Getaway Compass


China has the largest population of any country in the world. This large country has diverse climates, landscapes, culture, and food. Hike the Great Wall, visit the Forbidden City in Beijing, enjoy a view of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak, or shop in Shanghai. Follow the guides to help make planning your trip to China easier.

Ancient Water Towns
Great Wall of China
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Quick Guide


Chinese: Main languages are Mandarin (Shanghai, Beijing) and Cantonese (Guangzhou)
English is not commonly spoken


Most countries are required to get a visa in order to enter China. US citizens can apply for a 10 year, multiple entry visa. You must go to the Chinese Embassy or use an authorized service.


The weather in China varies widely across the country. Overall, Spring and Fall is the best time to visit for less crowds and good weather. Watch out of Chinese New Year in February which brings crowds to many tourist destinations.

Words to Know

Hi= Nǐ hǎo
Bye= Zàijiàn
Thank you= Xièxiè
I’m a vegeterian = wo chisù
Bathroom= Yùshì

Stay connected

Most hotels have WiFi. Outside of the hotel it is difficult to get WiFi without having a local phone number or understanding Chinese.

Many websites are blocked in China. In order to continue to use google, facebook, instagram, etc you would need to purchase a VPN before entering China. Recommended VPN: Express VPN

Helpful Apps

Explore Metro: This app has detailed metro maps and is interactive so you can search for the specific station. You need to download individual apps for each city.

Ulmon City Maps to Go: Maps that you can download and use without Wi-Fi. More accurate than google maps in China, however not always completely accurate. Hotel locations in Beijing/Shanghai can be incorrect.

Express VPN: VPN app that you can download on your phone. Need to register and pay before entering China.


Chinese Yuan (CNY) or  Renmnibi (RMB), same currency – View Conversion Rates

Voltage / Outlet Type

220V / Type A (same as US), Type C, and Type I (same as Europe)


The most common food is pork, noodles, and dumplings. Chicken and turkey are very rare, and there are limited vegetarian options.

Try Xiaolongbao in Shanghai, Peking Duck in Beijing, and Dim Sum in Hong Kong.


Book your hotel using for good deals and many options. automatically provides this Chinese version of your reservation which will be necessary if you plan to take a taxi to your hotel or need to ask for directions.


Airplane: As China is a huge country, flying is the fastest way to travel across far cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Note that the carry-on size restrictions are smaller than in the United States. Most airlines allow at least one free checked bag at 20 Kg. Popular airlines: China Eastern, China Southern, Hong Kong Airlines, Cathay Pacific. 

High-Speed Train: There are many high speed train routes in China connecting numerous cities. This is a great option as they are typically cheaper than flights and are less likely to have delays due to weather conditions. The fastest trains travel about 300 km/hour

Inner City Metro: Most metro systems are very easy to use to get around and have maps and information English. The machines to purchase tickets also have an English option. Make sure you carry around small change because they typically do not take bigger bills.

Busses: Difficult to use because the destination is typically in Chinese, not a recommended option to get around if you don’t understand Chinese.


Tongli Water Town1

How to Visit Tongli Water Town

Known as the Venice of the East, Tongli is a beautiful ancient water town with bridges, oriental gardens, and interesting halls. Spend a day admiring the traditional architecture in Tongli and the 49 stone bridges connecting the town.  Tongli offers a great day trip from Shanghai. Getting to

Beijing Forbidden City

How to Spend Two Days in Beijing

Beijing is an interesting city with a lot of history but it can be overwhelming to visit this large city. Spend one day walking around Beijing and visiting Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and Wangfujing Street. On your second day, hike the Great Wall of China, an incredible experience

Shanghai Observation Deck

Shanghai City Guide

Shanghai has many unique neighborhoods and countless things to see and do. Get a view of Shanghai from the second tallest building in the world, step back in time in the Old City, walk along the famous Nanjing Road shopping street, or relax at a cafe in Xintiandi.

Yuyuan Garden Shanghai

Important Things to Know For Your Visit to China

China is a big country with busy cities, beautiful nature, and interesting culture. Because China is such a big country planning a trip here can be overwhelming. This guide will walk you through how to prepare for your trip and things to know for your visit to China.