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Travel Infos China

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China - Travel Infos



Climate

The climate in China ranges from “bitter cold” to “unbearably hot”.  In the winter months (December-March) temperatures drop down to -40 C in the North, while during the summer (May-August) they climb up to 38 C in the South.  Temperatures also vary considerably in the Yangzi-Basin.  In the South, the long, humid summer lasts from April to September.  During these months (alike the North) much rain falls.  The South Eastern coast may be subject to typhoons from July to September.  In the North West, summers are hot and dry.

In Chinas hottest city, Turfan, daily temperature can reach up to 47 C, but their winters are as bitter cold as the rest of the Northern region.

Time Zones

Chinese currency is called Renminbi (literally:  the People’s Currency).  The unit of currency is Yuan.

Traffic

Trains are the main mode of transportation for freight and persons in China. They are mostly safe and timely. There are two class categories: wooden seats (2nd class), upholstered seats (first class), hard sleep cabins (2nd class) and soft sleep cabins (first class). Upholstered beds are twice as expensive as hard ones.

Tickets may be purchased no earlier than 10 days prior to departure. Discounts for children are computed very practically: children shorter than 1 meter are free, children under 1,30 pay 25% of the ticket price.

Tourists pay a 70% surcharge for train tickets. In the larger train terminals, there are special ticket counters with English speaking attendants. If changing trains, the ticket for the follow-on train must be purchased between stations.

Roads in China are not always in good condition. Vehicles should be in an absolute well state of mechanics. It is easy to underestimate distances. China is an agricultural country, car garages are not always up to western standards.

There are bus routes between larger cities. These busses however are often over crowded.

Rental cars are only available with hired drivers. Driving rentals cars themselves is difficult for tourists as rental car companies keep the driver’s passport and foreigners are only allowed to drive under special circumstances. Driving in China is only permitted for traveling groups who are in possession of a special permit.

In light of the upcoming Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing, the city’s subway network will be drastically broadened. A monorail train connects the airport Shanghai Pudong (PVG) with the metro line 2 at Longyang train station (travel time: 8 minutes), located on the outskirt of Shanghai.

Taxis are only available in larger cities and are easily found. The fare by the kilometer is displayed on the side of the vehicle. It should be mentioned that the taxi-meter should always be operable and functional. There is a base fee, and fee according to the distance traveled. If possible, the fare should be negotiated prior to the start of travel. Drivers however, only rarely speak a foreign language. Hence it is advisable that travelers obtain a written address of their destination from their hotel attendants, which may be given to the driver. For return fare, a business card of the hotel should be used. It is also possible to hire taxis for an entire day.

Additional Information

The Chinese are generally a reserved People. Rule is: politeness before familiarity. It should also be avoided to make critical comments of China’s government or political situation. Travelers should show no favoritism towards Taiwan. 

The full name of the country is “The People’s Republic of China”, and it should be used in all correspondence. Upon introduction, a hand shake is customary.  Sometimes, a foreign guest may be greeted with applause. Applause should then be given in return.

Upon an invitation, guests should always arrive a little early and bring a small present such as fruit, pralines, or a souvenir from home. Stamps are also a popular present. When visiting friends, children will enjoy a small monetary present. 

Smoking is generally permitted. Non-smoking areas are marked. In the cities which are part of the Olympic Games 2008 however, a marked non-smoking rule will be implemented.

Photographing: photographing at airports is prohibited, as well as in some temples.  Before photographing military or industrial sites or government buildings, a permit should be obtained. 

Tipping, outside the large, international hotels, is considered an insult. In the tourist areas, service attendance will appreciate a 10% tip, chamber maids 2-3 ¥, and tour guides are given approximately 1 US $.

By now, foreigners are allowed free travel within a total of approximately 1,100 Chinese towns without special authorization. For all remaining towns, a special permit must be requested. Due to the rising number of pick pockets within the PR of China, it is urgently recommended that passports and airline tickets are deposited at the hotel safe and to carry a certified passport copy during travels.


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