Beijing is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Elevated at 143 feet above sea level, Beijing has a continental climate. December/January are the coldest months, with an average temperature of –4° C (–25° F). Further information can be found at the Beijing Meteorological Bureau.
The official language in Beijing is Chinese (Mandarin). The official languages are used in government departments in all official documents and communications. Although people throughout China are supposed to speak it, many provinces have different dialects. English is generally used in trade, tourism and commerce.
Beijing has an extensive public transportation network.
City public buses run from 5:30 till 23:00 daily. Taking buses in Beijing is quite inexpensive but less comfortable than a taxi or the subway. The fee will start at RMB1.
The subway runs every 3 or 5 minutes daily from 5:00 to 22 or 23:00, according to different first stations and the fare is 2RMB per ride for any distance. There are two subway lines in Beijing. For further information, please check here.
The taxi charges is comfortable and inexpensive. The bridge and road tolls will be paid by passengers. Most drivers can’t understand English, so write down your destination in Chinese beforehand. For taxi complaints, ring 6835 1150.
China uses the Renminbi (RMB), which comes in denominations of one, two, five, 10, 20, 50 and 100. The exchange rate is RMB100 = HKD113 = USD14.64. There is an acceptable variation up to 10%. Foreign currency or travellers’ cheques can be changed in hotels, banks and authorised exchange dealers located all around the city. Credit cards are widely accepted at bigger establishments.
The voltage in China is 220v. Sockets in the hotel rooms are of 2-phrase and 3-phase (MY-2204) types. China uses a 220-volt power supply for standard domestic and business purposes.
Safety and Security
Beijing is a very safe place. There are police stations and reporting centres throughout the territory and for emergency dial 110.
Passport and Visa
All visitors must hold a passport or a valid travel document. A passport which has a valid period of no less than six months following the date of submission, and the blank visa page. For more details, please go to the official website of Foreign Affairs Ministry of China.
- Banks and government offices:
Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30 pm
- Shops (hours may vary):
Generally open from 9.00am to 9.00pm every day
The three biggest mobile telephone service providers are China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.
Medical facilities in Beijing are generally of high standard.
New Year’s Day (one day), Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (three days), Labour Day (three days), National Day (three days)