Not a tourist guide but can SAVE MONEY AND PROTECT yourself from "RISKS"; compliment the good services and feedback the poor performance for improvement! Though China is changing fast but still there are many useful experiences that you need to know for sharing.

Monday, October 1, 2007

How to distinguish the REAL and the FAKE RMB (Renminbi)

How to distinguish the REAL and the FAKE RMB (Renminbi) MONEY Notes

We all face the same problem of how to distinguish other countries’ currency especially the fake money.
As a frequent traveler and tourist, we are always the victim or the target that local people will cheat us by giving the Fake Money Notes. It is because we will only traveling China for a very short time. Many things we do not how to handle without the help of the right local people. We are not used to the local fraud tactics and the customs. When foreigners need help, there are always problems of translation and interpretation. Therefore we have to have the wisdom to protect ourselves from rip off especially in money matters. For preventing your lost, you also have to check the money that you get from the ATM machine.

According to year 2006 information, the ratio of real and fake money is 100:1

When you spend money in China you can see the local Chinese people doing these four simple steps to distinguish your money notes especially the Hundred Dollars Notes (YUAN). The same STEPS that you can use: “See”, “Touch”, “Hear” and “Testing” (一看、二摸、三聽、四測)

Step 1: “See” (看)
Hold the money Note toward the light and you can see the clear watermark and magnetic micro security thread. You can see a fine printing.

Step 2: “Touch” (摸)
Use your fingers to touch the concave lines for hand feel.

Step 3: “Hear” (聽)
Use your finger to flick the money note to hear the money paper in a solid sharp and clear sound.

Step 4: “Testing” (測)
Use the fluorescence lamp to examine the money note with reflected dollars amount. Or simply use your finger nail tip to scratch the money note to see whether the color come out or not. If not the money is real.

Please also refer to the RMB money note features.

Road Traffic Helpers

When you cross the road please REMEMBER that you should stand still and look right then left side first. Even though there is a zebra crossing or traffic light, you still have to take a look first.
Mainland China People are still using bicycles as their major transportation tools especially in the secondary and rural cities. You can easily see the busy traffic during people going to work and off working peak hours (7:30am and 5:30pm)

Major problems are the people and people riding bicycles have no discipline in following traffic rules even with traffic lights and zebra crossing. They believe in “Free Walk”. People still have their mind-set believing in when people walking or riding bicycles are in the weak position that can win the court cases with great compensation when hit by cars. Therefore they don’t have to follow any traffic rules. They can freely walk across the road or riding opposite traffic direction. That’s why causing heavy traffic jams. Also you have to watch out the bicycle riders in the evening because the bicycles have no head lights and rear reflected plates.

By the way, the roads are quite wide. When I first stepped in China, I needed the local people to hold my hand and help me crossing the road. Just feel frightening when crossing the road. It is not the road is wide but people without the traffic danger sense on the road by not following the traffic road.

Nowadays in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the Government hires the people for the traffic control standing each corner of the road forcing people and people on the bicycles to following the traffic road. This does help a lots during the peak busy traffic hours.

During 80s, when the Gong An (Police) find people crossing the road without following the traffic lights, the Police will stop that person, then ask for that person’s Identity card and detain it. Then the Gong Au will give that person a red flag and direct that person to take control of the people crossing the road until that person find another person violate the crossing road rules. That person then has to take over standing in the road crossing with the flag until find another person violate the rules. This serves as a coaching lesson for the people who violating the road crossing rules.

Monday, September 17, 2007

China Police Special Force - Wu Jin

Wu Jin are equipped with heavy weapons. Their execution power are stronger than the Police - Gong An. Normally people are hard to see them. They will appear whenever there are big cases. However you can distinguish them by their car plate WJ in front of the city code and car numbers. Certainly they can park anywhere and don’t have to pay any fee for crossing the highway.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Watch Out! Pedestrian District

Most of the cities in China now have the pedestrian district. That is the motorcars road is blocked so the pedestrian can freely walk in the middle-of-the-road. Usually both sides of the road are with many different kinds of shops and shopping centers. Usually there will be many people gather around the pedestrian district during Saturday and Sunday. You can find food; drinks and some local entertainment there. Sometimes there are fashion shows or other charity shows performed. This is also one of the symbol of the city landmark. there will be many people from other China cities walking around the street too.
Since there are many tourist and like us the Hong Kong people will love to take a walk there, local pickpocket parties are there too. (Usually three people a team)
And sometime people will come to you and say that they have antiques with good bargain prices.
Some people will approach you and ask you whether you would like to change RMB (Chinese money) with good rate.
Some pretty young girls will approach you and ask you to give them some money to buy food because they came from other China city and they have no money to buy food. (When you take a deep look on their dressings, you can easily find that this is a lie).
If you are a single man walking there, you have to be very careful when one or two beautiful girls approach to you and say that they can bring you to some places for a drink or singing Karaok. Or a man approach to you and say that he can introduces beautiful girls to you as your companion. You better watch out! This certainly is a trap! Don’t be mislead by their beauty!
First, they know that you are a traveler from other countries by the way you dress. Second, they will judge you by what you are wearing and know that whether you have money or not. Third, they will make sure you don’t have local people accompanying you. Therefore they can approach to you and testing you whether you are greedy or not by their offerings such as best buy products or you want a female friend or not.
What if you like adventure trip and follow the unknown person?

The results are:
1. You will still pay a much higher prices for the fake antiques.

2. You will get fake money when you exchange your currency with them.

3. You will have to pay for RMB3,000 a cup of coke per person in the
place that pretty girls bring you to their suggested singing place.

4. If you follow the pretty girls to their place. You might end up have to pay
for a large sum of money before you can leave. Because you can hardly explain
to the Chinese Policeman that what is the reason that you are with the girl
and at her place.

5. Also there might be some men are waiting for you when you enter the girl’s
apartment. They will tie you up and take all your money and belongings.

6. Sometime the girl will give you a cup of water or some soft drinks. After you
drink the water or soft drinks you will find dizzy and fainted. And you will
regret a lots when you wake up! Then one day, you might see yourself naked in

If the above mentioned happen and you don’t speak Mandarin, you better ask the Police Officer (Gong An) to call back to your staying Hotel and ask for the translator to do the explanation for you.
Please always remember – “Don’t go out without your staying Hotel’s telephone numbers”!!!

In view of this, the police (Gong An) has arrange the men or women police driving the energy saving golf cars up and down the pedestrian district. Objective is to prevent any crime arise and help people easily even if you are asking location direction. However, there is no “English” indicated this is a mini Police car.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dalian Female Police

For the time being only city Dalian of Northern part of China has Female Police riding on horses.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

China Police - Gong An

Originally there is only one common name for the China Police – “Gong An” ( the meaning is public for Gong and safety is for An).
These few years the “Gong An” is translated into English as “Police”. Even in Hong Kong we called the Immigrant Officer, in China it is also called “Gong An”.

However, in some of the cities, they still use the Chinese pin yin “Jing Cha” (the Chinese name for police) that you can see printed at the back of the “Gong Au” jacket. Therefore when you see the “Jing Cha” , it is the same as “Police” .

Also when you see the car plate with “GA” in front of the plate numbers, that means it is the “Police” car.

For the China emergency telephone numbers for the Police Department is “110”

In 2006 year end, people can report the traffic accidents and fire cases with the same telephone number “110”.

(The Fire Department telephone number is “119”. The Traffic Department telephone number is “122”. For the Ambulance help is “120”)

For the Public telephone enquiry is “114” (Shops/Restaurants/Hotels etc.).

Though most of the China area is covered with telephone communication networks but there are still some rural places without network. Somehow the telephone still can use the Emergency “GPS” telephone number “112”

All the above mentioned telephone numbers are applied to all the cities within China.

Friday, August 17, 2007

China Departure Forms

The China Departure Forms are applied to all the major cities with International Airlines Airports.

1. The Health Form (same as the Health entry form) - You have to present this form to the Health Department Officer while entering the flight check-in counter.

2. The Customs Form for the outgoing passanger for baggage declaration (Blue Colour) - Please make sure if you have purchased the China “Antique” products, please make sure the shop can issue a permit of the “Antique” products verification. You should bring the “Antique” products, the permit and the official invoice to the Customs for declaration.

3. The Departure Card - Present together with your passport to the passport checking officer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Entry Forms

The flight attendant will distribute the China entry forms during your flight to China before landing. (same by ferries and train)

1. The Health Form - present to the Medical Department Officers when landed on ground. Please remember to write down your contact telephone numbers.

2. The Entry Card - just fill in as required. Present to the passport checking points Officer together with your passport. (We Hong Kong people call Immigration Officer while in China called Police)

One time I used the English Entry Card form because I couldn’t find the Chinese Entry Card form but I was told to use the Chinese Entry Card because my ID is recorded as Chinese by the passport checking point police.

3. The Customs Form - please read the rules. After take back your check-in luggages please choose Green (nothings to declare) or Red (carry things that need to pay tax or expensive things that need to record and take back to your country) Channel. Present the form to the Customs Officer.

Departure from Hong Kong Airport to China

If you are going to China from Hong Kong by plane or plane back to your country, you need to check your hand carry bag that fit the Airport's new requirement. Or else you have to check-in your hand carry bag. Other countries probably have the same requirement.
This also applies to all the Airports in China too.

Monday, August 13, 2007

PRC Money

The one cent note is very seldom used these day.

The ten dollars has a broken corner. You can take this broken corner money to bank and exchange for a new ten dollars note.

Please note that if your country money notes with broken corner, the Hotel will not exchange for you. You can only go to the bank to exchange your country notes to PRC currency.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Characteristic of Hong Kong and Mainland China Chinese People

There are certain different characteristic between Hong Kong and Mainland China people. Mainland China/PRC (People’s Republic of China)has taken back Hong Kong for 10 years (from 1st July 1997). Many things have changed. In the past, Hong Kong was governed by the British. Therefore, we, Hong Kong Chinese, were under the western education. Hong Kong is an opened market. Hong Kong people have to fight for themselves in order to survive. Whereas in mainland China, government has to take care all, just like a whole family.

We, Hong Kong Chinese, are more lucky than those Mainland China people. Our economy and culture are much more westernized, more systematic and advance, especially in mind-set and integrity awareness. China is just the beginning that Hong Kong has gone through. Hong Kong is 21th Century whereas Mainland China is in the 60s and 70s. Though China’s hardwares (buildings, decoration etc.) are chasing very fast but the softwares (thinking, mind-set and working attitude) and people’s mind-set have at least 10 to 15 years difference.

However, China will be the focal points in the coming years in terms of economy. Hong Kong S.A.R. will soon merge into China. I mean the system. There are still 40 years as a S.A.R.

Before 1st July 1997, foreigners will have to stop in Hong Kong first then apply the China visa to China. That’s why Hong Kong’s economy was much much better. When China opened the market, foreigners can go to China directly.
There are a big different living standard between Hong Kong and mainland China. Living cost in China is almost one third of Hong Kong. If you live in China rural cities, the living cost is even only one fifth of Hong Kong.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Planning your Trip to China 6

10. Bank Account: If you are doing business in China, you can open bank accounts. A passport and a small depost is required. Deposits can be made in several currencies, while withdrawals must be in the same currency as the deposit then exchange into RMB according the Bank’s today exchange rate. Somehow when you want to withdraw your own money you have to fill in how or what reason that you are going to use your money? (Normally I fill in the reason is for telephone fee.)

If you open a current account, there are certain points you have to remember when you use your cheque for your payment. You have to make your “name zeal” or “name stamp” or your “company’s stamp”.

10.1 People in China only recognise the signature in your ” name zeal” or your “name stamp” instead of your handwriting signature.

10.2 The name stamp chopped on the cheque cannot be blurred or with any amendment even adding your initial signature. People will not accept your cheque.

10.3 The cheque cannot be folded. People will not accept your cheque.

10.4 The cheque that you have written the date on can only valid within ten day. After ten days, your cheque will be useless.

Though “Bank of China” and “Chinese Commercial Bank” seem popular in China. I personally suggest you to use the “China Merchants Bank“. They have very good services and very aggressive in helping. Working efficiency is better. More sincere and with passion to serve. The bank even opens on Sunday.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Planning your Trip to China 5

10. Credit Cards: Foreign major credit cards are accepted nowadays in most of the China cities. The most popular credit are Visa and Mastercard. Other credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, JCB, Federal and Million are not so common. However, there are many restaurants and shops do not accept credit cards including some of the two and three stars hotels. Therefore you have to check first or else you have to carry a large sum of money.

Please note that you can use your credit cards for withdrawing money from your hotel, banks and ATM machines.

Hotel cash advance: Some of the 4 and 5 stars hotels allow customers cash advance in their hotels for emergency usage. There will be 5% to 10% handling charges on your cash advance amount. Maximum cash advance amount is RMB2,000 per day.
If you are a member of some hotels, you can cash advance once without any handling charges.

Important point to note: please check the exact cash RMB amount that you receive from the hotel cashier. If possible, please request the cashier to use their money detector machine to scan the RMB first. Just to prevent receive fake money notes.

I have experienced twice that during the staying in one of the 5 stars hotel group in different cities, two times that I received one fake RMB hundred dollar note. I didn’t notice until I deposited the money in the bank. The bank told me that they have to forfeit the one hundred dollar fake note and told me to sign a note. So be careful!

Bank cash advance: For the time being, as I know, there are only two Banks - Bank of China and Chinese Commercial Bank accept foreign credit cards cash advanve. Usually you have to go to the local city main bank to do the transaction. The bank will also charge you 5% for the handling fee of you cash advance amount with your credit card. You can cash advance RMB20,000 maximum. However if you use American Express credit card, there will be no handling fee for your cash advance amount RMB5,000.

ATM cash advance: There are many ATM machines but you have to know which bank’s ATM machines with the international credit cards logo that can accept your credit cards cash advance. Visa and Mastercard can easily find the ATM machines. Only the Bank of China carries the American Express credit card ATM. (American Express really needs to expand their service market strategy)

Point to note: When you take your money from the ATM machine, please spread the taken money and show the money upon the ATM machine with an inner camera len area. These can protect you from robbing as evidence.

In China people use to carry domestic credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard. However, many domestic bank issue the credit card credit limit are based on the people cash deposit amount in the bank.

11. Traveler’s Cheque: can be used in Banks (Bank of China and Chinese Commercial Bank only) and Hotels in China.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Planning your Trips to China 4

9. Money: This is the most important part for traveling China. The currency that China using is RMB (Ren Min Bi in Mandarin). The dollar is name “Yuan”. One “Yuan” has ten “Jiao” (one Jiao is equal to ten cents). These have notes or coins. The biggest money note in China is RMB100; then 50; 20; 10; 5 and 1 dollar notes. (the “Fen” notes are seldom accepted nowadays – one Jiao is equal to 10 Fen) There are 1; 10; 20; 50 cents coins. If you are going to pay for your bill of any kinds, you might hold all your coins in your hand, then people will pick the right amount for you.
You can even use USD in the Airport Shops or some Foreign Trading Shops. To my experience it is better to exchange your local currency in your hotel which you are staying. The exchange rate is standardized by the China Bank. Never exchange your currency in your local and other transit Airports. However, you might need some small amount of RMB for your traffic fee to get to your hotel.. Please note that there might be a limit amount of the RMB that you can exchange.
If you have a large sum of money that you want to exchange, then you have to go to the only Two Banks for the exchange (The China Bank and the China Commercial Bank). Others than these two banks will not exchange your currency.

Most Important Rules that save you from all the trouble in China is that “Don’t Greedy” in terms of money and women!
Outside your hotel or on the street or near the Banks area, there will be many people approach to you and saying that they will offer you a much better and higher rate for your currency exchange. There is a high risk that they will give you fake money which you certainly don’t know how to recognize. It is also forbidden to exchange your currency privately instead of from the banks or hotels.

Onr thing you have to bear in your mind is that your local money that you are going to exchange in the hotel must be in perfect condition without broken corner note. Or else, the hotel can refuse to exchange your money.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Planning your Trip to China 3

7. Language: Mandarin is the major language for communication in China, even in different provinces with their native language. Please note that most of the Chinese cannot speak or write English. Please remember if you need any help, please call the hotel that you are staying and ask for help from the hotel telephone operator or front desk manager or concierge. They can help you to translate what you want and do the translation. Don’t leave your hotel without bringing your hotel’s telephone number. If you are talking business, then you can hire the interpreter for the translation. Price range is around RMB200 to RMB500 per hour with minimum three hours hiring. Normally your hotel will help you to find the interpreter. This only applies to the 4 stars and above hotels in the core and secondary cities. For the rural cities, it will be a bit difficult to find people who speak English. Even if they speak English but not fluent. Please make sure the people fully understand what your meaning.

In the coming future, many foreigner are learning to speak Mandarin. Therefore, it will be very helpful if you can speak and understand the Chinese simplify letters when you travel or doing business in China!

8. Climate Addition: As I have mentioned that Changjiang River separates Northern part of China and Southern part of China. During Winter, only the Northern part of China has the central heating supplied. However, you will feel your skin very dry. Therefore you will need to bring your skin care and body lotion and use them often. Also please note that people in China have a custom to wear two pants in Winter, no matter they are in Northern or Southern part of China. People in the Northern part of China are not to bath daily during Winter period.

Please also note that there is an energy saving policy in China regarding the Air-conditioning in Summer and the central Heating System Supply in Winter.

Summer period - public places like department stores can only turn on the air-conditioning from March 15th to September 15th for both Northern and Southern parts of China. The hotels and government buildings air-conditioning are allowed and central controlled room temperature only at 25 degree centigrade.

Winter period - Central Heating system will start on November 1st for the Northern part of China only. If you cannot stand the heating system in you hotel room, you can turn off the heating and don’t forget to keep some hot water in tub in your hotel bathing room that make the room a bit humid not so dry. Please DON’T OPEN YOUR HOTEL ROOM WINDOW or else you will catch cold and flu very easily.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Planning your China Trip 2

6. Medicine: Be sure to bring your own medicines (including flu and antidiarrheal medicine “imodium” - A MUST due to the oily foods that you might not get use to it) and put them in your hand carry bag. Sometime you might loose your check-in luggage. It is difficult to buy your own medicines in China.

In case you really forget to bring the flu and antidiarrheal medicine, you can ask for your staying hotel doctor for help. Normally the hotel doctor will give you medicine for temporary treatment. You will need to see doctor on your own if you are really ill. You can consult the hotel that you are staying for the doctor referral.

If you are outside away from your hotel, then remember you can only buy your medicines from the big and brand Drugs Stores. There are a risk you can get the fake medicines in the small drugs stores.

If accident occurs that you have to go to the local hospital for treatment, be sure to bring enough money. It is because you have to pay first for each item that you have to check.

Therefore please ensure that YOU MUST HAVE YOUR TRAVEL and MEDICAL INSURANCE for your safety and health before going to China Trips.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Planning your China Trip 1

China’s population reach 13 billion. Business men usually think that if China 13 billion people, each one give you one dollar profit, you will have 13 billion dollars!!! However, this is not true. In fact, it might be difficult for you to earn even ten cents due to many policies and people’s mindset!!!

For the time being, “Good Relationship” is still a must for doing business especially in China if you know the Government Officials.

1. China Visa: You must get your China visa. Please contact your local Travel Agency and confirm the necessary documentation for application. Sometime if you are in a hurry, so far as I know, you can get a temporary period visa when landed in Beijing. Be sure to check it first.

2. China Holidays: You have to know when will be the best time to go to China. Please check whether China is having these long Holidays such as Chinese New Year; Labor Days; National Days Holidays. China Government prolong the usual holidays by changing the working days and grouping a minimum 7 days holidays for people can travel other places. For the core cities, traveling time will not be an issue. But for some of the secondary and rural cities, people will have their long holidays trips. Many shops and restaurants will close.

3. Weather & Climate: You have to check the weather first to bring your clothing. China divides Northern and Southern part by Changjiang River. Only the Northern part of China will have hot conditioning supply. Therefore Shanghai might be cool or cold for you during winter. Please check the weather and temperature first before you go to your China destination.

Please note that in summer the hottest weather temperature cities are Chongqing, Wuhan and Nanjing. These are also called "Three Ovens" cities in China Summer. The temperature is over 40 degree Centigrade. It's a Government policy that employers have to give to their workers "lower temperature subsidy" during afternoon. That is small money amount for the workers to buy either cold drinks or ice-cream to lower their body temperature so that workers can continue to work.

4. Time Zone: Time Zone is GMT -8 hours. For the Urumqi, there is two hours late difference.

5. Electricity: Electricity is 220v. Please make sure you have brought the right plug. It is advisable for you to bring your own plug for your camera; mobile phone charger or computer. The Hotel might not have enough plugs to lend you.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Core and Secondary Cities

Places that I have worked these years

We can divide China area into 5 Regions with core and secondary cities for easy remembering.


There are 34 provinces in China, including 4 municipalities, 22 Provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 2 special districts. Though which Beijing considers Taiwan is a province but is not actually under the administration of the People’s Republic of China.

Provinces and Cities

China Trips Experiences: Do and Don't

All over the World will be focusing China in the coming years! Many foreigners will definitely go to China for business or sight-seeing! There are many cities in China that you might have a chance to visit. Things are changing very fast in the Great China between core cities; secondary cities and rural cities.

Therefore I would like to share the trips experiences with you regarding the "Do" (things that we can compliment) & "Don't" (things that we must be careful and things that gave us bad experiences that we need comments ).

Also it will be great if you have the same experiences that can share amongst this blog. Then foreigners will know how to protect themselves; saved money; know different cities people's culture; find good spots etc. They will know what to do when they encounter what we have gone through without painful experiences and high prices paid! They will be delighted traveling in China either in sight-seeing or doing business! Then this blog will be very useful and valuable that can achieve my blog's objective!

Come and together share our China Trips Experiences!