Do not drink tap water in China. If your hotel room is not
furnished with suitable drinking water, simply dial the
housekeeping department and the chambermaid will be glad
to bring you a thermos of hot water or a carafe of cold
drinking water free of charge. Chinese and Western mineral/spring
water can be purchased in most hotels. Chinese beer is excellent
and is available throughout China. Imported beer, wine,
spirits, and Coca-Cola are available everywhere.
For nonsmokers and even moderate smokers, an otherwise
perfect tour can be spoiled if they are forced to inhale
the smoke of other people's cigarettes on a motorcoach.
Therefore, smoking is not allowed on Regent motorcoaches.
There are opportunities to smoke during the frequent sightseeing
and rest stops. Note also that Chinese regulations strictly
prohibit smoking on all domestic air flights
In China, the telephone services are classified
into three types - the local telephone service, the domestic
direct dial (DDD) telephone service and the international
direct dial (IDD) telephone service. The manually connected
telephone services are chargeable by a basic calling time
of three minutes while the direct dial services by one minute.
Local telephone service
Local telephone sets are generally installed at
public telephone booths in urban areas, with the calls limited
to the local region only. Each call is chargeable at a rate
of 0.30 Chinese yuan for every three minutes. If no more
coins are given after three minutes, the call will be automatically
Direct dial, or IDD, telephone service to other
countries as well as to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan
The international direct dial telephone service
to other countries, as well as to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan
is referred to as the IDD on a unified basis. Using a telephone
set with the IDD function, the user can contact directly
more than 200 countries and regions by dialing "00"
to get out of the country, secondly the country or regional
code, thirdly the relevant area code and fourthly the telephone
number of the receiver in a sequence and without a break.
IDD telephone sets are available at hotels, restaurants
and airports as well as in commercial areas, providing convenience
Likewise, IDD calls are also chargeable at basic rates calculated
by the minute, and according to different period of time,
with preferential rates for calls at night as well as on
Saturday, Sunday and official holidays.
Telephone call cards are available for sale at telephone
exchanges, big hotels and guest houses. Telephone call cards
are in two types - the magnetic cards and IC cards, which
are separately used on different types of phone sets. Using
a telephone call card, one can make local, DDD or IDD calls.
The denominations of call cards are 10 Chinese yuan, 20
Chinese yuan, 30 Chinese yuan, 50 Chinese yuan, 100 Chinese
yuan and 200 Chinese yuan.
Following the continued development of the telecommunications
sector in China, people are becoming accessible to advanced
telecommunications services, such as the conference telephone
and visual telephone services.
IP telephone service
Following the development of Internet in China,
IP telephone has been chosen by the people for it is cheaper
than ordinary telephone calls. It is 0.3 yuan/minute to
make a domestic long-distance call, 4.8 yuan/minute to make
a call to other countries and 2.5 yuan/minute to make a
call to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. So far, IP telephone
service has been operated in a dozen big cities in China,
connecting 150 countries and regions, including Hong Kong,
Macao and Taiwan, Asia, Europe, South and North America
and Pacific regions, and it is free to surf through phone
among these open cities.
In the past few years, China has seen a rapid development
in the post and telecommunications network, various companies
such as China Telecom, Union Telecom, Jitong and China Wangtong
have competed fiercely with each other, making it easy for
clients to use internet and the price continues to go down.
One may say that Internet has entered every corner of the
country. Those who tour China or make a business trip to
China may easily enter the Chinanet, which will be a great
help to them
Beijing Tips - Currency
The main thing to remember when dealing with Chinese
currency is the 5 Jiao note is not 5 RMB. We've seen foreign
tourists at the subway station confused as to why the 3
RMB ticket is not covered by their 5 Jiao (0.5 RMB) note.
The next thing is to watch out for fake currency. There
are many fake yellow-style 50's and less new-style (red)
100's. We will cover how to spot a fake note in a future
The other interesting thing is that the 100 RMB note is
currently the largest denomination note available. This
means when you go to buy some high-ticket item like an airfare,
mobile phone or your next six months rent in cash, you have
to bring a small suitcase of 100 RMB notes.