C hinese border crossings are generally very easy. You are allowed to bring 2 packs of cigarettes, one bottle of alcoholic drink. As you leave China, keep all receipts of your purchases in case customs inspectors ask to see them.
China's currency is the Renmingbi(RMB), usually called Yuan. The Bank of China has exchange desks for foreign currency and travelers check with convenient hours at all hotels, airports, Friendship Stores, and other shopping areas. It is dangerous to change the currency in black market. We suggest that you do not carry much cash, but rather bring traveler's checks for safety reasons. Both Visa and Master Card are accepted especially in some of hotels and stores.
Although big hotels and top-end restaurants may add a tax or ‘service charge' of 10% or more, all other consumer taxes are included in the price tag.
Baggage allowance for transpacific flight is two pieces per person. The combined total dimension not exceeding 106 inches provided neither one exceeds 62 inches nor 70 lb. Baggage allowance in China is restricted to one piece only and not to exceed 44 lb. Carry on baggage is limited to one piece with combined total dimension not exceeding 45 inches.
What to pack
A good backpack is always a good idea. A beltpack is OK for maps, extra film and other miscellanea, but don't use it for valuables such as your travelers' checks and passport.
In Tibet you may impression that all four seasons have been compressed into one day. So comfortable and warmer outfits are highly recommended, and a good pair of sunglasses is absolutely essential, particularly in the high altitudes of Tibet.
Most hotel rooms are equipped with phones which local calls are free. International calls are expensive. Rates to U.S.A. would around $2.00 per minute.
These are several telephone numbers that you may want to know. But only international directory assistance is likely to have English speakers:
Police hotline 110
Fire hotline 119
Local directory assistance 114
Time throughout China is set to Beijing time, which is 8 hours ahead of GMT. For example: Los Angeles time is 3:00pm, January 25, 2005, Beijing time is 7:00am, January 26, 2005.
Throughout China 220 volt/50 cycle is used. Although 4 star hotel are wired for use of 110 electrical appliances, it is better carrying on own volt converter. Two-phase and three phase sockets are commonly used in hotels. You may also need an adapter plug in order to use your electrical appliances.
Almost all tourist hotels have a laundry service, and if you hand in clothes one day you should get them back a day or two days later.
Weights & Measures
The metric system is widely use in China. The following equations may help:
Metric Chinese Imperial
1metre =3chi =3.28feet
1km =2li =0.62miles
1litre =1gongsheng =0.22gallons
1kg =2jin =2.2pounds
Food and Water
Bottled water and soft drinks are widely available in China and should be easily and perfectly to drink. Tea is Chinese people favorite drink. So not all of the restaurants provide coffee but tea only. Coffee addicts may find familiar Western brands (Maxwell house, Nescafe) for sale almost everywhere.