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China FAQs

  • Giant Panda's in Chengdu

What language is spoken in China?

The official language of China is Mandarin, spoken by more than 90% of the population. There are many other dialects and minority languages spoken by the rest of the population, such as Cantonese, Tibetan, and Shanghainese. 

Is English spoken in China?

Yes, English is spoken in China, but it’s not the native language and not everyone can speak it. English signage is common in major cities and airports.

What currency is used in China?

Renminbi is the official Chinese currency, but the most widespread international usage is yuan. ATMs can be found in all major cities.

Do I need a Visa to travel to China?

American and Canadian passport holders entering China will need a visa arranged in advance. A typical tourist visa is valid for three months from the date of issue. As of January 1, 2019 all Canadian passport holdersmust apply in person at one of the five Chinese offices located across Canada and have their fingerprints taken. Persons over the age of 70 are exempted from fingerprinting. Goway will provide more information on how to apply for the visa at the time of booking.

Note: If you are transiting through China and only stopping over for a short period of time, you might qualify for a visa exemption.

Is Wi-Fi readily available?

Internet access is good in most major areas of China. Wi-Fi is available at most restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, and malls, but login prompts may be in Chinese. Gaps in internet service exist in remote areas and villages in China. 

Note: China blocks some social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, and some email providers.

What are the helpful travel tools/apps to use when you travel in China?

WeChat is the most popular digital communication tool in China. You can download an English version, which has a translation function. You can send text and voice messages, and call people for free if both are connected to Wi-Fi. It can also be used to pay for many purchases by QR code. DiDi is China’s equivalent to Uber and is the most popular ridesharing app in China.

Can I use my cellphone in China?

It is possible to purchase a SIM card upon arrival. However, we suggest you check with your cellular provider to know what your options are. You might be able to get an affordable roaming plan.

Is it safe to drink tap water?

Tap water is not drinkable anywhere in China, but purified water is easy to find in hotels and restaurants.

What are the public bathroom facilities like?

Asian squat toilets are the most common. It is recommended you bring your own tissues and hand sanitizer as they are not normally provided.

What is the best time to travel to China? 

The best time to travel to China is between March and May and between September to early November. It’s better to avoid crowds in the first week of May and October because of the Chinese national holidays. The summer months tend to be very hot and the winter months are cooler with snow in the north.

What are transportation options in China?

Geographically speaking, China is a vast country so domestic air travel is often the most efficient way to travel between long-distance destinations. However, China’s high-speed train network is sophisticated and constantly expanding, so it’s another option in some areas (such as between Chengdu and Chongqing or Guilin and Hong Kong). Within cities and rural areas, Goway passengers will travel by private vehicle or bus transportation if travelling on a group tour.

Is China family-friendly? 

China is a family-friendly country with several activities that everyone will enjoy such as visiting pandas in Chengdu, hiking along the Great Wall near Beijing, floating down the Li River on bamboo rafts in Yangshuo, or a fun-filled day at Shanghai Disneyland. We can create a custom itinerary based on your family's interests.

How welcoming is China to LGBTQ travellers and families?

LGBTQ relationships are not legal in China. However, if travelling discreetly, LGBTQ travellers should have no issues.

What are the main annual festivals or events held? 

China has many festivals and events annually. The Chinese New Year or Spring Festival takes place in January or February each year (on the first of the 24 solar terms, which falls between January 21 and February 20. The Dragon Boat Festival takes place in June each year, on the fifth day of the fifth month on the traditional Chinese calendar. The National Holiday is October 1 and is followed by a week-long vacation nationwide. The Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, normally falling in late September.

We strongly advise against travelling during Chinese New Year and the National Holiday period in October. Those periods are a peak time for domestic travel and sightseeing spots tend to be very crowded.


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