The Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, giant pandas, the Yangtze, the Three Gorges Dam – all part of the fascination of exotic, mysterious China.
Lantern festivals, where glowing lanterns of all shapes and sizes decorate the streets, spirited dragon boat races, tranquil gardens and incredible feats of engineering – China dazzles and inspires.
Its natural landscapes of beautiful forests, mountains and deep caverns, flowing rivers and thundering waterfalls contrast with urban views of traditional 8-sided houses with hidden courtyards, row upon row of huge apartment blocks and structures seemingly from sci-fi.
|My name is…||Wo jiào…|
|What is your name?||Ni jiào shén me míng zi?|
|Nice to meet you||Jiàn dào ni hen gao xìng|
|How much||Duo shao qián?|
China is a wonderful place, full of memorable experiences. But as with any destination it’s important to be aware of the risks before you go.
China is not always as safe as Australia. Petty crime directed at foreigners, particularly pick-pocketing, purse snatching and theft of laptops, passports and mobile phones occurs in the cities, as well as credit card fraud and skimming.
According to Smartraveller, foreigners have been assaulted and robbed, particularly in some major bar and shopping precincts. Tour operators, public buses and ferries might not be as safe as in Australia, while poorly maintained roads and aggressive driving can make road travel dangerous.
Typhoon season is May to November. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and mudslides which may interrupt essential services.
China is also subject to earthquakes; a major earthquake in Sichuan Province in May 2008 killed and injured many people and left many more homeless.
Diseases such as Japanese encephalitis, HIV/AIDS, rabies, malaria, and hand, foot and mouth disease all occur in some parts of China. The World Health Organization has confirmed human deaths from avian influenza (bird flu).
Chinese authorities may restrict travel if a virus spreads quickly between people. If you have a fever, you may be quarantined, which would mean that you would have to reschedule all your travel, probably at your expense, unless you are insured.
Industrialised areas in China, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, have high levels of air pollution, which may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions.
Tap water in China is not considered safe to drink.
It’s wise to visit your GP before you go to get the appropriate vaccinations and advice, and also take precautions to prevent mosquito and animal bites.
The standard of medical care in China is often not very high, particularly outside of major cities. Some hospitals and doctors will require cash payment prior to providing medical services, including for emergency care.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be airlifted to Hong Kong or even back home to receive the treatment you need. Medical evacuation from China is very expensive, second only to the cost of medical evacuation from the United States.
In 2014, Worldcare helped 21 Australians who travelled to China, ran into trouble and made a claim on their travel insurance policy.
Most of our total claims cost for China last year was for medical and hospital expenses (41%) and luggage and personal effects (26%). Other common claims were for cancellation fees and lost deposits (11%) and pick-pocketing (3%).
If you are injured or get sick while travelling in China, you can expect to be out of pocket an average of AUD $511 without travel insurance.
If your luggage or personal effects are lost, stolen or delayed in China, it could cost you an average of AUD $343 without insurance.
Covering any cancellation fees and lost deposits could leave you AUD $1,603 out of pocket on average, and being pick-pocketed could cost you AUD $200 on average.
So it’s worth considering travel insurance, which is not expensive and may save you considerable cost and trouble.
Worldcare has a range of travel insurance options and inclusions to suit any China holiday budget – even if yours is limited.
As soon as adverse events such as epidemics, bad weather, natural disasters and others that may affect your trip hit mass media, you are not covered unless you already have travel insurance, as it’s no longer ‘unforeseen’.
If you have your policy arranged well in advance of travelling, you are protected. So take it out before you leave and you should be eligible to claim.
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