Travel tips for the first time business or leisure traveller to China

Written by Ken Cheong

Travel Tips for China China is a large country at a size of 9,596,960 sq km. China was only partially open torepparttar world from 1979 onwards and has been a communist country for many decades. Although there is much progress inrepparttar 148588 travel industry and infrastructure of China, there remain parts that needs to be improved before it can matchrepparttar 148589 level that most tourist would require.

However, much ofrepparttar 148590 fun remain that it is different fromrepparttar 148591 rest ofrepparttar 148592 world. China will berepparttar 148593 host nation forrepparttar 148594 Olympics in Year 2008. Travel facilities and infrastructure will be improving quickly as we approach Year 2008.

Chinese is rich in culture and history. Visitrepparttar 148595 Great Wall of China in Beijing, sip Chinese tea in Xiamen, dance with ethnic tribes in Yunnan, check out 19th Century European buildings in Qingdao - there are just so much to do, see and learn in China!

Below are some travel tips to make your travel in China easier:

Entry Visa China require entry visa from most countries. Apply atrepparttar 148596 Chinese consulate or through your travel agent before travelling to China.


Extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north. Be prepared withrepparttar 148597 right seasonal clothing.

Foreign Exchange

The Chinese unit of currency is known as Remembi(RMB) or Yuan. Get some Chinese Yuan in your local country before travelling. When in China, exchange foreign currency for local currency inrepparttar 148598 banks or atrepparttar 148599 hotel. Banks tend to give slightly better rates than hotels. Take note that some banks close for a noon siesta between 12-2pm.

Payment facilities

Most better class hotels and shopping centres take Credit Card or Travellers cheques. Smaller hotels and shops take cash only. Once out ofrepparttar 148600 bigger cities, credit card and ATM cards tend to be almost impossible to utilize. Cash is still king in Chinese business and trade.

Counterfeit notes are common in China. Check carefully before accepting change, especially if it consists mostly 100RMB notes. You can feel a texture difference where counterfeit notes is concerned.

Understanding of English

Most civil servants, custom officials, police and hotel staff and men inrepparttar 148601 street do not speak English or at best a smattering of English.

Most signboards and notices will carry both English and Chinese. However, be aware that some translations can be so notorious that one can hardly understand what was it's original Chinese intention.

Do not expect hotels or shops to understand English. Onlyrepparttar 148602 very big hotels will have staff that will understand English.

Most young people can understand basic English if you speak slowly.

Social Security China is generally a safe country. However, hang on tight to your wallet especially in crowded, popular tourist sites in tourist cities such as Beijing and Xian.

These Chinese cities that are popular with tourist also has a lot of touts inrepparttar 148603 streets touting tourist from currency exchange to jewelleries to female companionships. Avoid at all cost!

Domestic Travel

Bus, train, ferries and domestic flights are quite well developed. Avoidrepparttar 148604 crowd atrepparttar 148605 stations and book your tickets throughrepparttar 148606 hotel tour desk orrepparttar 148607 nearest tour agent. Prices are likely to be competitive and tickets will be delivered to your hotel room. Again, avoid ticket touts who approach you inrepparttar 148608 streets.

Local buses are cheap (US$0.10 or YS$0.20) and you may want to try out. Taxis are convenient and are available at all hours. Starting fares differ from each city and may be as cheap as US$0.70 in Weihai and US$1.50 in Shenzhen.

Avoid travel during peak holiday seasons or book tickets well ahead.

New Places to Live and Retire Around the World

Written by Phillip Townsend

Places to Live inrepparttar World: Emerging Alternatives

From Canada to Europe, Africa to Asia, it’s time for a fresh look By Phillip Townsend

The advent of fast Internet communication and inexpensive air travel makes it easier to turn any far-flung paradise into a permanent home. Which places inrepparttar 148385 world haverepparttar 148386 most to offer? The perfect place to live or retire, of course depends on your idea of perfection.

I’m taking a different approach for this article. Instead of giving an overview ofrepparttar 148387 better-known and increasingly-popular expatriate destinations aroundrepparttar 148388 world (Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, etc.), I’ve decided to introduce you torepparttar 148389 below 7 locales you probably don’t know much about. All offer affordability and abundant recreational and cultural opportunities.

Nova Scotia Just east of Maine, inrepparttar 148390 North Atlantic, Nova Scotia’s pristine coast is slowly becoming a sought-after affordable getaway. Only two hours from New York or Boston, it feels a world away. A pleasingly crowd-free province on Canada’s Atlantic Coast, little-known Nova Scotia could just berepparttar 148391 perfect full- or part-time retreat. Halifax,repparttar 148392 capital, has been luring tourists for years. Waterfront cafes, European architecture, and spectacular seafood keep them coming back. Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island boastsrepparttar 148393 some ofrepparttar 148394 best scenery inrepparttar 148395 world, fromrepparttar 148396 picturesque highlands torepparttar 148397 picturesque Bras d'Or Lake (pronounced "bra door"), withrepparttar 148398 Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. Inrepparttar 148399 winter months,repparttar 148400 Gulf Stream keepsrepparttar 148401 climate milder than most northern U.S. states, withrepparttar 148402 area more rain showers than snow storms. Picturerepparttar 148403 American East Coast a century ago, and you get a feel for what Nova Scotia is like. Almost an island, it is best known for its stunning coastline, sleepy seaside towns and friendly people. The province’s natural beauty, cheap real estate and low cost of living make it well worth a look: oceanfront lots start at $10,000, three-bedroom homes on acreage from $50,000. A lobster dinner with a bottle of good local wine set you back no more than a twenty spot. Scenes ofrepparttar 148404 Hollywood blockbuster Titanic were shot in Nova Scotia, and celebrities including Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore and Billy Joel maintain summer homes here.

Caribbean Almost everyone has had dreams of living a laid-back, stress-free life on a tropical island. One by one,repparttar 148405 Caribbean islands were discovered and eventually became sadly over-developed, terribly over-crowded, and ridiculously over-priced. Unfortunately, due to mass tourism, most places inrepparttar 148406 Caribbean have become little more than artificial, tropical Disneylands with luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts. But there is one place that still maintains its original charm and natural beauty. This place is quite inexpensive (by Caribbean standards) and is virtually unspoiled. Relatively undiscovered, here, you can still find ocean view lots for as little as $22,000 and have a small cottage built for prices starting at $25,000. To protect it fromrepparttar 148407 fate of its Caribbean cousins, I won't revealrepparttar 148408 name of this special place just yet. You can find a link to more information atrepparttar 148409 end of this article. Cuba Think Cuba, and vivid images come to mind: of men in Guayabera shirts and Panama hats, tropical breezes and cool drinks, steamy Latin rhythms and sultry women. It has always been an intriguing place, steeped in truth and in fiction byrepparttar 148410 novels of Ernest Hemingway. Because travel to Cuba is restricted byrepparttar 148411 U.S. government, relatively few Americans visitrepparttar 148412 island each year. While their counterparts from Europe, Canada and Latin America bask inrepparttar 148413 warm Cuban sun, most U.S. citizens can only hope to experience this "pearl" ofrepparttar 148414 Caribbean after Castro is gone. Of those who do manage to get to Cuba via Mexico or Canada, few are disappointed. The largest Caribbean island (pop. 11 million), Cuba is also one ofrepparttar 148415 most beautiful and unspoiled. There are miles of pristine, underdeveloped beaches, tropical forests teeming with wildlife and some ofrepparttar 148416 best deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and snorkelingrepparttar 148417 world has to offer. And there is Havana, not onlyrepparttar 148418 capital of Cuba, but also longrepparttar 148419 most important city inrepparttar 148420 Caribbean. With tourism once again thriving, Havana has regained much of its past allure. Famous old bars, restaurants and hotels are enjoying a proud comeback, and stunning new places are being built. As one taxi driver put it, "We haverepparttar 148421 best cigars, best rum, best music, and most beautiful women inrepparttar 148422 world. What more could anyone want?"

Romania Best known for Transylvania,repparttar 148423 legendary home of Count Dracula, Romania is steeped in history, myth and folklore. Unlike other Eastern European countries with Slavic origins, Romania, whose name means 'land ofrepparttar 148424 Romans,' absorbed much ofrepparttar 148425 culture, religion, and language ofrepparttar 148426 Roman Empire. Bordered byrepparttar 148427 Black Sea (which is being called “The Next Riviera”) andrepparttar 148428 Danube River, withrepparttar 148429 Transylvanian Alps and Carpathian Mountains nestled inrepparttar 148430 center ofrepparttar 148431 country, Romania has long stretches of seacoast, mountains, forests, medieval villages and gothic castles galore, giving it allrepparttar 148432 makings of a fairy-tale setting. The capital Bucharest, a former communist citadel, has a growing number of discos, while restaurants at most major hotels double as nightclubs, there are several Parisian-style cafés, and cheap wines and plum brandy flow freely everywhere. Due to its wide boulevards, sidewalk cafés, and Triumphal Arch, Bucharest, was known asrepparttar 148433 "Paris ofrepparttar 148434 Balkans" prior to World War II. Todayrepparttar 148435 city’s 19th century neoclassical architecture and numerous tree-lined streets still maintain its charm. A sizable enclave of foreigners (Germans, Jews, Turks, Russians, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, and Gypsies) live in Romania. French isrepparttar 148436 most widely-spoken second language and English is spoken by many ofrepparttar 148437 younger generation. The real estate prices are some ofrepparttar 148438 lowest in all Europe (the country’s economic woes spells opportunity for you).

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