South Sea Centre
Sixth Floor, Tower Two
Telephone: (852) 721-5317
Representatives of host institutions often meet senior faculty, teachers, and researchers at the airport. If you are worried about getting to your new residence on your own, ask to be met. But the sheer volume of academic travelers to China has placed such a strain on host organizations that they may not have the personnel. Students are not ordinarily met, although some programs sponsored by U.S. universities will arrange to meet you.
If you want to be met, be sure to tell them so, and communicate your travel plans to your hosts clearly and early on. You can telephone or fax from Hong Kong if final plans are made there or you can fax from the United States. If possible, try to avoid a weekend arrival. Most units are open on Saturday morning, but Saturday afternoons and Sundays are typically days of rest and offices will be closed. If your flight is delayed en route, try to fax the unit so staff do not make unnecessary trips to the airport. Airports are usually located a considerable distance from the city, and making the trek is time-consuming. Try also to notify all the organizations involved in hosting you. For example, if you are to be associated with a unit in the interior that has a parent organization in Beijing or Shanghai, do not assume that the two organizations will communicate with each other. Specify which unit should meet you, however. Otherwise both may make the trip. One scholar suggests taking a taxi to a predetermined hotel where your hosts can meet you. This saves everyone time and effort.
You will have to proceed through customs on your own. Hosts are not allowed to enter the baggage claim or customs area.
The baggage claim and customs process is often hectic. Sometimes several flights arrive at once, and baggage carousels in many places are inadequate for the volume of traffic, even with the recent expansion of many international terminals.
If no one is to meet you at the airport, your first adventure will begin. Bring the telephone number of your unit so you can call if you arrive during working hours. Many airports have China Travel Service booths with English-speaking personnel who can help you call or even assist in getting you to your destination. If you cannot reach your work unit, you will need to change money at one of the foreign exchange booths in the airport and hire a taxi.
Taxis have recently proliferated, as the Chinese say, "like bamboo shoots after a spring rain" and most airports will have a line of waiting