China Holiday Dates and When NOT to Travel

China Holiday Dates and When NOT to Travel

There are seven holiday public holidays in China lasting from 1 day to 3 days. The holidays are lengthened by people working weekends prior and after the break, holidays such as the National Day holiday/Mid Autumn Festival period can actually become 7 day breaks or longer.

New Year January 1
Chinese New Year 1st day of 1st lunar month (late January-Early February)
Qingming Festival 5th solar term (April 4 or April 5)
Labor Day May 1
Dragon Boat Festival 5th day of 5th lunar month (late June)
Mid-Autumn Festival 15th day of 8th lunar month (late September)
National Day October 1

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Basic Chinese for Travelers – Phrases + Links to Apps and Free Learning Tools

Basic Chinese for Travelers – Phrases + Links to Apps and Free Learning Tools

This page is intended for those people who haven’t had the luxury of doing a beginners Chinese course before having to/or choosing to step onto a plane and head for China. The page includes survival phrases, tools, apps plus links to loads of free resources for learning Mandarin Chinese.

First, for those that are completely new to the language, like myself, lets introduce a few key facts.

  • Mandarin (Putonghua) is the most common language spoken throughout China.
  • Hong Kong, and many people throughout Guangdong Province, speak Cantonese. Whilst similar to Mandarin, speakers of each will usually not understand each other.
  • Two people from different provinces, who both speak mandarin, may not understand each other due to accents. Think like, an American trying to understand to fast talking Irishman with a thick accent.
  • Pinyin is the Romanised transcription of Chinese characters perfected by a government team led by  Zhou Youguang whose story in itself is an insight into modern China.
  • Mandarin is a tone based language consisting of rising, falling, falling rising, and high level tone.

Tones can change the meaning of words, and this is possibly the trickiest part of the language especially for English speakers. For example, you could say hello in whatever pitch or tone you like, it may have a different connotation but everyone will still know what you mean. In mandarin you may pronounce the word correctly, but if the tone is incorrect, it can have a complete different meaning. For example gǒnglì is the name of an actor, gōnglǐ is also the name for kilometer, only the tones used are different.

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Trains in China – A guide for travelers

Trains in China – A guide for travelers

China’s train network is extensive to say the least, with nearly every city and town connected via over 90,000 km or tracks. The size is set to grown with the Chinas continuing domestic growth, plus proposals for inter-continental lines that could extend from China into Russia, Germany and even to London and from China through south east Asia as far as Malaysia.

Currently train travel in China is a reasonably efficient means to get around, clean comfortable and in most cases cost effective. The train network is also going through a process of growth in terms of coverage but also in speed and quality. The new HSR (High Speed Rail) network features super-trains capable of  least 200km/h and some 380km/h.

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Money in China – a guide to Currency, Denomination and Buying stuff

Money in China – a guide to Currency, Denomination and Buying stuff

This article sets out to explain a little about China’s currency, incredibly useful stuff if you’re travelling to China or buying from Chinese websites.

Lets take at looks at the many names used when talking money in China and the Chinese currency, which include RMB, Renminbi, ¥; CNY; also CN¥, 元 and CN元 Yuan, Kuai and Mao.

RMB is an abbreviation of Renminbi which has the meaning “people’s currency”.

Yuan (元) is a unit of the Renminbi. Just like the ‘dollar’ is a unit of the ‘Australian Dollar’, the ‘Yuan’ is a unit of the ‘Renminbi’.

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Getting a China Visa in Hong Kong

Getting a China Visa in Hong Kong

My 30 day visa for mainland China had expired and even though I had only been in Hong Kong for a day I knew that I wanted to go back and explore more of China. So, it’s off to do a visa application for China while in Hong Kong.

There are many ways to go through the visa process while in Hong Kong including at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or via the many travel agents offering visa services, and even via some accommodation houses, particularly backpacker hostels.

I’m not sure which way is best but for my first time I went with the relative safety of the state owned travel agency, China Travel Service, commonly known as CTS. CTS have branches all over Hong Kong, so they were not to hard to find.  Hong Kong  – CTS Branch Map

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First Step: Getting My Chinese Visa in Australia

For most people booking through travel agents this step will probably be handled by your travel agent but in my case and for many who step out there own journey its one of the things that you’ll have to take care of.

Fortunately its not to difficult. At the time of writing there are differing types of visas depending on whether you are travelling for business, working or just leisure or holidays. More info on: Chinese Visa Types.

For me, I just needed a tourist visa, or as they call it an L visa. Which was as simple as heading to the Consulate General of the Peoples Republic of China in Brisbane and filling out a fairly straightforward form and handing that over with my passport.

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