Country: China is located in east Asia. It is the world’s second largest country by land area. The landscape is vast and diverse and includes deserts as well as subtropical forests. China’s coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 9,000 miles long. It has a population of approximately 1.35 billion. Its capital is Beijing and the primary language spoken is traditional Mandarin.
To access emergency services: Dial 120
Currency: Yuan renminbi (CNY)
Recommended immunizations and vaccines for travelers: Before traveling to China, ask your doctor what vaccines are recommended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are excellent resources as well.
Insurance: Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
It is also worth ensuring your travel insurance will cover ambulances or transport either home or to more advanced medical facilities, if needed. Not all insurance covers emergency medical evacuation home or to a hospital in a major city, which may be the only way to receive medical attention in a serious emergency.
Source: International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
What to expect in a Chinese hospital: Western-style medical facilities with international staff are available in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and a few other large cities in China. Many other hospitals in major Chinese cities have so-called “Very Important Person” wards (gaogan bingfang) with reasonably up-to-date medical technology and skilled physicians who typically speak English.
Ambulances do not carry sophisticated medical equipment, and ambulance personnel generally have little or no medical training. Therefore, the injured or seriously ill may be advised to take taxis or other immediately available vehicles to the nearest major hospital rather than waiting for ambulances to arrive.
In rural areas, only rudimentary medical facilities are generally available. Medical personnel in rural areas are often poorly trained and have limited access to medical equipment or medications. Rural clinics are often reluctant to accept responsibility for treating foreigners, even in emergency situations.
Contact your embassy/consulate: When in doubt, your country’s embassy is a good resource to turn to for medical assistance guidance.
JCI-accredited hospitals/clinics in China: To read about specific facilities that are JCI-accredited, visit the Hospital Search section.
China-specific helpful health resources:
Travel health notices: Visit the CDC or the WHO for up-to-date travel notices.