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 on the China Meteorological Administration website: http://www.cma.gov.cn/en/

Currency

The official currency in the Mainland is Renminbi (RMB), commonly known as Yuan. Paper bills include 1, 5, 10, 20, 50,100 Yuan and 1, 2, 5 Jiao, and coins include 1, 5 Jiao and 1 Yuan.

Besides holding cash, Hong Kong residents living in the Mainland may also open an account at banks in the Mainland, and apply for internet banking. To open a personal bank account, in general, one needs a mobile phone number which can receive messages in the Mainland as well as provide the following documents:

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

Please check with the banks for the application process and details on opening a bank account, if necessary.

Voltage

As with most countries in the world, China adopts the metric measurement system. Household voltage is 220 volts in the Mainland. No voltage conversion is needed if travellers 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, traffic rules 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.

Public Transportation in Guangzhou

Subway

As at 28 December 2017, there are 13 subway lines operating in Guangzhou. Currently the ticket fare at the Guangzhou Metro Web is calculated by mileage: the cost is RMB 2 for mileage no more than 4km; cost increases by RMB 1 for every 4 kilometers within the mileage range from 4km to 12km; RMB 1 for every 6 kilometers within the mileage range from 12km to 24km, and RMB 1 for every 8 kilometers for mileage more than 24km.The ticket fare at the Zhujiang New Town Automated People Mover systems (abbreviated as "APM Line") is fixed as RMB 2.

For details, please refer to the Guangzhou Metro Corporation Limited website (http://cs.gzmtr.com/ckfwEnglish/), or Guangzhou Metro wechat account: (GuangzhouMTR)

Taxi

For passengers’ convenience, taxi stands are often found at public areas such as roads, hotels, business centers, hospitals and residential quarters. Passengers may also book taxi service over the phone or through the internet or mobile applications.

Guangzhou taxies implement a unified fare charge policy. RMB 10 for the first 2.5 kilometers and RMB 2.6 per kilometer thereafter; the waiting charge is RMB 26 per hour, the charge is an additional 50% for a return trip of 35 kilometers. There is no fuel surcharge, night charge and on-call service fee.

E-hailing Service

In recent years, E-hailing service is very popular in the Mainland. Passengers can hail for service on the spot or make appointments online with drivers of private cars and taxies. Details are available from common search engines on the Internet.

Buses

Guangzhou has a bus network which basically covers the whole city, which includes the city bus (with night line),Guangzhou BRT, inter-city bus, airport shuttle, tourist line etc.; Among them, the three suburbs of Huadu district, Panyu district and Nansha district have their own public transport systems, and free Luogang K01&K02 buses.

For details, please visit the Guangzhou Bus website (Chinese Version Only)

http://www.gz-bus.com

Railway

Guangzhou is one of the hubs of China's railway network which spans across the whole country, including the rail line from Guangzhou to Kowloon, Hong Kong. There are four railway stations located in the urban area of Guangzhou, namely Guangzhou railway station, Guangzhou East railway station, Guangzhou South railway station and Guangzhou North railway station. Guangzhou is well connected to many mainland cities through various intercity routes (with high-speed train services for certain routes).

For purchase of railway tickets, passengers are required to provide valid identification documents (Home Visit Permits, valid applicable passports, etc.) Passengers may select their desired travel date, time and seats. Passengers may purchase tickets at ticketing offices, over the phone (ticketing hotline 8610-9510505), or ponline (Please refer to the hyperlinks on the China Railway Customer Service Center website).

For details, please refer to the China Railway's Customer Service Center website (Chinese Version Only):http://www.12306.cn/mormhweb/

The China Railway Corporation announced in June 2017 that automatic ticket vending and issuing machines which could read and verify Home Visit Permits had been installed at railway stations in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Hunan and Guangdong. Hong Kong and Macao compatriots may now purchase and collect tickets with their Home Visit Permits at these railways stations which they frequently use. In future, these machines will also be installed at those railway stations which are ready and are heavily used by Hong Kong and Macao compatriots.

Air

The Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is situated at Baiyun district and about 37 kilometers away from the Central Business District area in Tianhe district. All domestic and international flights in Guangzhou land in or depart from the Airport. The Airport is connected to downtown by airport expressway Guangzhou metro airport line (north extension of line 3) is about 40 minutes ride from between Tiyuxi Road and Terminal 1).

Travellers may purchase air tickets online and via telephone hotlines of airline companies. They may also purchase other websites, which usually provide airfare discounts.

Public bicycle rental

On 22 June 2010, Guangzhou brgan the public bicycle rental service, and the first batch of 18 public bike rental sites were put into operation. Those who are in good physical health / conditions and good at riding, aged between 12 and 65 years old (including those who aged between 12 and 16 years old and should be accompanied by the adult), with height of 145cm or above, may apply for public bicycle rental card. RMB 1 would be charged for 30 minutes. A ceiling on the rental charges is also set at RMB 15 for 24-hour usage.

For details, please visit Guangzhou Public Bicycle Management Company website (Chinese Version Only): http://zxc.gzzc.com.cn

Bike-sharing

In recent years, bike-sharing service is very popular in the Mainland, and such rental service is provided on an hourly rate. In general, rental companies require users to pay a deposit before using the service. That said, some e-shopping platforms provide deposit-free bike rental service. Details are available from common search engines on the internet.

Self-driving

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 the relevant conditions promulgated by the Ministry of Public Security (including age requirement and physical health conditions, etc.) may apply for driving licenses from the traffic management departments.

Hong Kong residents who hold driving licenses issued by the relevant authorities of Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan or other foreign countries may apply for Chinese driving licenses after meeting certain requirements promulgated 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.

For details, please refer to the Guangzhou Traffic Management Bureau website (Chinese Version Only): http://jj.gdga.gov.cn/acthall/ygazl/1997d8avqn9ph.xhtml

Renting cars

If Hong Kong people would like to drive in Guangzhou, they may rent a car from local car leasing companies. Generally, Hong Kong people are required to provide photocopies of their Home Visit Permits and driving licenses as well as the intended leasing period to the car leasing companies when entering into car rental contracts. For details, please visit the company websites.

Purchasing cars

Guangzhou has put in place control measures over the number of passenger cars. There is a quota system for the purchase of vehicles through the license-plate lottery system. Once permission for purchase is obtained, qualified individuals may then proceed with the necessary vehicle registration. If Hong Kong residents wish to apply for licence plates, they should meet the requirements below:

  1. Hold an effective Residence Registration in Guangdong, hold a Guangdong Valid Residence Permit and have lived in the city for a total of over 9 months per year, and have paid the Basic Medical Insurance ( no supplementary payment) for 2 consecutive years;
  2. No passenger car being held / owned under his/her name in Guangzhou nor is the vehicle subject to de-registration;
  3. Hold a valid driving licence.
  4. No valid passenger car’s license plate under his/her name or without the qualification to update the license plate;
  5. No un-use of the additional license plate obtained from that lottery system in the past 2 years.

For details on the licence plate application, please refer to the Guangzhou Passenger Cars Indicators Regulation Management Office website (Chinese Version Only): http://jtzl.gzjt.gov.cn/