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Travel Essentials (5)


China Daily, an English-language newspaper, is published in China daily except on Sundays. It is informative. Often obtainable from the big hotels for free, it contains the television schedule and a diary of cultural events in Beijing. Unfortunately, same-day editions are available only in large cities; elsewhere, they'll probably be several days late. Two other English-language publications, the Shanghai Star and Shanghai Talk, are also available. Foreign-language newspapers and journals, including the International Herald Tribune, The Times, Asian Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, Far Eastern Economic Review, and many more are available at most large hotels. The overseas edition of the party newspaper Renmin Ribao (People's Daily) is also sold there.


There are no special requirements of short-term travelers with the exception of those coming from or via an infected area. All visitors may be asked to complete a health form to indicate if they have symptoms of yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, or other communicable diseases. Those planning on staying in China for a period of over six months may be required to present medical records.

Although the government has made every effort to improve people's health, China still has some basic health problems and in many cases primitive sanitation. Don't drink tap water, nor eat raw vegetables and fruit unless they've been washed in a chlorine solution. Diarrhea is common for travelers who are unaccustomed to the new diet and water.

In winter, the dry air may cause sinus problems, skin dryness, and problems for contact lens wearers. Bring along a well-stocked medical kit and any prescription drugs you will require.

Medical Service

In China, urban and rural medical services differ a lot from each other. If traveling in the countryside, there may be no appropriate medical services beyond primary health care. Some hospitals in cities have special sections for foreigners and English is spoken there. Doctors may be found in many of the large hotels in China. Payment must be made on the spot for treatment, medicine and transport. If planning to visit areas outside of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, emergency evacuation insurance is advised.


Taking photographs or videos of military installations is prohibited. Most museums, palaces, or temples will not allow photograph to be taken, notably the main pit of the Terracotta Warriors, but some institutions permit it on payment of a fee in advance. As the atmosphere in China is often hazy, filters are advisable. Color print film is widely available, black and white or slide film much less so. Video film can be found but not always readily. All security X-ray machines on Mainland China and at Hong Kong airport are film-safe. Cameras must be declared when arriving in China. If video or movie cameras are for professional use, special permit must be claimed.


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