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FAQ

(Frequently Asked Questions)


Why take a tour? Why not travel to China on my own?

"Escorted tours mean traveling with minimal effort and fuss, and provides camaraderie. You pay lower prices--especially at hotels-- and may also get special access, since a tour is often the only way to take part in certain activities or go places otherwise off-limits to tourists." - Consumer Reports Travel Guide 2000 Independent travel in China is a tall chore. The language barrier alone is enough to frustrate anyone. In addition, ordering food in restaurants, arranging transportation, and making simple purchases in stores can be a real headache. On our all-inclusive guided tours, everything is taken care of for you; all you need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the experience of visiting this fascinating and very different culture. Our bi-lingual Tour Directors and local guides pay great attention to every detail and are at your service throughout the tour. Our goal is to make sure that when you return from China you will tell your friends how professionally run, worry-free, and enjoyable our tour was.


How physically demanding are the tours?

This depends on the itinerary you choose. With the exception of the Tibet Discovery, the tours are not very physically demanding. There is a fairly good mixture of guided programs and free time. Of course there is some walking; however, we do our best to offer reasonable options for rest and relaxation. You will not be pushed along at a brisk pace. The Yangtze Discovery is the least physical, most of the walking is flat, and four days in the middle of the tour are spent relaxing on the river cruise. The Tibet Discovery is quite demanding, due to the excessive altitude. Anyone choosing this tour should be in good physical condition and cautious of the altitude.


Do we need shots to travel in China?

Most travelers to China do not get any special inoculations. However, any inoculation you may wish to get is completely up to you. To protect ourselves from a legal standpoint we do not, under any circumstances, give recommendations on inoculations. Please do not call us about shots. We recommend you check with your own health care professional or call The National Center for Disease Control and prevention at (404) 639-3534.


Can we drink the water in China?

Tap water is not potable unless boiled. Drink bottled water only. It is cheap and readily available everywhere in China.


Why must we send our passports for the visa?

The Chinese visa is a full-page sticker that is applied directly onto a page in your passport. We process individual visas rather than group visas in order to convenience our guests. If you travel on a group visa and you must exit China for some reason without the group you will be forced to pay a steep fine. For this reason we process individual visas only, and therefore, we must take your actual passport with the visa application to the Chinese consulate for proper processing. If we process your visa for you, the procedure takes 7-10 business days. Your passport with the Chinese visa inside will be returned via Federal Express.


Can we bring U.S. appliances such as hair dryers?

China runs on 220 electricity not 110 (the U.S. standard). Most rooms have hair dryers and special shaver outlets. More information on electricity will be provided in your Confirmation Package.

Baggage

Two pieces of checked baggage and one carry-on is allowed for US transpacific flight. Maximum weight/size for each checked bag is 50 lbs/62 inches (sum of three dimensions). One carry-on, not to exceed 45 inches (sum of three dimensions), is allowed. Within China and on Inter-Asia flights, one piece of baggage not over 44lbs. is allowed. Additional baggage may result in extra fees. Baggage allowance differs for the transpacific and China/InterAsia section of your tour. Each airline baggage restriction varies and is subject to change at any time. Please call for the most up-to-date requirements.


International Customs and Immigrations

As international travelers, everyone will be required to clear customs before being granted entrance into China. The importation of the following articles is prohibited: arms, ammunition, explosives, pornography, narcotics, animals, plants, and meats. Returning home, we will also pass through U.S. Customs and they prohibit roughly the same. They also prohibit the importation of ivory.


Hotels

All tour rates are based on double occupancy. Single rooms are available only when paying the additional single room supplement. For those travelers looking for a roommate, we are willing to assist you in your search by introducing other single travelers that are in the same situation. We can not guarantee compatibility and highly recommend you feel comfortable with the person you will share a room with. You will be billed for the single room supplement at time of booking. If you find a roommate prior to departure you will be refunded or credited the amount of the single supplement. Children under 11 may share a room with two adults, no extra bed; however, three adults are not permitted to share a room. Your Tour Director will handle all hotel check-ins and check-outs. You will be responsible for bills you incurred during your stay for incidentals, phone calls, mini-bar beverages, etc. Baggage will be delivered to and from your rooms by hotel staff. All rooms have full western style bath tubs, showers, and toilets. Amenities normally include a full selection of body care products, slippers, robes, tea service, and stationery.


Meals

Almost all meals are included in the price of the tour. Please refer to each itinerary for the exact schedule of meals. All breakfasts are included and are western buffet style in the hotels. You can expect eggs, bacon, potatoes, cereals, juices, coffee, fresh fruit, etc. Lunches are served in fine, clean local restaurants and are Chinese style. Dinners vary according to itinerary. Normally Chinese meals offer a variety of dishes including chicken, pork, beef, fish, soup, rice, many varieties of cooked vegetables, and fresh fruit. Local beer, soda, and tea are also served. Western food outlets such as McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut are common in larger Chinese cities. Our hotels also feature western style restaurants and room service. We do our best to accommodate guests with special dietary needs. Please bring this to our attention prior to your departure.


Smoking

The tour coach is non-smoking, as are all Air China flights. Restaurants permit smoking; however, we are usually given our own section or room in the restaurants and we prefer our guests do not smoke in the immediate vicinity.


Communications

All rooms come with IDD direct dial telephone lines. You can dial the USA easily. AT&T has a direct English speaking operator that can be reached by dialing 10811 from any hotel room. China time is 15 hours ahead of US Pacific Time and 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Fax and Internet capabilities are available in the hotel business centers.


Clothing

Comfort is the key for clothing while traveling in China. Most important is a comfortable pair of shoes that you are used to. Light clothing of a comfortable fabric that you can wear in layers is a good idea. More information about clothing will be included in your Confirmation Package.

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