I heard so many good things about Shanghai and why this Chinese city is drawing more and more tourists from around the world. So when I learned that AirAsia Zest is bringing me to Shanghai, I was stoked! So I applied right away for a tourist VISA to China at the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines which is located at the 2nd Floor of the World Center, 330 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, in Makati.
So if you plan to go to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai or any city in mainland China, this is the first step. And here are the requirements in applying for a tourist VISA to China for the first time:
1. Passport – Make sure it’s not expiring within 6 months.
2. Photocopy of the information/photo page and the emergency contact information page (must be completely filled out) of the passport.
3. Invitation letter – Since I’m just a tourist and I’m not going to work or study in China, I submitted a photocopy of my round-trip ticket and hotel voucher in lieu of the invitation letter.
4. Photocopy of latest ITR Statement (BIR Form 2316).
5. Employment or Business Certificate.
6. Bank certificate – I suggest you have at least P50,000 in your bank account to give an assurance that you have the ability to fund your travels in China.
7. Completed VISA Application Form which can be downloaded here: VISA Application Form of the People’s Republic of China.
Since I applied for single entry, I paid P1,400 processing fee and after 3 working days, I claimed my VISA! If you opt for multiple entry in case you plan to explore other cities like Beijing or Guangzhou, the charge is P2,800 and it’s valid for 6 months.
The scheduled departure of my flight to Shanghai was 8:15pm of September 23 so as early as 6:00pm, I arrived at NAIA Terminal 4, formerly known as Manila Domestic Passenger Terminal. Aside from Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and all domestic flights of AirAsia Zest are located here (Terminal 4) while flights to/from Kota Kinabalu, Macau and Seoul (Incheon) are now being served at NAIA Terminal 3 since September 15, 2014.
First thing I did at the airport was to pay for the P1,620.00 travel tax. Here are the current Travel Tax Rates:
The next step I did was to check-in my luggage. As you can see below there are two lines. The one on the left is for those who were able to check-in via mobile and website while the one on the right is the usual counter check-in.
Of course, the line on the left is way faster so I suggest you download the AirAsia app on your mobile or visit www.airasia.com for web check-in. Just enter your booking number, last name, mobile number for barcode delivery and you’re done!
After checking in my luggage, it’s time to pay for the terminal fee:
Then I proceed to the immigration to have my passport stamped.
At around 7:45pm, it’s boarding time! A shuttle bus took all the passengers to the plane.
It only took around 15 minutes for all the passengers to board inside the plane and find their seats with the help of the friendly flight attendants.
The female flight attendants are wearing the chick red uniform while the male flight attendants are wearing black.
After all the passengers are seated (i have all the lane of three seats to myself by the way), the female flight attendants started the pre-flight safety demonstration.
The aircraft took off at around 8:20pm. After the seatbelt sign was turned off, flight attendants started to distribute inflight food and beverage.
Aside from Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice, other available inflight meals include the Nasi Goreng, Nasi Kuning Manado, Roast Chicken with Blackpepper Sauce, Chicken Mayo Apple Sandwich, and more!
Here’s a tip: When you prebook your meals online prior to your flight, you’ll get priority service, more choices and 20% discount!
At around 10:30pm, we arrived at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai. Thanks Mr. Pilot for the smooth flight. We are actually 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
Two flight attendants greeted us good night as we alight the plane.
I breezed through immigration, claimed my luggage and rode a taxi outside the airport going to The Bund Riverside Hotel, my home in Shanghai for 5 days.
And since my hotel is located at the Bund, here’s my very first snap of Shanghai’s skyline:
As for my next update, I will blog about my adventures in Shanghai!
AirAsia Zest, by the way, flies daily from Manila to Shanghai. For bookings and other details, visit visit www.airasia.com. And to get updated with the lowest fares to Shanghai and other AirAsia Zest’s international destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Macau and Seoul (Incheon), like their official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines.
For the meantime, let me leave you with this music video: