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How to Plan a Trip to China from South Africa

Full of stories and adventures, China has always inspired people to travel and explore. South Africans can get quite a culture shocking when taking a tour in China, because of different languages, traditions, manners and customs. It won’t be like anything else you’ve ever experienced, yet it also makes the first timers frustrated. To help you plan a trip to China from South Africa, Here is a guide with everything you need to know and the best China tours. 

China tours from South Africa

Where is China?

Where is China located in the world? Check the map we craft, you can see China is located in East Asia, west of Pacific Ocean, the eastern hemisphere and the northern hemisphere. It neighbors 20 countries, including Japan, Korea, North Korea, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Mongolia, Russia, Nepal, India etc. It will be easy for you to plan an Asia tour starting from China.   

The Distance from South Africa to China

According to the location of China and South Africa, the shortest air travel distance between the two countries is 11,224 km / 6,974 miles/ 6060 nautical miles. 

Time Difference between South Africa and China

The territory of China is across five time zones, though, it uses UTC/GMT+08:00 as standard time. We call it China Standard Time.
  • China is 6 hours ahead of South Africa

Time Zone

UTC Offset

Johannesburg in South Africa
SAST – South Africa Standard Time
UTC+2 hours
Beijing in China
CST – China Standard Time UTC+8 hours

China location map

Geographic Differences between China and South Africa

South Africa
GPS Coordinates (DMS)
35° 51´ 41.9760'' N
104° 11´ 43.4400'' E
30° 33´ 34.1280'' S
22° 56´ 15.0360'' E
Average Elevation
1084 m (6,037 ft)
1,034 m (3,392 ft)

When to Go - Best Time to Visit China

When planning your trip to China, you may want to know China weather and Climate, and the best time to visit. Since China is in the northern hemisphere, it has the exact opposite four seasons with South Africa.
South Africa in Four Seasons China in Four Seasons
Spring: from September to November
Summer: from December to next February
Autumn: from March to May
Winter: from June to August
Spring: from March to May
Summer: from June to August
Autumn: from September to November
Winter: from December to next February
For our clients from South Africa, we usually suggest them to visit China between April and November. Autumn (your spring season) is widely considered the most beautiful season in China, for the colorful fall foliage. The weather of autumn in China is the best.  >> Further reading for best time to visit Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin, and Hong Kong
You are also encouraged to travel to Harbin or northern China in winter (your summer season) to embrace the ice and snow, for a different and fun-filled Christmas and New Year Holiday. If you have China tour in winter, you may expect a lower price than normal (except Harbin), as it is the off-peak season of tourism in China.  
Time to avoid traveling to China:
► China National Day Holiday, or the so-called crazy Golden Week on October 1-7, when all sights are packed with domestic tourists
► May Day on May 1 – 3, when tourist crowds are everywhere, but fewer than National Day Holiday 

Best China tours

How to Apply for Chinese Visa in South Africa

All foreigners, including South Africa passport holders, are required to obtain a visa to have travel to mainland China. So you have to prepare the necessary documents and make a visa application to the China Embassy in South Africa. >> How to Apply for China Visa
The requirements of china visa for South African citizens: You may apply for L-Visa as a tourist. The required documents include valid passport, a fully complicated visa Application form and recently- taken passport photo, proof of your China itinerary including round-trip air ticket booking and proof of hotel reservation, etc.

Regarding Hong Kong Visa and Macau visa

South Africa Passport Holders can travel to Hong Kong and Macau without a visa, and stay for up to 30 days for each destination.
Consular Office of PRC Embassy in South Africa
Address: 255 Athlone Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, South Africa
Tel: +27-12-4316537
Fax: +27-12-4307620
Email: visa@chinese-embassy.org.za
Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC)
Address: 14th Floor, Sandton City Office Tower, Corner Rivonia Road & 5th Street, Sandhurst Ext3. Santon 2196 Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel: +27 11 5059300
Fax: +27 86 6474899
Email: johannesburgcenter@visaforchina.org 

China visa

Entry Cities - How to Get to China from South Africa 

With the direct flights, Beijing and Hong Kong are the entries cities for your trip to China from South Africa. After arrival in Beijing or Hong Kong, you can proceed your holiday to other China destinations, by domestic flights or bullet trains. 

Non-stop Flights to China from South Africa

Currently there are direct flights to Hong Kong, Beijing, China from Johannesburg, South Africa, operated by Cathay Pacific Airways, South African Airways and Air China. The air journey is around 13 to 14 hours.
Departure City in Australia
Arrival City in China
Notes for Schedule
Three flights a week
Hong Kong
Daily flights
Notes: The air route and flight schedule are for reference only. Please check the official website of each airline for the accurate information and the airfares.

South Africa to China direct flights

Where to Go – Top Places to Visit in China for South Africa Tourists

Allow yourself around one week to 12 days when travel to China for the first time. Well plan on the itinerary to cover the top destinations, with best tourist attractions in China. Below the listed cities and things to do may give you China holiday inspirations. 

Best Cities for First Trip to China & What to See

Beijing: The political and cultural center of China, Beijing is favored by all tourists and the first choice of your tour in China. The city boasts a wealth of world-class landmarks and historical sites. Great Wall and Palace Museum are the must-visit attractions. 
Xian: If you would like to explore more of Chinese history and the ancient architectural wonders, make sure Xian is on your travel itinerary. Terra-Cotta Warriors Museum is known as “the eighth wonder of the world”. The Ancient City Wall is ideal for biking and having a great view of the old and new Xian.
Shanghai: Highly recommended by world travelers as the most popular destination in Asia, Shanghai features both ancient and modern wonders. Furthermore, it is close to and linked with some other popular destinations in East China, such as, Suzhou, Mt. Huangshan and Hangzhou
Hong Kong: The renowned shopping paradise on earth, Hong Kong has more to discover, from the blending of Eastern and Western cultures and delicacies of a amazing variety. 

Top places to visit in China

More Recommended Destinations

Chengdu – home of giant panda
  • Pay a visit to a panda base, hug a panda and take photos
  • A leisure walk through Wide & Narrow Alleys or Jinli Old Street for various local food and souvenirs
  • UNESCO heritage Leshan Giant Buddha and Mt. Emei are 1 - 1.5 hours by bullet train from Chengdu
Yangtze Cruise from Chongqing to Yichang
  • A luxury cruise trip on China’s most legendary river for gorgeous landscape and relaxation
  • Shore excursions to Ghost City of Fengdu, Shibaozhai, a traditional Chinese architecture gem, Three Gorges Dam
Zhangjiajie and Mt. Huangshan are best places to visit in China for mountain views. Both of them are ideal for mountain hiking and have inspired great movies to be created.  
If you prefer a more scenic China tour, Guilin & Yangshuo offer the best natural sceneries. Bike or hike around for the picturesque countryside. Kunming is another scenic destination, where the Stone Forest is located, from which, you may plan an extension tour to Lijiang, Dali and Shangri-La. 

China tours from South Africa

Recommended China Tour Packages

Top China Travel, the leading China tour specialist, offer all inclusive China tours to Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Hong Kong, and more. Below the best-selling China tours listed are for your reference, and can be adjusted to meet your needs and interests. Please feel free to send us an enquiry or contact us for a tailor-made China tour.

Destinations: Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guilin, Hong Kong
Highlight Attractions: Forbidden City, Mutianyu Great Wall, Olympic Park, Summer Palace, Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall of Xian, Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Li River cruise, Yangshuo Yulong River, The Peak Hong Kong
Why Recommended: The most classical travel route of China is especially for the first-timers. Take it to see the must-visit sights including both historical & cultural attractions, and amazing scenic spots as well.

Destinations: Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Guilin, Shanghai
Highlight Attractions: China Great Wall, Palace Museum, Beijing hutong, Terracotta Amy Museum, Dujiangyan Panda Base, Jiezi Ancient Town, Reed Flute Cave, Li River, Yangshuo, Shanghai Tower 
Why Recommended: In this China tour, there are ancient architecture wonders, UNESCO world natural and cultural heritages, giant panda base to have fun with panda, and best scenic destinations in China.


Destinations: Beijing, Shanghai
Highlight Attractions: Forbidden City, China Great Wall, Olympic Park, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall of Xian, Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower, The Bund
Why Recommended: Suitable for all and available throughout the year, the highlight China tour begins in Beijing and finishes in Shanghai, with visits to all best tourist attractions in China. From Shanghai, you may extend your trip to other China cities. Just let us know, if you need services. 

Destinations: Beijing, Xian, Lhasa, Chongqing, Yangtze Cruise, Yichang, Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Guilin, Yangshuo, Hong Kong
Highlight Attractions: Great Wall, Palace Museum, Terracotta Warriors, Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery, Yangtze Cruise, Three Gorges Dam, The Bund, Humble Administrator Garden, West Lake, Li River, The Peak of Hong Kong
Why Recommended: it is a lift-time China trip that does not only cover classical Beijing Xian Shanghai tour, but also a discovery to other best tourist cities in China with heavenly-like places and Religious holy lands. 

Travelers’ Reviews on Our China Tours

Since our company was founded in 1959, we have arranged China travel packages for many South African travelers, e.g. Ms Isabelle Lenoir (3 pax), who took a 14 days China Tour: 

“It was indeed a very pleasant trip in China organized by Lily on TCT’s behalf! If I have to do another part of China I will definitely contact Lily again.
Everything went smoothly but as you say nothing is always perfect and here are the some points which could help you in the future. Bear in mind that Lily suggested always good hotels but sometimes I asked her to cut on prices since we had to take 2 rooms so she gave us alternatives. So, it is entirely my fault regarding some hotels. 
… "

Travel Tips and Advice

To plan your trip to China from South Africa, you also need guidance for the preparation and tips when touring in China.
► What to Pack: Bring with passport, China visa and other required documents, the contact list with your hotel info and contact number of local guides (your travel consultant of TCT will send to you in advance), suitable clothes for different seasons, etc.  

► How to use phone & access internet in China: follow our guidance, you can use mobile phone and access internet when traveling in China
► Accommodation in China: China hotels are similar to those of international standers, but you may need to know the differences and detailed services. Besides, you may want to try the local stylish boutique hotels. 
► Travel in China by plane: When taking China domestic flights, you are supposed to know the luggage allowance and restrictions in advance. There are also tips if you are traveling with a pet. 
► Tips for travel in China by train: Try bullet train in China. Here are useful tips for the train ticket booking procedure and how to take a train in China. 
South Africa Embassy in China: Street address and contact number of the Embassy of South Africa in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong