Driving into China with foreigner’s own vehicle is not a simple game by only an international driving license; actually it is a complicated project work. The government is strict with the driving overland tour with foreigner’s vehicle due to high sense of defence and safety of passengers. So the permits from a lot of government departments are required and it is really a complicated project taking about 2-3 months normally.
Firstly your travel route and application will underthrough strict checking by the government departments . The route and date must be fixed in advance before the application went through the checking, therefore the route can not be changed once it has passed the checking of government departments. Many government departments will be involved in this procedure, such as miliatary, police, China Custom, tourism, and some of other local government departments.
Only all of the permits are done can the traffic police issue temporal driving license and temporal plate for the foreigner. Many tourists thought they could drive in China merely with an international driving license or carnet paper, actually it is wrong. Without these documents, they will be stopped at the gate of China for sure. And international driving license is not valid in Chin.
And you will be required to rent a Chinese tour guide, or tour escport from the tour company you entrusted to operate for you. He will accompany you for your whole trip in China according to the government request. It means that your vehicle must have a seat for our guide. And it has been proved that a Chinese tour escort can be very useful, he can settle many problems for you besides working as an interpreter.
So it is very important for you to find a reliable Chinese tour company operating your tour for you. And right tour company can make things every easy for you, you just send them the necessary files, and then meet with the guide at the border on time! And here recommend China Exploration, http://www.chinaexploration.com/Overland/, which is one of the pioneers in operating driving tours in China for foreigners over 20 years’ hisotry, and you can see many of its clients pictures on its web.