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Travel Insurance To China

There's more to China than the Great Wall and great shopping. Like other parts of Asia, China has a long and storied history, leaving the country rich with historical sites and attractions for enthusiastic travellers to visit. But it is also the most populous country in the world, and one filled with stark contrasts, especially when it comes to limiting freedom; something that any new visitor to the country should be aware of, particularly when travelling from a country with few limits on freedom.

Terracotta Army China Xi'An

Do Australians need a visa for China?

Australian passport holders may require a full visa when travelling to China, even as a tourist. China offers a number of different types of visas, depending on your country of origin and the nature of your visit, and you are advised to consult the website of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Australia for the most relevant and up-to-date information. Transit visas are available for some short visits and while these are usually issued on arrival in China, you should still contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate of China for information. Hong Kong and Macau have separate visa and entry administration to mainland China, and if you exit mainland China to visit Hong Kong or Macau you may require a new Chinese visa to re-enter mainland China. Anyone planning on travelling to mainland China from Hong Kong or Macau should get the correct visa for China before leaving Australia.

How long is a flight to China?

Flight duration from Australia to China is influenced by the use of direct flights, the city you are flying from, and the airport you are travelling to. A direct flight from Australia to Beijing Capital International Airport would take anywhere from just under 10-hours, to a little more than 12-hours.

Can I use WhatsApp in China?

You might be able to use WhatsApp in China, but don't depend on it. WhatsApp joined a long list of other blocked websites, messenger apps, and social media platforms in China in October 2017. Some visitors to China have reported being able to send and receive simple text messages (no images) via WhatsApp when using international roaming on their regular SIM card, but this doesn't always work, even when using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you want to try anyway, be sure to activate international roaming - and install and setup a VPN on your mobile device - before you leave. All VPN apps were removed from Apple's app store in late 2017 too. Alternatively - since you won't be able to use popular social media platforms either - you can ask the people you want to stay in contact with back home to install and use WeChat, a messenger app that isn't currently blocked in China.

Do I need immunisations for China?

In addition to checking whether you need any boosters for routine childhood immunisations, the following vaccinations are also recommended when travelling to China:

  • Typhoid

  • Hepatitis A & B

  • Rabies

  • Japanese Encephalitis

  • Polio

  • Influenza

Visit your local health professional or travel clinic for all the relevant immunisations at least 8-weeks before you leave for China. Avian influenza and tuberculosis (TB) are other health risks that travellers should be aware of. In addition to avoiding contact with live poultry, you should ensure you don't leave home without first taking out comprehensive travel insurance. If you suspect you might have been exposed to TB, visit your local health professional as soon as you return home. Medical treatment in China can be extremely expensive, making it unwise to visit without travel insurance.

Is it safe to travel to China?

Travel to and through most of China is safe, while exercising normal safety precautions. As in most countries, petty crime and scams are common and travellers should be alert to these risks, particularly when travelling long-distance via public transport, and even in busy bars and shopping precincts. The more remote the area you travel through - particularly areas close to bordering countries - the more likely you are to encounter armed bandits. Naturally, foreign nationals are also advised to avoid demonstrations and protests, and should also refrain from photographing or filming these. A high degree of caution is recommended for anyone wanting to visit or travel through Xinjiang and Tibet due to ethnic tensions, and violent protests that can occur with little warning. There are some restrictions on travel by foreigners in parts of China, but you should be fine if you keep to major tourist attractions. Otherwise you should first do some research to ensure you are not travelling to or through any restricted areas. Most major cities in China are frequently troubled by high levels of pollution, which could affect senior travellers and people with existing cardiac and respiratory conditions, making travel insurance a smart investment, even for the very fit and healthy.

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