||New Year's Day.
||Spring Festival, Chinese New Year.
Note: In addition to the above, certain groups have official
public holidays on the following dates (other holidays may be observed
||International Women's Day (women only).
||National Youth Day.
||International Children's Day.
The RMB and Exchange of Foreign Currencies
The official currency in China is the Renminbi (RMB) or "People's
Currency". The basic RMB unit is the Yuan (also known as "Kuai"),
which equals 10 Jiao (or "Mao"), which is then divided into
10 Fen. RMB is available in both paper notes and coins. The denominations
of paper notes are 100, 50, 10, 5, 2 and 1 Yuan; 5, 2 and 1 Jiao;
and 5, 2 and 1 Fen. The denominations of coins are 1 Yuan; 5 and 1
Jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen. The symbol of China Yuan (CNY) is Y.
Foreign Currencies Converted into RMB
Foreign currencies may be converted into RMB at all banks, bank
branches and hotels at the exchange rate quoted on the foreign exchange
market on the day. There are 21 quoted exchange currencies: Australian
dollar (A$), Austrian schilling (Sch), Belgian franc (BF), Canadian
dollar (Can$), Danish krone (DKr), Deutsche mark (DM), European
Monetary Unit (EMU), Finnish markka (Fmk), French franc (FF), Dutch
guilder (FI), Hong Kong dollar (HK$), Italian lira (Lit), Japanese
yen (?, Macao pataca (MOP), Malaysia ringgit (MYR), Norwegian krone
(NKr), Swiss franc (SF), Singapore dollar (S$), Swedish krona (SKr),
UK pound sterling (?, and US dollar (US$). Private or black market
exchanges are illegal.
The Bank of China is the bank which specializes in handling credit
cards issued in foreign countries, including Visa, MasterCard, Diner's
Card, American Express, JCB, Million Card and Federal Card. These
cards can be used at major hotels and shopping centers where the
Bank of China has established branches. In the event you lose your
card, you should report to one of the branches of the Bank of China
and apply for a replacement. The Industrial and Commercial Bank
of China issues Peony Card; and the Bank of China, Great Wall Card.
||Potable water is available only at a few best hotels,
so visitors should always ask to make sure. Thermos bottles of hot
and cold boiled water in rooms are signs of non-potable tap water.
Bottled mineral water is widely available in all stores and street
kiosks and sometimes provided free by the hotel. Made-in-China mineral
water is usually sold at around 3 Yuan per bottle.
Most luxury hotels
have built-in converters in bathrooms for shavers, hair dryers,
etc. Otherwise, come equipped, because an amazing variety of plug
types are in use. The voltage is 220 volts; thus you may need a
Taking photographs or videos of
military installations is prohibited. As in other countries, some
museums, palaces, or temples will not allow photographs to be taken,
or will charge fee. At other times, photography is allowed, but
without using flash lamp.
Cameras must be declared at the Customs when arriving in China.
No special permit is necessary for video or movie cameras, as long
as it is clearly not for professional use.
|Post and Communications
Domestic mail delivery is exceedingly fast and
cheap. Within some cities, there is often same-day delivery; between
large cities, delivery is usually overnight. International mail,
too, is efficient. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available to most
international destinations, as are private international courier
services. There are also comprehensive mail services for small parcels.
Large parcels must be packed and sealed at the post office. For
general delivery, visit the central post office in each city. Card
members can also use American Express offices for receiving a mail.
International calls can be made directly form hotel rooms with
IDD (international direct dial) phones. Just dial the international
prefix 00, plus country code, area code and number. Some large post
offices also provide this service. Otherwise, look for roadside
kiosks with the IDD sign. IDD calls have a three-minute minimum
charge, additional time thereafter is calculated by the minute.
Four-star and five-star hotels charge a variable service fee from
10 to 20 percent.
Direct long-distance dials (DDD) can be made from most hotels to
some 2,000 localities throughout China. Visitors should dial the
domestic prefix 0 plus area code and the number. Hotel service charges
are the same as for international calls. Most post offices provide
this service. Alternatively look for roadside kiosks with the IDD
and DDD sign. If your call is not urgent, phone between 21:00 and
07:00 the next morning. Not only is it easier to get through but
calls are half the daytime price.
Most of the big hotels have telex and fax facilities to help business
people. Alternatively, central telegraphy and post offices offer
telex and fax services.
Sending telegrams abroad is relatively expensive. Express telegrams
are double the price. There is usually a telegram counter at the
hotel. Otherwise, go to the central telegraphy or post office.
| Road Names
Street names are determined by
the traditional checkerboard of Chinese urban design. The most important
traffic arteries are divided into sectors and laid out in a grid
typically based upon the compass points.
Suffixes are added to the primary name to indicate north, south,
east or west, and additionally, to indicate the middle section.
The middle section is called zhong; nan means south; bei, north;
dong, east and xi, west. A main road is lu, smaller is jie. A small
lane is named xiang.
| Time Differences
||China uses Beijing time as the standard
time for the entire nation. When it is 12 at noon in Beijing the standard
time in other cities around the world are as follows:
||Ho Chi Minh City
||Rio de Janeiro
The Chinese railway network covers 66,000 kilometers, ranking first
in Asia. The electrified lines total 11,999 kilometers, making China
the ninth country in the world with more than 10,000 kilometers of
There are no first
or second class on Chinese trains, but four categories or classes:
soft-sleeper, soft-seat, hard-sleeper, and hard-seat. Usually the
soft-seat class is only available for short journeys. Long-distance
trains normally only have soft-sleeper or hard-sleeper facilities.
The soft-sleeper class has 4-bed compartments with soft beds. It
is recommended particularly for long journeys. The hard-sleeper
class has open, 6-bed compartments. Boiled water is always available
on the trains. There are washrooms in the soft -sleeper and hard-sleeper
classes. The toilets, regardless of which class, are usually not
very hygienic, and it is a good idea to bring your own toilet paper.
There are dining cars on long-distance trains.
Trains are usually fully booked and it is advisable
to get a ticket well in advance. This is particularly so during
the main travel season. There are special ticket counters for foreigners
at railway stations.
The fare depends on both the class and the speed
of the train; there are slow trains, fast trains, express trains
and inter-city trains. Reservations can be made at ticket offices
in the town center.
Overland buses are the most important means of transport in many
parts of China, especially where there is no railway line. In most
towns and counties, there are bus stations for overland buses. They
are the cheapest means of transport, but also correspondingly slow.
There are regular breaks during bus journeys; on journeys lasting
several days you will usually find small restaurants and overnight
accommodation near the bus stations. Many overland buses have numbered
seats and it is advisable to book a ticket and seat well in advance.
Modern buses with air conditioning are frequently available in the
The visitor can choose between taxis and buses for transport in
the cities. In Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai there is also underground
Taxi is one of the most convenient means of transportation
for travelers. It is available at airports and railway stations,
and can be booked at hotels. You can also hail a taxi in the street.
The fare is calculated according to the distance or time and distance
for chartered services. Taxis may have a surcharge for waiting or
low-speed driving during traffic jams. Taking a taxi after 23:00
incurs a 20 percent surcharge on initial fee.
Public buses in Chinese towns are overcrowded.
The fare depends on distance, and should be paid to the conductor.
Public buses are usually easy to find, and timetables or town maps
are available everywhere.
Minibus is a compromise between the relatively
expensive taxis and crowded public transport. Running regular services,
the small vans guarantee beach rider a seat even in rush hour and
stop on request anywhere along the route. The minibuses have their
certain routes that match those of the large public buses. They
carry a maximum of 16 people. They are a bit more expensive but
it is very convenient.
Many hotels have shuttle buses that can take tourists
to the airport and other places downtown. The tickets are sold in
lobbies of the hotels.
While travelling in China, you should pay attention to Chinese traffic
regulations for safety's sake.
The Chinese traffic regulations stipulate that
all motor vehicles must keep to the right of the road. Drivers must
pay serious attention to any changes of traffic signals. The red
light is the prohibiting signal. The yellow light signals motor
vehicles to stop before the line to continue moving. When the green
light is on, motor vehicles are allowed to move forward, or to turn
to either the right or the left provided they do not obstruct the
movement of motor vehicles in straight directions.
In large cities in China most roads are well-paved, traffic lights
function, and drivers generally comply with basic traffic laws.
However, the growing number of vehicles, many of which are driven
by relatively inexperienced drivers, as well as the large numbers
of pedestrians and cyclists lead to congestion and additional risks.
In any accident involving an automobile and a pedestrian or cyclist,
the driver of the automobile is presumed to be at fault. Foreigners
often complain that they are automatically considered at fault in
any accident, simply because they are foreign. Drivers on in-land
and rural roads are less likely to comply with basic traffic safety
procedures. Additionally, livestock are a common obstacle on roads
outside larger, coastal cities.While travelling in China, you should
pay attention to Chinese traffic regulations for safety's sake.
Inland River Transport
Navigable inland waterways in China total 111,000 kilometers and
berths at major harbors amounted to some 5,000 in 1997. The Yangtze,
the " golden waterway" of China's inland river transport,
has 6,000 kilometers navigable throughout the year. The annual transport
capacity, both freight and passenger transport, amounts to more
than 70 percent of China's total capacity. Other major navigable
rivers are the Heilong, the Pearl, and the Grand Canal between Beijing
China has opened 967 air routes totaling 1.42 million kilometers.
International air routes numbers 116. Chinese civil airways fly
Boeing 777s, 767s, 757s, 747s and 737s, and A340, and other types
of airplanes. The domestic airlines radiate from Beijing to all
the provinces, autonomous regions and centrally administered municipalities,
major tourist and open cities and border areas. The international
airlines reach 57 cities, including Amsterdam, Bangkok, Berlin,
Brussels, Frankfurt, Jakarta, Karachi, London, Los Angeles, Milan,
Moscow, Nagoya, New York, Paris, Seoul, Singapore, Tashkent, Tokyo
||It is possible to make travel arrangements
to Tibet from outside of China. Once in China, travelers wishing to
visit Tibet must join a group, which can be arranged by almost any
Chinese travel agency. The travel agency will arrange for the necessary
permits and collect any fees. The Chinese government requires foreigners
wishing to visit Tibet to apply in advance for approval from the Tourist
Administration of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. More information
is available through the Chinese Embassy or one of the Chinese consulates,
or, while in China, at the foreign Embassy or nearest foreign consulate
general. See "Entry Requirements." There have been some
reports of robberies and assaults along remote highways near China's
border with Nepal and in areas near Mt. Everest.
||Both the local and international
standards for weights and measures are used in China: