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Travel Tips

Visas

  • Visas are required for all foreigners.
  • Application of a tourist visa requires travel information including return airline ticket, hotel booking and itinerary in China.
  • A single or double entry visa is usually valid for entry within 3 months from the date of issue.
  • Multi-entry visas are normally valid for 6 months and only issued according to official invitation letters for business visitors.

Money Matters

  • The official currency of China is the Renminbi (RMB).
  • The basic unit is known as the yuan.
  • A yuan is divided into 10 jiao.
  • A jiao is subdivided into 10 fen.

The Bank of China issues RMB notes in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 yuan and notes in values of 1 yuan, 5 jiao and 1, 2 and 5 fen.

Foreign Currency and Travelerís Checks:

  • They can be changed at the main branches of the Bank of China, major hotels, Friendship Stores, and major department stores.
  • Exchange receipts should be kept to enable the conversion of any remaining RMB at the end of your trip.
  • The exchange rate for travelersí checks is more favorable than that of cash.
  • Thomas Cook, American Express and bank of America are generally accepted.

Credit Cards:

  • Their acceptability is improving in China.
  • Branches of major credit card companies are located in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen.

Tipping

  • This is not practiced in mainland China.
  • Consumer taxes are included in the price tag of goods but big hotels and fine restaurants may charge a service tax of 10% or more.
  • Tip only upon receiving the service.
  • As a foreigner, the locals may overcharge you.
  • Bargaining is expected almost everywhere except in larger stores.

Health Matters

Immunization is not required for visitors to China except for yellow fever if coming from parts of Africa and South America. Vaccinations might be considered for cholera, hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis, polio, rabies and typhoid. The common cold is of particularly high incidence in China and visitors are advised to bring along a few cold remedies.

Medical services are generally cheap in China and foreigners are likely to get better service than regular Chinese patients.

Electricity

The supply is at 220V, 50 AC. Plugs can be three-pronged angled, three-pronged round, two flat pins, or two narrow round pins. Conversion plugs may be difficult to find in China.

Telecommunications

Domestic calls are relatively cheap and can be made from public pay phones or privately run phone booths. Hotels usually allow local calls to be made free. International calls are usually not possible from the phone booths and can be made from main communications offices. It is often cheaper to make a reverse charged call if the call is international, as Chinese international call rates are generally quite high.

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