Information

by Roger  

Language

The official languages in China are Cantonese and Mandarin.

Name

The country’s official name is People’s Republic of China.

Time zone

China is on GMT + 8 hours.

Counting and numbers

Dates in China are written with the day first, then the month, then the year. A common way to write a day would be: 8 May 2008

With written numbers, commas and decimal points are exactly like in Europe but different than they are in US.

China uses the metric system for measurements and Celsius for temperatures. You can find a conversion tool here

Electricity and plugs

The standard electrical voltage in China is 220 volts / 50HZ. In most hotels rooms you will find both 110V and 220V electrical outlets in the bathrooms but in the rooms there will generally be only 220V outlets. Brings transformers and plug converters to be safe and always read the information on your electrical appliance before you plug it in.

Currency

The official currencies in China are:

  • Yuan is the principal unit of the renminbi, the currency of the mainland. It’s commonly abbreviated as RMB. Banknotes denominations include one, two, five, 10, 20, 50 and 100 yuan.
  • Hong Kong Dollar is the official currency in Hong Kong. Denominations include the 10 c, 20 c, 50 c, 1 $, 2 $, 5$ and 10$ coins and the 10$, 20$, 50$, 100$ and (rarely used) 1000$ banknotes.
  • Macanese pataca is the official currency in Macau. Banknotes denominations include 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 patacas.

Check this conversion rate tool before planning your vacation.

Banks and ATMs

Travelers should be fine using their cards as there are plenty of ATMs all over the big cities. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and Diner Club are the most used and accepted credit cards. Money can be changed at the main branches of the Bank of China, in department stores, in hotels and in Friendship Stores. Thomas Cook, American Express and Visa travelers cheques are widely accepted as well.

Using the telephone

The country code for China is 86. To call China from US you will first need to dial out of the U.S. and then into India, which means 01+81 + local number. To call a Chinese number from within the city, just dial the number you were given. To call US from China dial 00+1+the US number (make sure to use the area code as well).

You can also ask your mobile carrier to tell you what network to connect to once you get to China (provided you have the roaming activated). The GSM network uses the same standards as Europe, Asia and Australia (GSM 900), but it’s not compatible with US and Japan. So you might even need a new phone in China.

Useful telephone numbers

Police 110
Ambulance 999 /120 (Beijing)
Fire 119

Visa information

Almost all foreign citizens need visa to enter China. The only exceptions are Singapore, Brunei and Japan nationals.

>>more information on China Visa Information

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