Time zone: GMT + 8
Telephone services: Country Code: 86
Outgoing Code: 00
Emergency telephone numbers: Police – 110, Fire – 119.
Tourist information: China National Tourist Office, 4 Glentworth Street, London NW1 5PG Tel: (020) 7935 9787 Fax: (020) 7487 5842.
Passport information: Valid passport required by all. Return Ticket Required. Requirements may change at short notice. Contact the embassy before departure.
Visa information: Visa required by all. Visas cannot be obtained on arrival. Heavy fines are levied for overstays of visa validity.
Health information: Polio, Typhoid: Vaccination recommended.
Malaria: Exists throughout the country below 1500m in the Falciparum variety, which has been reported being highly resistant to Chloroquine.
Yellow Fever: A vaccination certificate is required by anyone arriving from infected areas
Other Health Risks: Bilharzia, Cholera, Rabies.
Food & drink: Water is untreated and not safe to drink. Avoid dairy products as they are not pasteurised. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled before consumption.
Currency: Yuan (Renminbi RMB) = 10 chiao/jiao or 100 fen Exchange: there is only one national bank which has 30 000 branches. In hotels and certain stores luxury items such as spirits may be bought in Western currency. All credit cards are valid in major provincial cities in designated establishments. US dollars are the preferred currency in travellers cheques.
ATM availability: Over 60 locations
Cost of living: China is still predominantly an agrarian community in spite of the recent Westernisation of it’s major cities. Consequently, prices vary substantially from region to region and city to city.
Languages: Mandarin Chinese. Cantonese, Fukienese, Xiamenhua and Hakka. English may sometimes be spoken.
Weather: Great variations in climate. Northeast = Hot and Dry summers with very cold winters. North and central has a continental rainfall, hot summers and cold winters. Southeast = Substantial rainfall, with semi tropical summer and a cool winter.
Electricity: 220/240 Volts AC, 50Hz.
Post: Approx. 1 week. All postal communications should be addressed “People’s Republic of China’
Transport: Independent travel is becoming increasingly possible and further information can be obtained from the Chinese National Tourist office (address above.) ROAD: Most places can be reached by road but many are of poor quality. BUS: reasonable bus services operate in the main cities.
Special information: Visitors are sometimes greeted by applause as a sign of welcome. The usual expected response is to applaud back. People often stare and spit. Personal theft is common. Since 1988 free travel to Tibet has ceased. China issues approximately 1000 visas a year for guided excursions. PHOTOGRAPHY: Do not take photos of airports and always seek permission before taking pictures of individuals.