flag China China: In the Country

In this page: Accommodation | Eating Out | Getting Around | Time and Time Difference | Climate | Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems | Paying | Speaking | Emergency Numbers | Communications



Youth hostels
The most economical option; clean and generally in a good location.
Medium Range
Reputable hotels.
3 star hotels
Top of the range
All major chains (Hilton, Marriott, Shangri La) have a presence in China and offer rooms meeting international standards.

Price Indications

Economy Room 25-35 USD
Medium Price Room 35-100 USD
Good Quality Room 100-300 USD

Source: Lonely Planet

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Eating Out

Categories of Restaurant
  • Fast food
Sandwich, Hamburger
  • Western restaurants
European, Asian, American cuisine
  • Chinese restaurant
Chinese, regional cuisine

Price Indications

Economy Meal 1-5 USD
Medium Price Meal 5-10 USD
Good Quality Meal 10-25 USD
Food Specialties
Chinese cuisine is rich and refined, with several regional varieties:

- Beijing and Shandong cuisine gives a lot of importance to steamed noodles and the specialities are Peking duck and Beggar's chicken (wrapped in lotus leaves and cooked over the embers for a whole day).
- Cantonese and Chaozhou cuisine is the most famous variety of Chinese cuisine abroad. It favours steam cooking, boiled or sauteed preparations. Among its specialities are dim-sum (small, steamed or fried dishes), snake soup, dog, rat or owl stew.
- Eastern Chinese cuisine specialises in spare ribs, seafood and soups.
- Sichuan cuisine is said to have 4,000 dishes, including gonbao jiding (chicken fried with peanuts and chili peppers), mapo doufu (pork with tofu and onions), guoba roupian (puffed rice served with pork in its gravy).
- Cuisine from Shanghai (where Northern and Southern culinary styles meet) is quite sweet. One of the most popular dishes is xiaolongbao.
Beer (píjiÇ”) is very common in China and is served everywhere. The most popular label is Tsingtao. Chinese beers are light and generally have an alcohol content of 3%-4%. Their price is from CNY 2.5 to 4 in stores, CNY 6 to 20 in restaurants, about CNY 20 in a regular bar and CNY 30 to 60 in the trendiest bars. Red wine is common and reasonably priced at CNY 15 in stores and about CNY 100-150 in trendy bars. Great Wall, Chang Yu and Dynasty are some of the major labels, each with wines at different prices. The Chinese people often translate baijiu (white alcohol) as 'white wine,' but this sorghum spirit has 40-60% alcohol.
Dietary Restrictions
Culinary restrictions vary from one religion to another.
Table Manners
The guest is always seated facing the door, never with his back to the door. Allow the Chinese to seat you since they will show you where to sit.
It is a usual practice to serve you local specialties and to flood the table with a variety of dishes. In return, they will appreciate it if you taste all the dishes, show interest and above all appreciate the dishes.
It is common to talk about one's travel in China and abroad and also about family before starting to talk business. A meal offers a friendly atmosphere to not only talk business but to build a good relationship.

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Getting Around

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Moving about in the city is done primarily by taxis- there are a lot of them (60,000 in Beijing) and they are quite inexpensive. Unregistered 'black' taxis are to be avoided. The size of the cities makes walking around difficult. The cities are very congested, so plan ahead and leave early for an appointment.

Beijing has five metro lines while Shanghai has nine of them. Magnetic charge cards for the metro are very useful since they can also be used to pay taxis. They can be charged at all the metro station ticket counters and at the local grocery stores.

Buses are plenty and cheap, thought may be uncomfortable because they are often jam-packed.

You should always travel with addresses of places where you want to go written in Chinese since the pronunciation does not often correspond to the transcription in Pinyin.

Maps of Urban Networks
Maps of China: University of Texas Library Online
Urban Transport Agencies
Beijing Metro
Taxi Companies
Haibo Taxi
Guide to taxis in Shanghai

Transportation From Airport to City Centre:






Car Rental
Shanghai-Honggiao (SHA) 16 km / 10 miles CNY 60-100/25-40 min CNY 3 / 35-40 min - Available
Beijing-Capital (PEK) 28 km / 17 miles CNY 135 / 30-40 min CNY 16 / 45 min - Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Bus is the primary means of transport between cities. Trains are generally in good condition, but the links are usually slow (Canton-Beijing can take 36 hours). Air travel is often utilised for longer distances, with travels generally adhered to (although many airports have reached their saturation levels). Domestic airlines have a low rate of accidents.

For more information on the means of transportation, visit the China Vista website.



Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Air China Major Yes Yes
China Southern Airlines Major Yes Yes
Jetstar/Jetstar Asia/Valuair Low Cost No Yes
China Eastern Airlines Major Yes Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


Travelling By Yourself

The state of the rapidly developing road network is satisfactory on the major roads, although they are poorly marked. Driving in China may be risky for those unfamiliar with the roadways and driving customs. It is better to rent a car with a driver or to hire a driver if you buy a car.
Driver's License
Holders of a valid driving license for a foreign country are eligible to apply for a driving license in the PRC. Only foreigners with a valid residence permit can apply for a Chinese driver’s license.
China does not recognize the International Driving Permit or other foreign driver’s licenses. For more details on applying for a Chinese driving licience click here.
Conditions For Renting a Vehicle
Foreigners not holding a Chinese driver's license cannot rent a car. It is however possible to rent a car with a driver. Rental agencies and travel agencies provide this type of service.
Rental Agencies
Alibabuy.com World
Website of the Avis car rental agency in China
Shanghai car rental, Shanghai car services
Find an Itinerary
Google Maps
Parking Facilities
The country has limited space to build parking lots. This problem will grow with the increase in the number of cars as the standard of living improves.

Rules of the Road

Minimum Driving Age
18 years
Side of the Road For Driving
Speed Limits
30 km/h (19 mph) in single-lane city roads
100 km/h (62 mph) in express streets of the city
120 km/h (75 mph) on expressways
Safety Belts
Permitted Amount of Alcohol in the Blood

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Time and Time Difference

Current Local Time
It is %T:%M %A In Beijing
Summer Time
No time change in China.

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

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Type of Climate
Owing to its large size, there is great diversity of climate in China. The climate ranges from hot and very humid (in the southern part of the country) to continental (in the north of the country).
For Further Information
World Meteorological Organisation

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall



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Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems

System of Measurement Used
The metric system, but some traditional Chinese units are still in use.
Unit of Measurement of Temperature
Degree Celsius (°C)

Use our service Measurement converter.

  • Voltage
220 V
  • Frequency
50 HZ
Type of Electric Socket
Type of Telephone Socket
US RJ-11
DVD Zoning
Zone 6

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Domestic Currency
Chinese Yuan (Renminbi)
ISO Code
To Obtain Domestic Currency
As the exchange rate is regulated, where you exchange your money is less important than it may be in other countries. Currency exchanges at Chinese airports tend to be good and may offer a more favourable exchange rate than a bank or company abroad. If you prefer, it is fairly simple to withdraw cash with an international card at a local ATM.
Possible Means of Payment
Cash is the primary method of payment, although American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard/MasterCard and Visa are accepted in authorised establishments in the main cities. The availability of ATMs is often limited outside of cities.

To Find a Cash Machine Where You Need, Use the ATM locator


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Official Language
The national language is Mandarin; however, there are many different dialects and variants of it.
Other Languages Spoken
There are more than a hundred dialects, with Mandarin in the north and Cantonese in the south of the country. The official language coexists with the other languages (Mongolian, Uyghur, Korean, Tibetan) of the autonomous regions.
Business Language
When the foreign party does not speak Chinese, business discussions will generally be held in English.
Free Translation Tools
Babel Fish Translation : Text Translation

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Emergency Numbers

Police 110
Fire Brigade 119
Ambulance 120 (or 999 in some places)
Road Accident 122
Directory Enquiries 114

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Quality of Communications
Telephone Codes
To Make a Call From China, Dial 00
To Make a Call to in China, Dial +86
Number of Digits of National Telephone Numbers
Mobile Telephone Standards
National Mobile Phone Operators
China Unicom; China Mobile

Availability of Internet

Internet Suffix
Access in Public Places
Easily accessible in big cities and small towns.
Access in Hotels
Almost all hotels have internet access.

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Latest Update: May 2023