FAQ: Taxi service in China


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Question: How is the taxi service in China?

It is easy to take a taxi on the streets in China. Taxi fares vary from city to city, normally starting at 7 RMB (about USD 1), with the fee very clearly marked on the taxi’s window. If the taxi driver for some reason does not put on a taximeter, please ask directly for the transportation costs. Only a few taxi drivers in the big tourist cities are able to speak English, so you better show the address in Chinese characters to them. Our local guide or the hotel staff will help you with this. Remember to take the hotel key card with you, to always have the Hotel address and telephone number.



Question: Is travel insurance necessary?

Yes. We highly recommend our clients purchase travel insurance to guard against unforeseen circumstances that may cause.

Most travel insurance companies offer Trip Cost Cancellation and Interruption Insurance, emergency medical transport and medical expenses insurance. These pay for loss due to any unforeseen circumstances such as death, injury and illness. Travel policies also cover you for a variety of other risks, such as cancellation charges, loss of money, loss of baggage, and liability to third parties to name but a few.

Although we do everything possible to ensure the safety of our clients, if any of the above do happen it can be very costly to you. Purchasing travel insurance is an easy way to ease the mind and to know that you will be able to deal with problems that may arise. Besides, an annual travel policy will save you money if you propose to go abroad more than once in any twelve month period.



Question: Do I need to buy travel insurance in my own country?

Buy extra insurance in your own country is strongly recommended.


For clients who have booked our tour packages, the following two types of incurance might offer some help. Unfortuately, it can not cover everything.   Though we also effect insurance for our clients, but it is not sufficient because the travel insurance companies in China are not as good as in your home county.

Travel Agencies Liability Insurance
Each legitimate travel agency in China is required to have Travel Agencies Liability Insurance. Sinoway Travel has effected a basic insurance for her clients, but it is not sufficient enough because the policy of the travel insurance companies in China are not as good as in your home county.

This Travel Agencies Liability Insurance covers accidents due to the fault of the agency only while the traveler is on the tour. This does not include times before the beginning of the tour, or flights before and after.


China Life Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance

On top of the travel insurance from your home country with specific overseas coverage, if you have book our tour packages, you will be automatically covered by the China Life Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance. However, this insurance is not applicable to the sole hotel or flight booking.

Therefore we highly recommend travelers should consider buying insurance in case some unpredicted situations arise.  



Question: How can I change money in China?

The Chinese currency is Renminbi, issued by the state bank, the People Bank of China.

The standard unit of the Renminbi is Yuan, with jiao and fen as subsidiary units. One yuan equals 10 jiao, and 1 jiao equals 10 fen. Yuan, jiao and fen are issued both in bills and coins.

The Renminbi features the following denominations: 1,2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 yuan; 1, 2 and 5 jiao; and 1,2 and 5 fen.

Foreign currency can be changed at the main branches of the Bank of China, most of the 4-5 star hotels, Friendship Stores and some department stores.

Hotels usually charge the official exchange rate. You will need your passport to change money and/or use travelers checks.

You also might want to keep your money exchange receipts if you plan on changing any of your remaining RMB back to U.S. dollars at the end of your trip. Or you can spend it on souvenirs and other gifts to bring home.

You may even want to hold onto some new, crisp Chinese bills to take home and keep with your pictures.



Question: Where is the best place to change money?

There is counterfeit money everywhere, so no matter what anyone tells you always change money at a bank.   The bank of China offers the best exchange rate.   Most of the 4 and 5 star hotels also have money exchange counter, the exchange rate is OK.

It is better if you remember to carry small change with you, especially if you are taking a taxi. Before you leave your hotel, get 200 or 300rmb in small notes (5s, 10s, 20s and 50s) to pay for the taxis and small purchases on the streets.

The driver will not have to give you back change larger than a 5rmb note. Many counterfeit bills will be 10s, 20s and 50s.

If you happen to give the driver a 100rmb note, watch him like a hawk, as he will find a way to return a fake bill because they get them all the time. Of course not everyone is like this, and it varies from place to place, but you must always keep this in mind. One day you will give the cashier a 100rmb note to buy some cookies at 7-11 and you will be told that your bill is counterfeit, and you''ll wonder for hours how you got a fake note! Now you know. And if you try to check its authenticity at a Bank of China branch, it will be confiscated and will not be replaced.


Question: Can I use credit card in China?

The following foreign credit cards are acceptable in hotels, department stores, restaurants and many shops:

(1) Master Card; (2) Visa Card; (3) American Express Card; (4) JCB Card; and (5) Diners Card.

Credit cards can be used in most mid- to top-range hotels, Friendship Stores and department stores.

ATM card and credit cards can be used quite often in Guangzhou. Make sure that your credit cards are programmed and your PIN is verified by your credit card company so that you can use it at an ATM machine for cash withdrawals. Do not wait until you travel to try the cash withdrawal card.

Try taking out $20 at home before traveling abroad. If you do not have a credit card with a PIN, you can go to a Bank of China branch and get a cash advance using your credit card.

You can even get a lot of RMB depending on the type of card you have but remember the credit card Companies will charge you quite high interest if not paid in full upon your return.

For the convenience of travelers in China, the Bank of China cashes travel cheques sold by international commercial banks and travel cheque companies in the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany and other countries and regions. The Bank of China also sells travel cheques issued by American Express, National Bank of New York, Thomas Cook, Sumitomo Bank, and Swiss Bank.



Question: Can I use travelers checks in China?

Travelers checks can be changed at the main branches of the Bank of China, most of the 4-5 star hotels, Friendship Stores aslo accept travelers checks.  You will be asked to display your passport when you use the travelers checks.


Important note: Write down your traveler''s check numbers on a piece of paper and keep this paper inside your luggage or back at home, separate from your traveler''s checks. If you lose your traveler''s checks, you can easily replace them using the numbers!



Question: What is cable transfer or wire transfer? How can I do it?

All the banks in the countries deal with this kind of business. Please find our bank information if you decide to pay in this way. You only need to ask for an application form of the wire transfer and complete it accurately according to the requirement. If you have any questions, you can ask a favor from the bank clerk.



Question: Can I bargain in shopping?

Bargaining is OK in many places. Anyway, do not bargain in a big department store.

You can bargain in shops and street stalls but usually not in large stores or restaurants (unless they offer you a discount, then you know to bargain). If you do bargain, start at about 50% of the original price, and you will be shocked at how many times you will get it for that.

If you are from the U.S., most prices will be quite acceptable. Try bargaining for fun, but do not take it too seriously, especially if you are at a street vendor.

Important note: If you go to a street vendor, the prices are geared more towards the local Chinese consumer and not the foreigner who makes 10 times the average Chinese customer. Besides, you are bound to see the same exact item 10 or more times during your trip! Patience goes a long way here in China.


Question: Do I need adapter for electricity?

Keep in mind that no matter what type of plug an outlet might accept, voltage in China is 220 v, 50 hz and not acceptable for your U.S. purchased appliances. You will need a converter for this.

The electrical current in China is 220 volts, 50 cycles (AC). Wall outlets take American-style plugs, with two flat parallel prongs; however, the outlets may not take the third, oversized prong used for grounding now in general use in the U.S.

To use your U.S. purchased electric-powered appliances, you will need a converter (see below), unless they are dual voltage, in which case you will need only the adapter for the plug. Most laptops operate equally well on 220 or 110 volts and only require an adapter. Make sure you use a power surge protector.

Do not use the 110 volt outlets in the hotels marked "for shavers only" with high-wattage appliances, such as blow dryers.

You may want to forget your electric shaver and bring along disposable razors, such as the Gillette/Schick custom disposable razors to save space in your suitcase. If you forget razors, you can always get them while in Guangzhou at Watsons or Friendship Stores.

Important note: Adapter plugs do not convert electricity. The picture below illustrates the male end of the adapter that will plug into the wall socket. The male prongs of the converter will plug into the adapter and the male prongs of the hair dryer will plug into the converter. Keep in mind that no matter what type of plug an outlet might accept, voltage in China is 220v (50 Hz) and is not acceptable for your U.S. purchased appliances.



Question: What is the time difference in China?

There is only one time zone in China - the Beijing Time. It is GMT/UTC plus eight hours (all of China is set to Beijing time). For a less complicated way, use New York time as an example. In the middle of the summer, New York will be exactly 12 hours behind China. If it is 8 am Monday morning in Beijing then it is 8 pm Sunday night in New York and 60 minutes is just ending. When clocks are set back, it becomes 13 hours behind East Coast time.



Question: How to make international phone calls in China?

It is very convenient to make phones call in China. IDD service is available at all hotels and post offices. The China country code is 86 and outgoing international code is 00.


More questions: Is travel insurance necessary?

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