Before You Come

Before embarking on your journey to Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, there are a few important things to consider and prepare for. From travel arrangements to what to pack, our 'Before You Come' page is your guide to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience with us. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or it's your first time visiting, we've compiled all the essential information you need to know before stepping foot on our facility. Read on to learn more and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the world of Shaolin Kung Fu.

Personal Preparation

It is not required to have any training, background in sports, or excellent physical condition before you come to the academy. However, preparing a little beforehand can help you reach your training goals faster. The best way to prepare yourself is to relax your mind and body. Some additional physical exercises such as running (2km a day or so), cycling, swimming, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and stretching can also help to prepare you, in addition to a healthy diet. In fact, any type of sport or activity that helps build up muscle, flexibility, or stamina is helpful.

sports- swimming, biking, running, yoga

Culture Tips

students and villagers

There's no doubt the culture in China is different than most places in the world. The country is very much 'one-people.' This means that while our similarities have bred rich traditions, unique cuisines, and strong internal ties, many Chinese do not have much experience with or understanding of outside cultures. Having worked with foreign students for nearly two decades, the staff at Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy breaks that mold. Within the school is a unique microcosm representing a vast array of the world's cultures, ethnicities, and beliefs. That said, please be aware that once you leave the school grounds, particularly in these rural regions, you will very much be an anomaly! Be prepared for paparazzi-style photos and videos, open staring (all friendly interest and awe), and people trying to talk to you in Chinese. To learn more about the Chinese culture, visit our Chinese Food & Culture page.



X2 Visa example
L Visa example
Visa Extension example

To enter China, you will need a visa. We recommend you apply for a Visiting Visa (F) or short-term Student Visa (X2) at your nearest Chinese embassy. You can also apply for the Tourist Visa (L) for short-term stays of 1-3 months. Here you can find the locations of Chinese embassies around the world. Make sure to calculate enough time for the issuing process.

Visa Extension: If you wish to study at the Academy for a longer period than you initially planned, we can assist you with a visa extension process. An experienced translator of the Academy will take you to the local Foreign Affairs/Visa Office, and apply for an extension there. The cost of visa extension varies between countries, however, in general, it ranges from 200¥-500¥ CNY (for US citizens the cost is a bit higher). If you have any more questions about the visa please feel free to contact us.

Travel Insurance

We recommend you purchase medical insurance from a major provider that will cover injuries and illnesses that may occur during your stay in China. The academy assumes no responsibility for injuries occurring before, during, or after training, while under the academy's supervision. Regarding this matter, you should consult your insurance company or a professional travel agency.

That being said, we take safety seriously and prioritize our student's well-being. We recommend you do not take instruction from other students unless advised to do so by a Master. For your safety, please adhere to Master instruction only. Should you have any concerns, limitations, or questions, please let us know. Some aches, pains, strains, and bruises are a part of kung fu training. In your first month or so, you will feel sore and tired. This is your body becoming used to the sudden increase in activity and intensity of movement and exercise.


There are no vaccinations required to enter China, except for a Yellow Fever vaccination if you are arriving from an infected area. The coronavirus vaccine is no longer required for entry into China. It is best to consult your doctor or a travel clinic in advance before leaving. There may be other optional vaccinations they recommend, such as Hepatitis A. 

In China, local clinics and hospitals are well-equipped and have many Western, Chinese medicines and treatments. It is convenient to have a medical kit of your own, with things like sunscreen, insect repellent, band-aids, muscle soothing creams or patches, painkillers for headaches, cream or ointment for cuts and bruises, upset stomach or nausea medication, any prescription or allergy medication, and multi-vitamins or protein supplements if taken.

Travel Help

For a first-time visitor, finding your way around in China may seem like a daunting task. However, travel for foreigners in China has never been easier! Train stations now accept foreign passports when entering and scanning onto your platform. When purchasing your ticket online you will be required to enter your passport information. Then, all of your ticketing information is attached to your passport in their system! To book tickets, we recommend Rome2Rio. It allows you to find train, bus, and plane tickets anywhere in the world and gives you multiple routes, timings, and transportation options to get from Point A to Point B. 

Please note, that most high-speed trains travel from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station and Beijing South Railway Station to Xinyi South Railway Station with a connection in Xuzhou East Railway Station. There is only one direct train per day from both Beijing South and Shanghai Hongqiao.

We offer pick-up services to get to the academy from Xuzhou or Xinyi. There is a $60 fee for pickup from Xuzhou while pickup from Xinyi is free of charge. For more information about travel and transportation, please visit our Transportation page.

Mandarin 101

While some basic English may be understood, most Chinese people outside of major cities will have a hard time understanding you. Should you need assistance when traveling, use the following phrases to help make your way to our academy. You can click the image to enlarge it and print it out to take with you (or just keep it on your phone).

Spending Money

Our Academy provides students with full room and board, so it’s not necessary to budget a large amount of extra money for spending unless you have a buying list or plan to travel in China. All you need is some pocket money for snacks, a massage on the weekends, some toiletries and personal cleaning supplies, etc. Students are likely to find that food and many other things are much cheaper to buy in China than in their home country.

You should bring your debit card to withdraw cash from the ATM's at the local banks. There are currently two banks foreign students can withdraw money from: Bank of China and ICBC. If you need to transfer money from your home country to China, you can use the Academy’s account, and we will get the transfer in cash for you. 

What To Pack

Man packing suitcase

This is not a complete list but it might help you when deciding what to bring. You can find a seasonal breakdown of items to pack on our Climate Page:

  • First, do not forget to bring your passport and extra passport photos for registration at the academy and the local police office. Note, when traveling in China outside of the school it is suggested you carry your passport with you for identification.
  • For training in summer it is good to have loose trousers and/or shorts and a couple of T-shirts with you. Light-colored pants are not recommended for the summer as sweat can make them transparent.
  • For winter some additional warm sweaters for training and free time, a warm jacket as well as thermal underwear or a tracksuit are recommended.
  • It will be useful to have a pair of running shoes for jogging and stamina training. For regular training, students usually wear a type of thin-sole shoes that can be bought easily after arriving. Shoes larger than size 45 will be difficult to find in China.
  • It is also advisable to bring a power adapter if you want to bring any type of electrical equipment from your home country such as a laptop. UK-Chinese Adapters can be bought easily here and are cheap, too.
  • You may also like to bring books in your native language to read or to learn Chinese. Non-Chinese books are difficult to find here.

The school provides each student with a Welcome Kit on arrival. This includes essentials like a bottle of water and toilet paper (especially useful for late-night arrivals), and a welcome letter. Each room is provided with bedding, including seasonal blankets/sheets, a pillow, and a heating pad for winter. Students also receive a kung fu school uniform and a kung fu training staff for long-term students (3 months or more).

Don't forget that most of the items you will need can also be bought in the nearest town or the academy's shop (such as small towels, sun hats, basic toiletries, etc.). If you pack your suitcase by keeping in mind that this is a Kung Fu training academy and not a holiday camp or a luxury hotel, you should have no problem fitting all of your necessities. Feel free to print off the packing list below to check off as you get ready for your trip! (Click the image to enlarge)

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