Before the trip to China
Passport and visa
You must have a visa to visit the People’s Republic of China. However, Swedish citizens do not need a visa for travel to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan if the planned stay is shorter than 90 days.
Since December 2017, Phoenix Travel can no longer include visas in its trips to China, but now the traveler must arrange this himself. Below are different ways to apply for a visa.
Before applying for a visa, you need a confirmation from Phoenix Travel that your group trip will go. This confirmation is usually given by Phoenix Travel between 45 and 30 days before departure.
There are different ways to obtain a visa to China:
1) Apply for a visa at the China Visa Center
For those applying for an individual visa, it is required that fingerprints (applies to everyone between 14-70 years) be left in person at the Visa Center.
Chinese Visa Application Service Center – STOCKHOLM
Visiting address: Karlavägen 108, Stockholm, Sweden
Postal address: CVS Center AB, Box 242 33, 104 51 Stockholm
Telephone / Fax: 08–12201166 / 08–12201167 Email: [email protected]
Chinese Visa Application Service Center – GÖTEBORG
Folkungagatan 14–18, 41 102, Gothenburg
Phone: 031-7305866, Fax ： 031–7305867, Email: [email protected]
2) Entry visa / group visa:
You can apply for a group visa to China if you are two or more traveling together. The advantages are that you do not have to leave fingerprints in Stockholm and you also do not have to send in your passport. After the visa is issued, you have 15 days to travel to China. You must leave China no later than 30 days after the date of issuance of the visa. So visas can not be applied for too early before departure.
Contact the following visa agents for more information:
3) Stays during transit stays in China for 72 hours and 144 hours respectively
Swedish citizens can make a visa-free transit stay of 72 hours in the People’s Republic of China upon arrival at the following airports: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU), Shenyang Taoxian International Airport (SHE), Dalian International Airport (DLC), Xian Xianyang International Airport (XIY) , Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) and Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG). However, travelers who take advantage of the opportunity to stay in a Chinese city without a visa must leave the country via the same airport as when entering. You apply for a permit at the airport on arrival and a flight ticket to a third country is required. This ticket must prove that you will leave the country within the given time frame. Furthermore, you must, if applicable, hold a visa to the third country, if required.
China’s 144-hour visa-free transit rule applies upon arrival in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang, as well as Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. It allows travelers from 53 countries (including Sweden) to make transit stops in either the Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang region or the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region for a maximum of 144 hours without visa holdings. However, the traveler must have a valid ticket, as well as a visa to a third country.
Vaccinations and health
No vaccinations are required for entry into China, but feel free to review your basic protection and feel free to contact your doctor or a vaccination center for advice well in advance of your departure. In cities like Beijing and Shanghai, there is world-class healthcare and even special hospitals with English-speaking staff, but in smaller cities and in the Chinese countryside, healthcare is far from as developed as in metropolitan areas. Check with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and / or your private insurances that your health insurance coverage applies in China and what it covers in that case. Do not drink tap water. Mineral water and other beverages are always available near the hotel. The drinks in the minibar are usually much more expensive. The hotel rooms usually have a kettle or thermos with hot water.
Weather and clothes
China is a huge empire that spans different climate zones. Northern China has four distinct seasons with a cold and dry winter (November to February), pleasant spring and autumn months, and a hot summer with high humidity (especially during July and August). Southern China has a subtropical climate with high temperatures between May and October. Feel free to bring practical clothes and comfortable shoes as our trips usually include a lot of walks.
Climate table for Beijing:
|Max ° C||1||2||11||19||26||30||31||29||26||19||10||3|
|Min ° C||-9||-7||-1||7||13||18||21||20||14||7||-1||-7|
Currency and exchange rate
The local currency is Chinese Yuan (RMB) which can be bought in Sweden before departure. In big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, you can usually exchange Swedish 100- and 500-kronor banknotes for regular rates at hotel receptions. ATMs where you can withdraw cash in local currency are now common in China. You can also withdraw cash in Chinese currency at the Bank of China or one of its branches. The following foreign credit cards are accepted in China: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, JCB and Diners. You can pay by credit card at most major department stores, restaurants and hotels.
Transport and communication
For domestic travel in China, we use buses, trains and domestic flights. The buses are comfortable with air conditioning and the aircraft are modern and have good service. If you travel on your own in one of the larger cities, taxis and subways are usually very convenient means of communication. Feel free to order a taxi at the hotel reception or through the doorman outside the hotel entrance and ask the staff (or local guide) to write the address where you are going in Chinese. Do not forget to bring a card with the hotel’s name in Chinese so that you can easily get back to the hotel on your own. The international direct-dial (IDD) telephone service is available at all hotels and internet service is available at almost all Chinese hotels with very few exceptions.
Food and drinks
The food you get in China usually differs from what is usually served in Chinese restaurants in Sweden and is usually a positive surprise. Chinese dishes are composed to appeal to all senses and tastes and therefore each meal usually contains a large variety of dishes that are usually served in no particular order. Most meals, however, usually begin with serving
green tea, which is the most common meal drink. Otherwise, you can of course order mineral water, soft drinks or beer if you wish. The hotels offer large breakfast buffets with both Western and Chinese food.
Shopping and gifts
Most stores have longer opening hours than in Sweden and many are in principle open every day of the year. It is common to bargain in the shops, but not in larger department stores. Examples of affordable products are, for example, down jackets, leather goods, glasses and certain electronics. The staff is usually able to help with packing and shipping of larger items. Save the receipts as you may be asked to show them to customs on departure.
China is world famous for its craftsmanship and here you will find a huge selection of silk, porcelain, rugs and textiles, all at good prices. Examples of local products are cloisonné works and rugs from Beijing, traditional clothing and cotton textiles from Shanghai, the quality silk from Hangzhou and Suzhou and terracotta figurines and glazed porcelain from Xi’an. Other popular products are jade jewelry, embroidery, calligraphy, ink paintings and wood carvings.
Feel free to visit Beijing’s Panjiayuan Antique Market (open daily) or Shanghai’s Antique and Curiosity Market at Dongtai Lu. Antiques that are more than 100 years old are marked with a red wax seal by the authorities and an export certificate from customs is required when exporting such items from China.
Nightlife in China
Shanghai and Beijing’s nightlife offers a rich variety of bars, jazz clubs, cafes, cocktail lounges, fast food places, luxury restaurants and nightclubs open well into the wee hours. Karaoke is very popular throughout China. Some karaoke rooms have more than 100 private rooms, are open 24 hours a day and even offer buffet dinners. In the larger cities there is also a large range of entertainment of a more traditional nature, such as the Beijing Opera, but here those who want can also go to the circus, ballet or theater. In Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi and Sichuan, for example, music and dance performances are common, featuring artists from one of China’s many minority peoples.
Local time: 7 hours before Swedish winter time and 6 hours before Swedish summer time.
Electricity: 220/230 volts, 50 Hz. You can usually borrow an adapter at the hotel reception. You can also bring a so-called universal adapter (available in most electrical stores).
Baggage: It sometimes happens that checked baggage gets lost. Therefore, pack valuables and important medicines with a certificate from your doctor in your hand luggage. Label all your luggage carefully with the luggage tags you receive with the tickets. The notes help us identify the luggage at the airports and hotels. It is good to have a proper, lockable suitcase because luggage is not always handled carefully. Permitted luggage weight with Air China from Stockholm to Beijing is 30 kg. Please note that SAS and Finnair only allow a maximum of 23 kg on their domestic and international flights.
Language: Mandarin is the national language of China. Only a few Chinese speak English. In the larger hotels, there is always staff at the reception who speak a little English.
Travel insurance: Can be purchased through Phoenix Travel. First, check what your home insurance covers in China.