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Money and Costs
The currency in China is known as the renminbi or yuan. It is not a freely convertible currency, but its value has been allowed to rise and fall within a wider range in recent years, with an official exchange rate of 6.78 yuan for $1 on July 21, 2010, compared with 6.81 yuan for $1 on September 15, 2009. Costs vary, with plenty of opportunity for extravagance or prudence depending on your budget. A hotel can cost $300 per day or more, while you could stay in a hostel for about $6 a night for a basic single. Meals can easily cost $50 or more in an expensive restaurant or $3 for something equally delicious on the street. Taxis are – relatively - inexpensive: you can ride right across the city's urban area for about 50 yuan ($7). A growing number of international ATMs can be found around the city. Most internationally recognized credit and debit cards can draw money from machines with the appropriate logo. Visa, MasterCard and other major credit cards are increasingly accepted in big department stores, hotels, shopping centers and up-scale restaurants - but keep some cash handy just in case.
Photography is very popular in Beijing, and it is quite convenient to buy photographic accessories such as digital cameras, memory cards and accessories or to get film (black/white, color negatives/slides) processed at stores operated by chain stores such as Kodak, Konica, Fuji and Jinglida. Negative/slide scanning services are also available to print directly from your digital camera or media device. And you can easily get enlargements made. There are also professional photo labs that can handle prints, slides or high-quality digital imaging. The average price for ordinary film development is 0.6 yuan, and 1 yuan for a digital photo.
Offices of government organizations offer services from 8 am to 5 pm, or from 9 am to 6 pm. Shopping malls and supermarkets usually open from 8:30 am to 9 pm, but some open later – and also don’t close until about 10pm.
China uses a 220-volt power supply for standard domestic and business purposes. Hotels generally have wall sockets in every room, accommodating both "straight two-pin" and "triangular three-pin" Chinese plugs. Inexpensive adapters and power transformers can be found in almost any electrical store.
Useful Numbers and Websites
Ambulance: 120 and 999
Traffic accidents: 122
Weather forecast: 12121
Directory Inquiries: 114
Tourist Information: 12301
Belling Consumer Association Complaint Number: 96315
General, Directories and Classifieds:
Books and Literary Events:
Travel (Flights, Hotels, and Car Reservations):