Exchanging foreign currencies is convenient in Beijing. There are 17 currencies that can be exchanged, including the EU euro, UK pound, US dollar, Swiss francs, Singapore dollar, Swedish kronor, Danish kronor, Norwegian kronor, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, the Philippines peso, Thai bath, South Korean won, Hong Kong dollar, Taiwan new dollar and the Macao pataca.
Traveler's Checks and Credit Cards
Traveler's checks are easily cashed at the Bank of China in Beijing. Major credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa, JCB, Diners Club, and American Express may also be used to pay hotel bills, at major shopping centers and for meals in some restaurants.(Keep some cash on hand just when dining or traveling.)
In China, standard working hours are usually 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Major shopping malls open from 8.30 a.m. or 9 a.m. and close around 9 p.m. in winter and 10 10 p.m. in summer; they are still on opening in the weekends and always prolong opening time for about one hour. Because traffic is especially congested during rush hour, tourists are advised to avoid peak-hour traffic at 7-10 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.
There are more than 750 bus lines in Beijing. The starting charge is one yuan, but when the passengers use a yikatong (all in one card) transportation card to take, they can enjoy 40 percent discount; if the passengers are students, they can get a 20 percent discount. Public buses are the first choice of resident for travel in Beijing.
Subway and Light Rail
Although sometimes crowded, the subway and light rail are often the fastest way to get around the city area. The Beijing subway system (ditie) currently consist of underground rail lines and light-rail lines.
Beijing's taxis are all equipped with charge-meters. Taxi starting-charge is 10 yuan during the day and 11 yuan from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. The taxi fare is calculated at a rate of 2 yuan per kilometers after the initial 3 kilometers; and after 15 kilometers it will charge 2.4 yuan per kilometer. From 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. 20 percent more is charged. Expressway and bridge tolls are charged to passengers. For convenience of communication, foreign passengers should get someone to write down their destination in Chinese to show the drivers.
In Beijing, a foreigner can apply for a fixed-line telephone. China Telecom, China Netcom and China Tietong all provide fixed-line telephone services. But every company serves certain areas only, so when the customer applies for a fixed-line telephone, they must choose a company according to their location.
Telephone charges consist of a monthly service fee and call fee. The post-paid ordinary individual contributor's monthly service charge is 21.6 yuan; the pre-paid contributor will be charged by 0.8 yuan per day. In the call fee, the local call should pay 0.22 yuan in the initial 3 minutes and pay 0.11 yuan per minute after the initial 3 minutes; the domestic long-distance call should pay 0.07 yuan per 6 seconds; international long-distance call should pay 0.8 yuan per 6 seconds; the call to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan should pay 0.2 yuan per 6 seconds.
If customers choose the post-payment mobile phone service, they should bring an ID card of passport and with a contribution warrantor to the China Mobile or China Telecom service hall to process the registration for access. If there is no warrantor, the customer should pay 500 yuan as the deposit. If a customer chooses the pre-payment mobile phone service, they may buy a SIM card and charge card at service halls or at news stalls on the street. If a customer uses the M-Zone service, they should register at a service hall. There are pre-paid phone cards on sale in hotels, post offices, telephone booths, news stalls, telecommunications service depots and in some stores.
Learn more about Shopping in Beijing
Source: Handbook for Foreigners in Beijing