What Not to Do In China (To Avoid Chinese Jail)

Is visiting China high up on your bucket list? More and more American tourists are flocking to China to see the wonders the beautiful country has to offer. If you are a US citizen, you may be wondering, do US citizens need a visa for China? Well, the answer is yes; all American citizens need a visa for China. The most commonly issued visa for American tourists is a 10 year China visa.

The natural beauty of China's rice fields. See this today when you receive your 10 year china visa!

Because all US citizens need a visa for China, before any trip can even begin, all US tourists entering the country must obtain a 10 year China visa, following all of the China visa requirements.

With so many incredible sites to see, food to eat, and people to meet, sometimes tourists forgo learning about China’s strict and occasionally unusual laws. While taking a photo, or reading a book may seem ordinary and innocent to a tourist coming from the US, doing it at the wrong time or place, or reading inappropriate material could result in jail time. Keep reading to find out what not to do in China to avoid ending up in a Chinese jail.

Entering and exiting China – What not to bring:

First, entering China without a valid 10 year China visa is illegal, and any persons entering the country without all of the China visa requirements will be turned away. Be aware at all times of what you have in your luggage. Above all, keep your baggage on you at all times to avoid it being tampered with. The following items are not allowed in China and being caught with any of these items may lead to serious consequences.

  • Recreational drugs: They may be legal where you come from, but China has a zero tolerance, and there are particularly harsh penalties for drug importation, including jail time.
  • Wildlife: Hopefully, you won’t be bringing any live critters back with you, but if you are found with a species of Chinese wildlife in your possession, the punishments are stiff.
  • Inappropriate reading material: Any books, magazines, or newspapers deemed less than favorable toward China or their government, may be confiscated. While you won’t end up in a cell for bringing an anti-government book on board your flight, it will most likely be thrown out. In extreme cases, the official can decide to turn you back from entering the country.
  • Ancient artifacts: While it’s quite unlikely you will get your hands on a genuine ancient relic if in any case you do, it’s punishable by law. China has strict laws prohibiting the exportation of antiques.

What not to do on your trip to China:

If you are coming from the states, there are some cultural differences, laws, and general rules which need to be abided by. Some seemingly innocent things that China has banned could result in jail time for unknowing tourists. Follow these guidelines to avoid ending up in a Chinese jail. Always remember, Chinese culture is quite different from what we are used to in the states, so while something may seem harmless to you, to a Chinese person it could be offensive. All US citizens need a visa for China, so, if an incident occurs and you’re are being questioned or detained for any reason, always keep all proper documentation readily available.

Gambling:

Under Chinese law, gambling is officially illegal. However, a number of different organizations participate in the act, like unofficial lotteries, and clandestine casinos. This is particularly risky for a US citizen to dabble in, with the language barrier and strict Chinese laws, anyone caught gambling may face serious jail time. Always keep a copy of your passport, 10 year China visa on your person at all times, and keep China visa requirements documents easily accessible.  

Enter restricted military areas:

While it could be an innocent mistake stumbling upon military establishments, without warning, you may run into an angry military officer. Sometimes military areas can pop up unexpectedly, without any warning signs in English, often not even warning signs in Chinese. If this does happen, simply let the army official know it was a mistake and try to be as polite as possible. Hopefully, they will be able to find someone to assist in English. You may be asked to show multiple forms of ID, such as your passport, driver’s license, and proof of your 10 year china visa.

Another rule to abide by here is do not under any circumstances point your camera at a military establishment in China. Instead, walk past as if you didn’t notice or see a thing. Taking photos could result in harsh repercussions. Walking past a military establishment can be explained as an innocent mistake, especially for unknowing guests, but taking pictures of a military area is a direct violation of Chinese law, and is commonly reinforced.

10 surprising things banned in China:

Despite its popularity in the States, the Big Bang Theory is banned in China!

While what’s on this list may not qualify for jail time, it’s interesting what the Chinese government deems unfit, did you ever think a TV show would be banned in the US, or how about your favorite social media platform? You won’t find any of the following items on the list below during your next trip to China.

  1. Facebook
  2. “The Big Bang Theory”
  3. Snapchat
  4. Movies about time travel
  5. Twitter
  6. Siblings (In 2016, a law passed only allowing two children per family)
  7. Pinterest
  8. Foreign Films
  9. E-Books
  10. Casinos

So, are you ready to fly yet? All US citizens need a visa for China, do you have your 10 year China visa prepared to go? Did you fill out all of the China visa requirements? Remember, China is an incredible country with so much to offer. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? Well, in China always be sure to respect their strong culture, follow their rules, as odd as they may seem, and show your appreciation for their country. Most US tourists don’t run into trouble as long as they abide by the country’s laws and regulations. Whether you’re traveling around town, hiking, sightseeing, or eating at a restaurant, having your 10 year China visa, passport, ID, and China visa requirement papers on you is always recommended.

What to do if you run into trouble?

Always remain calm when talking to any government officials and offer your remorse. Feel safe saying it was an honest mistake, and you did not know any better. Of course, educating yourself on all the ins and outs of Chinese law is always the smarter idea. So, before your trip grab a book or two on Chinese culture, their rules, and social norms to make your trip to China go as smoothly as possible. The amazing country has so much to offer, and by taking the necessary precautions, all US citizens traveling to China should not run into any trouble.

Bonus tips for your trip to China:

  • Bring a copy of your passport, and another form of ID
  • Bring a copy of your 10 year China visa
  • Take copies of all China visa requirement documents with you
  • Don’t let your 10 year China visa expire, if you need additional time or another 10 year China visa, you must leave the country to obtain a new one, by applying and filling out the China visa requirement forms
  • Always be polite and ask for assistance in English if you run into any issues with a Chinese government official

How to obtain a 10 year China visa:

All US citizens need a visa for China, and while the process may seem daunting, it’s actually quite routine and easy. Several visa expediting services can grant your 10 year China visa within a couple of weeks. If you are going with an online service, sites like chinavisadepartment.com make the process a breeze. Upon entering the website, you will be asked to choose which type of visa you require, all US citizens need a visa for China, and all tourists require a 10 year China visa. Following the quick guidelines on the site, you will be asked to fill out all China visa requirement forms and submit for approval. If for any reason, you are missing any of the China visa requirement forms, your 10 year China visa will be declined. Note that all tourists traveling to China without holding a 10 year China visa will be declined entry to the country.

When will I receive my 10 year China visa?

On average, once you fill out all of the China visa requirement forms, pay the 10 year China visa charge, and any other fees which may occur, your 10 year China visa should arrive within a couple of weeks. If for any reason not all of the forms were sent, or you are denied a visa, you may try again. However, each time you request a 10 year China visa, the process starts from scratch. Check out our FAQ for more info on obtaining a China visa.

Cultural Customs (US v China)

Is China your next destination? If so, you’re in for a treat. China is the oldest living civilization that still exists today and holds the record for the largest population. Home to some of the greatest wonders of the world, it’s no wonder China has people buzzing. With their rich history and a plethora of natives in the country, age-old customs and traditions are still practiced today. However, before you can begin your journey, getting a visa for China must be number one on your list. Some China visa requirement documents will need to be presented before a China visa can be issued, but don’t stress, the process is not as daunting as it sounds. Well, getting a visa for China was the easy part. Now, it’s time to start researching some unique facts about China that may surprise you. There are some major cultural differences between China and the United States. Educating yourself before your flight could save you some embarrassment while on your trip. Keep reading to find out may be a cultural norm for some, and a shock to others.

A westerner wandering around the crowded streets of China.

Top 10 Cultural Differences Between China and the United States

1. Dating – In China, marriage is not encouraged until the mid to late twenties. Not only that but dating is also discouraged for teenagers and young adults. American culture is much more relaxed in this regard, and dating is seen as a regular part of early adulthood and adolescent life. Some say Americans could potentially learn a thing or two about dating from the Chinese.

2. Confrontation – The Chinese people try to avoid confrontation at all costs in an effort to save face. In their culture, shouting causes both parties to lose face and can lead to permanent damage to any relationship. Americans, on the other hand, are more likely to be direct and literal, and sometimes view the way the Chinese solve problems confusing and frustrating. In business, Chinese colleagues will never go out of their way to prove a point, as it could embarrass their co-worker, but to Americans, the final outcome is more important than saving face for the other person.

3. Respect – Some might say Americans lack in this field and put more emphasis on themselves than on others. The opposite goes in Chinese culture, it is expected that respect is given to those all around, and their needs are met at each encounter. This goes for all aspects of their lives, whether it be with someone in a store, a bus driver, their family members or a boss. Everyone should be treated with the utmost honor, even more so if the person is an elder.

4. Treatment of senior citizens – In China, elders are held in great respect, both in business and in personal lives. It’s not uncommon in China to find families with several generations all under the same roof. Most of the time, children are expected to care for their elderly parents, and there are even laws requiring children to visit their parents regularly. The same respect goes in the workplace, you won’t find anyone ageist to older people in the business world in China; instead, they are celebrated and honored.

5. Time management – For most Americans, if a report is due on a Thursday, it means by the end of the day, the report should be on the boss’s desk. In China, that report can show up a few days later and no one would bat an eyelash. The same goes for meetings if a meeting is meant to commence at 4 pm, most Americans would be sure to be there at least a couple minutes before, however, the Chinese are notorious for having time as more of a suggestion than an absolute. This can prove to be quite difficult for any Americans traveling to China for a business meeting.

6. Personal space – With China being the most densely populated country in the world, it’s not a shock personal space is limited. Most Chinese are used to cramped transportation, massive crowds, and small living spaces. In China, it’s not considered rude or offensive to be physically close to a stranger, as it would be in the states. Some cities contain over 10 million residents, so the Chinese are quite used to living in close quarters with one another.

7. Honoring the dead – The Chinese are notorious in their respect and recognition for those in their family who have passed. Once a year, family members visit the gravesites for each of their ancestors to pay their respects. This contrasts American culture, mostly because the majority of Americans don’t know where their ancestors have been buried, due to immigration in the early years of the country. Since China’s culture is so much older, and immigration is uncommon, family members can trace their ancestors back for generations.

8. Tipping – Tipping is not customary in China in restaurants and other service industries. The Chinese take pride in being able to provide and take care of themselves, and while Americans see tipping as a nice gesture, it can be offensive to a Chinese person. For example, a waiter who received a tip in a restaurant may feel the diner left them extra money because they thought they were poor, even though it could have been an innocent mistake to an American guest.

9. Staring – While on your trip to China, you may expect to receive a few double takes or stares. In some parts of the country, visitors are still uncommon, and it creates curiosity for the residents. Don’t be shocked if they even take a photo without your permission, or ask to take a picture with you.

10. Gifts may be refused – If you try to give a Chinese person a present, it’s common they will refuse it up to three times. This is in an effort to show humbleness and gratuity to the gift giver.

There you have it! Are you excited for this once in a lifetime trip yet? After filling the China visa requirement paperwork is out of the way of getting a visa for China is a breeze. Within a few weeks, you can be experiencing all the wonders this exceptional country has to offer. Think of all the food you will taste, the sights you will see, and the places you’ll go! Check out our list below for a few extra bonus tips and tricks before your big trip.

Bonus Tips:

  • Getting a visa for China should be your top priority
  • Bring a copy of your valid passport/ID
  • Bring a copy of your China visa
  • Bring copies of all China visa requirement documents
  • Follow the cultural protocol
  • Use a translating app
  • Educate yourself on uncommon Chinese customs and traditions

What are the China visa requirements?

You'll need a passport to even begin the visa application, so make sure you have one!

The process of getting a China visa is easy, but to ensure your China visa is granted, make sure you have all of the following:

  1. Passport
  2. Passport Photo
  3. Drivers License
  4. Proof of Travel
  5. Hotel Confirmations

Getting a visa for China:

In order to obtain your China visa, a few China visa requirements must be filled out. If your passport is expiring within 6 months from the time your China visa is requested, you may need to renew your current passport before your China visa can be granted. Getting a visa for China doesn’t have to be a hassle, a number of top rated visa expediting services, like chinavisadepartment.com, are here to guide you throughout the entire China visa process. The goal of these expediting services is to make getting a China visa quick, painless, and hassle-free. After filling out all of the China visa requirements online, you may be asked to send in copies of photos, proof of travel, and accommodation receipts. If you have already received a China visa in the past, you will be asked to provide the original previous China visa. If you are traveling to China for business, additional China visa requirement documents may need to be provided in order to grant a China visa.

When will I get my China visa?

The whole process of getting a visa for China from start to finish is around 8-10 business days. However, if you are in need of your China visa sooner, priority services are available and getting a visa for China can be accomplished in as little as 3 business days, granted all of your China visa requirement documents are in order. The same goes for a business China visa, if all China visa requirements are met, the process can be completed in 2-3 business days.

Food to Try Once You Land in China!

No matter where you are or where you live, you’re probably familiar with Chinese food. Once you’ve attained a Chinese visa and entered China you may be wondering what the food is like. That’s what we’ll be answering today as we go over some of China’s more notable cuisine.

If you’re familiar with Chinese takeout, you may notice some of your favorite dishes appearing. If you’re not familiar with Chinese takeout… I’m not sure how you avoided becoming familiar your entire life, but kudos to you! Many of the core Chinese dishes are based around rice. Rice is so important to the Chinese diet that the word “rice” in Mandarin is also the same word for “food”. That being said, a lot of the dishes we’ll be talking about will either include or are typically eaten with a side of rice.

The Classics

The first thing you want to try after receiving your China Visa
Peking Duck

Peking Duck

Peking Duck was a dish that was previously reserved for China’s Emperors. Only the best ducks would have the honor of being roasted and served to China’s divine rulers. The dish is high in muscle and fat without being greasy, the skin is also very crispy thanks to the roasting process.


Nowadays you can purchase Peking Duck at many Chinese restaurants, mostly thanks to food becoming vastly cheaper as time has gone on. Beijing used to be called Peking, which is actually where the dish gets its name. Speaking of Beijing, it’s one of the best places to find this dish thanks to the cities history with the dish. Check out this article that explores some of the top restaurants serving Peking Duck in Beijing.

The Dumpling

The dumpling is kind of the ultimate finger food. Small, easy to prepare, and a variety of stuffing and dips available. Whether it be chicken, pork, beef, or even duck, you can probably get it inside a dumpling. Dumplings are one of the most popular foods in China, mostly for the reasons listed above.

Dumplings are also cheap and can be purchased at various street vendors or at restaurants. I like to think of the dumpling like we think of chicken nuggets here in the States: every place has them with their own special spin. ALSO, they’re rather easy to purchase in the frozen food aisle.

Spring Rolls

Spring rolls! Another iconic finger food from China, the spring roll is made by wrapping flour around an assortment of minced veggies and sometimes, even meat. Not to be confused with its more popular counterpart here in the USA, the egg roll, which is made very similarly to the spring roll except that the egg roll shell is made of flour and eggs (hence the “egg” in egg roll).


Spring rolls, much like dumplings, are readily available at supermarkets, street vendors, and restaurants of all kinds in China. Since they don’t contain any eggs in their shell and because they don’t need to contain meat, spring rolls are an option for the vegans out there.

Chow Mein

Chow mein is a delicious noodle dish that you’ll find mostly in Northern China. Popular at mom and pop Chinese restaurants around the world, the dish is made of bean and corn flour dough styled into thin noodles. Besides some eastern spaghetti, you also get a delightful medley of chopped veggies, eggs, and meat, usually pork.

Chow mein, like the spring roll, has a counterpart known as lo mein. The primary difference between the two is the style of preparation. Chow mein is stir fried until it’s crispy, while lo mein is cooked until it’s soft. Both dishes are typically served with similar peripherals, so take your pick!

Sweet and Sour…

Sweet and sour… Anything. Originally the dish was only sweet and sour pork, however the popularity of the dish outpaced demanded and as time went on variations were made to the dish. Today you can get sweet and sour chicken, beef, duck, anything really. Sweet and sour sauce itself has found its way out of China and around the world. Even the most recognizable fast food chain around, McDonald’s, has a sweet and sour sauce on the menu.

Like stated above, the dish began as a primarily pork dish. It should be noted that China has a lot of pork dishes. This isn’t because of some weird obsession with pigs… Okay, maybe a little. China basically loves pigs, or maybe just the taste of pork. In fact China loves pigs so much that along with having the largest population of humans in the world, China also boasts the largest population of pigs in the world with a staggering 450 million pigs.

Now For The Fun Stuff

We’ve gone over some pretty good dishes so far but some of you may be craving more, perhaps even something… different? Lucky for those folks, we saved the weird stuff for last. As much as everyone likes Chinese takeout, it isn’t representative of the entirety of China’s cuisine. After all, if the only difference between the food in the States and the food in China is location, why bother trying the food there at all? Needless to say, some things just aren’t meant for our western palates.

The last thing you probably want to try after receiving your China Visa
Pig’s Feet

Pig’s Feet

Remember when we mentioned how many pigs lived in China? Well, 450 million pigs is 1.8 billion pigs feet, why waste them when you can taste them? If you’ve been to a traditional dim sum spot in the USA you’ve probably seen pigs feet, but the dish is much more popular in China. While not exactly unique to China, the dish definitely coincides with China’s love of pork. Pig’s feet are low in fat and the skin is often cooked to a crisp which can lead to a very pleasant dining experience.

Like any food that too closely resembles the animal it came from, it can big hard to stomach pig’s feet at first. It’s believed that pig’s feet along with other items appearing later on this list may have first been consumed out of necessity rather than curiosity. Food shortages have struck China multiple times throughout history…this may have led to the common folk of China using every part of the animals they slaughter to cut down on waste.

Century Egg

Century eggs are probably less appetizing than pigs feet just based off appearance alone. Unlike pigs feet, this dish does not come from scarcity. It is prepared by preserving an egg (of any kind available really) in a mixture made of clay, ash, alkaline salt, quicklime, and rice hulls. The egg is left in this caustic prison for days or months, eventually taking on a new appearance and flavor as the egg essentially rots. The process was birthed during times of plenty when folks sought ways to preserve their eggs when hard times came around.

Today the century egg is treated as a delicacy in China. Careful however, some have begun altering the process of the egg’s creation, even going as far as to add potentially harmful metals to the process to speed it up. China’s government has mentioned that it is attempting to place stricter regulations on the food industry, including a crackdown on fake food.

Stinky Tofu

Stinky tofu! But is it actually stinky or is this some kind of mistranslation? Nope, it stinks. This dish is fermented tofu which is then prepped in a variety of ways depending on what region of China you are in. The dish isn’t usually served in restaurants but rather lunch bars and street food stands. I wonder if that has anything to do with the smell? Probably.

Stinky tofu is served in a variety of ways depending on where in China you are, if you’re getting it from off the street it’s typically fried. This fried variant is probably what most Americans would consider to be the easiest to stomach as we Americans love anything fried, even Oreos. Especially Oreos. Regardless the fried stinky tofu is often served with a side of sweet dipping sauce to offset the pungent taste and aroma. In some parts of China, stinky tofu is served as a side to congee (rice porridge) during breakfast. This means that you can enjoy stinky tofu for breakfast with your congee, for lunch as a side at a bar, and for dinner fried on the streets!

Snake Soup

Thanks to China having such a long and extensive contiguous history, many traditions have been based down through the generations. This includes some practices that might not be looked upon favorably here in the west. For example, the Chinese have a strong belief in the power of ancient Chinese remedies. Things like using tiger bones to create a tiger wine which is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Similarly, the Chinese believe that snake soup is good for the skin.

Snake soup is essentially what it sounds like; soup made using snake. The soup is typically made using the meat of two snakes, and some say it tastes like chicken. The dish is native to Hong Kong, so you won’t need a Chinese Visa to try this ancient delicacy out. Don’t hesitate if you want to benefit from the alleged healing properties of snake soup. The art of creating this dish is dying out as less of Hong Kong’s youth show interest in taking up the tradition.

Rooster Testicles

To cap things off, let’s talk about animal genitals. The Chinese have a knack for cooking up some spicy genitalia. For example, rooster testicles are a popular dish that can be found in mainland China. Uncooked, they appear like large soggy white beans. When cooked, they also kind of look like big soggy beans, but this time warm. Despite how off- putting thinking of munching on another creature gonads are, rooster testicles have a rather mild flavor, kind of similar to tofu with a touch of chicken liver.

I hope all this talk of oddly colorful cuisine hasn’t left you without an appetite. I can assure you, that was only half of our intention. Luckily, for anyone who might have second thoughts of going to China because of the chance that they may have to try something on the second half of this list, China has fast food! In fact, KFC is huge in China so you can enjoy some crispy chicken after you devour some rooster testicles.

If you plan on traveling to China soon, you’ll need to apply for a Chinese visa. Lucky for all of you, we can help with that. Whether it be business visa, tourist visa, or work visa, we here at China Visa Department specialize in getting you’re visa before your big trip. Click here to get started!


Five Must Visit Locations in China

China is massive. It’s the third largest country in the world, making it larger than even the United States. So, where should you head to next time you visit this gargantuan country? That’s a good question, and one that we’d like to help you answer! Today we’ll be going over five must visit locations and events in China. Once you’re done reading through your options you’ll want to know about all the amazing locations we’ve left out to get this list to just five entries! These sites will have you wishing you already had a Chinese Visa. Let’s not waste anymore time though and get started with our first and most obvious suggestion…

The Great Wall... Probably the first place you should go once you get your Chinese visa.

GREAT WALL OF CHINA

The Great Wall of China is typically on everyone’s China bucket list so it fits in perfectly for the first thing on this list. Let’s start off by talking about some myths and rumors. The Great Wall of China was built over a period of roughly 2,000 years by several Chinese dynasties. The wall’s sections were often completed to repel whatever invading force was the current flavor of the month. The current length of The Great Wall of China comes in at around 5,500 Miles, however archeological studies have shown that the total length of the wall when accounting for all of the walls branching may have come in at an astonishing 13,171 miles! Either way, The Great Wall is the largest man made structure to ever be created. Some believe that with its sheer size alone the wall should be visible from space! This is sadly not true, the wall may be long, but when viewed from space the wall is simply too thin in most parts to be visible from space.

While you can’t view it from a space station you can still view it in person. Bad for astronauts, good for you! But what should you do when you visit The Great Wall, or better question, which section of The Great Wall should you visit? Good question, you’ve got several options. If you can only visit one section of The Great Wall we’d recommend visiting the Mutianyu section. Not only is this the most well preserved section of the wall, BUT it has a slide which you can use to slide down The Great Wall of China in style. Michelle Obama has done it so you already know it’s a great time. Alternatively if you’re active you may want to head on over to the Jinshanling section of the wall which is most known for being a popular hiking spot. The Jinshanling section is also considered to be the most beautiful section of the wall, with half being restored and the other half being in relative ruin. If neither of those work for you and you’d rather be near the sea, you can always check out the Shanhai Pass which is where a section of the wall meets the Bohai Bay.

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

HARBIN ICE AND SNOW FESTIVAL

Moving away from large man made structures of stone, let’s check out some large man made structures of snow and ice! The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is an event that takes place in the Harbin area of China every year starting on January 5th. The festival tends to continue for about a month following the opening, however the site may be open beyond that first month if weather permits. Be sure to check and see if the sculptures are still around if you are visiting in mid-February so you can check out the art without the massive crowds.

What exactly is the big deal about some ice sculptures though? Surely you’ve seen ice sculpture work before, although the chances of you seeing anything quite to the scale of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival are slim. From the onset, a large city made purely of ice is built. The icy structures could be anything from fantastical castles to recreations of world wonders like the Roman Colosseum or the Eiffel Tower. Regardless of what you see when you arrive, you can be sure that it will be much larger than you ever thought an ice sculpture could be. During the night, the city of ice lights up with color as an array of colorful lights shine through the ice structures present. This means that no matter when you arrive at the festival you can be sure you’ll get to the masterpieces present.

We haven’t even mentioned the massive snow sculptures that are created alongside the ice town. I’m not talking about your typical snowmen either, these artists go all out and usually create something drenched in detail. Considering the size and scope of most of the works featured at the festival, you can expect there to be several people working on a piece at any given time. This should go without saying, but if you do want to go to the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, consider wearing non-slip snow boots.  

Money shot of the Hallelujah Mountains.

HALLELUJAH MOUNTAINS

James Cameron’s Avatar was a massive box office success that has since inspired several sequels which have yet to be theatrically released! That’s okay though, while you wait for the next Avatar film in the series to be released you can visit one of the real life locations that inspired the alien world of the films! Known as the Hallelujah Mountains, these mountains are more like a series of spires that jut up from the ground. While these mountains aren’t floating, they sometimes appear to be when a fog rolls through. The mountains are located in China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. You can either visit them on your own by simply going to the park, or alternatively you can join one of the many tours that stop by to see the mountains. If you’ve never been to China before and struggle with the local language and culture we’d recommend joining a tour group. Tour groups also have the added benefit of going to more than one location! Several tours that visit the Hallelujah Mountains also stop by to see the section of The Great Wall what slithers through Hunan province. Two birds, one stone, and more time for you to soak in the sights without worrying about where you need to go next. Careful not to drop your passport off of the side of the mountain, if that does happen you’ll need to jump through hoops to get both a new passport and a new china visa. We actually have an article on what to do should you lose your chinese visa, check it out after you’re done reading this!

Now for some interesting facts about this even more interesting site! The mountains, which were previously known as the Southern Sky Column when Avatar was released, were renamed in 2010 in honor of the film and its environmentalist message. Also, when Avatar was released there was a trend of depression amongst film viewers who were bewildered to believe that the alien world featured in the film was actually just CGI and not an actual place you can visit! Fortunately for you all, you now know that at least you can visit the Hallelujah Mountains and at least get a taste of what the films had to offer.

The Forbidden City bustling with tourists.

THE FORBIDDEN CITY

I suppose the city can’t be ALL that forbidden if we’re advising that you go there, but it is quite something else. The Forbidden City was once the seat of the Emperor of China, as such the city was reserved specifically for the ruling class to enter. Like most former seats of power, us lower class plebians are now free to walk the grounds as if we were royalty. I should also mention that while it’s called the “Forbidden City” it’s actually a palace complex and not a fully stocked city.

Now that we’ve got all of the formalities out of the way, what is there to do in The Forbidden City? Outside and around, The Forbidden City there are also some things to do. The Imperial Garden which was of course formerly owned by the emperor of China are now also open to the public. Like you’ll find with many of the major tourist spots in China, The Great Wall is not far off, so you can always check it out when you’re getting a peek at The Forbidden City.

Naturally you’ve got your standard historical sightseeing fair, the entire palace has been converted into a museum, there are  exactly 980 surviving buildings in the forbidden city so there’s quite a bit to actually see within the walls of the city. There is a litany of priceless ancient artifacts on display in the museum itself, from old weapons to the jewelry once worn by the rulers of China. Lucky for us, the Communist party of China doesn’t care much for ancient Imperial Tradition, so we’re free to walk through the previously VERY private throne room. Be warned, many people visit this ancient landmark everyday, in fact about 15 million people visit The Forbidden City every year! So be prepared to share the space with other tourists like you when you visit this must-see tourist destination. Just be careful not to do anything that may damage any of the artifacts, that’s a one way ticket to losing your China Visa and getting deported.

Golden Temple Summit is a great place to visit for those with a Chinese Visa that are more adventurous...

GOLDEN SUMMIT TEMPLE

The statute that sits atop the Golden Summit Temple is a power depiction of Samantabhadra who’s ten faces face a different direction for each of the Bodhisattva’s ‘Ten Truths of Universal Worthiness’. While this isn’t the largest statue in the world, in fact it’s not even the largest in China, the Golden Summit Temple is a deeply historical place when it comes to the formation of Buddhism within China. UNESCO has declared this site as a world cultural heritage site. Some of you will be turned off to visiting the Golden Summit Temple as you may not be as into ancient holy sites as you are sliding down the side of The Great Wall. However, for those of you who are serious culture nerds the Golden Summit Temple is a must see.

You can either venture up the mountain via cable cart, or for those of you who are spry and adventurous you can instead walk up the mountain. Be warned, walking up the mountain takes roughly two hours and the incline may be a challenge for those not used to walking uphill. Once you finally reach the summit you’ll be greeted not only by the effigy of Samantabhadra but also by the Golden Temple itself which sits atop the summit as well. You may also snag a peak of the Leshan Giant Buddha which is carved into the side of a mountain. The Leshan is also not the largest statue in the world but it’s much larger than the golden monument laying atop the mountain. All in all, this little destination may be out of the way for your typical tourist, however those dedicated few who really wish to immerse themselves in the deep culture that China has to offer would be foolish to skip out on this spot.  

Now that you’ve got a rough idea of what to do once your in China you’re all set to head over! Just kidding. If you’ve never been to China before you’ll need both a passport and a visa! If you don’t have either and are kicking yourself, fret not, we are here to help. We specialize in expediting both passports and visas! Within a few days time you can have both your US Passport and your Chinese Visa ready! So what are you waiting for? Click here to learn more about applying for a US Passport with the Passport Office, and click here to learn more about applying for a Chinese Visa with China Visa Department.

The 8 New Wonders of the World You Must See Before You Die

You’ve got your passport, the boss has approved your vacation days, and you’re ready to make some memories somewhere (hopefully) overseas. But where do you go? There are many places to visit in this zany world of ours. You could go to Pig Beach in the Bahamas and wade in the shallows with friendly pigs. While swimming with swine sounds fine and well, what about the great achievements of man? You may be familiar with the 7 ancient wonders of the world (one may even make an appearance on this list, hint hint). However, most of those no longer exist. Lucky for us travelers, a campaign that first began in 2000 and ended in 2007 decided on 7 New Wonders of the world. Today we’ll be guiding you through these 7 New Wonders as well as going into detail regarding what you’ll need if you’d like to make a trip to any of these countries

Great Wall of China (China)

A photograph of The Great Wall of China, probably taken by someone who got their China visa expedited

The Great Wall of China is well known the world over for its gargantuan size. While it isn’t visible from space like some popular rumors might have you believe, it is long coming in at an estimated 5,500 miles. To better visualize how long 5,500 miles is, the distance you’d have to travel to get from the east to the west coast of the USA is between 2,800-3,500 miles. Forget backpacking through the US, we’re backpacking down the Great Wall.

Jokes aside, the Great Wall of China is quite the impressive feat of human engineering. Originally created to keep out the Mongolian invaders from the north, the wall has outlived many Chinese emperors and dynasties. The wall was even at a time funded by a state-run lotto similar to the ones we have today. One of the ends of the wall, known as The Old Dragon’s Head, meets the Bohai Sea. Why the Mongol invaders didn’t just swim around this part of the wall, the world will never know.

In order to go to China to see this massive wall of a wall you’ll need a passport and a China Visa. More specifically a China tourist visa. I have to specify simply because there is a wide variety of visas that one can apply for when traveling to China. Visas can be tough to acquire, but the application process for a Chinese visa is rather straightforward if you’ve got an expert lending you a hand. In order to obtain a China Visa for tourist purposes you’ll actually need to first book your entire trip in China. While it may seem scary to book travel to a place you technically don’t have permission to enter yet, but– well– you don’t really have a choice. After booking, you’re free to apply. We recommend trying to book as far out as possible to mitigate any potential problems you may face while applying for your visa. The application typically takes 8-10 business days to process, after which you’ll receive your visa. If you’d like us to personally assist you with your Chinese Visa application that’s great! Just visit us at chinavisadepartment.com for more info. And remember, if you don’t have a passport yet, you’ll need one in order to get a visa (and to get on the plane) and you can go to thepassportoffice.com and get your passport in as soon as two business days.

Christ the Redeemer Statue (Rio de Janeiro)

The famous Christ The Redeemer statue set against the gorgeous Rio de Janeiro skies
Sitting above the scenic beaches of Rio de Janeiro is the image of Christ. This statute has become synonymous with Brazil and has become a beacon for the Christian faith throughout the world. Completed in 1931 by French artist Paul Landowski and Brazilian engineer Heitor de Silva Costa, this gargantuan effigy of Christ stands at over 125 ft tall when the height of the pedestal it sits on is factored in. Clearly visible from most of Rio, you don’t need to make the trek up the Corcovado Mountain to see this wonder of the world.

Like China, you’ll need a visa to visit Brazil to get a glimpse of this masterpiece. Also like China, we can help you with your Brazilian visa. You won’t need to book any hotels to apply for a Brazilian visa, but you will need to go ahead and book a flight. The part that’ll take the most time is getting a photocopy of your ID notarized along with a copy of your most recent bank statement. In case you were wondering, Brazil wants the bank statement to make sure you have money to spend when you arrive.

Machu Picchu (Peru)

Come for the ancient Incan ruins at Machu Picchu, stay because of the llamas
Keeping the theme of things that go on top of mountains going we’ve got Machu Picchu. Originally constructed in the 15th century, the structure was known to exist by locals but went undiscovered by foreign explorers until 1911 when American historian Hiram Bingham discovered the ruins and brought this knowledge back to the states with him.

The structure is sometimes referred to as “the lost city of the Incas” which is actually incorrect, the site actually functioned as a private estate for Incan Ruler Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui. While the estate was passed down Pachacuti’s lineage, the site was inhabited for only 80 years before being abandoned due to the ongoing conflict with the Spanish invaders. In addition to being a neat piece of history, you might find a friendly llama willing to take a picture with you, or it could just spit at you. Who knows!

Unlike our previous two entries onto this list, you won’t need a visa to visit Peru, so perhaps you should make this your first stop on your travels along with this next entry

Chichen Itza (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico)

While this isn’t the only pyramid on our list (this is called foreshadowing, kiddos), it’s certainly the most intact pyramid here. Built by the Mayans sometime between 600 and 1200 AD, the structure serves as a reminder that triangles are every ancient civilization’s favorite shape. Unlike our previous entry, Chichen Itza was a city and probably the largest of it’s kind back in the heyday of the Mayan Civilization.

Chichen Itza (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico)


Not unlike our previous entry, these ancient ruins were lost and then rediscovered. Pictured above is a photo of the ruins being consumed by nature. Being located in Mexico means that flights from the USA will be vastly more inexpensive than flights to any of the other countries listed here today. You also won’t need a visa to enter Mexico which makes travel to the country pretty easy for us here in the USA. Not to mention that if you live in the southern United States, it’s totally possible for you to drive there

The Roman Colosseum (Rome) – No visa

Here to complete the holy triangle of countries with wonders that don’t require a visa is the Roman Colosseum in… drum roll please… Rome, Italy! Colosseums were one of the Roman Empires selling points, they built throughout the empire to provide entertainment to their citizens. Who could protest the often cruel nature of the Roman Republic/Empire (depending on the century) when you’ve got a deathmatch to catch on your way back from the forum? No one, that’s who.

On display here, one can see the meticulous use of arches by the Romans. While we take the arch for granted nowadays, the Romans were among the first to pioneer the usage of this structurally sound method of construction. The structure is large enough to fit 50,000 people in it, which would’ve made for quite the gathering some 2,000 years ago. The colosseum is even so large that the arena basin was sometimes filled with water so that ship battles could be waged within the colosseum walls. The only thing better than going to Italy to see the Colosseum is the fact that you’ve just paid for a flight to Italy– And hey, looks like you’ll get to see the rest of Rome! What a steal.

Taj Mahal (Agra, India)

The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum originally built in 17th century India by the then ruler of the Mughal Empire, Shah Jahan. The structure was built in honor of Shah Jahan’s favorite wife, Mumtaz Muhal, her body as well as the body of Shah Jahan are both entombed within the Taj Mahal. A popular theory suggest that there was supposed to be a similar building opposite to the Taj Mahal which mirrored it’s ivory white with stark blacks. This black duplicate of the Taj Mahal would have served as Shah Jahan’s personal tomb. This theory has gone largely unproven and survives today mostly as a tale told to enhance the ambience of seeing the lone Taj Mahal.

Like with China or Brazil, you’ll need a visa to go to India. If you aren’t staying for more than 4 months you can actually apply for an Indian E-Visa, which is doable completely online. It’s important to note this must be done prior to your arrival in India. If you plan on making more than one trip or if you’ve plan to spend more than 4 months in India on any given stay you’ll have to apply for a normal Indian visa. This application process may be daunting like the others, but it’s doable. If you’d like help with your application process, we can actually help with that! Visit Visaservicedepartment.com and start your application today.

Petra (Jordan)

The Petra, capital of an ancient Nabataean civilization in Jordan
Located in Jordan and once the capital of the ancient Nabataean civilization, the Petra is a dazzling city carved into sandstone hills. The Nabataean people were a nomadic group of traders who prized Petra for its central location relative to the trade routes of their ancient time. Originally built around 312 BC, the city went on to be conquered by the Roman Empire and was eventually completely abandoned in 800 AD. That didn’t stop people from attempting to plunder the city… Even when there’s nothing to plunder. Solid stone urns can be found at Petra, covered in bullet holes from desert bandits and thieves who may have believed that these stone urns actually contained treasure of some kind.

While you can’t loot and plunder this once great city, you can visit it and take excellent selfies with it’s hillside facade. You’ll need a visa to enter Jordan, but unlike some of the other locations on this list, you can apply for the visa when you arrive in Jordan. You just need to make sure that your passport has pages available for the visa once you arrive.

HONORABLE MENTION – THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

The pyramids of Giza, set against the gorgeous Egyptian dusk
While not officially one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, the Pyramids of Giza gets an honorable mention because… Well… They’re THE pyramids. When most people think of Egypt, the pyramids are the first thing that comes to their mind. And rightfully so, these monuments have stood for thousands of years, echoing the accomplishments of a civilization long fallen into our modern era. This ancient wonder gets bonus points for being the only remaining ancient wonder of the world– surprising considering that the pyramids are about two thousand years older than the other six ancient wonders of the world.

Awe-inspiring tetrahedrons aside, you’ll need an Egyptian visa to actually go see the pyramids. Like the other visas mentioned on this list, we can help get your Egyptian visa sorted. These visas typically take around 8-10 business days to process and require that you have a roundtrip flight itinerary that shows you entering and exiting Egypt. The process is nowhere near as complicated as some of the other visas on this list, so don’t stress too much over this one.

That’s it! 7 Wonders and an honorable mention that probably should be somewhere on the actual list– My own personal opinions aside, what do you think about the list? Give it a share and let people know what you think

Explore The Asian Ethnicity With A China Visa From USA

Amidst the struggles of day to day life to earn a livable wage, an average American life is undoubtedly a rat race that can wear an individual very thin. If a person’s life is comprised of balancing all of their activities such as eating well, living comfortably, buying clothing, insurance, saving money, buying a house, fitness and participating in sports, education, travel, and entertainment, that is what we can call a healthy life. Lifestyle experts believe that none of these elements should be absent for a healthy life, nor should the ratio be weighted too heavily too much toward any one activity. However, it is alright for one area or another to take precedence depending on that area’s significance to the individual’s life at the time. After all, we only live once so we should be sure to experience life to the fullest! Although money is a key factor to a happy life, annual income is not the only thing necessary to achieve maximum happiness.

US Gets Visa Free Access To Hainan – China’s Resort Island

China’s international and foreign policies have changed over the years. The country has opened itself up to new collaborations. There was a time when the country did not welcome many visitors to the place. However, things changed with time gradually. Currently, China has opened doors to visitors from around 59 nations, providing them visa-free entrance to Hainan Island. This step has been taken as a measure to boost economic growth and tourism in the backwater province of China. There is no need for a Chinese visa from USA for visiting the Hainan Island now. Continue reading

Frequently Asked Questions on China Tourist Visa

Vacation planning is always lots of fun. It is more so when the destination is a nation like China. This Asian country has deep historical and cultural heritage and has developed into a leading tourist destination in the Asian continent. The best thing about China is that each region of the country offers something unique and different for travelers. The diversity of the country is what makes the place so very fascinating. Another interesting thing about the country is that it offers something for all kinds of travelers and tourists. Read about the major travel destinations in the country and decide on the places you want to visit, depending on your preferences. Continue reading

FAQs on Chinese visa for US citizens

Are you a resident of USA? Are you intending and planning to visit China for business purpose or for leisure travel? Well, if you are answering in affirmative to the above questions, you will need valid Chinese visa to enter mainland China. The kind of visa you will need depends on the purpose of your visit. When business is the main purpose of your visit, you will need to have a business visa and make the application likewise. The same stands for tourist visa and other kinds of visas. Continue reading

The 10 Years China Visa Would Help In Saving Many Blushes

The China visa is one of the most sought for thing in the contemporary US. With the reduction of distance between the two countries from the perspective of business in the recent times, the critics are of the opinion that the business between the two countries would increase leaps and bounds in the near future. This would definitely instigate more and more people to apply for the Chinese visa and furthermore there would be more traffic between the two countries for multiple reasons. Primarily, China has been developing its tourism sector in the recent times. The variation in scenic beauty as well as vast cultural differences inherent in the country would very clearly attract more and more tourists from across the world and would definitely become one of the most sought for travel destinations in the future. Continue reading

9 Top Rated Chinese Tourist Attractions

China’s mention was found in the writings of Marco Polo and since then this country has become a place which is perfect amalgamation of exoticism and mysteriousness. The most fascinating thing of this country is that it has retained the traditional customs and cultures and traditions and embraced modernity as well. The balance between the contrasts has made this country all the more beautiful, attracting large numbers of travelers and tourists from foreign lands. The Chinese are proud of their rich historical and cultural heritage and take every step possible for proper preservation of the same. China is a country, which is large in area and provides limitless opportunities for all kinds of travelers and tourists. Continue reading