Category Archives: Beijing and Xian, China

BEIJING PRIVATE TOUR GUIDE AND BEIJING 3 DAY TOUR ITINERARY

Last year, my friends and I decided to book our flight towards Beijing not only to see the sights but to experience winter and snow for the first time. My friend’s parents decided to join us, so my plan on “backpacking” Beijing—meaning no tour guides, with only the 4 of us wandering around with a map in our hand- went down the drain. 🙂

Nevertheless, I loved the idea that we will have a tour guide, a van and a very knowledgeable tour. 🙂 Knowing that I won’t stress about where to go, or to speak in Mandarin just to get to our destination.

I chose Rain. Rain was very accommodating,  very knowledgeable about the history of Beijing, as well as very trustworthy. We paid her after the tour, and she even offered us a discount. 🙂  Moreover, her rate is cheaper compared to other tourguides, upon searching for the cheapest PRIVATE TOUR in Beijing. I found Rain in synotrip.

Rain is a certified tour guide, as seen in her website. She is very smart, and very kind. She is patient enough for us while we take pictures in the very cold winter day/night. Our driver is none other than her husband, who is really “handsome” haha, and very accommodating.  However, unlike Rain, her husband, rarely talks to us since he only knows basic English. Rain on the other hand, is very knowledgeable in English. Rain is good in conversational english. She doesn’t eat her words unlike other Chinese tour guides, so you don’t need to worry in asking again and again “pardon” “please repeat that” what’s that? “sorry”  since you don’t need to. You can easily understand her. 🙂

 Her rate is: 

600RMB or Chinese Yuan per day (for 9 hours) with van and tour guide.

300RMB one way airport transfers

400RMB tour guide and van within the city

If you exceeded the 9 hours per day tour, these are the charges: 60RMB per hour

Here’s my 3 DAY ITINERARY WITH RAIN 

December 21 : Airport Pick Up Service (12:05 am)

6:30/7:00am Pick up from hotel, go to Juyongguan Pass (2hours), then Badaling Great wall(4 hours) Then we are going to tour the following: Olympic Green andWangfujing St., Houhai Area, Qianmen Street. Payment is 600RMB with 60RMB/hour overtime charge.

Our first day is so tiring, but we really wanna see all the highlights in Beijing. So, please understand. and mind you, it is doable. 🙂 not that tiring especially since it was cold and you won’t sweat.

the great wall in the juyongguan pass
the great wall in the juyongguan pass
Sorry, no other pics than this. Me in the birds nest during my 2nd visit in Beijing
Sorry, no other pics than this. Me in the birds nest during my 2nd visit in Beijing
food to eat in wangfujing, define exotic.
food to eat in wangfujing, define exotic.

December 22,: Tian’an Men Square, Forbidden City (please take note that we want to tour every inch of Forbidden City, like going to the museums etc.), Jingshan Park, Behai Park and Ghost Street (if time permits) 400RMB fixed rate with additional 50RMB/hour for overtime (just tour guide with no transportation anymore, since they are near each other)

at the tian an men monument. my friend and I
at the tian an men monument. my friend and I
one of the buildings in forbidden city
one of the buildings in forbidden city
the view of the forbidden city in jingshan park
the view of the forbidden city in jingshan park

December 23: Summer Palace (3 hours), Temple of Heaven, Lama Temple, Silk Market . 600RMB with 60RMB/hour overtime payment then transfer going to the airport (300RMB)

summer palace
summer palace, my friends and I

RAIN’S CONTACT DETAILS:

EMAIL: 13775847555@139.com

WEBSITE: http://www.synotrip.com/kungfu-panda

Rain and the group, I was the one taking the photo, so I'm not there
Rain and the group, I was the one taking the photo, so I’m not there
Me, Rain, and my friends in Behai Park in Beijing
Me, Rain, and my friends in Behai Park in Beijing
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HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR WINTER ESCAPADE?

Last December 2012, my friends and I went to Beijing, China, and as you know, December is part of the winter months in Beijing. The temperature may drop up to -15 degrees celsius so, before going there, I made sure that I was ready to face the cold winter weather in Beijing!

Beijing China winter back drop near Bird's nest
Beijing China winter back drop near Bird’s nest

Snow in Jingshan Park

Well, I’m in love with the cold weather, so I was really excited to enjoy this climate-change (no, not that climate change that you are thinking! :))  but what I didn’t know about is the craziness, yes the craziness of preparing for a winter escapade! The craziness started when I knew that the cold freaking weather can go down at -20 degrees celsius, crazy right?? A person living in the tropics might just die (o, ika nga sa filipino, mangisay nalang ako! haha) Therefore, as early as 2 months before my flight, I started shopping for my winter outfits…. it is crazy ‘coz unlike my other trips, I just wear whatever I already have, but this, this needs preparation.  if we are not prepared going to that “war” ! Knowing that our climate is +32 degrees celsius more, and the lowest that we can get is 18 degrees. If we weren’t ready we will never be able to go out and look around the areas that we are supposed to see, so before going out your tropical-usually hot climate country, you should be prepared. Anyway, nuff said. So here are my little tips, for your crazy climate temperature-change, ermm… snow-laden vacation:

1. Research on how low the temperature can get. If the temperature goes down to a negative, then you need to follow my advice, if it’s not, but you are the type of person who cannot withstand a 20 degrees airconditioned room, then you can also follow my advice (especially those going to HK, since last year December 2012, when I went there, the temp dropped to 5 degrees celsius, which it is not supposed to do because HK temp is usually above 10 degrees!! and yeah, I was really glad that I have my Beijing clothing with me that time! :))

2. If you can fathom buying second hand clothing for your winter escapade, then why not? that’s what I did. I bought clothes from the ukay-ukay or thrift shops in Harrison Plaza, just behind the national book store. For only P150,00 to P350.00 you can get a down jacket or a coat. This is the best way to save money for your trip, why? because a down jacket or a coat may cost you more than your airticket going to your destination (I’m talking about my kind, who patiently waits for seat sales of various airlines and get the usual P15,000 worth or airticket for only P2000-P5000). heh! 🙂  But, if you have the money, why not splurge? My philosophy why I bought second hand clothing is that I will only use it once. Just make sure that you soak it up with the best cleaners that you have! But, if you are the yucky-it’s second hand type, then try the Surplus stalls located in the Mall of Asia (the biggest surplus store, they sell coats and down jackets too, quite expensive than the usual second hands but it is all worth it too). However, I bought my other two coats in the Surplus Store inside a mall in Divisoria, that mall nearest to Lucky China Town, and along Reyna Regente Street, it is before you arrive the much well-known 168 mall. I’ll put the name here when I remember its name. Well, in the top floor of that mall, there is this surplus shop which sells various branded clothing for only a dime. I bought there an Anne Klein coat for only P100.00. hah! such a great deal? ayt?! Well, these are surpluses, so they are not “ukays” or second hands, they are overruns or surpluses, but always check for damages! 🙂

3. The type of textile/cloth used in your clothing may make or break your vacation, so please.. please…. please… (3 cute pleases, with a wink! :)) you should remember this clothing that will never ever ever ever make you warm during this vacation, don’t make any of these are your jacket, but you can use them as an outer pants. 🙂

  • Cotton
  • Maong or those in your jeans
  • leather – don’t use leather jackets there, except if you wanna die or  if you have a bike! hah! 🙂 peace, to the leather lovers!

Because these textiles or tela does not retain moisture, they absorb them! your clothes need to retain moisture because that very same moisture will warm you up. Nah, I don’t get the idea, but from my thorough research, that was what I found.

Best textiles/cloth that can help you:

  • wool
  • polyester
  • and alike..

So, just check while you buy your clothes, it can be found in the tags of the clothes.

  1. Things to buy for your winter escapade!
  • Outer Jacket – must be made of wool, or goose feathers (you know, the one which will make you look like a Michelin man, but if you have this you will definitely survive the battle 🙂
  • Inner Jacket – you should have 3-4 layers of clothing, so here is the other one, it can be a cardigan made of wool, polyester and all. But not those mentioned above that should not be worn.
  • Your woolen or stitched/ gantsillo kind of sweater.Or any shirts not made from those mentioned above (cotton etc.)
  • Underwear– no, not that usual underwear we use in the tropics, but you can still wear them. No, you should still wear them. So what I’m saying here is that, after wearing your usual panties-bra or briefs, you should wear this “winter-ready underwears” which is called long-johns, or what we call warmers with heat-tech technology. It looks like leggings and tights, but aside from the same appearance, the latter does not have the same capability of making you stay warm. What you buy here is the heat-tech technology. I bought one pair mine in UNIQLO which is P795.00  and one pair from Marks and Spencers which costs P1395.00 per piece. For a pair in M&S I bought it for P2500.00 and it will depend on the type or quality of the warmers you’ll gonna buy. But, you can go to 168 mall, 2nd floor, and there is a stall there selling underwear, ask them to give you warmers or long johns. And you can buy a pair for P450.00. Well, the difference between those sold in UNIQLO and 168 mall is the thickness. the one sold in 168 is thicker which means it will be bulkier to look at once you worn all the outfits, on the other hand those sold in Marks and Spencers or UNIQLO are super thin, it feels as if it’s your second skin. By the way, this is very important, don’t forget to buy this!
  • Socks – Please buy a pair of heat-tech socks, not those ordinary ones as most of them are made in cotton, which is not a good textile to use because when it gets wet, it absorbs it, and stays cold for the rest of the time. Remember, you are going to a snowy filled place, and snow is water, and when it gets to you, it will feel wet and cold. This happened to one of my friends who used cotton  or ordinary socks, she said, her feet felt numb.
  • Scarf – Buy one in any stores that you will find, Buy those stitched/gantsillo/knitted ones, or those pashmina kind of scarves not those bought for the beach, the ones which are transparent or look like it would not shield you from anything.
  • Gloves – Don’t buy leather gloves unless you want to sacrifice your hands by making them feel numb all the time. leather does not, never, makes you feel warm, and actually it will make you feel cold. Knitted or mittens are recommended.
  • Hat – Though you can buy it in your destination, it is still good if you already have this with you. It is one of the most important, as heat escapes almost 90 percent from our head. Hence, to keep you warm, you should make sure that you have a head gear
  • Earmuffs- Oh, I tell you, this is not for show! They have their own use, which is to make your head and ear nice and warm. I’ll tell you, you wanna protect your ears, they are also prone to frost bite. you don’t wan’t to home, earless, aren’t you? hahaha. But you can buy this in the place of your destination, as it is cheaper there than buying here.
  • Boots/ Shoes- don’t use leather, unless your shoes are those trekking-in-southpole-mount-everest- kind of leather shoes, then why not? Boots sold here in our country is nothing but for the purpose of design, not functionality, so it would not help you at all. I saw one in Aldo, it’s an uggs type, so it would be helpful. You can also try buying in Forever 21, or if not, visit the thrift shop I metioned above, since they also sell these goodies. However, I didn’t buy it because I’m afraid of athletes’ foot. 🙂 So, I got mine in F21. Make sure that it looks warm and cozy. Rubber Shoes ladies and gentlemen, is not, never will be a winter shoes. the cold slips through the rubber, which will make you say “I’m cold” all the time. Trust me, my friend told me that she had made a mistake! hahaha. But, I tell you, you can buy shoes in the place of your destination. It’s actually better to buy there as it is cheaper, so you can use your rubber shoes for a time, then just buy there, make sure, you will be shopping during your first day, but if not, better buy here or in your home country
  • Petroleum Jelly – Instead of the usual lip balm, use this. Your lips will be extremely dry that an ordinary lip balm (may it be burt’s bees or nivea) cannot withstand. Petroleum Jelly is the best to prevent wind burns and dryness. Believe me, in our group, they insisted in using their balms and later on they said that it doesn’t work, and they asked to share in my petroleum jelly
  • Skin lotion and face moisturizers- due to the dry temperature, you need this to prevent wind burn.

One of the down side of traveling in winter, is how bulky your luggage can get, or that you will have the same jacket for the rest of the trip. Worry not, my fellow travelers who loves winter clothing. You can minimize your luggage by buying those vacuum bags that make your clothes thinner when you put it in your luggage. Trust me, they will be flat, but there’s no need to iron it again!

I bought 5 vacuum bags from Japan Home Store for P88 or P66 pesos each. and then…. it does it magic.

Winter clothes in a vacuum bag
Winter clothes in a vacuum bag

This is how we looked! BTW, i practiced wearing my clothes before my flight to Beijing, just to see how it looks, but nah! when you’re there already, sish to fashion!! This is true, I didn’t care about how I look because I care more about how I’ll survive the cold! 🙂

bw5.jpg

winter clothing
winter clothing

So, that’s all! Hope this helps!

Some Tips and Advice when you travel to China

China is indeed a big, beautiful and historic city. Going to this wonderful place might be part of your bucket lists.. So, here are some of my travel tips for you.

Some Tips for Surviving China

  1.  If you have limited time for your trip, make sure to go to the tourist trails before going to any other places 
  •       I have a list of Recommended places to visit in Beijing: Click here
  •       I also have a list of recommended places to visit in Xian: Click here

2.When you visit China, make sure to wear comfortable clothing

  • unlike South Korea or Paris, people here doesn’t mind about what you wear… Chinese seems to believe in Simplicity… and they choose comfort than glamour.. so don’t mind wearing any glamorous clothing while you are in China. T-shirt, pants, or short-pants will do
  • But make sure to wear according to the season. If it’s winter then bring some winter clothing. If summer, then wear summer clothing

3. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes

  • In a big country, such as China, it isn’t a shocker, when parks, palaces and other tourist attractions is 4 times bigger than a soccer field. So better yet get ready and wear comfortable shoes
  • I wore my trusted fitflops when traveling here in China, and it wasn’t a problem. Which is unlike Bangkok, where you can’t go inside if you’re wearing slippers.

4. When you go to tourist attractions... DON’T ever try to talk to vendors!

  • There are a lot of vendors selling you stuff in tourists attractions, and they will just pester you and ruin your day if you try to talk to them.
  • Our tour guide told us some horror stories when you try to buy to these vendors:
  • According to our tour guide, Selena of Sinohotelguide, she said that one of the tourists bought something from a vendor in the great wall of Badaling, and the tourist got a fake note (money RMB)  as a change.
  • Another client of hers, also asked the vendor how much the price of the souvenir was, but the client just wanted to ask (since a buyer has the right to ask questions right?) unfortunately, she was forced to buy the thing because the vendor followed her and keep pestering her to buy the item

>> Moreover, we saw the real deal when we came to Ming Tombs, a foreign woman asked the fruit vendors (just outside the Ming Tombs) how much was the apples…and she touched it, and then she went away, and then the vendor tried to follow the foreigner and as the vendor moved, the apples that she was selling fell to the ground (the basket “bilao” of apples seemed to be accidentally attached to the apron of the vendor, that was why the apples suddenly fell), then suddenly she was throwing the apples to the foreign woman.. —this time we are just about to buy some fruits because my dad was so hungry! and we are like her next customer (we are at least 1 meter when it happened) and after seeing that kind of disaster, my father said “Halika na!” which means “Let’s go”…. harhar.. such a scary encounter!!!

5. If you travel DIY, you should put the attractions, places you wanna visit and your hotel in their local language

  • Traveling to China is difficult because of the language barrier… even in train stations or ticketing counters and even the policeman doesn’t know how to speak English… so foreign visitors… it will be really hard for us!
  • However, If you are well-versed with their local language (Mandarin) then you will have no problem at all, but for a lot of people who doesn’t understand this language then you should get ready.
  • Start by putting the name of the attractions and hotels in Chinese.
  • You can let the front desk staff of your hotel to write the places you wanna visit in their local language
  • Or before coming here, learn some basic Chinese! 🙂

6. Exchange your money in their currency before its too late!

  • There are no Money Exchange shops in China, you can only find one in the airport and some reputable hotels (Hilton, Novotel) and of course the trusted Bank
  •  I tried exchanging my money in the reputable hotels (My family and I are really worried) but they didn’t allow because only hotel guests can avail of the service)
  • For those who are budget-travelers, and your hotel doesn’t have a money exchange counter, then your only option is the BANK. But take note that the opening hours is by 9am to 5 pm  and they are closed during Chinese Holidays, Saturday and Sunday.
  • But, no worries for ATM card holders, if your bank is loaded with cash 🙂 then you can just withdraw from ATMs in China. However, they have limit of 2,000 to 3,000 CNY per day. We tried withdrawing in the ATMs of different banks in China, but it doesn’t work, the maximum (to all banks in China) is the limit I mentioned before.
  • Moreover most of the establishment does not accept USD! So be careful people! 🙂

7. When you go to China, especially DIY or even if you have a tour guide, you should read some basic history of the places you wanna visit, so that you can understand thoroughly the underlying mystery that covers the place. This will make it more interesting! 🙂

8. Bring water with you

  • walking…walking…walking.. is the only thing you will do when you visit an attraction in China, and you will need a lot of water to re-energize and to refresh you…and also this is to avoid the pesky vendors in the attractions… Instead of buying to them.. just bring your own. It will make you safe and refreshed throughout the trip.

9. If you are going to ride the long-distance train, I suggest you buy the ticket earlier or reserve it online (Now, they have online reservation facility) or if not, go early to the train station and buy the tickets) especially if your train is Xian to Beijing, since sometimes they have only 1 train leaving the place. So, watch out people!

TIPS FROM FELLOW BLOGGERS:

1. When you come to China, as much as possible, avoid street foods-especially those cooked in oil. One of my fellow blogger stated that Chinese tend to cook their food in recycled oil.

> Food cooked in oil is very unhealthy—not only because it was cooked in oil— but because the oil is recycled by those vendors.. And we all know recycling oil and eating the food cooked in it is carcinogenic…

FOR THE READERS: If you already traveled to China, please put your other “tips and suggestions when traveling to China” on the comment box below.. I can add it here in this list..

If you have more tips, list it down in the comment box below and I will add it here 🙂

Thank You! Hope this helps! 🙂

HAPPY WANDERING! 🙂

The Great Mosque of Xian: A Mixture of Muslim and Chinese Architecture

The Great Mosque in Xian is a mixture of Chinese and Muslim Architecture. This was created in 742, in the middle of the reign of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It was the immediate consequence of the introduction of Islam to the Chinese.

Courtyard of the Great Mosque: Where you can see the stone tablets

This is one of the biggest place of worship for the Muslim in China… it contains a big prayer hall and a courtyard (where I took a lot of pictures).

This place was really old and when you see it in person, you will realize that it is untouched by modern hands—It wasn’t renovated and seems pretty old and seems dangerous. But, the oldness of this place is what makes it much stunning. The place makes you go back in time and really see what it looks like centuries ago.

The Courtyard

The untouched architecture is astonishing. It is old.. yes… but it is beautiful… Maybe, I can say, that all the things that I have seen in China, this is the place I really liked, due to the gracefulness and beauty of this historical place

Behind us is the praying room

I don’t have words to compensate how beautiful the place is. I might just understate whatever this place can offer you. This might be small (unlike various palaces in Beijing) but the art and the old architecture will compensate for such deficiency.

Moreover, upon going to this place, you will be passing a market usually run by Muslims. You can buy souvenirs there, but be careful, they might just pester you like other Chinese do. When I say pester, they might follow you until you buy their product…

Nonetheless, If you know Chinese and how much the real thing cost, then buying in the market is a good catch.. You can visit the market and the Great Mosque in one sitting 🙂

How to go here DIY?

Admission Fee:

  • 25CNY, 175PHP, 4USD (March-November);
  • 15CNY, 105PHP, 3USD (December-February)

Transportation:

  1. You can go ride a taxi (it is just near the city center
  2. Take bus Take bus 4, 7, 32, 201, 215, 222, 251, 252 or Tourism Bus No. 8 (610) and get off at Zhonglou (Bell Tower) Station. Walk to the Drum Tower and find entrance to the mosque in the Huajue Lane to the northwest of the Drum Tower.

“Must-See” Places in Xian, China

According to our tour guide in Xian, “if you haven’t been to Xian, you have never been to China!” So, experience China by having your next travel to Xian.

These are the list of places you should visit during your stay in Xian.

  1. Terra Cotta Army: Located east of Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum, the well-known Terra-cotta was buried underground to protect the afterlife of Emperor Qinshihuang from 2200 years ago. There are more than 8,000 life-size terra cotta figures of soldiers and horses excavated from this area. They are all displayed in the practical battle formation in 3 pits respectively. The Terra Cotta Army is now regarded as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
  2. Xian City Wall: The Xian City Wall is the best preserved, oldest and largest ancient city defence system in China. It is also one of the most important landmarks of the Xian city. The original foundation of the Xian City Wall was based on the ruins of the Imperial City Wall of Chang’an City–the capital of the Tang Dynasty.
  3. Huaqing Hotspring: Having a 6000 year old history. It was created during the Tang Dynasty. It is where the Emperor and his concubines took a bath. It is one of the greatest garden landscapes in China.
  4. Great Mosque: Great Mosque is the largest of its kind in Xian and one of the best preserved mosques in China. Unlike Arabic mosques, the Great Mosque in Xi’an possesses much Chinese tradition in both its design and its artistic outlook. There are characteristics of Chinese pavilions, with painted beams and engraved ridgepoles.
  5. Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Situated in the Da Ci’en Temple, about four kilometers from the urban center, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the famous Buddhist pagodas in China. As an architectural marvel, it was built with layers of bricks but without any cement in between. The grand body of the pagoda with its solemn appearance, simple style and high structure, is indeed a good example of ancient people’s wisdom and talent.
  6. Shaanxi Provincial History Museum: (Especially, if you don’t know any history of China, this is a good place to have some lessons). Shaanxi Provincial History Museum is the first huge state museum with modern facilities in China, and given the reputation of “bright pearl of ancient city, treasure house of China.” Exhibited in the main exhibition hall are 2,700 pieces works of art selected from all periods and show the development of civilization in this region.

To see my individual posts regarding each places, please click the violet-colored links 🙂

Most of what is written here are the tourist trails. So, if you haven’t been here, you haven’t fully experienced what Xian has to offer.



China Visa Application for Philippine Citizens

Updated November 20, 2012

If you are a Filipino Citizen and you are planning to go to China this year, then I suggest that you gather all the requirements for the Visa as early as possible.

All Filipino Citizens are required to get a visa before they enter China. and unlike South Korea where getting a tourist visa is gratis or free, for China, you need to pay P1400.00.

You can apply for your Chinese Visa at least 1-2 weeks before your departure date, and you can apply as early as 1-2 months before your departure.

HERE ARE THE LIST OF REQUIREMENTS:

  1.  Applicant’s passport with blank pages and at least 6 months validity left before expiration. Do not leave any field bank, write “NA”only if the question does not apply to you.
  2. A truly and completely filled application form affixed with one passport-size or 2×2 colored photo, with white background, full-face front view, and no hat.  Photo must be glued on the application form. Stapled pictures will not be accepted. Scanned photos will also not be accepted.  U.S. passport holders must submit two application forms with two photos.
  3. Photocopy of the front (passport details page) and the back (emergency contact page) of your passport
  4. An invitation letter issued by Authorized Travel Agency, or from other travel agencies or individuals. Otherwise, you must provide a copy of return ticket and hotel reservation.
  5. If visiting Tibet, please contact a travel agency to apply for a Tibet Entry Permit issued by the Tourism Administration of the Tibet Autonomous Region in advance

IF NO INVITATION LETTER:

  1.  A copy of the round-trip plane ticket
  2. Hotel reservation / invitation letter with a copy of the inviter’s valid chinese residence visa and passport information page of inviter’s or Chinese national identity card
  3.   Previously used China visa in old or new passport (Only visa stickers will be accepted.  Those with stamped visas must submit additional documents for first time China visa applicants.

RE: INVITATION LETTER/ AUTHORIZED TRAVEL AGENCY

According to Pinoy Exchange Members, the authorized travel agency in China that they had contracted are as follows:

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR 1ST TIME APPLICANTS

For first time applicants to China (Philippine passport holders, 18 years old and above), they are required to provide the following:

  •  original NBI clearance valid for travel abroad (the green one)   According to the new requirements os of July 2012, NBI Clearance is no longer necessary
  • The emergency contact information page in the applicant’s passport should be filled out and photocopied.
  • original bank certificate with receipt/debit memo or original passbook, updated within the month that you are applying ONLY If you don’t have an invitation letter from an authorized travel agency.
  • detailed bank statement for a period of 6 months. This is a relatively new requirement, as stated by Ms. Karen Yang, as seen in the comment box below. original bank receipt are required. ONLY If you don’t have an invitation letter from an authorized travel agency in China
  • If visiting PRC for the first time, BIR-Stamped income tax return form ONLY if you don’t have an invitation letter from an authorized travel agency in China.

The bank certificate, as for the contribution of Ms. Karen Yang and Basya in the comments box below and from the requirements posted in the bulletin board. They stated that your bank certificate should conform to the following:

  1. You should have a bank account with opening date 6 months prior the application date, and it should be written in your bank certificate.
  2. You should present a bank certificate with a deposit of at least P100,000.00 ond an ADB of P100,000.00. and an ADB of P100,000 for the past 6 months. So, the ADB should not be lower than P100,000 for the past 6 months.
  3. issuing bank should be a Commercial Bank.Certificates from thrift banks, savings and loan banks  are not allowed. They are strict with this. My friend was refused application since their bank is a loan and savings bank.Regardless of the bank, the Bank Certificate should have the following information: (these requirements are in the Embassy’s bulletin board):

    •  Original copy printed on the bank’s letterhead.
    •  Account Name
    •  Account Number
    •  Account Opening date- account should be active for at least 18o days prior to applying the visa
    •  Type of Account– (savings or current account only; time/term deposits, mutual funds, insurance and any other type of investments are not accepted)
    • Current Balance of
    • Average daily balance for the past 6 monthsof at least P100,000 per applicant. (The “past 6 months” should be indicated; Ave Daily Balance/YTD will not be accepted). They are so strict about this!
    • With checkwrite
    • All Details in English Language
    • The official receipt/debit memo/Certification of waived fee must be stapled.
  4. Aside from bank certificate, they added another requirement: detailed bank statement or passbook for a period of 6 months with original bank receipt. The bank statement is a totally different document from a bank certificate and likewise cannot be substituted for a bank certificate. Both documents MUST be submitted
  • Present the original passbook or bank statements. (Should  include transactions for the past 180 days prior to applying for visa
  • Photocopy of just one page with the latest transactions. There is no need to photocopy all the pages.
  • The bank name, account name, and account number should exactly match the details in the bank certificate
  • Ending balance should be at least P100,000 per applicant (age 18 and above) This should be updated within the past 30 days; any amount less than P100,000 will not be accepted
  • Average Daily Balance for every month within the past 6 months/180 days should be at least P100,000 per applicant
  • All details in English Language

IF TRIP IS SPONSORED provide the ff:

A. If a company will sponsor the trip,

  • provide the company’s bank certificate,
  •  sponsorship letter from the company
  • company’s business registration.

B. If an individual will sponsor the trip,

  • provide his bank certificate,
  •  sponsorship and invitation letter,
  • copy of sponsor’s valid residence visa (if sponsor is a Chinese national/resident)
  • passport information page of the person sponsoring or if Chineseor Chinese national ID.

FOR EMPLOYEES:

  • employment certificate,
  • company ID
  • SSS ID and contributions,
  • TIN ID and latest ITR, BTW, if applicants have invitation letter from an Authorized Travel Agency, both income tax return form and bank statement are not required.

FOR STUDENTS:

  •  provide school ID
  • Personal appearance is required for those who are 16-21 years old
  •  sponsorship letter
  • bank statement and bank certificate of sponsor, not necessary if there is an invitation letter provided by an authorized travel agency.

FOR BUSINESSMEN:

  • provide business registration of company
  •  TIN ID
  • latest ITR, unless there is an invitation letter provided by an authorized travel agency

Below are the documents I passed during my application (April 2011):

FOR EMPLOYEES:

For my Mom and Dad (first time applicants)
1. Application Form (with 2×2 picture (ears should be seen in the picture) and white background, pasted not stapled)
2. passport
3. passport photocopy (information page (front), emergency contact and signature page (back))
4. NBI clearance
5. Photocopy of IDs (employee ID, Tin ID, GSIS ID)
6. Employment Certificate
7. ITR ( BIR 2316 for 2010)
8. Statement of Assets and Liabilities (optional)
9. BPI Bank Certificate with Debit Memo
10. Personalized itinerary with tour agency contracted
11. Round Trip airticket
12. Hotel reservations from Agoda and Sinohotel
13. Tour reservations and vouchers from tour agency contracted

FOR STUDENTS:
I submitted the following for myself: (Take Note I’m a Student)
1. Application Form (with passport size picture and white background, (ears should be seen in the picture) pasted not stapled)
2. passport
3. passport photocopy (information page (front), emergency contact and signature page (back))
4. NBI clearance
5. Photocopy of student ID (I submitted a cert. of enrolment but it was just returned to me)
6. Birth Certificate
7. Photocopy of ITR of parents ( BIR 2316 for 2010)
8. Photocopy of Statement of Assets and Liabilities of Parents
9. Personalized itinerary with tour agency contracted
10. Round Trip airticket
11. Hotel reservations from Agoda and Sinohotel
12. Tour reservations and vouchers from tour agency contracted
13. Photocopy of Bank Certificate of parents with Debit Memo

And to make sure… bring a copy of Affidavit of Support

FOR UNEMPLOYED INDIVIDUALS

I submitted the following for my brother who just passed the Nursing Board exam:
1. Application Form (with passport size picture and white background, pasted not stapled)
2. passport
3. passport photocopy (information page (front), emergency contact and signature page (back))
4. NBI clearance
5. Photocopy of ID (Philippine Nursing Association Member card and Tin ID)
6. Birth Certificate
7. Photocopy of ITR of parents ( BIR 2316 for 2010)
8. Photocopy of Statement of Assets and Liabilities of Parents
9. Personalized itinerary with tour agency contracted
10. Round Trip airticket
11. Hotel reservations from Agoda and Sinohotel
12. Tour reservations and vouchers from tour agency
13. Photocopy of Bank Certificate of Parents with debit memo

Tips in getting the visa:
1. Make sure that all requirements are intact, don’t go there if your requirements are not complete. It will only be a waste of time.
2. Arrive very early in the morning. I arrived 7:05 and I ended up at around 11:45 am. I’m the 90th person in the line already. The employees in the consul are quick in screening applications however what makes it to take so much time are the travel agencies who have a lot of applications to submit. These travel agencies arrive very early in the morning, so be earlier so that you will save up the hassle of waiting and being irritated by the travel agencies.
3. Bring with you anything that can entertain you. Cellphones are not allowed to be used inside the area, once you get caught you will be brought outside by the security guard
4. Eat your meal before going or bring food with you since it will take so much time and you don’t want to be hungry
5. Pray that you will be filing at counter no. 1. The guy there is so handsome! haha! And he don’t ask a lot of questions unlike 2 and 3. He didn’t even ask me a question, he just returned to me my cert. of enrollment– Update! The cutie guy is not working there anymore! 😦
6. Again, Go early so that you will not be cut by the 1 hour lunch break which is 12-1pm.
7. Before going to the counter, check your requirements and arrange it from the most important to the least important.

FYI: As far as I know, once your application was filed, then it will be 90% sure that you will be getting your visa.

The hardest part in getting this visa is getting all the requirements needed but after submitting this, there will be no problem at all.  Hope this will help those who will apply for Chinese visa in the future.

I uploaded a copy of the new application form. To get a copy of the new application form, click here. It can be edited and you can type there your entries. 🙂 And please print it in an A4 paper (back to back) preferably or short bond paper.

You can also get a reputable travel agency to apply for you (but take note, those 16-21 year old people should still be in the Consulate for their personal appearance). But I suggest you go there, it is quite an experience! 🙂

Here is one of the well-known agency that I encountered when I was filing my visa application, I saw them with a lot of application forms being filed in the counter.

Uniorient:
Phone no. (632) 2433333, (632) 2433888 (26 trunklines)
E-mail: unotra@tri-isys.com

And after waiting. I got my visa. Yey!

My approved China Visa 🙂

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY OTHER POSTS ABOUT MY CHINA TRIP SUCH AS ITINERARY, COSTS AND PLACES TO VISIT,

Shaanxi Nanfang Hotel: Okay Hotel for the Budget-Minded Traveler

The hotel allowed us to have an early check-in, which is very nice of them, we checked-in by 10am. The rooms are nicely decorated, simple yet comfortable.

The windows are huge; the hotel rooms are clean, so we had no problem at all.

Stuff for Sale in the Hotel

There are a lot of items which can be found on the desk and on the sink but almost everything is for sale, so watch out for those things which has a price tag on them, they also have complimentary toiletries so don’t be fooled of getting those that have tags on them… the free items are those usually with the hotel logos.

The location is nice, easily accessible to the bell tower. So it is really in the city center

I'm trying to figure out what the food is....

As for the breakfast, if you are Chinese then the breakfast is good for you but if you are not, if it is not complimentary then ditch it…. the breakfast is a typical chinese buffet, (no bread even except for the Chinese bread (the one which is color white)… they don;t even serve noodles! for me, the taste is not good but maybe for Chinese people it would be satisfactory (I just observed on how they go back and forth to the buffet table)

As for the staff, they are quite helpful but only few knows english which is quite frustrating… however, our stay end up pretty well, this is not really a big deal for our group since we have a Chinese speaking guide with us.

Overall, our stay is good since we just used the hotel as a sleeping place….I will recommend it if you have a tour guide or group when coming to Xian, since the location is quite good, but if you are coming to Xian alone and wanted to go touring, it will be harder for you to communicate with the frontdesk staff (I’m just assuming that you don’t know any Chinese)…. but if you know Chinese pretty well, this place is really recommended for you and you can save money too!

This review is originally from my tripadvisor account but what I did is to add another commentary and pictures.