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OK I think everything is solved. They're sending me my original documents so hopefully that's all I need to get the visa. I'm cutting it a bit fine time-wise, but there are many ways of getting to Guangzhou so hopefully I'll be OK for finding flights. I can always start a bit late I guess.
I suppose I could have used a letter of invitation instead of a flight booking, but I don't know how feasible this is now.
Look on Google and you'll see how hard folk from any country have it when they want a China visa now. Don't ready anything that pre-dates August 2012 though, it will be obsolete information.
I've heard the Chinese embassy in Thailand is making it more difficult to get visas now as well.
And China visas are expensive - mine will cost me $193 in total once you take special delivery mail costs into account.
The good news is that I think I can fly really cheaply if I use a gulf carrier and change in Qatar.
Qatar Airways is really good. And Emirates (also excellent) have a sale on at the moment but you must book by 10 January.
"As long as you make an identity for yourself out of the pain, you cannot become free of it." Eckhart Tolle
OK that's good to know.
The cheapest option is actually Air China via Beijing. However, I don't like the idea of going to Beijing in February in case I get snowed in!
Also Qatar from Heathrow is on a Dreamliner, but Beijing to Guangzhou is a 737.
If anyone is interested in meeting up then I'm hoping to do the MBA in Guangzhou, so that means I'll be there for nearly 3 years, plus maybe a year elsewhere if I do an internship.
The MBA takes care of the visa worries, plus it would be a great way of meeting people. I'm fed up with working - I've worked continuously for 10 years. I need a break.
I'll try and organise a side trip to the Phillies - maybe I can do an internship somewhere interesting. Maybe with my new found management skills I could project manage our efforts to get Winston off that island!!!
Yeah I already got that. I was told by the travel agency that all I have to do is show up in China and then get it stamped at a counter in the airport, and that's it.
I wonder why China makes it so hard for US and UK citizens to get a visa. Don't they want tourists from Western countries? Surely they are smart enough to know that less trouble the better right?
It's funny that Chinese show such a hospitable face to white westerners but make it so complicated for them to get visas. lol
Do Westerners need a visa for Hong Kong too? Do different rules apply there, even though it's part of China?
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http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/pass ... rvice.html
No, HK is a piece of cake for most western passports as are many other Asian countries. Just show-up and they stamp you right in! No need for prearranged visa.
BTW, PRC Chinese are not always so hospitable to westerners. Depends on the time, place, and circumstances. And if for any reason China is pissed off at your country, you might get random insults or even attacks from occasional nutters. And some people do not have a good service attitude. There are places there which can seem 'Chiayi-ish' too. For example, I visited dinosaur museum in Zigong Sichuan and felt the people there to generally be very dour, boring,and unfriendly.
One time I went to Pizza Hut in Guangzhou, and the waitress girl at the door didn't say 88. I told my Chinese gf I thought this was a bit off.
Customer service in China is generally nothing like in Japan or even the USA. Slow service, bad food, sometimes no food at all is very common.
And yeah, I've had random nutters come up to me in Asia. Winston moans about lack of eye contact, but sometimes it's better if you're not noticed.
HK is easy to visit, no visa normally needed. I've heard the Philippines is the same, although if you want to stay long time then it's worth making yourself known to the embassy - I've heard they'll dish out 1 year visas if you're nice to them. A year in the Phillies - that's got to be most mens' dreams come true.
I'll stay away from any political/social problems in Guangzhou. We Brits gave the Chinese back their island, so I'm sure we're on fairly good terms.
On the other hand, there's staggering hatred towards Japan throughout China. My various ex's have made me well aware of this, especially those who live in Provinces associated with atrocities.
Hopefully the USA will diffuse any silly rows before it escalates and Taiwan gets smoked in an act of spite.
My recent visa issues have made me aware that if there is a problem in China, the government there will blame Japan and|or foreigners. Still, at least I won't be in Beijng which is where most crackdowns occur.
As for visa problems, well most (75%?) visitors to China go on group guided tours or go there on business. It's the others that China is less welcoming of.
...there is another advantage that Winston has over others when visiting China.
I have yet to see protests against ABC's.
I went to the Kikkoman factory in Tokyo. The girls there were so friendly and when I left they gave me a bottle of their famous soy sauce!
Phew. Well DHL called yesterday but I was out. I assume my documents have made it to the UK so looks like Plan A is back on.
Now the main problem is wondering if it's safe to book a flight on a Dreamliner!
Try Emirates. All their Heathrow flights to Dubai are on the new A380s, where their economy class is beyond excellent: lots of legroom, comfortable seats, the best inflight entertainment system I have ever seen, electrical sockets and even a free Wi-fi service (which is quite slow though, but still... ). Food isn't bad either. Yeah I wouldn't trust dreamliners...especially if that "dream" turns into battery spark nightmare
My documents are now in the Chinese embassy. Fingers crossed...
OK I got my China visa. Now to look for a flight...