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Important Things Tour In China


Time Difference

China is eight hours ahead of Greenwich (GMT + 8). Russia is a vast country spanning 9 time zones: European Russia (including Moscow & St Petersburg) and Asiatic Russia (from the Urals to Siberia). The Moscow Standard Time Zone is now 4 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time: GMT+4. All Russian cities Time Zones are specified relative to Moscow Time. 4:00pm at Moscow is 8:00pm China time.

When NOT to travel in China

Weather aside, avoid traveling during any of the China's national holidays if at all possible. In the 1990's the Chinese government introduced the "Golden Weeks" to develop domestic tourism industry. The three Chinese national "Golden Weeks" to avoid are:

1.Chinese New Year (Spring Festival): This is the worst time to travel. The exact dates each year varies since it’s based on the Lunar Calendar, but it’s usually around late January to mid-Feb.Technically about 2 weeks but many Chinese will just get the first week off. Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional holidays, kind of the equivalent of Christmas in the West. A huge chunk of the population — from white collar to migrant worker — takes off work to travel back to their hometowns to spend time with their families. Most businesses shut down completely, so your options for eating and shopping also become severely limited in smaller towns. Of course, if you don't mind the crowds, it can be lots of fun (festivals, street activity, etc).  

2. National Day (starts Oct 1): A week-long holiday that celebrates founding of the People’s Republic of China. In particular, avoid some hot sites, such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Yellow Mountain, Jiuzhaigou Valley, etc. 

3. Labor Day (May 1): Until 2007, this was a week-long holiday but has since been scaled back to a long 3-day weekend. So not as crazy as before but still definitely want to avoid being in transit during this time.

Money Matters

The renminbi (RMB, sign: ¥; code: CNY; also CN¥, 元 and CN元) is the official currency of China (People's Republic of China). Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macau. It is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of China. It literally means "people's currency".

The primary unit of renminbi is the yuan (元). One yuan is subdivided into 10 jiao (角), which in turn is subdivided into 10 fen (分). Renminbi banknotes are available in denominations from 1 jiao to 100 yuan (¥0.1–100) and coins have denominations from 1 fen to 1 yuan (¥0.01–1). Thus, some denominations exist in coins and banknotes. Coins under ¥0.1 are used infrequently.

For RMB (CNY) and ZAR exchange rate, please visit The Currency Converter.

Credit Cards

Currently there are seven main foreign credit cards available in China, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club, JCB, Federal and Million. Credit cards can be used for withdrawing money, shopping and other transactions in most major cities of the country, but generally not accepted in rural areas.

ATM

In China, most of the local ATMs machines accept Visa and Master. CITIBANK card and HSBC are also very popular in China because Citibank and HSBC have agreement with UnionPay. For other cards, you may check the ATMs you are going to use and see if they have the logos and signs for your credit cards. 

Electricity

Basically there are two main standards for voltage and frequency in the world. One is the standard of 120 volts at a frequency of 60 Hz, and the other is the standard of 220–240 volts at 50 Hz. China uses generally 220V, 50HZ, AC (Hong Kong is 200V; Taiwan is 110V).

Electricity in South Africa is 230 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Beijing and other parts of China, you will need a voltage converter and a plug adapter.

Communications

1. Internet

Most hotel rooms will offer an internet connection for your laptop. Airports, Starbucks, and a number of coffee restaurants provide free Wi-Fi. If you don't have a laptop, inexpensive internet bars are scattered around the city. 

2. Post Offices

Airmail letters to South Africa usually take between four days and a week to reach their destinations. Stamps are sold at the post office counters.

3. Telephone

♦Call a fixed phone

If you are going to call a fixed phone in a particular city in China, please dial the exit number of your home country 0011 + 86 (China's country code) + 10 (i.e. Beijing's city code) + phone number. 0011-86-10-63827918

♦Call a cell phone

If you are going to call a mobile phone in a particular city in China, please dial the exit number of your home country 0011 + 86 (China's country code) + Cell phone number. 0011-86-15611078753

Conversion

Although a traditional measurement system exists, China now uses the metric system.

1 kilometers = 0.62 mile

1 meter = 1.09 yards

1 centimeter = 0.39 inch

1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds

1 gram = 0.035 ounce

1 liter = 0.76 pint

0℃ = 32 ℉

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