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Chinese Silk Fan

Zhaoqing at Night - Seen from 7-Stars Lake and Crags

Making a Silk Fan by Hand In Guilin

Lion Dance

Ancient and Modern Mix in Foshan City

Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an

Local Vendors Stall at a Foshan Wet Market

Wine and Dine Aboard a River Cruise at Night - Guangzhou

Latin meets Sino at this restaurant in Macao

Ding Hu San, personal picture - This is a very BIG cooking pot! It is Used For Cooking on Special Days and can Feed over 2, 000 People

Farmer Collecting Firewood - Guilin

West Street, Yang Sguo, near Guilin

Rice Terraces near YangShuo, Guilin

Local Street Bar - Foshan

Dinner at The Rhine Cafe, Foshan

Allotments in Toisan

Chinese Girls Enjoying Their First Western BBQ, Foshan

Babas Ox Having a Break From Tilling the Fields, Toisan

Time to Relax in Hong Kong

Likely Lads at a Foshan Chicken Restaurant

Yours Truly at another Local Street Bar, Foshan

Fish Likes Tacos - Johns Bar, Foshan

Owner of a Dumpling Shop - ShenZhen

Lads Enjoying Street Food - ShenZhen

ZhaoQing University  Shop - Typical of Many Similar Outlets

Local Fisherman of the Li River, Guilin. The Cormorant's are trained birds used for fishing! They can count up to 7 fish, after which time they will not dive again unless fed!

Owner of My Local Corner Shop - Foshan

Typical Foshan Backstreet

Security Saluting With a Cup of Tea

Bea Making Chinese Tea - Shunde Long Jiang

Interior of the Old Johns Bar, Foshan
Useful Advice for Tourists Visiting China
General Information

This page contains general information for Tourists, and should be read in conjunction with larger topics that have separate and dedicated pages of their own

Topics on this page include:

Renewing your Passport
Tipping People
Opening Hours

Passport Renewal
1. Apply in China:
You can renew your British Passport in China via the British Embassy in Beijing, or their Consulate in Shanghai. Click for more information
2. Apply in Kong Kong
This is usually the preferred option, as Hong Kong still has a very special relationship with UK. It is also simple to prove your identity, say if you are required to show your passport to officials whilst it is being renewed. The British Consulate is situated in Central, behind Pacific Plaza at No. 1 Supreme Court Road
3. Processing
The renewal process takes approximately 10 days, and you should submit your application before midday. Please supply the necessary forms and information as listed on this page

1. Electricity is 220 Volts.
2. China has around 18 different types of plug socket, but these are being normalised to about four.
3. China has a very good range of adapters and extension leads that are easily available on local streets for around $2. Please buy the ones marked 15Amp, as lower rated cables tend to melt! These have multiple multi-interfaces, meaning they handle just about any type of plug including: British round and square pins, European standard plugs

Chinese toilets are at best a hole in the ground surrounded by ceramics. Use Western toilets whenever possible. In rural areas toilet mechanics get more basic ... and unusual! This is what you need to know:

1. Take your own toilet paper with you at all times, there isn't any normally (Except in the very best establishments)
2. It is ok to flush toilet paper normally, but girls should normally place larger items with blood on them in the separate container provided for this purpose = an open bucket usually
3. Toilets cubicles are normally used by either sex - get used to it!
4. Chinese plumbing techniques can be quite inventive and eco-friendly ... so don't be surprised if the waste water from the wash basin runs out onto the floor you are standing on, in order to flush the toilet - which should be the lowest point in the room, normally
5. There will be a sink nearby for washing your hands. Please do this
6. Rural villages normally have a communal approach to toilets, with low barriers so you can chat to other people nearby as you go about your personal business. These are usually sex segregated, but not always!
7. Toilets out in the wilds are far more basic, often communal, and come in a variety of ... errrm ... 'human inter-faece designs’. Enjoy : - )
8. Do not try asking where the toilet is in Chinese - as no one will understand you...
* Ask for 'WC'
* Mime by squatting - only!
- - In Beijing I once mimed a man going to the urinal, and was quoted Y150!
* If you must try Chinese, then say 'Sigh sow', sow as in female pig = wash hands in Cantonese
* Look for a green sign, usually with a man and woman on it
* Most Malls and city centre streets also have public toilets, just look around you

This all sounds horrendous by Western standards, when in fact most of it is simply 'Practical'! Chinese treat going to the toilet as a common occurrence of no value and people take some tissue from the table before they depart usually; whereas we Brit's tend to make a palaver about it.

For me the only bad thing is having to bend my knee joints when using the 'Chinese Traps' = knees wrecked from years of playing squash

China has excellent news services, including: dedicated English language TV channels (CCTV 9 - the official news channel from Beijing + ATV and Pearl from Hong Kong. Others), English Newspapers (China Daily and China Southern News), and various online media channels. Take your pick!

90% of Chinese men smoke heavily and regularly. Normally they only smoke tipped cigarettes, pipes are uncommon, and cigars are very unusual. About 10 % of Chinese girls also smoke

1. A 'no smoking office' really means that you cannot smoke in the actual office, but smoking in any corridor is allowed
2. Non-smoking Malls actually means that in general you should not smoke anywhere other than the open rest areas, which have cigarette bins handy for this purpose
3. Smoking is not allowed on Public Transport (Versions)
4. All Chinese airports are quite officious regards smoking in the wrong places, but do have areas set aside for smokers. Smoking outside is permitted
5. Smoking in restaurants is always permitted and expected.

Please Note:
Anywhere that ashtrays are not supplied - please know you are expected to use the floor. They may even consider your request for an ashtray to be a bit weird!

A Chinese pipe is made from a tube of Bamboo, sealed at one end naturally by the bamboo divider. A thinner tube of Bamboo is inserted one-third the way up, and holds the tobacco in a cup device. To use, you simply draw on the mix of fumes in the big Bamboo tube. Bonging!

Non-prescription drugs are totally illegal in China. Don't do it!

Things to be wary of:
1. Never accept a cigarette from somebody you do not know - it may be drugged, and they are either after your 'Cash' or a homosexual experience. Get yourself somewhere safe if you have time - you will know instantly that it is 'Not Right'. Frequency: - maybe happens once every two years to a foreigner
2. Rohipnol and it's clones are used = keep your women safe.
3. In reality - drugs are very uncommon in China

China Expats does not condone the use of illegal drugs in any form.

Tipping People
Chinese do not give tips because openly giving somebody money is considered offensive and bad luck.

Some Western restaurants may impose a service charge, normally 10%. However, this is simply extra money for the boss, and staff will never ever see any of this money

The only exceptions to this rule are that you can tell staff at restaurants and similar places to keep the change. This doesn't always work, but if the meal was good and the change is small it can be worth trying

I also tip massage girls I know well - the ones who do a particularly good job. These girls work very long hours for little money, and sometimes on a commission only basis. If you do tip them, then make it discretely and before you leave the massage table. Do not give a tip to them in front of anyone else, especially management, as this will be forfeit

There are three main styles of massage in China: Hair washy, Foot washy, and straight massagey

Virtually all Chinese massage is done with your clothes on, the exceptions being special treatments. Normally you only remove your shoes and lie on a padded table. This also means that oils are very rarely used. Normally massage is performed by somebody of the opposite sex, but occasionally a girl may massage a female client. Boys do not massage male clients, except regarding certain skilled medical massages - say a back or shoulder problem that needs attending by a fully skilled practitioner

'Hair washy' is obtained from any hairdressers and charges are between Y10 and Y30 per hour. Business hours are mainly 10am to 10 pm or sometimes a bit later. Hairdressers have a typical whirly sign outside, usually in neon blue, although sometimes black and others colours are used

Hair wash normally involves you lying on a bed with head near an integral sink, whilst you hair is washed and conditioned several times. Your scalp and neck will be massaged and nails used to gently scrap your scalp as well. Your ears are usually cleansed during this process, and additional face massage can be added also. A typical hair wash takes about 30 minutes, followed by a 30 minute body massage. The best length for a body massage is actually 1-hour, and expect to be asked how long you want it to last. This is normally accomplished without using words, so simply point 1 finger making a sign for 1, and maybe point to your watch also. This is normally the only question you will be asked, and it will be appropriate and obvious

The option for an extra 30 minute face massage is well worth trying, and can feel wonderful if the girl is good. Boys, please have a close shave first if you intend to have this done, as girls won't normally massage a rough face with sharp stubble

'Foot Washy' is also excellent, and these places are very common also. However, you may not readily recognise what they are as usually the only indicator is a girl in Traditional Chinese dress standing by a lectern in a wide doorway at the foot of some stairs. Often these girls will be wearing a headset or carrying a radio transmitter. These places tend to open at midday, with last service commencing at 2 am

You will be asked three questions, usually in this order: How many people, how long for, what standard of service.

Indicate the number of people and you are usually shown to a private room which has an appropriate number of fully adjustable armchairs and poffes. All places will have cable TV, and these are very good for watching a football game. Sometimes smaller TV's are also mounted in the ceiling. The air-conditioner will be turned on, and teas brought. Some places also have internet access, with the chair having an integral monitor and nearby keyboard and mouse

The staff will then confirm how long for, and this is pretty obvious, and often marked on a wall board. You will probably find 1-hour is too short a time, so do ask for 2-hours. Better establishments will then ask what service standard = a skilled masseuse or normal. Sometimes this is asked as the question 'Do you want a special girl?', which can be misleading unless you know better! Charges are normally between Y30 and Y85 per hour. Snacks or fruit are then brought, and you can also order meals and drinks like coffee, coke or beer at extra but reasonable charge

A troop of girls will then arrive carrying wooden buckets full of hot, scented water, herbs, and other things. For this you only remove your shoes and socks, then roll up your trouser legs - they will do this for you. Flip-flops are also provided should you need to go to the toilet during proceedings. Test the water, as often this is too hot for Westerners. Once settled, relax and soak your feet for about 20 minutes. The masseuse will then massage your arms and upper back. After soaking, your feet are then attended to, being washed and creams applied. Your feet do receive a special massage, and skilled girls will follow proper foot massage techniques

Around this time you will usually be asked if you want a pedicure. Do say yes, as this is excellent and very interesting. Pedicures are performed by male staff with special skills. They use mainly sharp knives that are like chisels, trimming your toenails, sorting other problems, and removing calluses etc. This takes about 5 minutes per foot

The better of these establishments are the only places to go for ear treatments - if you have ear problems, especially wax build-up or similar. You will be asked if you want your ears cleaning, so say yes and wait. A highly skilled girl will arrive complete with torch and an array of implements. Relax while she dexterously sets about excavating your cavities. You will be amazed at what comes out, and may often be able to hear a lot better afterwards as well!

Once all the treatments are finished, your feet will be washed again, or hot rocks applied, or other things happen. After this episode, you relax again and the girl will recline the armchair and finish giving the rest of your body a massage, although normally the chest is never massaged. This is the time to state if you want greater attention paying to a particular area of your body - say your back or a leg for example

It is common to drift off into a tranquil and languorous place, so the next thing you normally know is being shaken awake - as the 2-hour period is now over!

Standard massage is available at both hairdressers and foot massage places. In addition, special massage shops also offer straight massage, and these often include special treatments such as applying small glass jars to your back via a vacuum technique, or sometimes oil treatments. These are the only places where your top may be raised

Not a standard massage establishments are often grouped in close proximity on backstreets, and are like hairdressing shops complete with neon sign. However, you will notice there is no hairdressing equipment inside, but only an array of beautiful girls. Occasionally one of these girls may disappear off in a car for 20 minutes or so. You will be asked for Y500 being a foreigner, but the going rate is actually Y120. We do not know what type of massage services these girls offer boys, and will leave it to your imagination or personal research

Opening Hours

China is open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may need to check a calendar to know which day is Sunday. In general, opening hours go like this - lets make a list for ease of reference:

1. Government and Anything Official: Monday to Friday Only, 9 to 5, closed 12 till 2 or 2.30 for lunch (Siesta)

2. Banks
a . Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, restricted services 12 till 2 for lunch
b . Saturday limited services = personal Banking ok, but no International currency exchanges (Includes Western Union)

3. Semi-official and larger companies
a . Usually as per Banks above
b . May have longer opening days and lunchtime cover for all services

4. Post Office
a . Main Post Offices usually about 8am to 6 pm, 6 days per week - but some Saturday restrictions
b . Sub-post offices (China Mobile etc, for sending simple mail); 9am to 10pm, 6 or 7 days per week

5. China Mobile
a . 9am to between 6 and 10 pm (usually at least 9pm)
b . 24/7 top-up machines quite common

6. Shops in Malls or on High Streets, Supermarkets
a . 9am to 9 or 10pm, 7 days per week - including all holidays

7. Local Shops
1. 9am to 10pm, 7 days per week - including all holidays, or longer hours

8. Corner Shops
1. Normally 6am or 8am, to midnight or 2 am, 7 days per week = 18 hour day min ave.

9. Restaurants
a . 11am to 9.30 pm, 7 days per week
b . Many open until Midnight
c . Western restaurants are open till 2am

10. Street Restaurants
a . 5pm till dawn, 7 days per week

11. Hospitals
a . As per UK or longer hours; but watch-out for lunchtimes
b . Local Hospitals: 8 to 8, 7 days per week
c . Local Pharmacies - usually stay open late
d . You arrange to pay for your treatment when you enter

13. Massage centres (Generalised)
a . Midday till last client 2am (= Latest end of work 4 am, some exceptions)

14. Licencing Hours
a . I don't think they have any?


Roads - are unlike anything you will have experienced before, some tips:
1. Except for modern main highways, the rule of the road is: 'Nobody has right of way'!
2. A red traffic light means that traffic going straight on should stop (Unless late at night, or in a hurry). Traffic not going straight on will pass the red light
3. Where there is a green man for crossing the road, this does not mean you have right of way. You will often encounter vehicles crossing your path whilst the green man is on
4. If you are of a nervous disposition, do not sit in the front seat of a car or taxi
5. Chinese roads are extremely safe with few accidents, and seldom any serious damage to vehicles or people

1. Chinese pass each other on the right, always - that means you walk right and they go to your left
2. Look both ways before stepping into the road - Chinese drivers habitually use severe shortcuts at corners and junctions, often with hilarious results
3. China does not subscribe to the American 'Sue' theory. Therefore you are personally responsible for where you put your feet! It is your responsibility to avoid obstacles in your path
4. Modern shopping malls are to Western standards, with smooth flat surfaces to walk on
5. Most pavements are not flat, have many problems, and you should be very careful where you walk. I do not notice this now, but I did when I first arrived - and went flying on a number of occasions due to pavement slabs sticking up or missing entirely, unexpected cambers, etc.
6. Older houses, shops, and restaurants often have small steps of less than 1". It is for you to spot them!
7. Cars and motorcycles can also use pavements, and sometimes it is safer to walk in the road
8. Try to use your peripheral vision when using pavements (Like I used to in UK whilst riding motorcycles before the days of mirrors).
9. Also listen, especially for approaching scooters. After a while it becomes automatic, and similar to checking your mirrors whilst driving
10. All I am really trying to say; is that pavements are very safe, just be alert and aware when using them. They are not at all like in UK

In line with larger Chinese cities, Foshan is considering implementing anti-congestion measures, which may include:
1. Cars with even numbered plates one day, odd numbers the next
2. Banning motorbikes (?)

Here is China!
This information is as supplied by the Chinese Embassy in UK, as dated 20th June 2008, and/or other reliable sources. Please check this information yourself as it may alter without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
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