China Basic Information

Take an open mind (and an empty backpack) and immerse yourself in the colourful cacophony that is modern China. From trekking the Silk Road to exploring the wilds of Mongolia and from traversing the Great Wall and sampling spicy Sichuan cuisine to bagging a bargain in Shenzhen, the sheer diversity of China is much more than you can pack in one holiday. But, before you convert your Aussie Dollars to Chinese Yuan, here's some need-to-know tips:

Visa Requirements

A visa is required for all visitors to China whether for tourism, business , employment or study purposes. If you are travelling to China, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the duration of your intended stay and you must be able to provide evidence of a return or onward ticket. Be aware that this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact your local Embassy or Consulate of China.

Currency

The currency of China is the Renminbi with denominations in Yuan. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and Chinese Yuan fluctuates constantly, so it's a good idea to monitor the rate before purchasing cash. For safe spending while overseas, consider using a credit card or debit card.

Food

Forget the bland Anglicised offerings at your local Chinese restaurant, mainland Chinese cuisine is complex and varies between regions. The most recognisable style is Cantonese with an emphasis on freshly cooked ingredients and seafood, while Huiyang cuisine centres around lighter fare like steamed dumplings and buns. Sichuan food is famously spicy and hot, while the Shandong style favours seafood in various forms. Western fast food chains are just as ubiquitous in the East with all the major brands represented in the bigger cities.

Nightlife

Trip the light fantastic in Beijing and Shanghai where energetic dance clubs and sky-high bars rule the night. In Beijing, the main nightlife centres around Sanlitun in Chaoyang with a main bar street and several large clubs. Head to Dada for hip hop, drum and bass at Siif and international DJs at Elements. In Shanghai, the in-crowd converge on No. 88 for a pumping soundtrack, The Shelter for underground tunes, Bar Rouge on the Bund to be seen and Vue Bar on the 32nd floor of the Hyatt on the Bund hotel for the cityscape panorama.