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Guide

Tourist Information

China National Tourist Information Center

Accommodation

Luxury hotels are available in major cities. Reservation can be made through traveler agents. These hotels have everything you need, including gropes, hairdressers, toothpaste, shaver, etc In remote areas or small cities, hotels are clean but not luxury. Foreign visitors have to bear with the condition in those small hotels.

China Airlines

From North America or Europe, all major airlines provide flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guanzhou and Hong Kong and then transit to other cities. Domestic flights can be booked when you arrive in China through local airline offices or the hotels.

Business Center

Most of the hotels have business centers for business travelers. They may have staff to help you to translate, copy, fax or even draft documents. You can also rent computer or computer time for using email.

Currency Regulation 

Conversion Rate

You are advised to exchange foreign currency into RMB, in hotel or local banks, for shopping although most of the shops may accept US dollars. Credit cards are accepted in the major shops in the tourist areas but small shops may only accept cash. 

Drink

Never drink tap water in China. Stiller water bottles are available in fridge or boiling water from the hotel. On a long ride on private car or bus, take with you some drinks.

Entertainment

Most of the hotels are close to cinemas, opera, music hall, disco and other entertainment. CNN program is also available in China. Gambling, drug and sex-related business are prohibited by law.

Electronic equipment

China uses 220V of European system. Most of the hotels have a socket in the bathroom for using both 110V and 220V. Outside of the bathroom, you should not connect your 110v to the outlet unless your device has a transformer or can be used with 220v.

Food

If you enjoy eating, China offers you many varieties of foods in the styles of Cantonese, Beijing, Szechwan, Shanghai and many others. Drink Chinese tea to help you to digest after a heavy Chinese dinner. Always have food in a big restaurant or in the hotel if you have a sensitive stomach. Western food and fast food, such as Macdonald, Kentucky fry Chicken and pizza, are now available everywhere. For details, see Food Culture.

Visas, Embassies

Most of the foreign embassies are in Beijing. There are also offices in other major cities such as Shanghai, Chonging, Gongzhou and Hong Kong.

Check list

Get advice from your family doctors for vaccination required for China visit. Bring with you medical kit that some of the drugs may not be found in China.

Travel Insurance

It is advised to have insurance to cover sickness and other possible traveling accidence. For hospitalization in China, you may have to pay first and then claim it back from your insurance company.

Language Info

There is English speaking staff on duty in hotels of major cities. You find no difficult to go around in major cities too. For visit to remote area, you may find difficult to communicate. Be patient and ask the hotel to find an English interpreter to assist you. To learn some simple English-Chinese phrases, click on the left.

Phone and fax

You are advised to bring with you a calling card, instead of making international call through hotel. You may rent computer, pager or portable phone on short term from or through the business center.

Safety

China has very low crime rate, comparing with a lot of other countries. It is still wise to be cautious with your personal possession in public place. There are pickpockets active in crowded areas such as stations, markets, shopping areas, etc. Do not show off your money in public. Use your safe in the hotel room and don't bring too much cash with you when you don't need it. If there is any problem, report to the hotel or police immediately.

Shopping

Daily use goods are inexpensive in China. CD, electronics and books can be purchased everywhere. For expensive items such as antique, arts, jay, jewelry, etc., unless you are an expert, you will be better off to purchase these goods from government owned shops.

Sport

Book golf and tennis through your hotels. Swimming pool and gyms are available in major hotels. Pool table and bowling are in most of the cities. For horse riding, sailing and other sports, they are available in major centers only.

Taxi

Book your taxi or limousine from the hotel and fix the price before you go. From or to Airport, better use hotel shuttle bus.

Tourist attractions

Museum, temples, historical sites and scenery are the major attractions to foreign visitors. First study the background and it will help you to appreciate the difference in culture and historical events. For details, see Index - China.

Traveling Documents

Visa must be obtained from Chinese Consulates in your country. It will take a couple days to process the application. If you plan to stay in Hong Kong before entering China, you may apply Visa in Hong Kong.

Tourist Package

Book your tour through your own agent or the hotel. It may be more expensive but the quality is guarantied. You may prefer to go on your own if you know how to get around.

Traveling season

The best season for traveling to China is May or late October. The weather is nice and it is not high season too. The worse is after or before Chinese New Year (January and February). The weather is cold and people are too busy in preparing for Chinese New year.

Washroom

Washroom in public or even some of the restaurants are poor managed. Go to hotels or big restaurants if you have to go to washroom.

Weather

China covers regions from Hainan, an island in the South, to extremely cold Inner Mongols in the North. Generally, summer is very warm and humid, winter is bitterly cold in the North. Southern part and coastal area have a better climate than the inland and North.

World Time Table

China is in GMT Zone +8. London +0 New York -5 LA -8.

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