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Pre-travel Tips

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Some Other Practical Issues Concerning Your Trip
 

Telephone, Telegram and Telex
Direct phones are very common in China. Usually you can easily call from your room in a hotel, or go to a public telephone booth by street. In some large cities, You can now buy IP phone cards which can save you a lot of the usual fee. Large hotels, post offices and telecommunication centers provide telegram and telex services. In China, you will find cellphones are so common that even a school kid may use it in front of you. If you will be travelling in China for more than 10 days on your own, it is advisable that you purchase a Chines cellphone card to be installed into your own cellphone. That way, things will get much easier for you in many aspects.

Safety
China has a low crime rate, comparing with a lot of other countries; however crime has increased in the past few years, principally in the major cities. Foreigners have seldom been victims of violent crime. It is still wise to be cautious with your personal possession in public place. There are pickpockets active in crowded areas such as stations, markets, shopping areas, etc. Do not show off your money in public. Use your safe in the hotel room and don't bring too much cash with you when you don't need it. If there is any problem, report to the hotel or police immediately.

Emergency Call
If you need emergency services in China, please dial:

114 for local directory assistance
113,173 for long-distance assistance
115 for international assistance
110 for police hotline
119 for fire hotline
112 for medical aid

Rescue
CNTA Department of General Coordination Affairs
Tel: (010) 65201622, (010) 65201623
Fax: (010) 65122096

International Assistance, MOH
Tel: (010) 64001746
Fax: (010) 64001737

International Medical Center, Beijing
Tel: (010) 64651561 (010) 64651562
Fax: (010) 64651984

International AEA
Tel: (010) 64629100 (010) 64629112
Fax: (010) 64629111

INTERNATIONAL SOS ASSISTANCE (SOS)
Tel: (010) 65003419 (010) 65003388
Fax: (010) 65016048

Workdays in China
Governments of all levels and companies in China follow the five-day week system. Working hours are 8 hours a day, normally from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with one hour break for lunch. All the government offices, institutions, schools,hospitals and other units do not work on Saturdays and Sundays, except some factories whose "weekends" may be within the week to avoid the electricity high peak. The emergency clinic is open when the hospital is closed. Shops are open everyday, normally from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

It is customary for people to "borrow" weekends to make the three-day holiday into a week-long holiday.

Restricted Areas
Visitors to China should be aware that Chinese regulations strictly prohibit travel in "closed" areas without special permission. However, over 1,200 cities and areas in China are open to visitors without special travel permits, including most major scenic and historical sites. If you need to know if an area is open to travel without a permit, seek advice from the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate, or, if you are already in China, from the local Chinese public security bureau.

Laundry
The Chinese Laundries are not as popular as in the U.S. There are also no coin-op launduomats. However,laundry services are available at most hotels, usually via the floor attendants. One-day dry cleaning and ironing services are offered at better hotels. Quality of service and price vary. Try a few easily replaceable articles first.

Table Manners
Various customs relate to meal times at the Chinese table. Round dining tables are preferred over rectangular ones as they seat more people and allow diners to face each other without any implicit or explicit status differentiation in seating (such as the western tradition of the head of a household sitting at the 'head' of the table). At a meal, social status is leveled, and all are equal. Metitleimes are the arena for family discussions, though the discussion of 'misfortunate' topics such as death is considered bad manners.

Other bad mannered practices include playing with the chopsticks during a meal (for example banging them on the table), or using a spoon used for personal eating for serving from a communal plate or bowl.

Climate and Clothing
China's climate ranges from year-round tropical heat in Hainan to Siberian conditions in the far north and classic desert weather in the far west. Clothing is usually dictated by the weather. In winter it's a good idea to wear layers of garments - thermal or silk underwear with a sweater and padded jacket - so as to be able to strip down when necessary. Padded jackets and wool-lined boots, in all sizes and styles, are among China's best buys.

In the warm weather clothing should be casual and designed for comfort, without being too revealing. Slacks are still the norm for women in China, and are recommended for strenuous sightseeing. 

Radio and TV
All large hotels in China receive many television channels, including some popular international channels. China Central Television (CCTV) currently has more than 20 channels, broadcasting over 300 hours of programs daily. CCTV-4, 2, 9 and 10 show some English programs every day. CCTV-4 has a 30-minute English language news program at 23:00 every night.

China Radio International broadcasts to the world round-the-clock in 39 foreign languages and four Chinese dialects. Easy FM on 91.5 offers 12 hours of English broadcasting and Western music. This station is also a good source of information on what is happening in Beijing. Five minutes of international and domestic news is broadcast every hour on the hour.

 
 
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