Take a look at these commonly asked questions and corresponding answers to aid you in organizing a photo tour with ease and efficiency. If you are unable to locate the information you require here, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected].
Is it recommended to bring a tripod or filters?
Absolutely. A sturdy tripod is essential for low light scenarios, particularly during sunrise and sunset or when capturing timelapse photography. Our guides are equipped with tripods and can lend you one if you prefer not to bring your own.
In addition, Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filters can be useful for photographing sunrise and sunset due to the intense light contrast, while polarizer filters are ideal for landscape photography.
Can I use Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google in China?
Unfortunately, most social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, and most of Google's services (with the exception of Google Translate) are not accessible in China. While WhatsApp may work intermittently, it's not a stable option.
However, you can still access these services by downloading and using VPN (Virtual Private Network) apps before traveling to China. We recommend using Express VPN and Astrill for this purpose. But don't expect to access these services in China as smooth or reliable as it is at home.
What is the best way to connect with my guide while in China?
The most convenient communication tool for contacting your guide and other people while traveling in China is WeChat. With over 80% of the Chinese population using it, WeChat is the most widely used social media platform in China and is available for download on both Android and iOS devices. You can easily connect with your guide by adding them on WeChat and sending messages or making calls through the app.
What is the process for obtaining local currency (RMB) in China?
You can withdraw RMB using your credit card at certain bank ATMs. Bank of China ATMs are widely available and reliable, while other national banks such as Bank of Communication and Bank of Agriculture may also work in larger cities.
Alternatively, you can convert USD to RMB at airports or exchange money with your guide. However, it's important to note that exchange rates may vary and it's best to check with your bank or guide for the most up-to-date information.
What are the regulations for flying drones in China?
While drone flying regulations can vary across different regions in China, generally, it is permitted to fly drones in most villages and mountains of Guilin. However, it's important to be aware of military and government areas as these places are often not marked on maps.
Flying drones is strictly prohibited in Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) and Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie.
In big cities like Beijing, Chengdu, and Guangzhou, it is not allowed to fly drones in inner cities. However, drone videos of popular landmarks like the Great Wall in Beijing and the Bund in Shanghai can still be found online. It's important to note that drone inspections may occur at Beijing airport customs, and there have been cases where drones have been confiscated from travelers. For more information on drone photography regulations in China, please visit https://www.mercierzeng.com/drone-photography-in-china.
Is tipping expected in China? If so, how much should I tip?
Tipping is not a common practice in China, except for high-level Western restaurants. It's not necessary to tip waiters and maids in hotels.
However, it's always appreciated to show your appreciation for good service by tipping your guide and driver. The recommended amount is around USD 30-50 for the guide and USD 30-40 for the driver. Please note that tipping is not mandatory, and you should not feel obligated to do so.
Is it possible to use credit cards everywhere in China?
While chain hotels and boutique hotels in China generally accept foreign credit cards, many local restaurants, convenience stores, and some hotels in rural areas do not accept foreign credit cards. Therefore, it's always a good idea to have some cash on hand, either in RMB or USD, in case credit cards are not accepted. It's best to check with the establishment beforehand or ask your guide for advice on payment methods.
In the past few years, Chinese individuals have increasingly embraced mobile payment options like WeChat Pay and Alipay, resulting in a decrease in the use of cash in their daily routines.
Would it be more affordable to purchase camera equipment in China?
In my opinion, the cost of camera bodies and lenses is lower in China (particularly in Hong Kong) compared to both the US and Japanese markets. As an example, one of my Brazilian customers had the following experience: "The cost of a similar lens is only 70% in Guilin compared to Japan."
Additionally, I am able to research current pricing at local camera shops if you require further information.
Is it possible for me to participate in a group tour?
We currently only offer private photo tours in Guilin, Huangshan, and Zhangjiajie. However, we do have small group photo workshops available for other photography destinations such as Yunnan, Xiapu, Inner Mongolia and northwest of China.
If you are still unable to get assistance here, please reach out to us for a prompt response.