At the beginning I was thinking of staying in China for a month until my visa expires but I realised very quickly that one was not enough to travel in this country almost as big as Europe
At the beginning I was thinking of staying in China for a month until my visa expires but I realised very quickly that one month was not enough to travel in this country almost as big as Europe - unless staying one month in only one or two provinces. So I started to ask some information to other travellers who had got their visa extended and I found out that it was pretty straight forward to do it. Here is what you have to do: to extend your visa you just need to go to a PSB – Public Security Bureau, a police office who deals exclusively with foreigners – one week before your visa expires. PSBs can be found in almost all the citys in China and most of them can deliver visa extensions – Lonely Planet is very useful for that as it gives the address and contacts of all the PSBs and it also indicates if they do visa extensions. If you wish to extend your visa quickly it is better to do it from a small city, not so busy with tourists interested with visa extension. Also note that when you get your extension it means that you're given a new visa that cancel the first one. So it is important to apply for your extension at the last minute – between 5 and 3 days before the expiration of your visa so you don't “lose” days.
As far as I am concerned I applied in the small town of Lijiang, North of Yunnan – in the same area Shangri-la is well known for delivering fast extensions however it doesn't seem possible to do it from Dali anymore. So all you have to do is to provide a resident certificate therefore it is important to tell the hostel where you stay that you want to do your visa extension because they will register you on a special database that can be used as evidence. Police station can also provide you this certificate ; you just have to give them the details of your hostel. You will also need two ID photos. When I went to the PSB in Lijiang they made me take a 3rd one. I had to fill up a form – don't forget all the details the hostel you're staying at – and give them a rough itinerary of the end of my stay. Again, you don't pay them when you see them for the first time with your documents. My new visa was ready after 3 days and I had to pay 160 Y (around 18 euros) – make sure that you have the exact amount as they might not have change! Good luck if you have to go through it too!