With the rapid development of the expressways and highways, road tripping has become one of the most favorite ways of traveling across China. The car represents mobility, freedom with a feel of controlling your destinations.

China is a vast country, very drivable since now the roads are excellent. It has countless scenic drives with most of the stellar standouts in the northwest, west and southwest China.

In the past 10 years I have been road-tripping China on and off. But I’m still far from covering all the incredible sightseeing drives across China. Today I’d like to present our version of the 10 most scenic drives in China, an attempt to be helpful in planning your China road trip. My 10 list will inevitably leave out some of the best.

First of all, I’d like to round up some travel tips for planning your road trip in China.

Trips for Planning a China Road Trip

1) Hire a Vehicle with driver
Hiring a vehicle with driver (or just take a taxi for a short road trip ) is the easiest way to hit on the open road. Hiring a car and self-driving in China is still very much difficult for short-time international visitors.

The driving rules and regulations are quite different from those in your home country. Penalty for traffic violation is high. Almost all the expressways and highways are covered under surveillance cameras.

2) Prepare for the food on the way
Scenic drive cannot guarantee the food quality and very often you don’t find any restaurants on route. It is a good idea to prepare in advance some high protein and vitamin snacks, nuts and fruits.

3) Book your hotels on your road trip
Download a hotel booking app on your smart phone and prebook your hotel before you get to the next destination for overnight. In the remote areas or during off tourist season, you may just book your hotel on the spot when you get there. Getting ready for sleeping bags in case you are in the middle of nowhere.

4) Toilets on route
Gas stations are often the only places for you to use toilets. But the toilet general condition is not good, dirty and without any toilet paper. You should always bring your rolls of toilet paper on your China road trip.

5) Plan your road trip
You should plan your China road trip in advance. China is huge and you may do just a section for one time. Even for this section, you need to split your road trip across several days. It is a good idea to keep a loose plan because you never know when fun and interesting opportunities will arise.

 10 of my previous most scenic drives in China

1. Awe-inspiring drive to Guoliang Village
Guoliang Village is located 82km to the northwest of Xinxiang, 90km north of Zhangzhou, easily accessible by highspeed trains from Beijing, Shijianzhang, Wuhan and Guangzhou since Xixiang is on the Beijing – Guangzhou Railway Line.

From Xinxiang, you hire a taxi for a few hours’ return road trip to Guoliang Village. In 1972, 13 strong villagers from Guoliang Village wanted to change the situation of inaccessibility to the outside world and started carving a road off the east side of the cliff.  The carved tunnel is 12 or 13 feet across, about 15 or 16 feet high and  a mile long. The road was opened in 1977.

Awe-inspiring drive to Guoliang Village

Awe-inspiring drive to Guoliang Village

Praised as one of the 8 road wonders in the world, the tunneled road is now well known as “Long Corridor in the Cliff” or “Precipice Gallery”.  The east side of the carved road is the picturesque Grand Canyon with Red Steep Cliff. The Grand Canyon is more than 200 meters in height, 500 meters in width and 20km in length. The red rocks are scarlet and upright like knifed and axed. The scenic Grand Canyon is one of the highlights on your road trip to Guoliang Village.

For more information, check out:
Guoliang Village.

2. Yaxi Expressway: Ya’an to Xichang Highway
Yaxi Expressway is lauded as the most beautiful “Sky Road” in China. Yaxi Expressway starts from Ya’an and ends at Xichang,  a section of Beijing-Kunming highway, 240km long and a ladder like road “leading to the sky”.

Most Beautiful Sky Road in China

Most Beautiful Sky Road in China

The “leading to the sky” here has two meanings – 1) The 240km expressway is made of 270 viaducts,  an elevated roadway that stretches 240 kilometers, designed to minimize impact on the environment and driving on the numerous viaducts makes people feel like driving in the air; 2) For driving each kilometer, we ascends by 7.5 meters along the expressway. There are also 25 spiral tunnels used to reduce the effect on mountains.

For more information, check out:
Most Beautiful Sky Road in China

3. S313 Highway: Scenic Drive from Xinduqiao to Danba
It is an incredible 150 km drive along Highway S 313 from Xinduqiao to Danba, morphing from Muya Tibeten area  to Jiarong Tibetan area.

From Xinduqiao to Taigong, you need to slow down – this region wants to be savored, not gulped. The road is lined with
with golden meadows, crystal-clear streams, yellow poplar trees and Tibetan stone houses against the meandering mountains under the canopy of the blue sky and white clouds.

Drive from Xinduqiao to Danba

Drive from Xinduqiao to Danba

Tagong Town is well known for the same name Tagong Monastery and its surrounding Tagong Grassland that offers great views against the sacred Yala Mountain at 5820m.

For the 87km Bamei Town- Danba  road trip, there are two impressive sights – Huiyuan Monastery in Xie De Town ( formerly the ancient Tai Ning City ) of Dawu County in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and the majestic Yala Snow Mountain at the elevation of 5820m.

For  more information, check out:
Drive from Xinduqiao to Danba

4. S217 and S216 Highways: Eye-Popping Drive from Litang to Yading
The Highway S217 runs from Litang to Daocheng (148km), and further stretched to Yading along S216  (115km). The 148km drive from Litang to Doacheng is one of the jaw-dropping drives, going over Rabbit Mountain at the altitude of 4696 meters and passing by the vermilion Buddhist Monastery, the undulating mountains, Tibetan houses and yellow poplar trees and dry riverbeds.

The highway S216 from Daocheng to Yading is surprisingly in good condition, a wide and flat asphalt road with clean iron handrails and clear road signs. The road meanders on the wide and flat valley flanked with fields, meadows, Tibetan houses and undulating hills, all coated with autumn golden hues ( best to drive in autumn ).

Bowa Lake

Bowa Lake on the way from Daocheng to Yading

For more information, check out
Drive from Litang to Daocheng
Drive from Daocheng to Yading.

5. National Highway 214:  Drive from Mangkang to Shangri-la 400km
The National Highway G214 (Yunnan-Tibet Highway) is a hidden gem,  3256 km long starting from Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province to Jinghong, Yunnan Province.

The 400km drive from Mangkang to Shangri-la has stunning views. You need to split the drive across two days. On the first day you drive from Mangkang to Deqin (219km ) and second day from Deqin to Shangri-la (181 km).

Unlike the hyped G318, G214 is quite unknown to the public though it has heart-stopping views with its varied landscapses. G214 connects the headwaters of Yangtze River, Yellow River, Lancang River and Honghe River.

Drive from Deqin to Shangri-la.

Drive from Deqin to Shangri-la.

The G214 (Yunnan-Tibet Highway ) from Deqin to Shangri-la is de facto a sightseeing avenue, which cuts through the intoxicating Baimang Snow Mountain ( also known as Baima Snow Mountain). Lying in the mid-section of Hengduan Mountain, Baima Snow Mountain runs from north to south with 20 peaks over 5000 meters and its highest peak at 5430 meters.

For more infoirmation, check out
Drive from Mangkang to Deqin
Drive from Deqin to Shangri-la.

6. Tingri to Mt.Everest Base Camp Road Trip 100km
The road trip branching off the main National Highway 318 going to the Mt. Everest Base Camp takes 3 or 4 hours for a 100km mountain road mainly due to the poor and bumpy dirt road.

The road trip is every much challenging. People have to endure endless twists and turns, and hairpin bends. But you will see heart-stopping views – dotted Tibetan settlements, nomadic herdsmen wandering across the wide arid plains, yaks, wild rabbits, wild sheep, dzopkyos (yak-cow hybrids),  and awe-inspiring mountain peaks – a paradise on earth!

Tingri to Mt.Everest Base Camp

Tingri to Mt.Everest Base Camp

Tingri to Mt.Everest Base Camp Travel Tips:
1) Better for a small group using a land cruiser instead of bus tour
2) Ready for Bottled oxygen if you are not confident about your health
3) Water and snacks
4) Sunglass, sunscreen, altitude sickness medicine
5) Good sleep the day before
6) Suggested to stay in Tingri for overnight
7) Alien Travel Permit for Mt.Everest Base Camp

For more information, check out:
 Tingri to Mt.Everest Base Camp

7. Head-spinning drive from Xining to Qinghai Lake 151 km
Qinghai Lake has long been one of the biggest draws in Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province which lies on the northeast of Tibetan Plateau. At the altitude of 3200 meters, Qinghai Lake boasts great charms – Blue sky and water, white clouds and green grassland, and amazing rape flowers, a wonderful summer resort and mesmerizing landscape.

On the way

On the way

The 151 km road trip is a scenic drive, passing by massive valleys, alpine meadows, limpid rivers, historical sites and remote towns. There are quite a  few scenic attractions and historical sites on route. You can ask your driver to stop at the sites you are interested in.

For more information, check out:
How to Visit Qinghai Lake from Xining

8. Urumqi to Kanas Lake Loop Road Trip 2000 km
As you know, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region occupies an area of 1.6 million square km with a population 20.95 million, one sixth of China in size, equivalent of 160 “Beijings”, an area the size of France, Germany, Spain and the UK combined. Xinjiang has a huge number of unique natural and cultural resources and no one can digest them all.

Kanas Lake

Kanas Lake

Kanas Lake Natural Reserve is the big draw in the  Northern Xinjiang Route. Kanas Lake is classified by UNESCO as “mankind’s last piece of pure land. Not just Kanas Lake, you have more to see, to feel, to touch along the semicircle Northern Xinjiang route around the Junggar Basin touring Fuyun, Altay, Burjin, Kelamayi…

For more information, check out:
Drive from Urumqi to Burjin
Burjin – Kanas Lake – Jiadengyu
Drive from Jiadengyu to Kelamayi
Drive from Kelamayi to Urumqi

9. Lanzhou to Langmusi Road Trip 488 km
For the road trip from Lanzhou to Langmusi 488 km, you may split it into two sections for 2 days – Lanzhou to Xiahe 258 km and Xiahe to Langmusi 230km.

The whole drive distance from Lanzhou to Xiahe County, and on to Labrang Monastery is about 258 km. In between, you pass by Hezheng County and Lingxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture. The 258 km road trip will give you deep impression in terms of both different landforms and cultures unfolded on the road.

Langmusi

Langmusi

For the 230km road trip, you will drive along the National Highway No.213 passing by Hezuo City, Luqu County, experiencing mesmerizing views of alpine meadows, grasslands, grazing yaks and sheep, and Tibetan living houses, unfolding a “water colour” picture of the pristine life in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

For more information, check out:
Drive from Lanzhou to Xiahe
Drive from Xiahe to Langmusi

10. Hohhot to Ejina Qi Return Road Trip 2080 km
The West Inner Mongolia, or Alashan (Alxa) League specifically, is a mysterious place admired by all travelers. With its capital at Bayanhot(Bayanhaote), Alashan (Alxa) League is the largest league prefecture -level region in Inner Mongolia with an area of 270,000 Square km.

It comprises three counties – Alashan Zuoqi (Alxa Left Banner), Alashan Youqi (Alxa Right Banner) and Ejina Qi (Ejina Banner), which are also the largest oasises in Alashan. Numerous striking sights are dotted around these three green lands.

Badain Jaran Desert

A Glimpse of Badain Jaran Desert

The Hohhot to Ejina Qi ( Ejina Banner), an over-2000 km crazy drive will allow you to pass by Yinshan Mountains and Kubuqi Desert, through Ulan Buh Desert and Badain Jaran Desert.

Badain Jaran Desert is definitely the highlight of the adventurous drive. Badain Jaran Desert boasts the highest stationary dunes in the world (the tallest dune over 450 meters, extending over 5 km in length) and the third the largest desert in China with an area of over 49,000 sq.kilometers.

For more information, check out:
A Glimpse of Badain Jaran Desert

 

Any questions, just drop a  line.

Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Beijing.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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Plan your Beijing tour? Most foreign travelers feel very safe when traveling in Beijing. But that doesn’t mean you should lower your vigilance on possible travel scams in Beijing.

The remark below is quoted from Percy from USA:
Thank you for having this site. As a traveler and student of human nature, I appreciate the scam warnings and the comments. I am a native New Yorker, and I feel it important to remind people that scams are not only in China.

Anywhere around the world where there are larger groups of humans, there will be more opportunities for scams. It seems the way of the Universe that these will be filled. You should always be aware, do research and remember that if it seems off, or too good, it is probably a scam. This is true in China, the U.S., or any other place where humans exist.”

Latest feedback from Denis:
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Hi, you website is very helpful. I can share my experience about another scam:

We used an official taxi with the meter, so when the ride was over, we wanted to pay with 100 RMB, as we didn’t have any other bills. The taxi driver didn’t like the bill we gave to him and asked for another one. Then for another one and so on (every time giving back the previous one of course).

He was also friendly but insisted on the other bill and we couldn’t understand what’s wrong and what did he wanted, so we just kindly gave him different bills to try out. At some point we just decided to leave because it started to become annoying.

After some more negotiations he finally took one of our bills, gave us the change and left. The next day, when we tried to pay by cash at a grocery store it appeared that 4 of our bills are fake and I’m quite sure they were not fake before.

Not such a big amount for learning a new type of scam (I have forgotten already that there is such a thing as fake money on the streets) though.

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Scam #1 Avoid KTV bars
Whether you enter on your own or taken by a Chinese “friend.”, in most cases you are in for a trap! It is a karaoke place. You enter the room to sing a few songs and have a few beers. Suddenly girls appear and want to drink with you. Then suddenly a cart appears with lots of snacks and beer.

The snacks are NOT free and they are expensive–but more on that later. The girl wants a brandy and you say okay. You will end up paying huge amount of money! Just avoid KTV!

Scam # 02:  Tea Scam
At some heavy tourist areas (like Tiananmen Square, Wangfujing Street…),  you will be approached by one or three  attractive females or gentlemen, who are  willing to have a natural and nice talk with you or  even give you a free tour of hutong  in a polite way.  She or he will talk about the interesting things in Beijing, or talk about the culture or history of your home country and even world affairs!

Then if everything goes smoothly, then  invite you to a traditional Chinese teashops or ceremony. The whole ceremony proceeds then at the end of the ceremony your “friends” will ask you to pick out some favorite teas. So the scam start when it comes time to pay the bill, and it can again run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Simply don’t go for it!

To make the tea scam more natural,  they  pretend to be very friendly. They even don’t suggest you pay the whole amount. It is to be split between you and your “friends”.  So you  will see them pay their part. It is a scam!

It happens in central part of Beijing mainly, esp. in Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the surroundings.

Scam # 03: “Art Student” Scam
Also at some big tourist destinations,  some young people,  disguised as ” art student’”,  will approach you. They offer you a free tour of an art show. Thus begins the “Art Student” scam.

Actually they will take you to an art shop selling all kinds of “art” stuff. This is just a waste of time. You can easily find these art pieces on the market. They sell the same “art” at higher prices. Simply say bye to them.
It happens mainly in historical sites, and public transport hubs. They are good actors(actresses) indeed. To us Chinese people they say they are out job-hunting and is penniless; to overseas travelers they say they are art students. Many of them are very properly dressed.

Scam # 04: Rickshaw Scam
Some first-time oversea or even domestic travelers visiting Beijing fall into the traps of some seemingly “humble rickshaw drivers”. For example, let’s say, you and a rickshaw driver agree on a price of RMB 40 for a pedicab ride. It will turn out to be RMB400!. The trick is that your rickshaw driver will pretend to be ignorant and he will pull out a laminated price list and say it is 400 yuan instead of 40 yuan. Better take a taxi than a pedicab.

1) Rickshaw Scam at the North Gate of Forbidden City
There are two entrances to the Forbidden City – the south gate ( Meridian Gate – Wumen)  and north gate( Gate of Divine – Shenwu Men).  The south gate is linked to Tiananmen Square to the south. You have to enter Forbidden City from its south gate and exit from its northern gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route.

Make sure you are taken by your taxi to the south entrance of Forbidden City (better yet, take the subway line 1 –  its very nice and very cheap!). Don’t ever take a Rickshaw at the north gate of Forbidden City unless you feel like getting lost and extorted.

So if you visit Forbidden City by getting to a wrong gate (north gate), don’t use a local rickshaw to get back to the south gate, just walk to the right gate (south gate). For the same reason, if you exit from the north gate after visiting Forbidden City, don’t use a rickshaw for your next place.

2)  Rickshaw scams also occur at the entrance to the “Legend of Jinsha” which is performed at the Beijing Workers’ Club in Beijing.

3)  Rickshaw scams possible at any places in Beijing
Rickshaw scams could occur at any other places in Beijing. Be Vigilant!

 Scam #05: “Black” Taxis
When arriving at the airport, keep away from the taxi drivers who approach you in the terminal or outside the terminal as they will charge you much more than the actual price. Just following the sign pointing to the taxi line just outside the terminal. Taxi drivers should use their meter; make sure that the driver puts down the flag.

Taking a taxi from the airport to the downtown Beijing costs just over RMB 100 plus RMB 5 toll fee. Beijing legitimate taxi license plates will begin with the “Beijing B” otherwise it is possibly a black taxi!

After paying a legal taxi, you will get a legal computerized receipt in which you can find the taxi company’s phone number while a black driver only offers you a hand-written receipt with which you will never find him! A black driver would charge you RMB 400 – RMB 500 for the airport downtown drive! Normally a taxi ride from the airport to the downtown of Beijing costs you around RMB 120.

Black cars could be found around the subway stations, shopping malls, and also around some major tourist attractions such as Summer Palace, Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street and Beijing Railway Station as well.
By the way, your taxi driver may pull out a very official looking list of all hotels and official airport price. Never belive so-called official taxi-rate list of all hotels and official airport price. Never such a taxi-rate list!

It seems that there is a new kind of scam in Beijing when it comes down to the taxi’s.  Taxi drivers are asking their passengers to get out of the car and help to push it / close the trunk. When the passengers are outside, the drivers takes of with all their belongings.

For more information on taxi, please visit Beijing Taxi.

Scam # 6:Fake helpers/officials around Mao’s Tomb at Tiananmen Square 
When you line up for entering Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, you will probably meet some fake helpers or officials who are trying to “grab” some money from you.  To avoid being cheated, please read the following travel tips:

The admission to Mausoleum of Mao Zedong is free. No need for passport ID check and no need for buying shoes to replace your sandals (though not encouraged). As with most mausoleums, strict rules are enforced for visitors. No bags and cameras are allowed inside the hall. One locker is located 500m to the east of the mausoleum. The deposit is not free ( yes, a little strange)! The charges on deposit locker ranges from CNY 2 to 10.

Scam #07:  Scams Occurring Around Tiananmen and Forbidden City
The area around Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City is a favorite hangout for scammers.  Below is a trip by a scam victim named  Akalan:

In fact this was my 4th trip to China, but first trip to Beijing. Many a times many people, usually young ladies chatted with me and they helped me a lot. Even on the same day morning I went to the Great Wall and a young girl with good English walked with me. All those I met earlier were genuine people who just wanted to help a visitor to their country. Most of the time they did not even allow me to pay a bill, ticket price or taxi fare.

With that sort of experience, I had no suspicion on this woman. Still my priority was to get into the Forbidden city ASAP, as it was passed 3pm and I knew that the ticket sales would stop at 4 pm. This lady said that she would show me the “East gate” where I can enter without a long queue. Yes, there was a queue of people at the main entrance.

I simply followed her advice and she walked with me to “show” the entrance. On the way she said she is from Xi’An (a city I visited 1 month ago) and we had quite a good conversation on history, culture and languages. She also explained some history of the area.

She said her friends from another province are there and they will meet her in 10 min. If I can wait 10 min, they also can join me to go inside the Forbidden city. While waiting for them, she suggested me to sit some where and have a tea or fruit juice. In fact after walking and climbing whole morning in Great Wall area, I was thirsty and wanted to sit and stretch my legs. So I agreed.

I tried to sit on some chairs laid outside, but she suggested to go inside – less noisy, less dust and air-conditioned! I picked a Chinese tea and the scam began!

You know the rest. Yes, she split the bill, still I lost a few hundred! Worst thing was that she took me to a gate, assuring that I could enter from there, but obviously there were no ticket counters. I had to get to an electric car. The driver charged 20, instead of 2, as he sensed my urgency!

He actually did not take me to the ticket counters, instead, he stopped somewhere and a woman approached me. She was telling me that the ticket counters are closed and she would sell a ticket to me for 100 ! I did not want to let some one rip me off for 3rd time, within 15 min. Finally when I found the ticket counters, they were closed! So I missed the Forbidden City!

Scam #08: Avoid Itinerant Tour Companies at Street
AVOID TOURISM COMPANIES, the ones who talk to you at street, promising a great price to go meet Great Wall (for example), they will make you pay more inside the bus, will take you to the worse section of the Great Wall, and prepare yourself for a long day stopping at market places, really awful experience.

If you want sightseeing, get a legal one, from important sites.

Scam #09: Cheating Rampant at North Gate to Forbidden City 
There are two main gates to the Forbidden City – the south gate ( Meridian Gate – Wumen)  and north gate( Gate of Divine – Shenwu Men).  The south gate is linked to Tiananmen Square to the south. You have to enter Forbidden City from its south gate and exit from its north gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route.

So don’t try to go to the North Gate to Forbidden City.  The North Gate now only serves an exit gate.  If you get to a wrong gate ( the north gate ),  just walk along the streets circling Forbidden City and move on to the south gate. In this case, you are not encouraged to use a rickshaw or a 3-wheel motorcycle taxi at the north gate of Forbidden City.  Some  of the rickshaw and 3-wheel motorcycle taxi drivers are just disgusting swindlers.  Avoid Them!  Below is the account by Bill of the victim at the North Gate to Forbidden City.

I was a victim of two scams in the same day! The first was with a 3-wheel motorcycle taxi at the north gate of the forbidden city. I was offered a ride to the south gate for 3 Yuan. The taxi drove through a maze of narrow alleys and he stopped at an isolated spot. Then he demanded 300 Yuan, about $48.

The second incident was the tea shop routine. A nice couple invited me to a local place near Tiananmen square. I told them about the taxi incident and they sounded shocked and empathetic! We were given snacks (2 Yuan per bag in the store), some high quality tea, orange juice, and about 1-2 ounces of wine. The bill was 1200 Yuan plus 100 for the tip. He paid half (money probably borrowed from the owner), but I was still squeezed for over $100.

The next day, near the same square, a woman began a nice friendly conversation with me and tried to do the same thing. The good-bye was very quick.

Scam #10:  The Counterfeit Money
Hi there – another scam to add to the list is the counterfeit money. We used a standalone ATM at the silk markets and received many hundreds of RMB that was fake. We didn’t know of course – its nearly impossible to tell. Now we have some lovely souvenirs that look like 100 RMB notes 🙂
The advice would be to use a bank ATM I guess.

More Tourist Scams:

Tourist scam on Chinese Medicine ( Feedback from christian Holscher )
There is a tourist scam where people pretend to be part of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. They pretend to be doctors and ‘diagnose’ an illness just by taking the pulse. Then, they sell very expensive pills which are most likely just herbal remedies.

The company does not give receipts for their sale, and no address or contact number was provided. They clearly do not pay tax. All what they give to the customer is a worthless certificate with no address. The real of this company can be found on the credit card receipt.

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Plugs and sockets in China

Thursday, May 9th, 2019
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Beijing and China.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
______________________________________________

Before packing for your Beijing Tour or China Tour, it is necessary to have some basic knowledge of the electricity in China, its plug and socket system as well.

Kindly Reminder:
Now many of the small carry-on devices like cell phones, cameras, electric toothbrushes,  hair dryers and electric razors are made with international standards using 110/220 (combining the two main standards for voltage and frequency in the world ) with two flat prong charger plugs.

And you don’t have to use an adapter while traveling in China. In addition, you can use the two-pin sockets easily here in China with your two flat prong plugs.

Before leaving for China,  make sure your electric devices use 110/220 volts and your plugs have two flat prongs.

By the way, most of the chargers for lap tops are made with three-prong plugs which may not fit into the three flat pin sockets here in China and you need to buy a portable plug adapter at your home country or here in China.

In addition, check out the Voltage for your lap tops to see if they fit into 220 V. If not, you need to use a converter also.

If you have some questions with your plugs, sockets, and Voltage while traveling China, please read the full article.

What Voltage is Used in China?
Basically there are two main standards for voltage and frequency in the world. One is the standard of 110-120 volts at a frequency of 60 Hz (mostly used in USA), and the other is the standard of 220–240 volts at 50 Hz (mostly used in Europe).

China uses generally 220V, 50HZ, AC (Hong Kong is 200V; Taiwan is 110V).

Just list some of the countries with different Voltage Frequencies:
Argentina 220 V 50 Hz
Armenia 220 V 50 Hz
Australia 240 V 50 Hz
Austria 230 V 50 Hz
Belgium 230 V 50 Hz
Brazil 110/220 V 60 Hz
Brunei 240 V 50 Hz
Bulgaria 230 V 50 Hz
Canada 120 V 60 Hz
China, People’s Rep. of 220 V 50 Hz
China (Hong Kong) 220 V 50 Hz
Czech Republic 230 V 50 Hz
Denmark 230 V 50 Hz
England (UK) 230 V 50 Hz
Finland 230 V 50 Hz
France 230 V 50 Hz
French Guiana 220 V 50 Hz
Germany 230 V 50 Hz
Great Britain (UK) 230 V 50 Hz
Greece 220 V 50 Hz
Holland (Netherlands) 230 V 50 Hz
Hong Kong (China) 220 V 50 Hz
Hungary 230 V 50 Hz
Iceland 220 V 50 Hz
India 230 V 50 Hz
Indonesia 127/230 V 50 Hz
Ireland (Eire) 230 50 Hz
Israel 220 V 50 Hz
Italy 230 V 50 Hz
Japan 100 V 50/60 Hz
Korea, South 220 V 60 Hz
Luxembourg 220 V 50 Hz
Macau 220 V 50 Hz
Malaysia 240 V 50 Hz
Mexico 127 V 60 Hz
Netherlands Antilles 127/220 V 50 Hz
New Zealand 230 V 50 Hz
Northern Ireland 230 V 50 Hz
Norway 230 V 50 Hz
Philippines 220 V 60 Hz
Poland 230 V 50 Hz
Portugal 230 V 50 Hz
Romania 230 V 50 Hz
Russia 220 V 50 Hz
Saudi Arabia 127/220 V 60 Hz
South Africa 220/230 V 50 Hz
Spain 230 V 50 Hz
Swaziland 230 V 50 Hz
Sweden 230 V 50 Hz
Switzerland 230 V 50 Hz
Taiwan 110 V 60 Hz
Thailand 220 V 50 Hz
Turkey 230 V 50 Hz
United Arab Emirates 220 V 50 Hz
UK (United Kingdom) 230 V 50 Hz
US (United States) 120 V 60 Hz
Venezuela 120 V 60 Hz
Vietnam 127/220 V 50 Hz

Converters (Most laptops have international converters without any problem)
If you are from the countries where the standard of 110-120 volts at a frequency of 60 Hz is available, you need to have converters for your domestic electric devices to be used on your trip to China. You may prepare yourself a converter with a socket of your home country’s standard.

A converter is an implement that converts the input from 220V to 110V or 120V for your device. Most laptops have international converters without any problem.

Power Plugs and Sockets in China
At present, there is no global standard for plugs and sockets. Traditionally the plugs and sockets are classified into several regional standards in the world like American standard, European standard, British standard, South African standard and Chinese standard.

The standard for Chinese plugs and sockets is set out in GB 2099.1–2008 and GB 1002–2008. Chinese power plugs and power sockets are similar to those in Australia.

A Chinese power plug may fit loosely in an Australian socket, but thick pins of an Australian plug may not fit easily in a Chinese power socket. In China, the sockets are installed upside-down compared to Australian ones.

A standard socket on a wall in China has two flat pins on the upper part and earthed three flat pins on the lower part.

 

Chinese Standard Socket on a wall – Two Pins and Three Pins

You may buy a portable power plug adapter at your home country or here in China. Most of your hotels in China offer free use of plug adapters.

A portable plug

A Chinese standard portable socket

A Chinese three flat prong Plug

A Chinese three flat prong Plug

A Chinese two-prong plug

A Chinese two flat prong plug

Plugs and Sockets in use

Plugs and Sockets in use

Sockets and plugs in use

Sockets and plugs in use

As you see, in China, some locally made electric devices have two flat prong plugs and others three flat prong plugs. If your devices cannot fit into the two-prong or three-prong plugs, you need to prepare yourself for a plug adapter or a converter with a socket of your country’s standard.

Kindly Reminder:
Now many of the small carry-on devices like cell phones, cameras, electric toothbrushes,  hair dryers and electric razors are made with international standards using 110/220 (combining the two main standards for voltage and frequency in the world ) with two flat prong charger plugs.

And you don’t have to use an adapter while traveling in China. In addition, you can use the two flat pin sockets easily here in China with your two flat prong plugs.

Before leaving for China, make sure your electric devices use 110/220 volts and your plugs have two prongs.

By the way, most of the chargers for lap tops are made with three-prong plugs which may not fit into the three-pin sockets here in China and you need to buy a portable plug adapter at your home country or here in China. In addition, check out the Voltage for your lap tops to see if they fit into 220 V. If not, you need to use a converter also.

Add On
How to recognise Chinese currency
Learning Useful Chinese Phrases for Travellers
What to Bring for China Trip
Top 10 Places to Visit in China

06611Tip: Hassle-free China Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for China guided tours:

China Highlight Tourfrom US$1050 p/p
(Beijing Xian Shanghai)

China Splendid Tourfrom US$1365 p/p
(Beijing Xian Guilin Shanghai)

China Romantic Yangtze River Tourfrom US$1675 p/p
( Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, Yangtze River, Yichang and Shanghai)

China Mysterious Tibet Tourfrom US$ 2070 p/p
(Beijing Xian Lhasa Shanghai)

Further Readings


Top 10 Places in China
Chinese Phrases for Travellers
Plugs and sockets in China
What to Bring for China Trip
How to recognise Chinese currency
Top 10 China Tourist Scams
How to get a Chinese Visa

Any questions, just drop a line.