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About Getting Visa to China (except Tibet)
China charges different prices for different nationalities. For example, it is at least HK$ 1020 for a visa for Americans (whether single, double or multiple); around HK$ 300 for Europeans (excluding British) and Canadians (can be as cheap as HK$ 150 for a single for Canadians). You can apply for the China Visa in any of the China Travel Agency around HK. It takes 4 working days to process, and you are required to submit your passport and a photograph of yourself.
You may also apply the China Visa at the Head Office which is in Wanchai - G/F China Resources Building, Exit A1 Wanchai Station / Star Ferry to Wanchai, if it is urgent. Because you can pay HK$ 250 extra and expect to get your visa on the next working day from Monday to Thursday. Alternatively, you can pay HK$ 150 extra and expect to get it 2 working days later from the Head Office. Just be there as early as possible during the day on any day except Monday. Otherwise, there will be too many people.
It is easy and fast to apply the China visa in HK if you are a student or employee here. However, you may not be able to get a multiple visa. If you can get a multiple visa in your home country it may actually be a better option.
Special 5-day pass to Shenzhen, and to Shenzhen only
Personally speaking, I don't recommend this visa because it is not much cheaper than the nationwide China Visa which you can go to any parts of China (except Tibet) and normally you can get a multiple entry visa to China by spending a little more. Undoubtedly though, it is very convenient if you just wanna go to Shenzhen for a day to enjoy some cheap food, shopping and massage, etc.
To obtain this visa, all you need to do is taking a train to the Shenzhen border; exit the HK side and ask for it at the visa office right before you cross the China side. Here is a list of the cost of the 5-day pass for different nationalities as at 2017: (You have to pay with RMB, RMB = Chinese Yuan)
In 2013, it is reported that people from France has been excluded from the Shenzhen Visa until further notice. Since this website cannot be up-to-date the whole time, you may still be able to go by the time you read it.
In 2014, US Citizens can finally enjoy this convenient visa. It is convenient if you just want to go to Shenzhen. However, as you can see it costs exactly the same as a normal single / double / multiple visa for the entire country except Tibet. You do the math.
Price in January 2017:
Special 6-day pass to Guangdong, and to Guangdong only
Similarly, starting from 2009 you can apply a 6-day Guangdong only visa (includes Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, etc.) from a Hong Kong travel agency. Like the Shenzhen visa, this visa is not very convenient and cost-effective.
Criteria of applying the Guangdong visa:
Nationalities eligible for the Guangdong visa - same as Shenzhen visa as shown in above.
Now if you are making transit flight in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and some bigger cities in China, you may not need to apply a visa in advance but applying a transit visa at the airport there with a valid transfer flight boarding pass. You may be allowed to stay for 72 hours (Beijing and Shanghai) or 24 hours (for Guangzhou) which will enables you to see a bit of the respective city.
VISA FREE to Haikou, Hainan Island
Starting from 2009, Hainan becomes the first place in China where foreigners may enter with a visa-free policy. If you are entering with a group and the group has applied for visa-free in advance to got to Haikou of Hainan, you can enjoy visa-free (no charge) to go to Hainan and Hainan only. Please consult a travel agency for detail.
VISA to Tibet
Foreigners going to Tibet MUST be traveling with a registered tour group and applying for the Tibet permit in addition to the China Visa. The duration is normally 7 days. China close Tibet from time to time so you may not be able to enter even if you have every thing prepared.
China Travel Agency Branch Office can be found at: (There are about 30 branches all over HK indeed)
Cheap Deals and Tips
You may find cheap package from the local travel agencies. It is a very common in HK and they are quite reliable. The disadvantage is you have to take the package in pair - two of you MUST fly and check-in a the same time. Yet it is still doable if you have more than 2 people traveling together because it is still cheaper if 2 of you get the package and the rest just buy the flight tickets and crash in the one hotel room together. And then the total cost will be equally shared among everyone. Of course, you guys will share the room together to make the most of the deal.
In HK there are places that travel agencies are located together. It is very convenient for you to book your flight to anywhere in South East Asia, Japan and Korea.
Flying from Shenzhen or Macau
Some of you may think about flying to these countries via Shenzhen or Macau, where you can find cheaper tickets. However you must also consider the side effect. Travel from HK to Shenzhen airport or vice versa may take time in peak hours, and you may miss your flight. Ferry ticket for HK to Macau costs about US40 (round-trip), don't forget to include it in your budget.
Nevertheless, there is a direct bus going from Kowloon Tong MTR Station or Kowloon Station to Shenzhen airport. It leaves every half an hour and costs about HK$ 100. Hence, there is bus going from Shenzhen airport directly back to Kowloon Tong. It only runs until 8 pm though.
Visa Information of Anywhere in the world
The website of HK Trade has information about getting visa to any countries in the world: http://www.hktdc.com/info/mi/vod/en/Visa-On-Demand.htm
Other than that, you may visit the Useful Contacts section and find the contacts of consulate from most of the countries around the world in HK.
Or, you can try to call these hotlines of the HK Immigration Department, Visa division: 28293333 or 28246111.
Websites for cheap flight and hotel
www.zuji.com - Zuji Ticket and Hotel
www.lastminute.com - Lastminute.com
www.springairline.com/en - Cheap airline of China
www.airasia.com - Airasia Airline
www.airmacau.com.mo - Air Macau Airline
www.ticket.com.hk/ - HK Ticket and Hotel Centre
www.mangocity.com.hk/ - Mango City HK and Chinese Airline
english.ctrip.com/ - Ctrip.com Chinese Airline and hotels
www.szzcjp.com/index.asp - Shenzhen Airline Service Centre
http://www.elong.net/ - Highly recommended! Cheap China hotel and flight for China departing from Shenzhen (or between China cities). For China hotel booking, the best thing is - you don't need to pay anything in advance!
www.hotelinhongkong.net - HK and Macau Hotel Service
english.sunnychina.com/ - Sunny China Ticket and Hotel - also contains a lot of travel information if you can read Chinese
www.hotel.hk/index_eng.php - Hotel HK Ticket and Hotel
http://www.webjet.com.hk/ - Similar to Zuji, for departure from HK
http://www.cheaptickets.hk/ - Cheap Ticket Website HK version.
http://flyday.hk - Cheap flights info site, only in Chinese though
Think twice! If you found a deal which is unreasonably cheap, there may be something wrong about it. There was an airline company which provided very cheap flights and a lot of students booked tickets from it; just to find out the company had collapsed a few weeks later, right before everyone about to get on board.
Online visa to Vietnam?
I am not sure about this. The Vietnam government has indicated that they do not accept online visa application; however, some students told me that they managed to get the visa online and went to Vietnam. Anyway, if you want to do it the safe way, just go to the Vietnam consular office in Wanchai. Full address can be found in Useful Contacts section.
Train ticket within China
Here we are talking about traveling by trains within China; not the direct train from HK to either Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen or Guangzhou. Officially speaking, you can only book tickets in advance at the train station you are going to depart from (I guess its a measure for China to control the flow of people). Except the trains going between HK and Guangzhou, Shanghai or Beijing that you can buy them at MTR East Rail stations 15 to 20 days in advance. However, there are some websites which said they could book tickets for you (maybe they have people to buy the tickets for u from the station in advance). They are not official so do it on your own risk.
BO free in China?
One more thing to say about China at the end - If you are used to using deodorant like me, try to bring it with you before you go to China. I can ensure you that you will have a hard time finding it in China, even for places like Beijing and Shanghai!
HK is hygienic. No precaution is necessary when coming to HK, as well as to China. To other South East Asian countries, however, you may need to have vaccination prepared. It is not expensive to get it in HK, so you may not need to prepare for it before you leave home. In HK, a certain type of vaccination can be obtained from the government office. If you need further information, you may go to the Travel Health Centre of the Department of Health in Sham Shui Po.
The address is: 1/F Cheung Sha Wan Government Complex, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po (Exit C1 from Sham Shui Po MTR Station). You can make an appointment by calling their hotline: 852-21507235
Find out the location and contact information of the embassy of your home country in the foreign country you are going to. You may be smart enough to avoid all the dangers and not doing anything stupid or breaking the laws; but sometimes there are things such as war and disease that you could not prevent. Your embassy will be very helpful to you in times like this.
Be a smart traveler. Don't do anything you will not do at home. Things consider okay at home may be illegal in other countries; and the consequence may be unaffordable. I had a friend who got into a fight in some Asian country and he was put into custody for more than a month; which means he had to defer his graduation.
August, 2017 (Version 6.0);
since January 01, 2007
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