Booking hotel rooms in China

Before you arrive in China, you should know what to expect and understand some aspects of your hotel stay that are specific to China.

Residence registration

When you first land in China, you need to fill a landing card that you give to the immigration officer along with your passport. In the back of the form, you are reminded of your obligation to register your residence with the local police station within 24 hours. The process needs to be repeated every time that you move to a different city.

The good news is that you do not really have to go to the local police station. Your hotel takes care of your registration. When you check in, the hotel staff will make a copy of your passport and visa and will possibly ask you to sign a form.

Some hotels do not have what it takes to register foreigners and tourists cannot stay there. There are fewer such places in China these days. It is unlikely that this will cause you a problem unless you are travelling to a very remote area.


China is very safe. You should still pay attention to your valuables. The above average hotels often have a safe in the room.

Getting to your hotel

Taxi drivers do not speak English. The English name of your hotel will not be recognized by a taxi driver. Find the hotel website and copy the name and address of the hotel in Chinese. Sometimes you need to change the language of the page to Chinese (中文). Note the phone number as well. All drivers have a mobile and they can the hotel to ask about the exact location. Never use a translation tool such as Google Translate to translate a hotel name or an address.



It is common for hotels in China to ask for a safety deposit. Larger hotel will reserve an amount on your credit card. Smaller hotels will ask for a cash deposit. Make sure to keep your receipt for cash deposit to recover the deposit at the time of checkout.

Get help from the hotel staff

All hotels, big or small, will gladly help you for your travel. Taxis can be difficult to get. They will call one using a local app. They will also write down your destination in Chinese or tell the taxi driver where to take you. If you plan to visit several tourist attractions, have them write them down for you in Chinese. Make sure to always keep a copy of the hotel business card with you. This will make sure that a taxi can take you back home.

Hotel internet access

Every hotel will have wifi internet access. Some cheaper hotels may only have access in the reception area. Speed will vary depending on the hotel quality and location. Note that several website are blocked in China. To have a full access, you need a VPN. Particularly problematic is access to Google products such as gmail. If the access to certain websites is essential to you, check their availability with this tool:

How about AirBnB?

While it is available in China, most landlords are operating illegally. The issues are that they will generally not do the police registration for you or help you do it. They will not help you get a taxi or with other language issues. The apartment may also be difficult to find. It is not the best choice of accommodation for a first trip to China.

Learn more about:

High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts


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