China - More Information


China, or officially the People's Republic of China, is the worlds most populous country with a population of more than 1.35 billion people and the second largest country by land area. China is a single-party state governed by the Communist party and the capital city is Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over the provinces, municipalities and regions of the country. Because of China’s size it is very diverse culturally. There are modern westernised cities like Hong Kong and Macau and rural villages that still operate how they have done for 100’s of year. From villages in the high mountains to those on the edge of deserts. All of which have their own identity and history within China.

The People's Republic of China gained power at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Mao Zedong, or popularly known as Chairman Mao, led the country until his death in 1976 and started the movement towards the country that exists today. Since the 1990's China has seen rapid economic growth and is now the biggest importer and exported of goods in the world. This has also led to big modern cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu. 

China's landscape is vast and diverse, with forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts occupying the arid north and northwest near Mongolia and Central Asia, and subtropical forests prevalent in the wetter south near Southeast Asia. The terrain of western China is rugged and elevated, with the Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separating China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, have their sources in the Tibetan Plateau and continue to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometres (9,000 miles) long and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.

Walking in China

China is relatively new to the ‘hiking’ market, but now that the Chinese are also becoming interested in this activity, trails are becoming way marked and well maintained by regional authorities.  New routes are being developed, but still the hotel infrastructure and other amenities within hiking areas remain limited.  To enjoy the real beauty and hospitality of rural China it is necessary to accept that standards may not always be on a par with those found in cities. Language remains a problem for those without knowledge of Mandarin hence a guide is somewhat necessary!  Walking in China is as safe as anywhere though we emphasize that walking The Great Wall requires a good level of fitness as some scrambling will be necessary.  A head for heights is also required on some sections. South in Guangxi Province around Guilin, walking is easy and relaxed along the Li River and through the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces.    

Walking in China with New Experience Holidays is different from most companies which only feature group holidays with fixed itineraries. We provide a hiking guide for individual clients with the support of a private driver.  They accompany you throughout your stay and tend to everything in support of your trip.  With their extensive knowledge of the regions, you will eat in the most authentic local restaurants, have luggage transferred with you in the car, and have a personal guide around key historical sites. We are able to feature Chinese Homestays and special hotels which generally cater for individual travelers.   

Visa - China

All visitors to China require a Visa.  Applications need to be given plenty of time (absolute minimum in UK is two weeks).

Your application for a China visa should be made when your booking has been confirmed. We will give you the letters of introduction from China, flight details if we have booked them for you and any other relevant information with regards to getting your visa.

For UK residents, to apply for the visa you need to fill out forms which can be printed from the China visa website. You can either make an appointment to take your documentation to one of the three application visa offices at London, Manchester or Edinburgh or you can post the documentation to one of these offices. If you choose any postal options you will be charged extra. For collection a single entry visa for a UK passport should cost £66 and a postal application should cost £84. The visa process will take up to 14 days. Prices for other nationalities will vary.

For non-UK residents please contact your local Chinese consulate for more details.

Visa – Hong Kong

It must be emphasized that visa requirements are not the same for Hong Kong as they are for China. UK nationals do not require a visa for Hong Kong.

Health

China does not present the traveler with any great health risks as long as certain ‘rules’ are maintained. At the time of booking we will advise on necessary vaccinations required and all health considerations for the regions you will be visiting. 

Food and Drink

The Chinese are extremely health conscious!  They live to eat and are very particular about the preparation and quality of the food they eat and it’s amazing in diversity of tastes, textures and content!  It is usual to eat three hot meals each day and generally large quantities are consumed. If you stick to freshly cooked Chinese food eating what is recommended by our guides, you should not experience any stomach problems.  Going ‘Western’ is often the cause of a stomach upset and should be avoided. Meals are always accompanied by Green or Flower Tea.  Beer is popular and is lighter and lower in alcohol than ours. Rice wines need to be treated with caution!  Fruit and fizzy drinks are not popular. Everything is available in city hotels, but in rural areas only tea, water or beer.  Water should only be bottled or boiled.   

Flora and Fauna

China is such a vast country that it just about has something of everything; from the north with a climate similar, although more extreme, to northern Europe to the sub-tropical regions in the south, the high Himalaya in Tibet and the deserts of Inner Mongolia. This diversity provides a very varied natural world with thousands of plant, bird and animal species making travel throughout the country so exciting.      

When to Go

It is important to consider public holidays when travelling to China and avoid the major ones which are Chinese New Year and 1st May weekend. Everywhere is overcrowded and accommodation is difficult to obtain. October 1st holiday is also busy but not to the same extent.

Travelling to the north of China is at its very best from mid April to mid June and mid September to mid November.  Up to early April it is still very cold and the land bare of anything green.  As Spring progresses, late April sees blossom trees covering fields and mountainsides as trees begin to leaf. After mid June it is very hot and walking the Great Wall is shade less therefore not recommended. From mid September to early November the landscape changes from green to beautiful autumnal colours and temperatures soften.

The south of China - Guilin area has a sub tropical climate and is warm all year.  It is preferable to avoid the rainy season during May and June as some walks may be affected by high water level of the Li River. January and February are coolest, March and April are best with clear, warm weather.  Summer months from July to September are hot and humid and the remaining months are good with occasional storms and drizzle.     

When considering visiting Xi’an to see the Terracotta Warriors, the weather is not so important as the Warriors are enclosed within a controlled atmosphere.

View all our Walking Holidays in China