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GAY GUIDE TO CHINA
Gay Guide to China. The best gay bars & night clubs, gay rated hotels, gay saunas and massage spas in China including Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Guangzhou,Xi'an, Shenzhen & Hong Kong.
Best Time of the year
Climates in different areas are complicated. Deciding when to visit China depends on which places you wish to visit, what type of weather you enjoy, and how much a bargain you want.
April, May, September and October are the peak tourist months at China's most popular destinations when the weather is the most comfortable.
Prices drop a bit in the shoulder season, which runs from November through March and from June through August.
However, the winter months are peak season for trips to China's Hainan Island for its beautiful sunshine and to the Northeast Harbin for its world-famous ice-lantern festival.
These months are also packed with New Year holidays, Chinese Spring Festival and other national or local happy fairs.
Summer months are great time to explore China's Far East-Manchuria.
China’s national holidays
Weather aside, avoid traveling during any of China’s national holidays if at all possible.
In the 1990s the Chinese government introduced the “Golden Weeks” to develop domestic tourism industry. The three Chinese national “Golden Weeks” are:
Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year)
This is the special time to travel in China. The exact dates each year varies since it’s based on the Lunar Calendar, but it’s usually around late January to mid-Feb. Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional holidays, kind of the equivalent of Christmas in the West. If you want to feel the Chinese Christmas, this will be the best time for you come, it can be lots of fun (festivals, street activity, etc.).
National Day (starts Oct 1)
A weeklong holiday that celebrates the founding of People’s Republic of China. Most of the people are travelling around China, everywhere is supper crowed, this is the worst time to Travel in China. We don’t recommend you come to China at this time.
International Labor’s Day (May 1)
Until 2007, this was a weeklong holiday but has since been scaled back to a long 3-day weekend.
Suggestions for packing according to the different weather condition in China
Climate and Weather
There is no bad time to visit China.
This vast country has practically every climate, from desert to tundra.
There are distinct seasons in all of the cities we offer.
Beijing, Xian and Shanghai have cold winters and hot summers.
"Off season" can be a remarkably beautiful and crowd-free time to visit.
The trip is ranked as moderate touring.
Long drives (3 to 4 hours) may be expected, but most places of interest are in and around cities. The activities are moderately paced, with rest stops planned during the trip.
In the scenic spots and along roads, the majority of toilets are Chinese style.
A spirit of adventure and a willingness to explore new areas in an open and receptive way along with a flexible attitude will ensure your enjoyment of this program.
We travel in well-maintained, air-conditioned vehicles, driven by experienced local drivers and all of our drivers are GLBD friendly drive.
All of our vehicles are licensed for foreign passenger travel and are insured.
Vehicle size depends on group size.
For large groups, we use buses of varying size, from smaller 19 – seat Coasters to the large 55 – seat buses.
For buses in Beijing and Shanghai, we only use buses equipped with seat belts to ensure the safest journey possible.
In other locations where buses equipped with seat belts are not available, we only use the newest buses available.
All of the vehicles we use are in good condition and we only use drivers who maintain a good safety record.
Roads in major cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, are paved, well maintained and tend to be very congested.
We do our best to manage time and make arrangements accordingly; however, traffic is notoriously unpredictable in China’s major cities and we may be required at times to make last-minute adjustments to our schedules.
The suburbs and nearby cities are connected by a network of provincial highways, which are paved with usually 1-2 lanes of traffic traveling in either direction.
Construction, constant honking, and fast driving are not uncommon on these types of roads throughout China.
Internet and Telephone Access
In general, most 4 and 5 – star hotels offer Internet and phone access in their guest rooms.
In some cases, Internet access may only be available in the hotel’s business center.
Internet cafés are also widely available.
In major cities, wireless Internet access is also available in many coffee shops.
In Beijing and Shanghai, wireless Internet is generally free of charge, though some providers may require a paid for subscription to access to their services.
The electrical current in China is 220 volts, 50 cycles.
If you plan to bring any electrical appliances that operate on 110 volts, you will need to bring your own electrical converter.
Note that most laptop computers and digital camera battery chargers can operate on a range of currents from 110-240 volts, in which case a converter is not necessary.
Check the specifications of your equipment before departure and make sure you have the necessary accessories.
The majority of outlets in mainland China can accept the standard two-pronged plugged used in most electronics manufactured for the US market.
Food and Drink
Food on our programs is chosen with international clients in mind.
While some dishes will be selected to highlight local specialties and allow our guests for a real taste of local cuisine, basic Chinese dishes will always be available.
Most meals will be at local restaurants that meet both The Pink Tours standards and the hygiene standards set by local government.
Some of the tastiest local foods can be found at street-side stands and small shops; however, hygiene levels can vary greatly.
When choosing restaurants, we make our assessments based on:
Atmosphere, cleanliness, and local reputation for authenticity
Quality of service
Ability to accommodate allergies or dietary restrictions (e.g. no peanut oil or seafood)
We provides our guests with bottled water on bus rides and on rest breaks during hikes and community work.
Tap water is not safe to drink and should not be used.
Coffee and tea can also be provided during breakfast. Eat only food that is served piping hot, and avoid peeled or cut fruit sold from a market or street vendor.
Clean your hands frequently and always before eating, and bring sanitizing hand wipes or lotions with you on your trip.
A valid passport with Chinese visas or permits is required for you traveling in China. Please carefully check out details below.
A passport with minimum of six month validity is required for passengers traveling to China. Please provide the accurate information about the holder, including the full name, date of birth, and gender etc. to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Visa is a necessity for visitors traveling to mainland China. It could be issued through Chinese embassies and consulates overseas. Please make sure you have a valid visa and passport (valid for at least 6 months from date of Exit), and get your visa in time. To obtain a China visa at the Chinese border entry points is very difficult.
The Single-Entry Visa is mostly used. The period of validity of China single-entry visas are usually 3 months, and a maximum of 30 days will be permitted to stay in China as a tourist or businessman.
Hong Kong and Macau is consider to be an international stop (Tibet is considered to be domestic stop), so if you visit China mainland first, then proceed to Hong Kong or Macau, and finally come back to mainland China gain, in this case, you will need a double-entry visa. Please kindly confirm the situation with your International Airline Company or your travel consultant.
72-hour Visa-free Transit Policy
From January 1, 2013, foreigners from the 45 countries (issued on the 72-hour Visa-free Transit Policy List) holding third country visas and confirmed onward air tickets can now apply for a 72-hour visa-free transit at Beijing and Shanghai. Guangzhou (from August 1, 2013) and Chengdu (from September 1, 2013) are the following cities under the 72 hour visa-free stay policy.
The 45 countries are: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.
For those who want to visit Tibet, a Chinese visa is not enough to visit Tibet. You also need several Tibet permits, including Tibet Tourist Bureau Permit (TTB Permit), Alien Travel Permits (PSB Permit) and Military Permit.
Safety and Security
Actually, China is a safe place to travel.
Before you get to China, try to get as much information on the weather and sanitation of your destination as possible. And have comprehensive International travel insurance in your country before departure.
Here are some safety suggestions:
Water & Drink: Drink only boiled or bottled water or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes. The Pink Tours provides our guests with bottled water on bus rides and on rest breaks during hikes and community work.
Food: Eat only thoroughly cooked food. You’d better not eat food purchased from street vendors.
Insect Bits & Stings: Protect yourself from mosquito bites using mosquito/insect repellant or spray.
Wash hands often and do not handle animals to prevent rabies and diarrhea.
Pregnant women should receive specialized advice before travelling.
Availability of health care: There are now a number of good clinics in major cities catering to travelers.
Altitude sickness: Avoid active movements and try to relax in the first one or two days upon arrival at the high altitude areas like Tibet, Qinghai, Xinjiang. Use Oxygen to relieve symptoms.
Take the same precautions you would in any major city in the world. Carry only what you need with you. Leave your passport, airline tickets, traveler’s checks and credit cards in a safe deposit box in your room whenever possible.
Money and Exchange
The official currency in mainland China is Reminbi (RMB).
The basic unit is Yuan which is abbreviated CNY (Chinese Yuan), also known as “Kuai”.
Paper currency comes in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Yuan notes.
Automatic teller machines (ATMs) that accept international cards are readily available in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, but are not as broadly available in other cities. Although not all ATMs in China offer screen options in English, those provided by the Bank of China typically do. Cash withdrawals can be made using your international ATM card as long as you have arranged for an international personal identification number (PIN) in advance (check with your bank). Although most banks charge a transaction fee, the rates of exchange at ATMs are often very favorable. Please note: you should also know your PIN numerically, if you are accustomed to recalling it alphabetically.
It is possible to exchange traveler's checks or cash at most banks, and large hotels usually have a money exchange counter.
Major credit cards (VISA, MasterCard and American Express) may be used in most 4 or 5-star hotels, as well as many restaurants and large shops in major cities such as Beijing or Shanghai. Outside of the Beijing and Shanghai, however, expect to pay in cash for most transactions. Credit cards can be used in many bank automatic teller machines (ATM) to obtain a cash advance; check with your credit card company to ensure that you have a valid PIN. Note that, although credit cards tend to offer the best exchange rate, companies vary widely in the amount of surcharge they may add to each transaction.