China covers a land area of 9.6 million square kilometers and currently consists of four municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing), 23 provinces, five autonomous regions (Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, and Guangxi) directly under the Central Government, and two special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau).

Weather

China spans over a vast geographic area. Local weather varies considerably from one location to another. Latest weather information of different regions can be found at the website of China Meteorological Administration: http://www.cma.gov.cn/en/

Currency

China's official currency is Renminbi (RMB), commonly known as Yuan. Paper bill includes 1, 5, 10, 20, 50,100 Yuan and 1, 2, 5 Jiao, and coins include 1, 5 Jiao and 1 Yuan. Currency exchange service is available at Beijing Capital International Airport, banks and major hotels.

Besides cash, banking service is also available for Hong Kong residents living in China. In general, basic documents required for opening bank accounts include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Identification Document, e.g. passport, Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao resident (commonly known as "Home Visit Permit")
  2. Statement with residential address

Please check with specific banks for detailed application process and related information if necessary.

Voltage

As with most other countries, China adopts the metric measurement system. Household voltage is 220 volts in the Mainland, which is the same as Hong Kong. No voltage conversion is needed if travelers want to use electrical appliance purchased from Hong Kong. However, the power plug is different from those commonly used in Hong Kong and thus a plug adapter may be required. The typical shapes of power plugs in the Mainland are shown in the pictures below.

3-legged power plug in China 2-legged power plug in China

Transportation

Overview

All automotive vehicles, non-automotive vehicles and pedestrians should keep to the right side of the road in the Mainland, which differs from the practice of keeping to the left in Hong Kong.

Besides, the traffic rules also differ. In the Mainland, vehicles may take right turn even if the red light is on, but this would only be applicable where no disturbance is made to cars or pedestrians passing by (however, if the red light signaling right turn is an arrow instead of a round shape, vehicles would be prohibited from taking the right turn until the light turns green). In Hong Kong, on the other hand, no vehicles may take the right turn whenever the red light is on.

Pedestrians and drivers of automotive vehicles and non-automotive vehicles should observe all traffic rules applicable in the Mainland.

Driving License and buying vehicles

Driving License

Hong Kong residents are required to obtain valid driving licenses if they wish to drive in the Mainland. Drivers should carry their driving licenses while driving. Hong Kong residents who meet relevant conditions promulgated by the Ministry of Public Security (including requirements in age and physical and other conditions, etc.) could apply for driving licenses from traffic management departments.

Hong Kong residents who hold driving licenses issued by relevant authorities of Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan or other foreign countries could apply for Chinese driving licenses after meeting certain requirements by the Ministry of Public Security (including age, physical and other conditions) and passing the corresponding examination. Moreover, Hong Kong residents who have overseas driving licenses can apply for temporary driving permission from traffic management department of the Ministry of Public Security if they need to drive in the Mainland for a period not exceeding three months.