We'd be interested in who else is joining this trip
David and Judith
Hello David. Hello Judith.
My name is Claire and I will be joining you on the Imperial China and Yangtze River Trip this August. I am a first time traveller with Exodus and to China so feel a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Not sure what else to say as I am new to all this, other than nice to (virtually) meet you.
Well, we had an amazing time in Zambia with Exodus, and they seem to arrange everything really well, so we're really looking forward to it.
Just starting to think about what we need to take .. and saving up for the Visa!
Hi fellow travellers
I'm booked to join you on the trip too. It does sound really exciting. I'm just thinking about vaccinations etc and can't quite work out if we need anti-malarials or not. The NHS website seems to suggest that the cities and the Yangtze River are malaria free. Also trying to figure out the Visa arrangement.
For Visas, we will get a letter from Exodus confirming travel arrangements in a couple of week's time - this needs to be sent with the visa application form. I think we need an "L" letter visa (tourism and family visiting).
I'm trying out the online form, but won't be able to finalise it until we get that letter from Exodus, I believe.
If you read all the notes, there's a lot of detail which doesn't apply to us (and I guess most of those on this trip), and Exodus do suggest Travcour who do the detail for you (but charge extra). It's not cheap either way!
Vaccinations - we seem to avoid the malaria risk areas; for others I guess check with your GP about whether you need boosters of anything? The NHS site is a bit non-specific.
I keep alternating in my decision of whether to get anti-malarials. I know it says we are in a low risk area but low risk is not no risk so I am starting to lean to the better be safe than sorry side of things. The difficulty is when you look on the maps provided online we seem to be going on the border between areas of high risk and low risk. As for other vaccinations I am just going to have those my GP mentioned and hope for the best.
The Visa form is very long winded and until we have the full travel arrangements from exodus I am just avoiding it. I think I will go with Travcour which is recommended by exodus as my friend went to China last year and ended up having her visa declined and had to do it (and pay) all over again as she had made a mistake.
Not sure if this helps - to be honest I am new to all this and don't really have a clue.
I'm off to have my injections next week and will probably err on the safe side - I went to Malaysia years ago and was reliably informed that there were no mosquitoes in KL only to be bitten to within an inch of my life.
Thanks, Dave re the visas. I had decided to wait but am going to try my luck at the embassy. I wonder what mistake your friend made Claire?
My friend didn't give clear enough details on exactly where she was going to be for the full duration of her stay in China and therefore was refused a visa. I don't think this will be a problem as I just received the list of places we will stay from Exodus (after speaking to them on the phone the other day) and therefore officials will know more about where I will be than I did!!
Have yet to organise my vaccinations but this is on my list of things to do over the next two weeks - going for all those they recommend on the trip notes as well as anti-malarials I think. Like you I often get bitten a lot by mosquitoes so it isn't worth taking the chance. Also, you'll have to tell me all about Malaysia when we meet as my friend is moving out there for a year or two and I am hoping to visit her next year sometime.
Hope the injections go well and speak soon
Just got our passports back complete with Visas! We had a hitch with payment - the direct debit was refused as suspicious (!!!) - but the embassy phoned and left a message and we just contacted them and gave new details and even with this three day delay it only took 10 days in total.
Now to think about all the other aspects of the trip - clothes, bags, etc etc!
Just thinking money and wondering what others are doing? How much to take? Should I take all in cash in Chinese Yuan Renminbi? Should I take a different currency as well? Or a Prepaid Sterling card to exchange from and just incur the charges? Any ideas/anyone travelled outside the EU/USA before when it is not so clear cut??
Also, glad to hear you got your visa David. Got mine back too - just! I am now also looking into the finer details but so far have a ruck sack sorted but nothing much else.
We'll take some Renminbi (haven't investigated how easy to get, yet!) but our daughter and our nephew have travelled fairly extensively in China, and found cash machines worked fine.
(I think as mentioned in trip notes from some of the tour leaders, you sometimes find a cash machine is in Chinese only, but most have English as an option).
So it depends on what sort of rate you get when you use your credit/debit card abroad on whether this is a good option.
Apparently Sterling is widely accepted for exchange in banks/hotels - perfect notes only, we've had tales of £20 notes with a minute tear being refused - and Dollars are accepted even more widely (and sometimes in shops but I don't know if that's strictly legal!) Those prepaid cards seem a good idea - our son found one easy to use (in the USA) - and it seems that in Chinese towns/cities all these things are accepted easily.
How much to take? We've usually ended up giving tips to guides - so if you're soft like us this can add up! - and also cost in some of the optional trips. We'll certainly go on some - having gone all that way and paid so much already we think we want to experience all we can and hang the cost! (Up to a point, of course, and may regret this when we can't afford to live when we get back, but hey!)
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