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You are here: Home >> Beijing Guide >> Beijing Travel Tips

Beijing Travel Tips

How to use chopsticks?
1. Pick under thumb and hold firmly.
2. Add second chopstick, hold it as you hold a pencil.
3. Hold first chopstick in original position and move the second one up and down. Now you can pick up anything!

In Emergency
If you have any problems with safety or any legal matters you should report them to your local PSB (Public Security Bureau), as they are responsible for public safety and order.

Business hours
Tourist sights are usually open from 8:00 to 17:00. Hospitals, post offices, banks, monuments and museums are usually open seven days a week from 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Shops usually remain open from 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. everyday, including public holidays. Restaurants and bars stay open at night.

Tipping is not very popular in China and is officially discouraged. But hotel bellboys usually expect RMB 2-5 per bag.

Health Tips
1. Call 120 for any emergency.
2. Only drink boiled water or bottled mineral water. Never drink the tap water. If you are traveling to a remote part of China you may wish to bring some water purification tablets.
3. Make sure you drink lots of water, especially when traveling in the summer, as you may easily become dehydrated.

Foreign visitors to China need to have a passport that is valid for at least six months prior to the expiry date of their visa. It is a good idea for anyone traveling in China to carry their passports and other relevant documents around at all times. Passports are normally needed to check into hotels, exchange money, travel by air both internally and externally and occasionally for security checks.

If you lose your passport, getting a new one takes both time and money. Take some ID and passport photos to your nearest embassy to begin the slow process of obtaining a new one. Lost passports should also be reported to the local Public Security Bureau (Gong'anju). It is advisable, for those staying in China for longer periods, to register yourself and your passport with your country's embassy. This should save time in the event of your losing your documents. It is also worth bringing a few copies of the relevant pages of your passport and any other ID that you have.

All visitors must fill out customs declaration forms to present on arrival. One copy of this form should be kept, to hand in to customs on departure. Each traveller is permitted to bring in four hundred cigarettes, two litres of alcohol, twenty fluid ounces of perfume and up to fifty grams of gold or silver. You can legally bring in or take out only RMB6000, and foreign currency over the value of US$5000 or equivalent must be declared.
Certain valuable items, such as video cameras, office machines, computers and gold should have import duty paid on them.
Prohibited imports include arms, ammunition and explosives; printed matter, film or tapes critical to the country; dangerous or narcotic drugs; infected animals, plants or foodstuffs. It is also forbidden to take out any of these items, or endangered species of animals or plants and antiques without export permits. You may be asked to show receipts for any cultural relics you plan to take out of the country.
Generally speaking, customs don't hassle? foreigners too much. There are green channels and red channels. If you have something to declare, take the red channel. Otherwise choose the other!

Emergency calls
Police 110
Ambulance 120
Fire 119
Local directory 114
International operator 115
First aid 120
Traffic accident 122
To get the correct time 117
Weather forecast 121
In Hong Kong and Macau dial 999 for any of the emergency services.

Climate and clothing
Season Temperature (F) Suggested Clothing
Spring (March—May) 50 - 71.6
(10 - 22oC) Suits, jackets, sports wear, sweaters, long sleeve shirts and leather shoes
Summer (Jun.—Aug.) Above 71.6
(Above 22oC) T-shirts, short sleeve shirts, skirts, sandals, caps, raincoats
Autumn (Sept.—Nov.) 50- 71.6
(10 - 22oC) Suits, jackets, sports coats, sweaters, raincoats, leather shoes
Winter (Dec.—Feb.) Below 50
(Below 50oC) Down coat, thick woolen sweaters, lined coats, gloves, cotton shoes

Currency Exchange
Chinese currency is called Renminbi (RMB). The unit of Renminbi is yuan and the smaller, jiao and fen. The conversion among the three is: 1 yuan = 10 jiao =100 fen. Chinese people normally refer to Yuan as Kuai, and Jiao as Mao.
RMB is issued both in notes and coins.

Paper note Denominations: 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, 1 yuan
5, 2, 1 jiao
5, 2, 1 fen
Coin denominations:1 yuan
5, 2, 1 jiao;
5, 2, 1 fen

However, fen is rarely used due to the small amount it represents, and supermarkets often round up to the nearest jiao.

How to exchange RMB in China
A foreigner can bring cash and change it at the Bank of China for RMB. Foreign money can be exchanged in China through traveler's cheques and currency conversion at banks and hotels. Credit cards can also be used.

Traveler's Cheques
Traveler's cheques provide a fairly secure way of carrying money. The Bank of China can cash travelers' cheques sold by international commercial banks and travelers' cheque companies in the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany and other countries and regions. Also the Bank of China sells travelers' cheques for such banks as American Express, Citibank, Tongjilong Travelers' Cheque Co., the Sumitomo Bank of Japan, the Swiss Banking Corporation and others.

Credit Cards
Master Card, Federal Card, Visa, American Express, JCB and Diners Card are accepted in China, but only in major cities. Holders can draw cash from the Bank of China and pay for purchases at exchange centers of the Bank of China, appointed shops, hotels and restaurants. Credit cards are not always accepted for the purchase of rail and air tickets. Most ATMs do not accept foreign cards.

China Tourist Visa
All foreign tourists to China should have two-must documents: passports from their home countries as well as Chinese visas. A passport is a kind of identification that is recognized in nearly all countries, stating the owner's country of citizenship. Meanwhile a visa is a travel document issued by the destination country, which grants permission for the visitor coming to that country. Both passports and visas are related to the national security and are taken into serious consideration by all countries.

Water supply
In China, tap water is not drinkable, unless boiled. So drink mineral water or boiled water only. Most hotels, restaurants and trains provide free boiled water for you to drink. Also check the seal on bottled water to confirm it has not been opened and refilled with tap water.

Power supply
China uses 220 volt power supply for standard domestic and business purposes. Hotels generally provide wall sockets in every bathroom for razors and hair dryers. Plug sockets accommodate both "straight two-pin plugs", and "triangular 3-pins plugs." - Don't forget to bring an adapter plug with you if you need to charge your phone, camera etc.!


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