6 Essential Things to Know Before Travelling to China

6 Essential Things to Know Before Travelling to China

From choosing the perfect accommodations to knowing the best travel apps!

China continues to be a popular tourist destination known for its impressive ancient heritage with endless UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and extensive food and tea cultures that offers a rich tapestry of experiences for travellers from all over the world to explore. 

Here are some considerations before you travel to China to take note of. From selecting conveniently located accommodations to acquainting yourself with the navigation apps, make use of our handy guide for a seamless travel experience!

1. Entry Requirements into China

Image credit: Jay Zhang

With the tourist visa being reinstated, there’s no better time to rediscover the oriental charm of China. 

China’s entry requirements vary depending on your nationality and intended duration of stay. Singaporean passport holders are entitled to visa-free travel for a duration of up to 30 days for purposes of tourism, business, or family visits, as per the mutual 30-day visa-free travel arrangement officially instituted between China and Singapore.

Malaysians can travel visa-free to China for up to 15 days, while those staying 15 days or longer or for other purposes like work or study will need a visa to enter China. For Indonesians intending to visit China, a visa is required beforehand regardless of the duration and reason for travel.

2. Currency and payment methods

Image credit (L-R): Markus Wrinkler; YinYang via Canva Pro

China utilises the Chinese Yuan as its currency, symbolised by “¥”. There are two currency systems that are used interchangeably in China, namely CNY (Chinese Yuan) or RMB (renminbi). Digital payment methods are now prevalent throughout the country with the preferred mode of payments being Alipay and WeChat Pay. 

It’s important to set up your digital wallets on either Alipay or WeChat Pay before entering the country to ensure a seamless payment experience during your trip. Add your debit or credit card on Alipay or WeChat Pay and verify it with a local mobile number that is able to receive an SMS verification code. 

Without these digital wallets, you won’t be able to make any transactions in China, whether it’s for food, transportation, or accommodation. 

3. Take advantage of loyalty program like Ascott Star Rewards to enjoy exclusive member benefits for your stay


Image credit: Discover ASR

Sign up for the complimentary Ascott Star Rewards (ASR) membership to earn and redeem ASR points for all your business and leisure stays in China and 39 countries worldwide. Enjoy 25% off first stay, year-long 10% off stays, prioritised early check-in and late check-out along with other exclusive rewards and benefits. 

Image credit: Discover ASR

TripZilla tip: For business travellers visiting China, link your corporate email with your ASR account to start earning ASR points for both your business and leisure stays! Find out more about business travel as an ASR member here.

4. Look into the best accommodation options

Image credit: Discover ASR

The location of the accommodation is one of the key factors when deciding where to stay. Choose from 80 ASR participating hotels and serviced residences with great accessibility to public transport across 29 cities. Whether it’s resting your tired feet from endless walking or dropping off your shopping bags, being in close proximity to metro and bus stations or key landmarks definitely has its merits. 

Elevate your stay with our fully equipped kitchenette, washing machine and dryer, ensuite bathrooms and other amenities. 

TripZilla tip: Sign up as an ASR member to enjoy 25% off your first stay in ASR participating properties in major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Chongqing. Stay updated on the latest promotions through ASR’s website and social media.

Shanghai: Ascott Huai Hai Road Shanghai

ascott shanghai

Image credit: Discover ASR

Ascott Huai Hai Road Shanghai is just a short stroll away from the famous Xintiandi area, known for its restaurants, bars, and boutiques, as well as modern office buildings.  Additionally, Huai Hai Road itself is a locals’ favourite shopping destination. It’s also situated pretty close to iconic landmarks in Shanghai such as Yu Garden, Shanghai Museum, and Pearl Tower, all of which are within a 15-minute drive away.

With fully equipped kitchenettes, entertainment systems, and stylish, expansive, and sophisticated rooms, this is an ideal place to stay for corporate and leisure travellers alike. What’s more, guests can also enjoy access to on-site facilities including a residents’ lounge, meeting rooms, a sauna room, a heated indoor swimming pool, a gymnasium, and tennis courts. 


Beijing: Citadines Ritan Beijing

ASR Beijing

Image credit: Discover ASR

Citadines Ritan Beijing provides a range of room types and amenities, such as a restaurant, gym, meeting room for up to 50 people, and a car park. The interior is cosy and inviting, with amenities catering to both leisure and business travellers. 

It is conveniently located next to Ritan Park, surrounded by office buildings, and near Beijing’s CBD and The Place shopping mall. Other famous attractions like The Palace Museum, Chaoyang Park, and the Temple of Heaven are also just a short car ride away. 


Guangzhou: Ascott Guangzhou

Image credit: Discover ASR

Situated in the vibrant financial hub of Tianhe, Ascott Guangzhou is surrounded by modern office buildings, authentic Cantonese restaurants, and bustling shopping malls. Indulge in morning tea and delicious dim sum nearby, or easily explore major landmarks such as the Guangdong Folk Art Museum and Chen Clan Ancestral Hall via the subway. If you’re renting a car or taking a taxi, you’ll find other attractions such as Guangzhou Zoo, Canton Tower Wharf, Huacheng Square, and Tianhe Stadium easily accessible nearby as well.

After a day of exploring the city, return to this aparthotel for a refreshing swim in the outdoor pool, or unwind in the elegantly furnished rooms.


Chengdu: Somerset Riverview Chengdu

Image credit: Discover ASR

Strategically located in Chengdu’s city centre along the Jinjiang River, Somerset Riverview Chengdu is an excellent option for accommodation in Chengdu. It’s just a short stroll away from Tianfu Square, the city’s cultural and transportation hub. Additionally, top sights such as Kuan Alley and Zhai Alley, and the Sichuan Museum, are easily accessible by car. Planning to visit the adorable pandas? Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is only a 30-minute car ride away, too.

This family-friendly property boasts 200 serviced residences, featuring modern furnishings, broadband internet, satellite TV, and fully-equipped dining areas. Guests can choose from studio to two-bedroom apartments, and enjoy amenities like a gym, sauna, indoor pool, and children’s playroom for leisure and relaxation.


Chongqing: Ascott Raffles City Chongqing

Image credit: Discover ASR

Enjoy unparalleled convenience when you stay in Ascott Raffles City Chongqing which provides premium comfort for travellers. This luxury apartment is part of the landmark Raffles City Chongqing development, with the Jiefangbei Central Business District, Yangtze River, Chongqing Grand Theatre, Chongqing Chaotianmen Square, and Chaotianmen Metro Station all just a short walk away. Popular attractions such as the Hongyadong Folk Custom Scene Area and Three Gorges Museum are conveniently located in the vicinity too and can easily be reached by car.

Besides that, Ascott Raffles City Chongqing also features a restaurant offering a diverse selection of buffet breakfast options for guests, a well-appointed business centre, an indoor swimming pool, a fully equipped gymnasium, as well as a yoga room and sauna for relaxation.


5. Getting around the city

Image credit: Nuno Alberto

Whether you prefer the freedom of a city drive or the budget-friendly charm of exploring the city on foot, be equipped with insider knowledge and essential apps like Baidu Maps or Gaode Maps to ensure smooth navigation around the city where Google is restricted. 

In vibrant cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Chongqing, the metro awaits as your gateway to urban exploration. For those seeking wallet-friendly options, hopping aboard the city bus promises an adventure all its own. If convenience is your top priority, elevate your journey with taxis or ride-hailing apps like Didi Taxi.

A phone number that is able to receive SMS (for verification purpose) and a valid payment mode (Alipay, WeChat Pay) are required when setting up your Didi Taxi account. 

Protip: Set up and verify your Didi Taxi account locally before your trip

6. Enhance your trip-planning with Cubby – Ascott’s AI-powered chatbot

Elevate your travel planning experience with Cubby – Ascott’s AI-powered chatbot! Planning a trip can be quite challenging, especially if it’s your first time organising a visit to a foreign city. Get Cubby to recommend destinations based on your preferences, craft personalised itineraries with the most suitable accommodation options, and everything else you need to know for your trip. Ask Cubby about any local insights or culture taboos of the city you’re visiting.

Also read: How to Up Your Trip-Planning Game With Cubby — Ascott’s New AI-Powered Chatbot!

With this detailed guide in hand, you’re all set for a hassle-free holiday in China! Not an ASR member yet?  Sign up now to enjoy 25% off your first stay at any ASR participating properties with exclusive member benefits and rewards.

Brought to you by Ascott Star Rewards (ASR)

About Author

Cecelia Chang
Cecelia Chang

Born in a new village in Selangor, Malaysia, Cecelia loves three things in life: Good food, good views, and good deals. She also enjoys exploring new places and experiencing new things on her travels.