Visa and Gateways
All foreigners in China are required to have a visa, the most common for travellers being an L Visa. These are available for single or multiple entries with the typical duration of stay being 30, 60 or 90 days. A travel visa is sufficient for visiting any part of China, though visitors to Tibet need to have an additional travel permit that can be granted from a travel agency in the country, often arranged with a pre-packaged tour there.
Travellers should apply for a visa at the closest China Consulate or Embassy at least one month in advance, and allow three to five business days for processing. Some travel agencies may be able to take care of this.
Visa extensions of 30 days are easy to obtain for L visas by visiting a local Public Security Bureau (PSB). The cost for these varies by country and changes fairly frequently.
The penalty for overstaying your visa is 500 RMB per day
Getting There and Away
Guangxi has two international airports, Guilin Liangjiang International Airport and Nanning Wuxu International Airport, the former being the most commonly used by tourists given its proximity to most tourism destinations.
The Guilin airport is accessible from virtually any major city in China, as well as international destinations such as Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Singapore.
Bus and Train
Guangxi is accessible by bus from Hanoi, Hai Phong and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, with direct buses arriving in Nanning.
Hanoi also has a train that runs to Nanning, and Pingxiang on the border. Pingxiang also has a train that runs to the capital. Travellers can get to Pingxiang from Viet Nam by hiring local drivers in Dong Dang, located just across the border.
China uses a 5-day workweek that is adhered to by banks, government offices and many businesses (though tourism businesses do not necessarily follow this schedule). They remain open Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 or 6 pm, though lunch hours are taken for one or two hours in the middle of the day.
National holidays include the Spring Festival in February, the May 1st Holiday and National Day on October 1st, and businesses are often closed for these holidays and the preceding or following week. The Spring Festival is the most celebrated of all, with even restaurants staying closed for extended periods.
Additionally, these holidays are often used by the Chinese to travel, as these are often the only extended holidays that they have, so it is not encouraged to travel at these times due to the extremely high volume of domestic tourists and inflated prices for the high season.
China’s currency unit is the Renminbi (RMB) which is also commonly referred to as the Yuan. Money can be exchanged in the airport, at most banks and some of the larger hotels in big cities.
The current exchange rate for RMB is:
USD: $1 = 6.49 RMB
Euro: €1= 9.3 RMB
ATMs and Credit Cards:
ATMs can be found almost anywhere in China, but often times they do not accept foreign bank cards for transactions. The Bank of China and The Construction Bank of China are the banks most likely to accept foreign ATM cards. In major cities such as Chengdu, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Jinghong it will not be a problem to withdraw money.
The ability to use foreign credit cards in China is typically limited to luxury hotels, restaurants and high-end souvenir shops. Cash is the most commonly used form of currency, and if you wish to make a small purchase you will most likely be required to use cash. Please plan in advance for this by exchanging your currency into RMB.
Health and Safety
In general, China is a very safe destination for travellers. Violent crime is extremely rare as the government imposes very severe punishment for crimes against them, though travellers should be wary of petty theft and pickpockets, as they would be in any destination.
Guilin People’s Hospital
Tel: +86-773-282 9065, +86-773-282 3767, +86-773-282 5116 (Emergency)
Add: No 70 Wenming Lu
Guilin, Guangxi 541002
P. R. China
Guangxi Travel Guide: http://eng.gxta.gov.cn