Cultural Keys is an expat owned and operated company, helping both visitors and residents experience modern life and traditional culture in China. We do this by providing unique travel and educational information, experiences and services. From pre-arrival language classes to martial arts workshops, no matter your reason for being interested in this fascinating country, Cultural Keys can help. Learn more >>>

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Welcome

 

Coming to China? Cultural Keys provides drivers, vehicles, interpreters, guides, facts, figures, insights, information and everything else you need to get the most out of your visit here.

 

Want to know more?

 

     

    

 

And of course, if there is anything else you would like to know, please  feel free to get in touch. We'd be very happy to hear from you.

 

 

Cultural Keys – Unlock the Potential of China.

Why Us

 
What makes Cultural Keys your better choice when coming to Beijing?
 
  1. We provide up-to-date, immersive and individually tailored solutions to Chinese language, culture, travel and needs.
  2. Experienced and dedicated management team and staff.
  3. We help you access China, with emphasis on accuracy, accessibility and relevancy to both modern life and traditional culture.
  4. Expat founded and run, meaning we know your needs, and how to serve you better.
  5. Our Beijing services are fully customizable to suit your individual needs.
  6. Clear and concise information and prices about all the services we offer. No hidden fees.
  7. Fully flexible provision, with products and services provided when you need them, not simply when we are ready to offer them.

 

Like to know more? Please just get in touch. We'd be very happy to hear from you.

 

    

Cultural Keys - Showing you the real culture of China.

Products and Services

Old Summer Palace in Beijing

No matter what the reason for your visit to Beijing, whether it's for business or pleasure, or even if you simply want to learn more about China, Cultural Keys has you covered.

 

Want to know more?

 

Information Business Tourism

 

Information

 

 

 

Have a burning question about some aspect of Chinese life or culture? Our China FAQ list will be the place to find the answer.

 

 

 

Our Gallery features photos of Beijing and China, both scenic shots and daily life. Want to see the China we see? Then take a look here.

 

      

 

 

Life in China changes daily. To stay up-to-date with all the latest happenings, be sure to check back here often.

 

 

Business

 

 

 

Don’t wait until you arrive before starting to learning about China. Book a Cultural Keys Pre-Arrival Package, and take the first steps towards understanding, today.

 

 

Start and finish your China trip in the best way possible. Whether it's just a driver you need, or the full arrival services, Cultural Keys Airport Pick Up and Drop Off Package has you covered.

 

 

 

Whether it’s because of time, comfort, or simply wanting to arrive in style, our drivers will make sure all your requirements are met.

 

      

Understanding, and being understood, is never more important than when in China. Hire a Cultural Keys Interpreter and make sure no matter what you’re discussing, the meaning is always clear and concise.

 

 

If you and your colleagues are in town for few days, and have some free time between meetings, consider learning genuine Chinese culture through one of our Team Experiences class packages. 

 

Tourism

 

 

Start Your trip shouldn't just start and finish at the hotel door. Let us take the stress out of coming and going, and make sure ever step of your time in China is a great experience.

 

 

Don't just see, experience. Take one of our 5 Excellences workshops, to learn traditional Chinese culture such as Taichi, Calligraphy, painting and poetry, with hands-on classes.  

 

      

 

Take advantage of our professional portraiture photographer while you visit, and make sure to get some top quality photos of you, your friends or family in a location of your choice.

  

Open to everyone, no matter age or experience level, this all inclusive study package includes transport from Beijing and back, all food and accomodation and 10 full days studying inside the legendary Shaolin Temple, with genuine Warrior Monks.

 

    

 

You don't need to be a tourist to enjoy the cultural treasures of Beijing. We also hold regular activities suitable for anyone interested in learning more about life and culture in China.

    

Something Else?

 

Something you’re not sure about, or simply want to know more? Then get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Cultural Keys – Your Doorway to China. Today.

China FAQ

 

Everyone has their own reasons for coming to China. But no matter what those reasons are, many questions people ask before setting off are the same. Here, Cultural Keys answers some of the most common questions we've heard from people coming, or thinking about coming, to China for the first time. 

 

General Questions

 

Q) Why should I visit China?

Q) Is China a safe country to visit?

Q) Do I need a visa to travel to China?

Q) Can I get by in China without speaking Chinese?

Q) What should I bring with me if I travel to China for a short visit/holiday?

Q) Are there any Chinese laws I should be aware of before coming?

Q) What are temperatures generally like in China?

Q) How do you dial into China, if calling from abroad?

 

Health

 

Q) Do I need any injections when travelling to China?

Q) What happens if I get sick in China?

 

Money

 

 

Q) What is the currency called in China? 

Q) What are the different notes and coins used?

 

Food

 

Q) What kind of food is eaten in China?

Q) Is Western food available?

Q) What happens if I can't use chopsticks?

 

Getting Around

 

Q) Is the cost of travel expensive in China?

Q) Is public transport good in China?

Q) How can you tell the difference between legal and illegal cabs in Beijing?

 

Daily Life

Q) Can you drink tap water in China?

Q) What number do you call for emergencies in China?

Q) How do you dial internationally out of China?

Q) Do I always need to carry my passport when out and about in China?

Q) Should I tip taxi drivers/restaurants/hotel staff when in China?

 

Beijing

 

Q) Are there places I should avoid while in Beijing?

Q) Must I use a tour company if I want to visit places of interest in Beijing?

 

General Questions

 

Q) Why should I visit China?

A) Because it is one of the most unique, fascinating and awesome places in the world. As we've said multiple times on our site, no matter if you are looking for business opportunities or a great place to holiday, China is somewhere everyone should visit.

 

With 5000 years history, truly unique culture, world renowned architecture, rapidly changing society, stunning natural environments, world-class shopping and unparalleled business possibilities, you are unlikely to find anywhere quite like China. (Back to top)

 

Q) Is China a safe country to visit?

A) Put simply, China is most definitely one of the safest places you can travel to. Petty theft and pickpockets are common, but violent crime, especially against foreign visitors, is thankfully still rare.

 

Having said that, visitors should be aware that there has been a rise in violence in recent years (as of August 2013), but it is still lower than most Western countries. And of course, the same as with any place you visit, make sure you know which places to avoid at what times, and always make sure someone knows where you are and what your plans are, before you set out. (Back to top)

 

Q) Do I need a visa to travel to China?  

A) The easiest answer here, is yes. In 99% of cases, every visitor to China will need a visa, no matter how long they plan to stay.

 

Since the China Entry Regulations were updated and changed on July 1st 2013, there are now a dizzying number of options (the complete list of which can be seen here.) But for most people, a tourist visa will suffice.  This is extremely simple and straightforward to apply for at your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate. (Back to top)

 

Q) Can I get by in China without speaking Chinese?

A) When you first arrive in China, you would be forgiven for thinking that it is a bilingual country. All the staff at the airport speak English, and all the signs are very easy to understand. Unfortunately, the moment you leave the airport, you will be entering a very different land.

 

Outside of your hotel, and certain ‘tourist central’ locations, very few people in the service industry speak English. Shop staff, taxi and bus drivers, information kiosk workers, and even emergency service providers like hospital workers and police, will very rarely know much English.

 

So does that mean it’s impossible to get around? Absolutely not! Even with minimal to no Chinese, the majority of short term visitors to China’s major cities usually have no trouble at all, mainly thanks to the abundance of information available online, the relative simplicity of getting around, or the good old helpfulness of everyday Chinese citizens.

 

Certainly, things get harder the further outside the metropolitan areas you go, but no matter where you are going, you won’t be the first or the last, so do some research, take a phrase book, ask around, and you’ll be sure to have a good time. (Back to top)

 

Q) What should I bring with me if I travel to China for a short visit/holiday?

A) In the past few years, major cities have really developed in terms of what is available to buy, with the majority of things you can get back home now being sold in many places here. But there are still some essentials that you shouldn’t leave behind, no matter how long you’re coming for.

 

Medicines – While most common illnesses are easily treated with over the counter medicines you can buy here, in most cases, neither the medicine names, nor instructions, will be in English. Save yourself the headache (or stomach ache!) and bring everyday meds with you. Also, allergy meds.

 

Power outlet adaptor – China has a dizzying array of electrical sockets, but don’t expect your appliances to work with any of them. If you’re bringing any kind of electronics with you, remember to pack a China socket adaptor.

 

Tanning lotion/sun screen – The Chinese have very certain ideas about what color their want their skin to be, and there is very little variety in the products available to cater to those needs. So if you have a specific ‘factor’ that you prefer to use, bring it with you.

 

Cosmetics, hair and female hygiene products – These are all items that you can buy here. But local requirements and tastes will likely be very different to what you prefer, so it’s easy just to bring your own.

 

Condoms – Same as above, and for the same reasons.

 

A VPN – A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is software that allows you to bypass any local internet restrictions, and access any websites you want. In China, certain websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are inaccessible. We therefore recommend that you get yourself a cheap one month subscription to any one of a hundred different VPN service providers, so you can easily stay in touch while you’re here. (Back to top)

 

Q) Are there any Chinese laws I should be aware of before coming?

A) First, make sure you have the correct visa before arriving! Unless you are coming to Beijing (or Shanghai) on a transit flight, and intend to make use of the 72 hour visa-free service, then you will need a visa. Ensure that it is the correct length of time for your intended stay, and the right one for the purpose of your trip.

 

Second, you should be very aware of what you are saying while in China, and to whom. While it is true that Western media may exaggerate the extent of the control of freedoms in China, certain subjects are wiser to avoid, such as criticizing the government, religion, and human rights in general. And most certainly, never get involved in any kind of protests here. If you are coming with the agenda of making a public point, better to consider doing it elsewhere!

 

Several things can't be brought into China, and will be considered a crime if you get caught doing so. Obviously no drugs, for example, but also pornography or weapons of any kind.

 

If you're not staying at a hotel, please also remember that you must register at the local police station when you arrive at your destination. Even if you are only staying somewhere for one night, it's better to be safe than sorry. (Back to top)

 

Q) What are temperatures generally like in China?

 

 

Q) How do you dial into China, if calling from abroad?

 

Health

 

Q) Do I need any injections when travelling to China?

 

 

Q) What happens if I get sick in China?

A) No one should ever travel anywhere without health insurance, and China is no different. We have a lot of good hospitals here, ranging in price and quality. While China is relatively cheap compared to some Western countries, bills will soon build up if you become ill.  Ambulances will charge you for a ride to the hospital, and in the majority of cases, you won’t get any treatment, or even a consultation, unless you pay up first.

 

If the worst happens, hospitals such as SOS International and United Family hospital both have emergency departments, with all doctors and staff speaking English. Alternatively, most medicines can be easily found in Chinese pharmacies, but remember to pack a dictionary if you want to be able to get what you ask for! (Back to top)

 

Money

 

Q) What is the currency called in China? 

 

 

Q) What are the different notes and coins used?

 

 

Food

 

Q) What kind of food is eaten in China?

 

 

Q) Is Western food available?

 

 

Q) What happens if I can't use chopsticks?

 

Getting Around

 

Q) Is the cost of travel expensive in China?

 

 

Q) Is public transport good in China?

 

 

Q) How can you tell the difference between legal and illegal cabs in Beijing?

 

Daily Life

 

Q) Can you drink tap water in China?

 

 

Q) What number do you call for emergencies in China?

 

 

Q) How do you dial internationally out of China?

 

 

Q) Do I always need to carry my passport when out and about in China?

 

 

Q) Should I tip taxi drivers/restaurants/hotel staff when in China?

 

 

Beijing

 

Q) Are there places I should avoid while in Beijing?

 

 

Q) Must I use a tour company if I want to visit places of interest in Beijing?

 

 

 

Have a question for us? Simply Contact Us directly. We're always happy to help!

Contact Us

 

Information about Cultural Keys is available in a lot of different places.

Wherever you are, so are we!

 

    

 

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Have a question or want to make a booking?

Please contact us using one of the methods below.

 

Email: info(@)culturalkeys(.)org

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