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Living in China

Living in China

1. Accommodation

It would be the best choice to make the reservation of rooms early enough. Foreign travelers are advised to contact hotels through their receivers, travel agencies, friends or by faxes to make reservation of rooms and to confirm their special requirements on accommodation before they come to China.

So far, major hotels in China have been brought in line with international standards in terms of facilities and services. In particular, most of the superior hotels are Sino-foreign joint ventures. Foreigners are engaged in directly managing some hotels. Meanwhile, the hotels have been graded comprehensively in accordance with the degree of luxuriousness of their auxiliary facilities and standards of services, with the five-star being the highest grade.

Hotels in China are classified into the first class (higher class), the second class (medium class) and the third class (lower class) in line with the number of stars for their grades. The five-star hotels and most of the four-star ones are in the first class. The guestrooms in the first class hotels are all equipped with bathrooms, refrigerators, IDD telephone and TV, which is accessible to programs sent out by all TV stations in China and by CNN and BBC received through satellite antenna discs as well as offer closed-circuit TV programs. The temperature in the guestrooms is automatically adjustable by central air-conditioning facilities. Other auxiliary facilities include business centers, conference centers, beauty parlors, sauna bathrooms, foreign exchange counters, bowling centers, disco ballrooms, swimming pools, gymnasiums, restaurants, cafes, shopping centers and bars which open 24 hours a day.

The second class hotels are generally three-star hotels and part of the two-star ones, whose guestroom service facilities are slightly inferior to those of the first class hotels. Tourist groups normally wish to stay in second class hotels.

The third class hotels look much like Motels in Western countries in terms of guestroom service facilities. The hardware facilities in such hotels are of course inferior to those of the second class ones. But they offer prices lower than those of the second class hotels by half or even more. So, many tourists wish to stay in such hotels.

Customers do not have to pay tips for staying in hotels in China.

In China, taxi drivers, hotel attendants, guestroom cleaners, hotel porters and restaurant waiters are not allowed to accept tips. Where anyone seeks tips from customers, they may refuse or lodge complaints to competent authorities.

2. Traveling

The net of developed airlines, railways and highways, links most parts of China, and travel between cities is usually realized by air, rail or coach, but for the traffic within cities, several ways are available for choice: bus, underground, taxi, etc. 

3. Shopping

In China, there are three types of shops – State-run shops, Sino-foreign joint-venture shops and privately-run shops. At shops of the former two types, the prices marked are the final prices, which are non-negotiable.

At privately-run shops, customers may bargain over the prices. If customers wish to buy quality products of relatively high value made in China, they had better go to State-run or joint-venture shops. Although these shops ask for higher prices, their commodities are normally worth the prices and the quality of goods is absolutely guaranteed.

Shopping in China, foreigners would normally like to buy such Chinese-made commodities as cloissone products, jade carvings, carpets, antiques, calligraphic works and paintings, paper-cuts, kites, snuff bottles and clay figures.

Where foreigners have bought antiques, they are advised to properly keep them. When leaving China, they shall be required to present the antiques to customs authorities for examination and approval.

The international credit cards are acceptable in major hotels, guesthouses, air companies and superior department stores, including the Master Card, Visa Card, American Express, JCB and Diners Card, etc. 

4. Medical Care and Health Care

There are many hospitals in all parts of China. Normally, large Chinese hospitals operate the “Clinic for Foreigners,” which is particularly designed to provide services of medical care and health care for foreigners in China. Once falling ill, foreigners had better directly go to such hospitals for treatment as the doctors and nurses with clinics for foreigners can speak English and foreign patients are expected to receive good treatment there. 

5. Foods

Chinese cuisine is an indispensable part of Chinese culture, unique in style and famous all over the world. After a long-term practice, four major styles of cooking— Shandong, Huaiyang, Sichuan and Guangdong have taken shape. In addition, varieties of local delicacies and snacks also abound. All together there are more than 10 thousand specialty dishes, of which Beijing roasted duck, Beijing instant-boiled mutton, Guangdong roasted roaster, Sichuan Zhangcha duck, Huaiyang three-set duck.

Chinese foods are in four major systems the Sichuan Foods System, the Guangdong Foods System, the Shandong Foods System and the Huaiyang Foods System. Each of the four systems comprises dozens of branches, and each of the branches has thousands of famous foods with different flavors, different workmanship and different styles. The culture of Chinese foods well enjoys its unique status in the world by presenting a great variety of nice foods.

There are in all streets throughout China numerous restaurants, big or small, which offer various foods with different tastes and flavors. In China, foreigners can have a taste of authentic Chinese foods at any time. 

6. Tourism

China is a great and unique country, full of oriental charm. On this land of 9.60 million square kilometers collects beautiful natural landscape, countless historic relics and colorful culture.

China is one of the earliest developed and civilized countries, having undergone so far a history of 4000 years. In the long period of history, China has formed unique culture, life style and customs, leaving countless gems, Chinese society, therefore, possesses a special charm.

China signed the “Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage” in 1985. At present, China boasts a total number of up to 29 world relics, including 21 world cultural relics, 3 world natural relics and 5world cultural-natural relics. In terms of the number of world relics, China ranks only after Italy and Spain as the third in the world. 

7. Other Useful Information

(1) Currency
  The currency in circulation in China is the Chinese RMB, or Renminbi RMB in Chinese, whose basic unit is RMB. One RMB consists of 10 jiao (dimes) or 100 fen (cents). The denominations of the Chinese RMB in bank notes are 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 RMB. The bank notes of 1 jiao, 5 jiao and 1 RMB are being substituted for with coins of corresponding denominations.

(2) Local Time
  Beijing Time has been used as the national standard time across China although China is a large country. Beijing Time is eight hours earlier than the Greenwich Time.

(3) Office Hours
  In China, office hours in government departments run from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm . The time from12:00 to 1:00 pm is lunch time. The five days from Monday till Friday are working days.
  The business hours for banks generally go from: 9:00 am to 12:00 am , and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm . Some banks close Monday.
  Department stores generally open at 8:30 am or 9:00 am and closes at 8:30 pm or 9:30 pm. Business hours may last longer in summer.
  Business centers and bars at hotels open 24 hours.
  At state-run hotels, restaurants offer breakfast from 6:00 am to 9:00 am, lunch from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm and dinner from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
  A majority of the restaurants open from 6:00 am till late at night.

(4) Emergency Services
  During their travel and work in China, aliens may make emergency calls if they encounter robbery, fire, or other urgent matters. These special telephones are free.
  In hotels, check-in counter and hotel managers can help you with medical care or call an ambulance. If you suddenly fall ill on way, you can ask the police or others for help. There are police booths along the streets and patrol police in busy streets in some major cities.

119 Fire
110 Robbery
120 First aid
122 Traffic Accident
114 Inquiring local phone number
117 Reporting time
121 Weather forecast

(5) Electricity
  China 's civil use electrical power is 220V, 50 HZ. Two types of voltage: 110V and 220V are provided for guests, particularly foreign guests in the washing rooms of top quality hotels. So make sure to check the voltages before using electrical appliances. 

(6) Drinking Water
  In China, not all the tap water is drinkable, but bottling mineral water can be bought everywhere.

(7) Official Holidays and Traditional Festivals
  Holidays in China are occasions for family reunion and traveling. Some holidays are intended to mark major national events; others are traditional festivals of folk customs.
  China's official holidays include New Year's Day (Jan.1,2,3), Spring Festival, Tomb-sweeping Day, International Labor DayMay.1, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day Holiday (Oct.1,2,3). During these periods, the number of holiday makers suddenly grows and traffic is jam, so aliens planning to come to China for a travel may adjust their time to avoid inconvenience.

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