Yes, you will able to use your mobile phone throughout China’s cities and countryside. Cell coverage is generally very good in the main cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu, and surprisingly good in rural and regional areas.

The best ways to have coverage on the go in China are one of the following:

Buying a SIM card in China

China has three main telecom providers – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – with China Unicom often said to have the best coverage. If you have an unlocked phone, consider buying a local SIM card when you arrive for all of your chatting, messaging and browsing needs on the go.

Buying a mobile wi-fi hotspot in China

Mobile wi-fi networks, also known as mi-fi, are becoming more and more common in places like China. These small devices are kind of like hard drives and create a wi-fi hotspot for any of your devices to connect. They're reasonably priced, so it's worth doing your research before you arrive, especially if you’re travelling a lot and need internet access on the go.

Global roaming in China

If you wish to use your current SIM plan, ensure global roaming is activated before leaving your home country. Also, be sure to contact your local service provider to discuss costs associated with roaming, as this option can often work out to be highly expensive. This may be the simplest way to connect, but it’s likely to be the most costly.

Keep in mind that messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber are blocked in China. Some travellers have luck using Skype, but the best way to message while in China is using Weixin (WeChat) – China’s online social media and messaging platform.

Click to return to China FAQs

Our tours in China

9 Days From 1635

Travel between Shanghai and Beijing, visiting the Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors...

20 Days From 5100

Travel through Russia, China and Mongolia on this 20-day tour. Ride the Trans-Siberian...

23 Days From 5595

Explore China, Mongolia and Russia on a journey from Beijing to St Petersburg via...

12 Days From 1790

Discover China’s northern hotspots with Intrepid on a 12-day Lonely Planet Experience...

12 Days From 3025

Discover China and the tantalising sights, culture and food of Beijing, Chengdu, Xi'an...

Tailor-Made trips

Take two or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

16 Days From 4145

Travel to China, Mongolia and Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing to...

32 Days From 7875

Embark on an epic 32-day Silk Road adventure through China, Kyrgyzstan and into...

19 Days From 4310

Travel to China and tour Beijing, visit the Great Wall of China, see the Terracotta...

20 Days From 3175

Tour through Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai and Hong Kong to experience the Great Wall of...

12 Days From 1960

Discover one of China's most culturally diverse provinces – Yunnan. Hike through jaw...

12 Days From 3715

Travel to the Land of the Dragon and explore Beijing, Xi'an, Yangshuo, Chengdu and Hong...

12 Days From 3665

Spend 12 days exploring northern China from Shanghai to Beijing, including Luoyang, the...

12 Days From 1593

From Great Wall to Terracotta Warriors, pandas to picturesque Yangshuo, this 12-day...

15 Days From 3700

Retrace the path of the ancient Silk Road from Beijing to Xi'an, Zhangye and Turpan...

9 Days From 1290

See the best of South China with Lonely Planet and Intrepid on a nine-day adventure...

7 Days From 1705

Come on an active adventure that takes you to hiking the Great Wall of China, cycling...

41 Days From 10685

Embark on an epic 32-day Silk Road adventure through China, Kyrgyzstan and into...

9 Days From 1750

Experience the eclectic allure of China on this adventure from Hanoi to Kunming....

11 Days From 5210

Traverse through the mountainous beauty of Tibet. Beginning in Kathmandu, explore Lhasa...

12 Days From 2920

Embark on a 12-day adventure from Beijing to Hong Kong, exploring key highlights...

15 Days From 5110

Cross from Beijing to Kathmandu on an epic overland journey, seeing the temples and...

5 Days From 1455

Brave the sub-zero temperatures of Harbin and you’ll be rewarded with the most...

16 Days From 4955

Take an active adventure hiking the Great Wall of China, cycling Old Beijing, learning...

9 Days From 2535

Enter a world of both natural wonder and big city glamour. Admire the majestic beauty...

29 Days From 4965

Embark on a 29-day natural escape to northern Vietnam and southwest China, passing...

20 Days From 3650

From the hundred-year old Hani people's rice terrace to the jaw-dropping Tiger Leaping...

18 Days From 2970

Explore the best of rural China and Vietnam on this 18-day adventure including Yuanyang...

13 Days From 3025

Get a taste of China on this cultural and ice-filled adventure.