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All roads lead to Beijing

by Felicia Bratu

An old Latin proverb says that all roads lead to Rome, however; it seems that these days all roads lead to China for many reasons, but most recently, to the Olympic Games. Going there for business or for the Games, a few basic things about China and a few words in Chinese might come in handy.

Things to know when visiting China

  1. Visas are required for all visitors going to China. If you would like to go to China, you will need to apply for a Visa to a Chinese consulate or embassy.
  2. Chinese currency: 1.00 USD = 6.84 CNY ( China Yuan Renminbi) – (source: finance.yahoo.com)
  3. China has only one time zone, Beijing time. There is a 12 hour difference between Toronto and Beijing or New York and Beijing (both Toronto and New York are in the Eastern time zone).
  4. China ’s electrical system operates at 220 volts. Visitors coming from North America will need converters for their electrical devices.
  5. Tips are usually given to tour guides and hotel bell boys and shouldn’t be more than 10% (source: wintranslation.com article). Most restaurants usually include a 10-15% service charge, so a tip isn’t necessary.
  6. Useful phone numbers when in China: 110 – Police; 119 – Fire; 120 – Ambulance
  7. China uses the metric system for measurements, so the distance will be in km and not in miles, the weight in kg and not in pounds, etc.
  8. Temperature: if going to Beijing this summer, be prepared for sunny weather at approximately 33 degrees Celsius. Also be prepared for some rain and storms (Yahoo weather forecast).
  9. The language spoken in China is Mandarin. Simplified Chinese is the written language.

 

Common sentences that might help you better communicate when traveling to China

 

We have prepared a list with terms you might find useful when traveling to China. Please find the English term below.

You can also download and print out only the translation by following this link (PDF, 189 kB): Chinese basic phrases for tourists

Hello 您好
Goodbye 再见
Thank you 谢谢您
I am lost. Could you help me find my hotel? 我迷路了。您能帮我找到我住的酒店吗?
I would like to visit the Great Wall of China. How can I get there? 我想去游览中国的长城。怎么去那里?
I would like to visit the Forbidden City. How can I get there? 我想去参观故宫。怎么去那里?
I am looking for the National Stadium. Could you direct me there? 我在找国家体育场。您能给我指路吗?
From where can I get a city map? 请问哪里能买到这个城市的地图?
I would like a taxi. Could you call one for me? 我想要辆出租车。您能帮我叫一辆吗?
How much does this cost? 这个多少钱?
Do you accept Visa/MasterCard/American Express cards? 你们这里能刷 Visa/ 万事达卡 / 美国运通卡吗?
I am allergic to peanuts. Does this food contain peanuts? 我对花生过敏。这个食品含花生吗?
I have a nut allergy. Does this food contain nuts? 我对坚果过敏。这个食品含坚果吗?
I am a vegetarian. Does this food contain any kind of meat? 我是素食主义者。这个食品含任何肉类吗?
Does this food contain dairy? 这个食品含乳酪吗?
I need medical help. Please call a doctor. 我需要看医生。请帮我请一位医生来。
I have asthma. I can’t breath. Could you call a doctor immediately? 我有哮喘,呼吸困难。您能马上帮我请一位医生来吗?
I need a doctor that speaks English. 我需要一位能讲英语的医生。