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Discover Beijing  - Useful Info

Useful Info

Time Difference
8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +8)

Chinese currency is called RMB, which include 1 yuan, 2 yuan, 5 yuan, 10 yuan, 50 yuan and 100 yuan, 10 cents, 20 cents, and 50 cents.
The exchanging rate to USD is roughly about 100 US Dollar is roughly equal to 730 RMB. For the latest and exact exchanging rates, please go to
For simplicity and security, Beijing is a comparative paradise when it comes to foreign exchange. The most startling aspect of FX for many new arrivals is that rates of exchange are standardized across China, so there is no chance of being cheated or over-charged, as long as you stick to the official channels to change money. If you find yourself carrying RMB excess to requirements on your way out of China, presenting one of your ATM transaction receipts at the bank that issued it will allow you to change money back into your home currency up to the amount shown on your ATM receipts.

Credit cards: easy!
Credit cards are now widely accepted at restaurants, hotels and stores where prices are marked across metropolitan Beijing. However it is always wise to check that you can use your card before assuming that the vendors machine is connected and in good working order.

ATM in China
ATM can be easily found and used in Beijing. Check the logos on your card. Foreign cards compatible with the Cirrus or Maestro networks can be used in practically every local bank or foreign bank like Citi and HSBC in Beijing. The Bank of China and many of Beijings foreign banks accept Visa, Mastercard, Eurocard, JCB network cards. Take care, however, not to assume that every ATM in every branch will accept your card - the Cirrus/Maestro or Visa compatible ATMs are always clearly marked.  No logo, no foreign connection!

The voltage in China is 220v. Sockets in the hotel rooms are of 2-phrase and 3-phase (MY-2204) types. China uses a 220-volt power supply for standard domestic and business purposes.
Language diversity in China is high. Mandarin is the official language in China and is widely used in Beijing. However, there are some English services available in hotels, places of interest, subways and some other public places. Here are some daily-used Chinese in Chinese Pin Yin, which can be useful for you. 
     English                      Chinese Pin Yin    
     Hello!                        Ni Hao!   
     Excuse me!                Lao Jia.   
     Sorry.                        Dui Bu Qi.   
     How much is it?         Duo Shao Qian?   
     Where is it?                Zai Na Li?   
     It’s a good day!         Jin Tian Tian Qi Bu Cuo.   

Business Hours
Shopping malls, mobile service companies, some post offices and other public services open all around the year, including in public holidays. The standard working hours in China are usually 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for major shopping malls and supermarkets, most of which will run from 8:30 am or 9 a.m. and close around 9 p.m. in winter and 10 p.m. in summer. Usually, 7-9a.m. and 5-7 p.m. the peak hours, which traffic should be taken into consideration. There will be a different office hours in public holidays.

International calls may be made directly from hotel rooms with IDD lines. With an IC card, you can also make domestic long distance calls and international calls from public telephones or you can apply for long distance call service in your place of accommodation.

Internet services are quite popular nowadays in Beijing. Internet services are available at hotels, business centers and Internet bars. Wireless Internet connection is provided at some restaurants and clubs. You can apply for various internet connections, such as broadband, ADSL, ISDN and dial-up. You can choose to pay on a monthly basis without time limitation or based on hours of use.

Mobile Service
China has two national mobile telecommunications operators, China Mobile Communications Corporation (“China Mobile” for short, GSM) and China United Telecommunications Corporation ( “China Unicom” for short, mainly CDMA).

By the end of 2005, 100% of the counties (cites) had been covered by network with seamless coverage on the backbone lines and indoor coverage in key urban areas.

China Mobile has provided GSM roaming services with over 271 operators in 206 countries and regions and GPRS roaming services with 93 operators in 101 countries and regions in the world. Its mobile short messages can be sent to 214 operators in 106 countries and regions and multimedia messages to 21 operators in 6 countries and regions.

As for the number of CDMA subscribers, China Unicom reached 36.493 million and was ranked as the second largest CDMA cellular operator in the world.

Express Services
EMS, DHL, UPS, TNT and FedEx provide express services in Beijing. All kinds of urgent documents and goods can be delivered to more than 170 countries around the world. You can ask for express services at large-scale post offices, at your hotel’s business centre or even make a phone call for at-the-door collection.  For EMS, you could call 185.

Tap Water
Tap water in China is considered hard and needs to be boiled before drinking. All hotels will provide boiled water or an electric kettle.

Travelers can easily find free public toilets on the street, in office buildings, shopping centers, supermarkets, hotels and fast food restaurants.

       Phone        Number Service   
       110            Police   
       114            Local Telephone Number Inquiry   
       116            Domestic Long Distance Inquiry   
       117            Time Inquiry   
       119            Fire    
       120            Ambulance   
       121            Weather Forecast   
       122           Traffic Police     
For further information, please visit the official website of the Beijing Tourism Administration.
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