Traveling in China
1. What's the difference between 3, 4, and 5 -star hotels?
We usually arrange centrally-located and Western-standard hotels. Five-star hotels are usually palatial with huge lobbies and comfortable rooms, their standards not quite matching the best of Paris or New York, but very close. Four-star hotels have quality facilities, but are not as luxurious as five-star hotels. Three-star hotels meet the needs of most Westerners, but breakfasts have less choice.
We also recommend some courtyard hotels or Chinese-style hotels with local features and architecture. These hotels have a good ranking, or positive feedback from our customers, and TripAdvisor. Usually hotels in big cities, small cities, and rural areas are a bit different, even if they have the same star level. We try to use the best available hotel in each place.
2. What are train conditions like in China?
A soft sleeper is recommended for overnight and long-distance travel. Each soft sleeper compartment is enclosed, and contains four bunks, two on each side. The bunks are wider and more comfortable than hard sleepers, with decent bedding. Soft sleeper compartments may vary between trains. You may have both over-head storage and under-bed storage, or just under-bed storage.
For short distance train travel, G and D high-speed trains are recommended. G trains are the fastest trains in China, with a speed of 250 km/h to 400 km/h, and their prices are highest.
3. Currency Exchange
As currency exchange rates in China fluctuate, we suggest you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. In 2017 the USD has been around 6.8 yuan (CNY or RMB), and the USD has been more stable around 7.75 HKD (Hong Kong Dollars). There are many ATM machines that accept both Visa and Master card, but these are mostly in cities or large towns. We also recommend bringing/exchanging Chinese currency cash. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops, but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee.
It is customary to tip service providers in the travel industry in Asia, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour.
Our suggestion to the tips would be:
1 person in the group, CNY150-200,
2 people in a group: CNY100/person,
3-5 people in a group: CNY50-70/person,
6-9 people in a group: CNY40-50/person,
≥10 people in a group: CNY20-30/person.
The driver would be half the amount, and separate offer to each is best.
Eating is an important part of your China experience. Generally breakfasts are included in the itinerary and offered by hotels. China Highlights recommends local Chinese restaurants that are popular with local people for lunch. You can order dishes with the help of your guide. We usually leave dinner for your own choice - Western food can be found in most large cities. If you are vegetarian or you are looking for e.g. halal food, please feel free to inform your travel advisor, who can arrange a restaurant to fit your needs.
We use comfortable sedans or vans with air-conditioning. The comfort and safety of our customers is of utmost importance, so we ensure that all the vehicles we use are well maintained and always very clean. Our drivers take pride in their vehicles.
Payment and Booking
1. Booking Procedure:
Step 1: Submit all your desires about your dream tour. Every private tour is ready to be tailor-made for you.
Step 2: You may choose to make a small deposit via PayPal and your request will be listed as our top priority. We guarantee a 100% refund if you are not satisfied.
Step 3: Receive a reply within 24 hours. The tour will be decided for you and by you.
Step 4: Confirm and enjoy the tour!
2. Payment Methods:
We now offer three payment methods: PayPal, credit card authorization via fax, and wire transfer. PayPal is recommended for its safety and efficiency. Even if you don’t have a PayPal account, you can still pay with USA dollars, Australian dollars, European dollars, and British pounds directly with your credit card or debit card.
3. Cancellation Policy:
In the event of cancellation, we will refund any payment made to China Highlights (unless any cancellation fee is applicable) within 14 days of our receipt of your written cancellation request. Visit here for more details.
4. Travel Insurance:
Travel insurance is not included. We carefully selected some insurance providers from your region that give you the best value for money. Click here to go to the travel insurance page.
We encourage our staff to reduce the use of paper, and fax machines and copying machines. Instead of using printed paper, we send documents by Wechat or QQ. We send orders and bills to local suppliers by our online system, which saves lots of paper.
CH usually uses cars or vans with low exhaust emissions. Our light vehicles damage the village roads less. We understand that it is hard work for villagers to build/maintain their roads.
We do not recommend customers use disposable chopsticks and disposable bathroom supplies.
We make use of local suppliers and services. These include locally owned and family run accommodation, local drivers, locally produced and prepared food. This ensures that the local economy is supported. We also only employ local guides. We do visit local community projects and remote schools where our contributions are greatly appreciated.
Our guides teach customers some short phrases in the local language, translate, and suggest customers show their photos to local people, particularly if they take photos together. They also remind customers not to step into rice fields to protect crops, especially when they are taking photos.
We have had an excellent long-term relationship with our guides and suppliers and this helps to stabilize their income generation and so helps to create a more sustainable future.