March 21 2021 After one user asked questions about how to travel by motor-home in China, we took it as a challenge to find out as much as …
For a foreigner, the first "must" is a Chinese driving
license classified as C1.
For how to acquire a Chinese driving license, please check the link below.
Then the payment. Due to the small market needs of motor-homes, most of the renting companies are small-scaled compared their European and other western countries counterparts, therefore, only cash, local credit card and other Chinese smartphone payments are accepted. Foreign credit cards will be rejected. Normally a big amount of deposit is required. Most of deposit will be refund few days or few weeks after returning of the motor-home, while a small amount will be kept for a month in case there is traffic violation records during the renting period.
Rental prices might vary depending the season and where you rent from. Prices have been between 1200-1500CNY/day.
Some places have membership fees, but you need to be careful.
Try to use all days included immediatley as it is common the company change owner or closes. If this happens you might have difficulties to use the infront paid days in your membership to be used.
Normal price 1500CNY-day
We paid members-ship fee of 5000CNY and that is including 5 days, equally to 1000CNY/day.
There is also more expensive membership fees and the higher you get the lower the per day fee will be.
Highest what we have seen was 30000CNY including 50 days and that will be only 600CNY/day
Deposit was 20000CNY which we received afterwards.
Motor-home physical condition, for example check the tires condition
and engine oil
Shoot video and photos on the details, and overall, before heading out.
The car needs to be returned with a full tank.
We have had one previous experience with a passenger car, where the rental company insisted the car to be returned tank half full.
Which are not included in the motor-home, are different than other countries. The renting company do not supply these
unless you request, which include but not limited like:
Bed sheets, cooking ware, gas bottle, external generator, cables for external electrical connection. Water hose and connectors.
Even to check if the water tank is full, in general in China the water tank holds 140 liters.
Check the insurance conditions and its coverage. Commercial insurance normally adds costs around additional 50CNY/day.
Yearly check has been done and correct owner on the documents.
Return policy overall. Some few rentals might have the rent and drop policy.
Regarding caravan insurance, it should be covered by the cars third party insurance. Some insurers have disclosed that so better to check the fine print.
A/C is normally included, but it mostly needs external
power or a generator. It can be run shortly with batteries. A/C can be
used for cooling and some A/C units can also used for heating.
Electrical sockets, three standards exists. Please check the picture.
Heating is usually done using a diesel heater in wintertime, but not all RVs have one.
External generator or fuel tank will be difficult to fill at gas station. You will need a letter from PSB or Chinese ID and they will still refuse to fill it in many places. Internal generators is not a problem
Gas bottles, if taking a ferry no size gas bottles allowed in some routes. Remember to verify that the province you are traveling to allows 10kg gas bottles as it is prohibited in some provinces.
Chinese driving license, minimum grade C1.
Contact information in case of break down. Some of the rentals have offices in major cities.
For your safety, a first Aid kit. This needs to be provided by your self.
All campsites we have visited have been friendly and they have been able to make the registration to PSB. (Public Security Bureau)
Check routes with campsites. Problem is there is limited information on the internet and English sites are almost none.
Sometimes when not able to reach destination in time is we stayed overnight at large Service Stations along the highway. Good point is that those are normally open 24/7 with restaurants, public toilets and security.
In China boon-docking is not recommended. There is seldom parking ares that are suitable and safety concern needs to be taken in to account.
There is a very good app in China for the travelers. Unfortunately only in Chinese. Name is Woyouzijia (窝友自驾). You can rent company/private RVs and check for camping locations from it. No web page available, only as app for Android or IOS.
Police (Calling) 110 Police (Text message) 12110
First-aid Ambulance 120
Traffic Accidents 122
SOS in Water 12395.
110, 120 and 119 are free calls. 110 may be used for all emergencies. It is the first number to call.
in China is a little bit chaotic compared to Europe because of the vast number
of vehicles on the roads. Even though the traffic has improved dramatically,
drivers’ habits have not changed much. For example, sudden lane changes without
prior notice, and electrical bikes are still the biggest challenges on the
roads. Cars from residential areas and small roads seldom look left before
Most of the highways are in perfect condition. One thing to be emphasized here is that normally toll fees need to be paid before getting out from the highway. There are “ETCs” for electronic payment (a prepaid card with reader glued on the windshield, and the cost will be deducted automatically when the car drives through an ETC lane.) There are also lanes for manual drivers available.
Gasoline and diesel is provided by highway service centers, but in the cities some of the gasoline stations do not provide diesel.
The road signs are big and both in Chinese and English )if correct it is in pinyin), so you won’t miss them.
Please note that under the newest traffic law; when accidents happen between pedestrians, non-motorized vehicles, motor vehicles and cars, the cars need to bear most of the responsibility unless the other party violates the traffic law. Meaning car insurance need to take responsibility in 99% of the cases.Read more
Chinese driving license is a must if you want to drive any
vehicle in China.
Full Driver’s License (time consuming): This driver’s license is for foreigners visiting China for over three months or plan on staying in China long term. You might need to visit the office several time and pass the theoretical test (a computer test with 100 questions), this license is valid for 6 years and can be renewed before due date.
Provisional Driver’s License (easier): This driver’s license is temporary and available for foreigners visiting China for up to 3 months. The biggest perks to the provisional driver’s license is you don’t need to take a written test and health check.
Chinese C1 class driving license example
My experience of using GPS in China comes to 2 different apps.
The first one is iOS Maps that can be used fully in English. it is sufficient for most of foreign travelers.
The Other Chinese option both for iOS and Android is the Amap Autonavi.
Amap can be found on Google Play or download from their web page. Unfortunately Amap is pure Chinese APP, it is a limiting factor for non-Chinese speakers.
Good navigation equipment with latest maps is crucial in China.