The sun-kissed beaches of Sanya or the snowy slopes of Chongli. Traveling is not always easy during COVID times. Nonetheless, many of you may be looking for a break from Beijing over the holidays. With foreign vacations off the cards, many travelers will be visiting tourist spots in the Chinese mainland. Here are some things you should know before setting off.
First, let’s get up to speed with what’s happened in Beijing regarding the pandemic. On December 14, an imported case from Hong Kong was reported in the Jiuxianqiao neighborhood in Chaoyang district. A Hanting hotel, where an infected person stayed, was declared a medium-risk area along with other small stores which are part of the same building. Other cases have also been recently reported in Beijing.
This could affect your travel plans as will be explained later.
The ‘travel card,’ or 行程卡(xingcheng ka), available as a WeChat Mini Program, is essential for traveling around China.
As a result of the new cases in Beijing, those who have resided in or passed through the city in the previous 14 days will find Beijing noted in red below their arrow on their travel card. For the most part, this won’t make a difference to travel plans. What’s more important is that the arrow remains green for anyone who has avoided the medium-risk area in the city’s Chaoyang district. A green arrow means you are safe to travel.
Since the new cases in Beijing, the city has been marked in red for those who have been to the city.
Remember too, that many places will require you to download a local ‘health kit’ app on arrival in your destination. This along with the ‘travel card’ are essential for getting around China.
To test or not to test?
This is where it gets a little complicated as each hotel in different parts of China applies different rules. Almost all hotels will require guests to show their ‘travel card’ (行程卡) and the local ‘health kit’ app. However, some may also require proof of a nucleic acid test with a negative result completed within a certain timeframe. We decided to give eight hotels a call to find out their policies.
NOTE: This is only a handful of hotels and not necessarily representative of any standard local or national requirements. Check with your hotel before traveling regarding nucleic acid test requirements.
Holiday Inn Resort (Hebei, Chongli)
Right next to the slopes of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Chongli will be a popular destination for snow sports lovers over the holiday season. The Holiday Inn Resort told us that only those who have been to high- or medium-risk areas require proof of a nucleic acid test with a negative result within seven days. Those with ID cards listing the medium-risk area in Chaoyang district as their address will be refused check-in.
On Trip.com, a notice states that those who have been to high-risk areas need to provide proof of a nucleic acid test with a negative result within seven days. Other guests have no special requirements. However, the hotel representative on the phone stressed that the rules could change anytime.
InterContinental Sanya Haitang Bay Resort
Hainan island’s popular holiday resort town is a favorite among those looking for some sun during the cold Beijing winter. The InterContinental told us that only those who had been to the medium-risk area in Beijing would need proof of a negative result of the nucleic acid test within seven days.
Shangri-La Hotel (Harbin)
The Heilongjiang capital is another big skiing destination. The Shangri-La Hotel told us that no nucleic test result was required.
Crowne Plaza Resort Chang Bai Shan Hot Spring
Chang Bai Shan is another popular winter sports spot near the border with North Korea. The Crowne Plaza had the strictest rules out of all the hotels we contacted. They said anyone who had been to Chaoyang district would need to provide proof of a nucleic acid test with a negative result within seven days. Although how the hotel would verify those who had been to the Chaoyang district was not so clear.
Grand Hyatt (Shanghai)
Information on Trip.com stated that those who had been to high-risk areas would need to provide proof of a nucleic acid test with a negative result within seven days. However, we later confirmed with the hotel directly that those who had been to the medium-risk area in Beijing’s Chaoyang district would also need a negative result.
Lavande Hotel (Guilin)
Guangxi welcomes tourists all year round, although probably more so in the summer. In the provincial capital of Guilin, the Lavande Hotel told us that there were no special requirements for travelers from Beijing.
Four Seasons (Guangzhou)
The Four Seasons Guangzhou told us that anyone with travel history to medium- or high-risk areas needed proof of a nucleic acid test with a negative result within seven days.
Check, check and check again
COVID-related rules are changing all the time. Be sure to have your ‘travel card’ (行程卡) ready to display and be prepared to download any local ‘health kit’ apps. When it comes to the nucleic acid test, check, check and check again before you travel to confirm any rule changes.
Otherwise, stay safe and enjoy your travels over the festive period.
[Images via devjeetsaha.com and WeChat]