Frequently Asked Questions
1. About WildChina: General Questions
a. How long have you been in operation?
WildChina has been serving clients since 2000. Our clients include family and individual travelers, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, companies and major travel partners in the U.S. and Europe. Please see the About WildChina page for more information.
b. Can I see examples of past clients whom you have served?
Please see the lists of our educational clients and corporate clients. For testimonials from family and individual travelers, click here.
c. Are your clients mostly first-time or repeat travelers to China?
Our clients come from various backgrounds and experiences, and we offer a wide range of journeys that appeal to both repeat and first-time travelers to China. All of our itineraries are meticulously crafted and researched to ensure that no matter what your level of China travel experience is, we provide a distinct program that connects you with the local people and culture in more in-depth ways than what is generally possible on your own.
2. WildChina Journeys: General Touring Questions
a. What methods of transportation do you use during trips?
To get between major cities, we usually fly. On a few of our journeys (and when specifically requested), we travel via train when it provides a value-added experience. For most touring within a city and for short excursions, we will use various vehicles. Depending on the journey, there might be travel via car, van, bus, rickshaw, boat, horse, camel, donkey, or sedan chair!
b. What is your camping and campsite setup like for your outdoor excursions?
While the detailed specifics depend on the journey, in general, we use three-person tents for two people traveling together. Depending on the location and group size, we may also provide a dining tent and a toilet tent.
c. How strenuous are the hiking programs?
We have various levels of hiking and trekking journeys. Some are short 1-2 hour hikes while others are 3-5 day treks. Please refer to our itinerary descriptions for more information. We tailor the journey to fit the needs of the client and can adjust the hikes accordingly.
3. WildChina Journeys: Pricing Questions
a. What is included/excluded in the tour cost?
For specific itineraries, please refer to the trip page or contact us directly. In general, the land cost quotation includes all best-in-local accommodations (on a double-occupancy basis); all admissions and activity expenses as noted in the itinerary; all meals highlighting the local cuisine and drinking water; services of WildChina local guides and other staff; and all local transport. For journeys that include domestic flights, the cost includes economy-class tickets. Our quotes do not include the Chinese Tourist visa; international flights and relevant taxes; the cost of transportation to arrive at and leave from the starting and end points of the journey; meals not included in the itinerary and alcohol; expenses of a personal nature (e.g. mini bar, personal telecommunications, laundry, etc.); or any excursions and activities not included in the itinerary.
b. Can I request to buy my own domestic flight tickets?
As a travel consulting company, WildChina does not issue tickets ourselves. We work with a ticketing partner to get the best price wherever possible and only buy standard economy-class tickets. Should a client prefer to buy their own domestic air tickets (for example, via their frequent flyer mileage program) we are happy to allow this. Please note that in such cases, we strongly recommend you avoid buying restricted discount tickets, as the travel terms and conditions for such tickets are typically non-changeable once they are issued, and this may result in unforeseen complications.
c. Is travel insurance needed and accounted for in the WildChina cost?
Our quotations do not include travel insurance. All WildChina travelers are also required to provide a copy of their medical insurance card prior to trip departure. More comprehensive travel insurance, including coverage of lost luggage and trip cancellation, is optional though highly encouraged.
d. How do I pay for my trip? Is there a payment schedule?
Once you are ready to book, a USD$500 per person deposit is required to begin reserving your arrangements.
After paying your deposit, you'll receive confirmation from your WildChina trip designer and an invitation letter for your visa application. 60 days before your departure date, we will begin collecting final payments. Our preferred method of payment for final balance is wire transfer, although payment can also be made with a credit card or check. Please tell your trip designer how you would like to settle the full trip payment, and they will send you the appropriate details.
Once your trip has been paid in full, we will confirm your guides and you will receive a detailed pre-departure guide to help you begin preparing for your journey. About a month before your departure date, you'll receive your final itinerary, as well as your local guide and hotel contacts.
4. WildChina Journeys: Health & Safety Questions
a. Can you accommodate allergies and food preferences?
WildChina provides vegetarian options at every meal. We request restaurant chefs to not add MSG to dishes; however, since many sauces and other ingredients may already contain MSG, some meals may contain small amounts of MSG. We request guests with severe allergies to consult their physicians prior to traveling and to bring all necessary medicines with them. Guests are highly encouraged to inform WildChina ahead of time of specific allergies, such as to peanuts, fish, etc., so that our guides can ensure these items, including peanut oil, are not used in restaurant meals.
b. What kind of emergency procedures are in place?
In case of emergency, all guests traveling with WildChina for longer than 24 hours are required to provide a copy of their medical insurance card prior to trip departure. Please scan and email the copy to the WildChina staff assisting you. More comprehensive travel insurance, including coverage of lost luggage and trip cancellation, is optional though highly encouraged.
c. What kinds of altitudes do travelers experience?
On trips with altitudes above 2,700 meters (8,858 feet), some travelers may experience Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), resulting in headache, nausea, fatigue, and loss of appetite. After plenty of rest, symptoms usually subside. In rare cases, at much higher altitudes, there can be more severe complications relating to altitude. WildChina itineraries are planned so that travelers have plenty of time to adjust to the altitude in order to ensure they can fully enjoy their trip.
d. How do we deal with the air pollution?
An unfortunate side effect of China's rapid economic growth, there are occasionally days where the AQI (air quality index) level in the big cities will reach unhealthy amounts. To combat this, we provide filtered masks and have air purifiers in all our cars in Beijing. In other cities, air purifiers can be arranged in cars if decided upon in advance.
5. Traveling in China: Before Arrival Questions
a. How do I get a visa? What kind of visa should I get?
Nearly all foreign visitors to China will need a tourist visa. We always recommend our travelers apply for a tourist visa at least 60 days prior to departure. Although we cannot obtain a traveler's visa for you, we can help to answer any questions that come your way.
You can either apply for a tourist visa in person, at your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate, or you can send a representative on your behalf (such as a third-party visa agent). Please note that travelers from certain countries, including the U.S., are now required to submit a letter of invitation with their visa application. WildChina will be happy to provide this letter after you have secured your reservation.
If you'd like to apply for a tourist visa in person, you can find consulate locations, visa forms, and specific requirements for tourist visa applications on your country's Chinese Embassy website.
Preferred Visa Provider for U.S.-based clients:
If you would like an agent to handle the entire visa application process, we recommend China Visa Solutions. A small company, operating out of Chicago, China Visa Solutions has an outstanding reputation. For more information, you can visit China Visa Solution's website or give them a call on +1 (312) 752-0991. Be sure to ask for Yanli and tell her you are a WildChina traveler – she will make sure you are taken care of.
Preferred Visa Provider for Clients outside of the U.S.:
If you would like an agent to handle the entire visa application process, we recommend VisaCentral. You can download applications and instructions using this link. Simply find your country on the bottom of the page and fill out your trip information.
b. What inoculations should I get before visiting China?
Please contact your local international travel clinic for information regarding inoculations and other relevant health-related information. You may also wish to refer to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provides a comprehensive list of recommended immunizations prior to traveling in China: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/.
c. What kinds of toiletries (i.e. shampoo, soap, etc.) should I bring?
We recommend that you bring a supply of your normal toiletries from home. Should you forget something, Chinese pharmacies carry all types of goods, although it may be difficult to find your favorite brand from home. The best way to keep your hands clean in China is to bring along antibacterial hand sanitizer (e.g. Purell), which can be conveniently used while hiking or before eating lunch.WildChina's suggested packing list will be sent to you, along with other useful pre-departure information, approximately one month before your departure.
d. What kinds of medications or medical supplies should I bring?
We suggest that you bring along the following extras for your own comfort and convenience: antibacterial ointment (e.g. Neosporin), antihistamines, anti-nausea medication, decongestants (Pseudoephedrine), anti-diarrheal medication (Loperamide), insect repellent containing DEET, hydrocortisone cream for itches, Ibuprofen or other pain-relievers, and sunscreen (30+ protection factor). Always pack enough prescription medications for the entirety of the trip. It is recommended that you pack an extra week's supply in a different spot, just to be on the safe side.
e. How much spending money should I bring, and what is the best way to carry it?
Most necessities are taken care of within the land cost of the journey. However, this does not include personal expenses and money for gifts. Pick-pocketing can be a problem in China, so it is wise to keep money and valuables out of easy reach. A money belt to keep your passport and money close to your body—even under your clothes—is advisable.
f. Are there baggage weight limits while traveling by air within China?
Yes, the luggage limit is 20 kg (~44 lbs) per person for economy-class flights.
6. Traveling in China: After Arrival Questions
a. Is travel in China comparable to travel in Western countries?
While China has come a long way in its development, particularly in major cities, there are still large areas not at the level of international cities. At the same time, getting off the beaten path can be hugely rewarding.
b. What is the state of the restrooms in China?
In metropolitan cities and large hotels, Western toilets are common. But in public restrooms, railroad stations, and some airports, only squat toilets may be available. Our guides will have tissue and hand sanitizer for you to use in these areas, but you are free to pack your own supply as well.
Public restrooms throughout China have squat toilets that are sometimes not separated by private stalls. If you feel uncomfortable using a squat toilet, ask your guide where the closest Western toilet can be found and they can refer you to the best bathrooms throughout your trip.
c. How easy is it to change currencies upon arrival?
Changing currency upon arrival is quite easy. Normally, money exchanges can be done in international airports, large banks, and hotels. In cities like Beijing and Shanghai, changing money is convenient practically everywhere. In rural areas, it might be more difficult to find a place to change money. ATMs that accept foreign cards are also becoming increasingly ubiquitous in China's cities. Look for network symbols such as Interlink, Plus, Star, and Maestro. China is still very much a cash-based economy, so major credit cards are accepted at few locales.
d. Is tipping and gift-giving acceptable in China?
Although restaurant tipping is not part of the local culture, we do suggest tips for our guides and drivers. We would like to stress that this is at your own personal discretion. WildChina's basic tipping guidelines will be sent to you, along with other useful pre-departure information, approximately one month before your departure. In some situations, gift-giving is appropriate. For example, for homestays, we suggest guests give a small gift to the host family and bring along small items, such as pencils and erasers, for the children in the family or for other village children.
e. How accessible is the internet in China?
In larger cities, the internet is accessible in all major hotels; often there are Internet cafés nearby as well if you have not brought along your computer. In the countryside, the internet is often spotty and slow at best.
If you want to access popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or anything related to Google (including your Gmail), the simplest way is to use international roaming through your domestic mobile provider. Be sure to check with your current mobile provider for international roaming rates and charges before your trip. An alternative to roaming is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). You will need to purchase and download your VPN before entering the country.
f. Are there any restrictions on photography?
China is a very photogenic country. Most people are very comfortable being photographed. When in doubt, ask first. In certain areas, such as temples, monasteries, and museums, photography is prohibited.
g. Is it safe to drink tap water in China?
Tap water is not safe to drink in China. WildChina provides ample bottled water throughout the journey, and we allow restaurants to serve only purified water.
7. Cancellations & Refunds
In the case of trip cancellation, please refer to the schedule below
60 days or more prior to trip departure - Loss of deposit
Between 45 - 60 days prior to trip departure – 30% of total tour price will be forfeit
Between 20 - 45 days prior to trip departure – 50% of total tour price will be forfeit
Less than 20 days prior to trip departure – no refund
No refund will be made if clients voluntarily leave a trip for any reason after the trip has begun. Refunds will be at the discretion of WildChina if clients are involuntarily forced to leave a trip for any reason.
WildChina reserves the right to cancel any trip departure before it is guaranteed to run. A trip is guaranteed to run once it has one fully-paid traveler, unless minimum numbers state otherwise.
WildChina reserves the right to cancel any trip, including a guaranteed trip, prior to departure due to reasons outside its control (i.e. natural disasters or political instability). In such a case, WildChina will refund the trip price.
Under extraordinary circumstances caused by civil unrest, terrorism, natural disaster, or other force majeure, either party may cancel the trip. If such cases occur 45 days or more before trip departure, WildChina will refund clients fully less the deposit. If such cases occur within 45 days of departure, WildChina will refund clients fully, minus the deposit and any expenses incurred to date that are directly related to the preparation of the trip. Such expenses may include preview trips conducted specifically for the above-mentioned trip.
To cancel a trip please, contact your WildChina travel designer.