Mainland China

Capital City: Beijing
Timezone: UTC+8
Country Calling Code: +86
Currency: CNY

1 CNY = 1.00 CNY

1 USD = 6.25 CNY

1 EUR = 7.69 CNY

1 GBP = 9.09 CNY

1 AUD = 6.25 CNY

These rates were valid at time of writing.
Please check for exact exchange rates.

Weather & When to Visit


China enjoys a continental climate, which differs from region to region due to the extensive territory and complex topography. Most parts of China have a clear division between seasons.


In general, most popular and comfortable periods for visitors are spring and autumn. Spring, which is from late March to June, sees milder weather conditions with average temperatures roughly between 18 – 28 degrees celsius. Autumn, from September to October is also lovely with temperatures around 10 – 18 degrees celsius and limited rain. September brings additional benefits, for example it is the only month in the year when the ancient and valuable paintings of the Beijing Palace Museum are displayed due to the good climate conditions (low humidity and proper temperature).


Winter and summer brings extreme climates. In winter, northerly winds from high latitude areas keep the northern part cold and dry, temperature drop below zero and snow is not uncommon. Northern China is currently equipped with central heating whilst the south is not. Whilst the bitter cold can be a deterrent for many travelers, the advantages of visiting during this time include less crowds and unique views, e.g. the Great Wall covered in layers of white snow is a unique sight. Note some parts of the country particularly high altitude areas do close down with hotels shut for the coldest part of winter. In contrast summer can be extremely hot. Monsoons from southern coastal areas bring warm temperature and moisture, and the humidity makes the temperature feel hotter than it is.


If you do travel China during winter or summer, a good time to deal with weather unpredictability and moving in and out of buildings to extreme heat and cold, is to wear layered clothing that you can add or take off as required.


Events & Festivals


China has seven legal holidays in a year:


  • New Year's Day is the same holiday celebrated in the western calendar, falling on the 1 January each year.
  • Spring Festival, known to many as Lunar Festival or Chinese New Year, is the most important festivity in the lunar calendar and lasts from the 1st to 15th day - usually between the end of Jan to late Feb. Millions of Chinese people on holiday travel back to their home towns to see their families. Generally it is not a pleasant time to travel as some site and businesses close, and there is mass congestion in the country's transportation system.
  • Qingming Festival around the 5 April is also known as Tomb Sweeping Day and is traditionally a time when people go outside to celebrate spring and tend to the graves of their relatives.
  • 1 May marks the Labor Day Holiday in China and is usually combined with an adjacent weekend.
  • Dragonboat Festival or Duan We Jie falls on the 5th day of the 5th month in the lunar calendar, usually in June. Traditional customs and activities are celebrated including dragonboat racing and eating zongzi.
  • Mid Autumn Festival is a day off in September usually adjoined to a weekend. It is sometimes known as moon festival and traditionally moon cakes are eaten and given as gifts to symbolise reunion and happiness.
  • National Day is commonly known as October Holiday and the 3 days off combined with a weekend before and after form 'Golden Week'. Due to the pleasant weather at this time of year many Chinese use the opportunity to travel around the country making it a difficult time to secure transportation and excessively crowded at famous sites.



All travelers to China require a valid passport of minimum 6 months after departure from China and visa. Visas to China are issued by China Embassies or Consulates in your country. Visa on arrival is not possible. The processing time may vary from country to country. For more information, please visit:



Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA), and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (airport code: CAN) are the 4 major international airports in China.


Beijing Capital International Airport is the busiest airport in Asia and the 2nd busiest in the world. The airport hosts over 73 million passengers annually with over 70 airlines flying to over 200 cities worldwide. The airport has three terminals. Terminal 1 handles domestic flights, while Terminal 2 handles international flights and flights between Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Terminal 3 was constructed to handle visitors for the 2008 Olympics and is the 2nd largest terminal in the world. Located 20 kilometers north of central Beijing, the Airport Express Line runs from the airport directly into the city. Taxis and airport buses are also available. 


Hongqiao Airport is located in the eastern edge of central Shanghai and is easily reached by metro and taxis. This airport handles all domestic flights throughout mainland China and Hainan Island and some international flights. 


Shanghai Pudong International Airport Is located roughly 35km from the heart of the city, this newly opened airport is Shanghais door to the world. Departures are on the upper floor and arrivals on the bottom floor. There are two departure terminals in Shanghai Pudong International Airport: - Terminal 1 is used by many airport companies mainly for domestic flights. - Terminal 2 is used by many airport companies mainly for international flights. Please make sure you check which terminal your flight is in and go to the right terminal building. If you entered the wrong terminal, don’t worry. It takes you about 20 - 25 minutes to walk back from one terminal to another. 


Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, located on the border of the northern Renhe Town, Baiyun District, is about 28 kilometers from the airport to downtown area of the city. It is one of the three largest air hubs in China. Opened to the public in 2004, it occupies an area of 15 square kilometers, serving more than 110 air routes from Guangzhou to over 100 domestic and international cities. There are two departures halls and two boarding areas in Baiyun International Airport. They are Domestic Departures Hall, International Departures Hall, Domestic Boarding Area and International Boarding Area. We advise international passengers to show up at the airport 2 - 2.5 hours before the departure.

Things to Consider


  • If you are going to travel in China during national holiday periods, you should be prepared for some sites and businesses to be closed, difficulties in getting public transport, and excessive crowds at sightseeing locations. A high degree of patience is required when traveling during this time.
  • Assuming you already have a valid visa to enter China, traveling to certain parts of the country may require additional permits, e.g. Tibet and westernmost parts of Xinjiang.
  • In large Chinese cities western toilets are readily available, but in more remote travel locations or when you are on the road, toilet standards can vary. Be prepared to use squat toilets and bring your own toilet paper.
  • Drink bottled water and make sure the seal on the cap of the bottle is not broken. Many restaurants will offer you boiled tap water or tea: provided the water has been well boiled it should be ok, but stick to bottled water if you are unsure.
  • Don't drink tap water directly. Most hotels will provide an electric kettle in guest rooms for boiling water. You can use it to boil the tap water by yourself, after which it is safe to drink or use for tea. It's okay to brush your teeth with tap water.
  • Getting your medications and toiletries is relatively easy to do in Shanghai, however not all cities in China are the same. Depending on where you are traveling it may be wise to bring your own medicine and toiletries.
  • Pickpockets are still common in some areas, and you may stick out as a target if it is obvious you are a tourist. Beware of your belongings when out on the streets. Avoid wearing flashy jewellery and keep valuables in a safe place.
  • Be careful of scams. Unfortunately there are too many cases of travelers or foreigners falling prey to local scams, e.g. questionable tea shops, students pretending to want to practise English with you or showing you to a local artists shop.
  • Shopping or commission stops are a commonly accepted way for many local guides in China to earn extra income when taking travelers on a tour. Classic Travel is against shopping stops and these should not be included unless travelers themselves agree to go. If your local guide forces you to go to a shopping stop you should be clear with the guide you do not want to go and inform Classic Travel immediately.
  • When shopping at local markets be prepared to bargain. It may feel uncomfortable for you but it is the norm all over the country.
  • Whilst tipping is not customary in China, it is still common practice for travelers to tip their local guides and drivers in recognition of good service. Bell boys and room service staff at high-end hotels may sometimes also expect a small amount of tips, but tipping is usually not required at restaurants or in taxis.
  • Taking your own food on domestic flights so you don't have to eat the airline food.
  • Girls should wear a skirt if possible if going to places where you need to use a squat toilet - its easier.
  • Learn basic Chinese phrases like slow down (man dian) (for drivers), not spicy (bu yao la) (for restaurants).


Important Note:
Whilst Classic Travel does our best to keep information updated, it is always advisable for you to double-check details for your specific trip as information can change without notice, particularly in regards to arrival & departure airport terminals, visa requirements and airport/port fees.