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  Travel Documents & Health
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Passports
Will I need a Passport to visit China?
How do I obtain a Passport?
What else should I know about Passport requirements?
Will I need a passport to visit Hong Kong?
Visas
Will I need a Visa to visit China?
How do I obtain a Visa?
Do we offer a Visa Application Service?
What kind of information and paperwork is needed to apply for a Visa?
What else should I know about Visa requirements?
Do I need a Visa to travel to Tibet?
If my tour includes travel to Tibet does it make it more difficult to obtain a Chinese Visa?
Will I need a Visa to visit Mongolia on the "Mongolia Naadam" tour?
Will I need a Visa to enter Hong Kong?
Health & Vaccinations
Will I need vaccinations before visiting China or Mongolia?
Are your tours recommended for wheelchair travelers?
I don't require a wheelchair but I can't walk long distances or climb many stairs. Can I still go on your tours?
Medical Care & Prescriptions
What happens if I get sick in China during my tour?
Can I get my prescription drugs refilled in China during my tour?
What happens if I lose or break my prescription glasses while I'm on a tour?
Are regular, over-the-counter drugs available in China?
What else should I know regarding my prescription drugs?
Our China Tour Documents
When can I expect to receive my Tour Documents?
What will my Tour Documents consist of?
What's not included within my Tour Documents?
Safety & Travel Insurance
Do you recommend the purchase of travel protection?
About how much does travel protection cost?
Is China a safe place to visit?
What about the airlines, cruise ships, railroads and motorcoaches?
Tibet (high altitude) Travel Advisories
Where in the world is Tibet?
What IS altitude sickness, anyway?
How will I know if I'm likely to experience altitude sickness?
How high is Tibet and at what elevation will I begin to experience the effects of high altitude?
Are there health restrictions for travel to Tibet?
What can I do to minimize the affects of altitude sickness?
I'm interested in the Tibet tours which feature the Train to Tibet. Tell me more about the train.
Are there any medications I can take to reduce the affects of High Altitutde Sickness?
I'm interested in the Everest Explorer tour. What can you tell me about the Everest Base Camp?

Passports
  Will I need a Passport to visit China?
   Yes. All U.S. and Canadian citizens must be in possession of a valid passport and visa to enter China. Your passport should be valid for 6 months beyond the conclusion of your trip.
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  How do I obtain a Passport?
   U.S. Passports may be obtained through any of 13 regional passport agencies as well as many Federal, state and probate courts, post offices and some libraries, county and municipal offices.

To visit the U.S. Department of State website (applicable to U.S. citizens or residents) click here.

Canadian Passports may be obtained through over 30 Provincial and Territorial Passport Canada offices. Canadian citizens are advised to visit the Passport Canada website at: http://www.ppt.gc.ca/

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  What else should I know about Passport requirements?
   Most importantly, know that the passport application and processing time may vary from a few weeks to a few months. Expedited service offers visa processing in a matter of days, but extra an fee applies. If possible, try to avoid the busiest passport application months: April, May and June.
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  Will I need a passport to visit Hong Kong?
   Yes. For U.S. citizens, a passport with a minimum of six months validity remaining and evidence of onward/return transportation by sea/air are required. A visa is not required for tourist visits of up to 90 days by U.S. citizens.
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Visas
  Will I need a Visa to visit China?
   Yes. Citizens of the United States and Canada are required to have a valid visa to enter China. (See below for information concerning Visa requirements for our "Mongolia Naadam" tour.)
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  How do I obtain a Visa?
   Visas to enter China may be secured through local Chinese Consulates or Embassies.
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  Do we offer a Visa Application Service?
   
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  What kind of information and paperwork is needed to apply for a Visa?
   You'll need 3 things:
  1. Your Passport (with validity extending 6 months beyond your return date from China)
  2. A Chinese Visa Application Form
  3. A Passport-size photo

The "Trip Planning" section of our website offers downloadable Chinese Visa application forms.

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  What else should I know about Visa requirements?
   Chinese visas for leisure travel to China are now automatically issued as "multiple-entry" visas. This means you may exit and re-enter mainland China as many times as your travel plans allow, over the one-year validity of your visa.

A Chinese visa permits you to remain in China for a maximum of 30 continuous days of stay.

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  Do I need a Visa to travel to Tibet?
   No. However, a "Tibet Entry Permit," in addition to a valid Chinese Visa, is required. Our staff in China arranges for the application and receipt of these permits on behalf of each tour guest. Your tour cost includes the nominal fee for the application and processing of the TIbet Entry Permit.
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  If my tour includes travel to Tibet does it make it more difficult to obtain a Chinese Visa?
   Not necessarily. But to smooth the process we strongly recommend that guests whose tours include travel to Tibet take advantage of our Visa Application Service. As the tour operator we are known and respected by the Chinese Consulate office and incur very few problems or delays in the processing of Chinese Visas...particularly on behalf of our guests whose itineraries include travel to Tibet.
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  Will I need a Visa to visit Mongolia on the "Mongolia Naadam" tour?
   No - you won't need to obtain a Visa for Mongolia. A Visa is only required for travel to Mongolia if your stay exceeds 90 days.

Our "Mongolia Naadam" tour begins and ends in Mongolia with no travel beyond that country. However, if you choose to arrange an optional pre- or post-tour stop in China, you will need to obtain a Chinese visa.

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  Will I need a Visa to enter Hong Kong?
   No, not if Hong Kong is your only destination and you are not traveling to "mainland" China. A Visa is not required for tourist visits to Hong Kong up to 90 days by U.S. citizens. But you must have a U.S. passport with a minimum of 6 months validity remaining, as well as evidence of onward/return transportation by sea or air. And of course, a valid Chinese Visa is always required for travel to mainland China.
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Health & Vaccinations
  Will I need vaccinations before visiting China or Mongolia?
   Currently, there are no vaccination requirements for entry into China or Mongolia. However, we suggest you consult with your doctor regarding any specific recommendations they may have.
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  Are your tours recommended for wheelchair travelers?
   No. Wheelchair accessibility is still very limited in China, particularly in smaller cities and remote areas. At many attractions, ramps, lifts and elevators are sometimes absent or, where available, difficult to access. Additionally, the movement and storage of wheelchairs, particularly aboard the buses and mini-buses employed throughout the tours, is highly problematic. For tours featuring the Yangtze River cruise, the river ships, though featuring elevators, do not offer ADA compliant staterooms or public rooms.
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  I don't require a wheelchair but I can't walk long distances or climb many stairs. Can I still go on your tours?
   We do not recommend our tours to travelers with mobility limitations. All tours, though not necessarily arduous, involve considerable amounts of walking and stair-climbing. Our various "Adventure China" series tours - which include travel to such places as the Everest Base Camp, desert oases and Mongolian markets - are particularly challenging to those with mobility limitations.

We want you to fully enjoy your tour so if you're not sure you can handle the pace of a particular tour, please consult one of our Tour Specialists.

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Medical Care & Prescriptions
  What happens if I get sick in China during my tour?
   In most cases, local medical facilities and medical staff will handle your immediate health needs. As some tours operate in remote areas, distances to health care facilities may be long, involving air travel. It is likely you will be asked to pay for such services upfront, securing compensation from your health care insurance provider. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip insurance.
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  Can I get my prescription drugs refilled in China during my tour?
   Possibly - depending on the prescription and the city in which you're touring. However, we strongly suggest you travel with an ample supply of prescription drugs you may be taking to avoid having to interrupt your time in China to tend to prescription drug needs. Furthermore, we recommend you keep any prescription medicines in your carryon luggage and that all prescriptions remain in their original, marked containers.
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  What happens if I lose or break my prescription glasses while I'm on a tour?
   First, we suggest you bring an extra pair of prescription glasses, in the event you lose or break a pair. If possible, bring the prescription with you, as well. If you need new glasses during your tour, alert your Trip Guide; many locations can set you up with replacement prescription glasses in one day.
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  Are regular, over-the-counter drugs available in China?
   Yes. But to avoid taking time from your tours to shop for aspirin or pain relievers, bring along small bottles (in their original containers) of aspirin or non-aspirin pain relievers, decongestants, anti-inflammatories and other common, over-the-counter drugs.
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  What else should I know regarding my prescription drugs?
   Bring a quantity sufficient at least for the duration of your tour. Leave drugs in their original containers. It's also a good idea to bring a written list of medications (name, dosage and times taken) in case you lose any drugs or medications.
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Our China Tour Documents
  When can I expect to receive my Tour Documents?
   In most cases, tour documents are mailed to you between 21 and 14 days prior to tour departure.
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  What will my Tour Documents consist of?
   Your China Tour documents will consist of:
  • Tour Voucher: This voucher includes your name(s), tour name and duration, arrival and departing international flight schedule (with associated booking number, if applicable) and confirmation of any pre- or post-tour packages you may have purchased with Let's Travel China.
  • Tour Booklet: This spiral-bound booklet contains your tour's "Trip-at-a-Glance" itinerary; airport arrival information and instructions; your tour's complete, day-by-day itinerary; a list of your hotels with their phone numbers; contact information for our offices; and our Terms & Conditions and Passage Contract.
  • Quick Reference Travel Checklist: This card provides a short list of things to do, important items to pack and other things to know before you depart for China.
  • Communications Card: This card contains important phone numbers for contacting a tour guest (you!) while in China. We suggest you leave this card with a family member or friend before you leave for your tour.
  • Document portfolio: A silk portfolio to secure your tour documents.
  • Luggage Tags: Sturdy and distinctive luggage tags bearing the Let's Travel China logo.
  • Other, applicable documents: If you've purchased the Air Program through Let's Travel China, your airline tickets will be included within your Tour Documents (unless the airline offers e-ticketing, in which case the booking number will be provided on your Tour Voucher). If you've arranged your Chinese Visa through us, your Passport w/Visa will likely have been mailed to you separately, well in advance of your Tour Documents. If your booking was made closer in to your departure date, they'll more likely be provided with your Tour Documents.
Note One set of Tour Documents will be issued for guests traveling under the same surname on the same tour. If you prefer additional Tour Documents, please advise our Customer Service representative at least 30 days prior to your tour departure.
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  What's not included within my Tour Documents?
   Your China Tour Documents will not include:
  • Tickets for travel as described and specified within the Tour Itinerary: Unless otherwise noted, tickets for tour components such as intra-China flights, train travel, and Yangtze River cruise travel are provided by your Tour Manager or Local Guide as these services occur during your tour.
  • Admission Tickets to Attractions & Museums: Your tour price includes admission to numerous sites and attractions. These tickets will be provided by your Tour Manager or Local Guide as those services occur during your tour.
  • Optional Tour Components: International airline tickets to/from China and airport transfers at your international arrival and departure airport are not included with your Tour Documents unless you have requested and purchased these components through Let's Travel China.
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Safety & Travel Insurance
  Do you recommend the purchase of travel protection?
   Yes - absolutely. Because the purchase of your tour may represent a sizeable financial investment, we recommend you protect that investment through the purchase of travel protection.

Travel protection may be secured many ways, including thorugh your travel agent, your credit card company, your insurance company - and us. Each featured protection plan may offer various levels of coverage and costs, but in most cases the primary cost factors are dependent on the extent of the coverage, the overal cost of the tour, and guest age.

We feature Travelex as the travel protection provider for our guests. For general information about Travelex click here. By selecting "Get a Quote" you can secure an estimated cost of your travel insurance. Keep in mind that your cost will vary by the tour price and your age.

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  About how much does travel protection cost?
   Travel protection costs will vary. For the standard "Travelite" coverage you may expect to pay these approximate rates (US Dollars):
  • Tour Cost of $2000 per person; Age 34 or under: about $95.00
  • Tour Cost of $4000 per person; Age 34 or under: about $165.00

  • Tour Cost of $2000 per person; Age 35-60: about $120.00
  • Tour Cost of $4000 per person; Age 35-60: about $185.00

  • Tour Cost of $2000 per person; Age 61-70: about $150.00
  • Tour Cost of $4000 per person; Age 61-70: about $300.00

Again, the above is just a sampling of rates and are approximations.

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  Is China a safe place to visit?
   Yes. Compared to most Western countries China is a relatively safe country to visit particularly when traveling as a group. However, we suggest you take normal precautions: keep valuables in sight at all times, don't wear (or even bring) expensive jewelry, and travel only with small amounts of cash.
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  What about the airlines, cruise ships, railroads and motorcoaches?
   Transportation systems within China - air, rail, bus, boat - are safe, particularly those chosen by reputable tour companies such as us.
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Tibet (high altitude) Travel Advisories
  Where in the world is Tibet?
   Tibet is a vast, semi-autonomous province located in southwestern China. Tibet's mountainous southern border is shared with Nepal, India and Bhutan. Although the province includes huge expanses of flat (though very high-elevation) plains, most people associate Tibet with these mountains - the Himalyas - the tallest in the world.
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  What IS altitude sickness, anyway?
   The common misconception is that the concentration of oxygen decreases as you travel higher. In fact, the level of oxygen in the atmosphere remains roughly constant at 21%. What drops is the barometric pressure, meaning that as you move to higher elevations, with each breath you take your lungs take in fewer molecules of air. Fewer molecules of air means fewer molecules of oxygen.

Effectively, at 12,000 feet you're inhaling 40% fewer oxygen molecules than at sea level; at the Everest Base Camp (17,000 ft.) that percentage climbs to 50% less oxygen. Until your body adjusts to the reduced levels of oxygen, common symptons may include fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and nausea.

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  How will I know if I'm likely to experience altitude sickness?
   Unless you've already experienced tours to high-altitude regions such as Machu Picchu, Chile, for instance, you're unlikely to know in advance the affects of high altitude on your system. (Keep in mind that even if you're an ardent downhill skiier, your exposure to high altitudes is a relatively brief one and seldom one that brings you to elevations above 8,000 feet for extended periods of time.)

Your overall level of fitness has no predictable bearing on your sensitivity to altitude - although smokers will have added difficulty in adjusting. The best way to minimize the affects of atlitude sickness is to minimize your activities....at least during the first 24 hours.

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  How high is Tibet and at what elevation will I begin to experience the effects of high altitude?
   Everyone is different and may or may not experience various symptoms at various altitudes. However, most people will experience shortness of breath at elevations above 8,000 feet. Lhasa (Tibet's capital and site of many attractions) is at 12,000 feet. The Mt. Everest Base Camp (Everest Explorer Tour) will bring you to 17,000 feet - although you will have been at high elevations for several days before exposure to this elevation. The Tibet Train Tour brings you relatively quickly from lower elevations to prolonged travel at over 16,000 feet. Therefore, oxygen levels are increased within the train cars to assist your body's acclimatization.
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  Are there health restrictions for travel to Tibet?
   No, but if you have respiratory problems, are in poor health, or experience frequent shortness of breath during your normal day-to-day living, you should see your doctor before embarking on a tour to Tibet - or any high altitude region.
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  What can I do to minimize the affects of altitude sickness?
   Keep in mind that everybody's body reacts differently to high altitudes; there's no apparent link between altitude sickness symptoms and age or general fitness level. Nevertheless, those who ARE in better shape tend to enjoy the trip more as they're more conditioned to the relative strenuousness of the walking and hiking encountered on the tour.

Symptoms, though unavoidable by some, can be minimized by keeping your level of activity in check, drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding tobacco and alchohol. Interestingly, upon arriving at a high altitude, going to sleep right away is not recommended as it actually inhibits your body's natural acclimatization process.

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  I'm interested in the Tibet tours which feature the Train to Tibet. Tell me more about the train.
   The train service, in scheduled operation since July 2006, operates from Beijing to Lhasa, Tibet, a distance of 2,500 miles. Connecting service is available from Shanghai. The the high-altitude portion operates from Xining, China, located in Central China and runs southwesterly to Lhasa.

Here are some important points to keep in mind:

  • Elevation: From Xining to Lhasa, trains operate at elevations over 16,000 feet (over 4800 meters). This sector constitutes the highest passenger train service anywhere in the world.
  • Trip Length: It's a 2,500-mile run from Beijing to Lhasa. The entire trip takes 48 hours. Let's Travel China tours travel a short - but high - segment from Xining to Lhasa. That segment is about 16 hours of travel time and includes overnight accommodations.
  • Accommodations: Currently, the most deluxe accommodations offer 4-person cabins with upper/lower berths. Flat-screen TVs are included within each compartment. There are no private bathroom facilities; bathrooms are included within each car. For 2008, in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics, more upscale cars (with private bathrooms, mini-bar, broadband service) are promised for the run.
  • Scenery: The elevation brings you the bluest skies you've ever seen (outside of an airliner). In the distance, through windows coated with UV-protection, rise snow-capped mountains. Wildlife includes marmots, gazelles and donkeys.
  • Meals: Food is available for purchase onboard. There is one dining car. Food quality is judged to be "good," but not especially creative.
  • Onboard Oxygen: Oxygen content of the air within the cars is increased to help compensate for the high altitudes. The enriched air reduces, but may not eliminate, altitude sickness.
  • Smoking: Due to the higher oxygen content of the air within the cars, SMOKING IS NOT PERMITTED at the high altitudes.
  • Cost: $4.2 billion! Construction costs are high for many reasons. One significant cost was the building of special "refrigerating tracks" - tracks cooled so as not to warm the track bed over the 340 miles of permafrost the train crosses.
  • Miscellaneous: One journalist onboard the train noted malfunctioning laptops and iPods, leaky pens, and even "exploding" potato chip bags - all relatively harmless casualties to the high elevation! Ah - the adventure of it all!
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  Are there any medications I can take to reduce the affects of High Altitutde Sickness?
   Yes. There are medications which have proven helpful for most people. These medications (in pill form, most often) are available in China but we strongly recommend you contact your physician for their suggestions before leaving for China.
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  I'm interested in the Everest Explorer tour. What can you tell me about the Everest Base Camp?
   While you'll spend just a day and a night at or near the Everest Base Camp, there are some important points to keep in mind.
  • Altitude: The Everest Base Camp is at about 17,500 ft. It’s the highest point in the Himalayas that “non-climbers” can access.
  • Location: As its name implies, Everest Base Camp (EBC) is at the base of the mountain, well within the boundaries of a national park. Weather permitting, clear views of the top of Mt. Everest are visible from the camp.
  • Getting There: Access from Rongphu to the park entrance is via a 4WD vehicle along a bumpy "trail." From there, entrance to the EBC is restricted to two options: a 5-mile trek or a bumpy horse cart.
  • Weather: The best weather is early May and early October (our tour is early October) because you’ll avoid the summer’s Monsoon (rainy) season and chances are much better for great views of Mt. Everest. In the summer and into October, daytime highs at the EBC can climb into the 50s and 60s and the sun - when shining - can feel strong and hot at this altitude. But weather can change fast at any time of the day; temperatures can swing below-freezing temperatures very quickly.
    Weather Note: For a link to the CURRENT weather and 5-DAY FORECAST at the Everest Base Camp, Click Here
  • Clothing: Think “layers.” Because the weather is so unpredictable, guests may be huddled up in shirts, sweaters, parkas and raincoats one minute and then stripping down to a t-shirt the next. Because our tour is at the camp in early October, major rainfall or even snowfall is unlikely. But fleece-lined jackets or vests, gloves, shirts, sweaters, a windbreaker – all are practical, yet lightweight clothing items to bring. Heavy hiking boots are not necessary but rugged cross-trainers are recommended.
  • What’s There: There’s a solar-powered Internet Café at the camp and it does a brisk business ($1 a minute). There’s also a “post-office” where they’ll stamp your letters or postcards with “Mt. Quomolungma” (Tibetan for “Mt. Everest” - China never uses the word "Everest"). Climbers and trekkers set up tents, cook meals, share stories and there’s a strong spirit of friendliness and community shared by all at the camp.
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