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China directory

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lonelyplanet.com

Budget

Directory
BOOK ACCOMMODATION ONLINE

CONTENTS
Accommodation
Activities
Admission Costs
Business Hours
Children
Climate
Courses
Customs
Dangers & Annoyances
Disabled Travellers
Embassies & Consulates
Festivals & Events
Food
Gay & Lesbian Travellers
Holidays
Insurance
Internet Access
Legal Matters
Maps
Money
Passports
Photography
Post
Shopping
Telephone
Time
Toilets
Tourist Information
Visas
Women Travellers
Work

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ACCOMMODATION
Overall, accommodation in China is no
cause for great excitement, although it is
gradually improving. Beyond Hong Kong
and Macau, you won’t find a classic hotel
of real stature and pedigree like the Raffles
Hotel in Singapore. Few historic hotels of
character exist outside Hong Kong, Macau,
Běijīng and Shànghǎi (and at a stretch
Tiānjīn).
Be warned that the star rating at China’s
hotels can be misleading. Hotels are often
awarded four or five stars, when they are patently a star lower in ranking. This might not
be immediately obvious to guests approaching

For more accommodation reviews and recommendations by Lonely Planet authors,
check out the online booking service at
 You’ll find the true,
insider lowdown on the best places to stay.
Reviews are thorough and independent. Best
of all, you can book online.

the reception desk (总台; zǒngtái) with high
expectations, so take time to wander round
and make a quick inspection of the overall
quality or stick to chain hotels with recognisable names.
Hotels in this book are divided into three
categories: budget, midrange and top end.
The majority of rooms in China are ‘twins’,
which means two single beds placed in one
room. Single rooms (one bed per room; 单
间; dānjiān) are quite rare. Double rooms
(双人房; shuāng rén fáng; also called 标准
间; biāozhǔn jiān) will often be a twin, with
two beds. Suites (套房; tàofáng) are available
at most midrange and top-end hotels. For
most accommodation listed in this guide,
addresses are provided in Chinese. If you’re
having difficulty finding your hotel, show
the address to a Chinese speaker.
The Chinese method of designating floors
is the same as that used in the USA, but different from, say, Australia’s. What would be
the ground floor in Australia is the 1st floor in
China, the 1st is the 2nd, and so on.
The policy at almost every hotel in China
is that you check out by noon. If you check
out...
THUMB TAB DIRECTORY
DIRECTORY
lonelyplanet.com DIRECTORY •• Accommodation
ACCOMMODATION
Overall, accommodation in China is no
cause for great excitement, although it is
gradually improving. Beyond Hong Kong
and Macau, you won’t find a classic hotel
of real stature and pedigree like the Raffles
Hotel in Singapore. Few historic hotels of
character exist outside Hong Kong, Macau,
Běijīng and Shànghǎi (and at a stretch
Tiānjīn).
Be warned that the star rating at China’s
hotels can be misleading. Hotels are often
awarded four or five stars, when they are pat-
ently a star lower in ranking. This might not
be immediately obvious to guests approaching
the reception desk (总台; zǒngtái) with high
expectations, so take time to wander round
and make a quick inspection of the overall
quality or stick to chain hotels with recognis-
able names.
Hotels in this book are divided into three
categories: budget, midrange and top end.
The majority of rooms in China are ‘twins’,
which means two single beds placed in one
room. Single rooms (one bed per room;
; dānjiān) are quite rare. Double rooms
(双人房; shuāng rén fáng; also called 标准
; biāozhǔn jiān) will often be a twin, with
two beds. Suites (套房; tàofáng) are available
at most midrange and top-end hotels. For
most accommodation listed in this guide,
addresses are provided in Chinese. If you’re
having difficulty finding your hotel, show
the address to a Chinese speaker.
The Chinese method of designating floors
is the same as that used in the USA, but dif-
ferent from, say, Australia’s. What would be
the ground floor in Australia is the 1st floor in
China, the 1st is the 2nd, and so on.
The policy at almost every hotel in China
is that you check out by noon. If you check
out between noon and 6pm there is a charge
of 50% of the room price – after 6pm you have
to pay for another full night.
Almost every hotel has a left-luggage room
(jìcún chù or xínglǐ bǎoguān), and in many
hotels there is one on every floor. If you are a
guest in the hotel, use of the left-luggage room
should be free.
Male guests regularly receive phone calls
from prostitutes, who ask whether ànmó
(massage) or xiǎojie (a young lady) is required;
if you don’t want their services, unplug your
phone, as they can be persistent.
D ir e cto ry
Accommodation 934
Activities 937
Admission Costs 937
Business Hours 937
Children 937
Climate 938
Courses 938
Customs 940
Dangers & Annoyances 940
Disabled Travellers 941
Embassies & Consulates 942
Festivals & Events 944
Food 945
Gay & Lesbian Travellers 945
Holidays 945
Insurance 946
Internet Access 946
Legal Matters 946
Maps 947
Money 947
Passports 949
Photography 949
Post 949
Shopping 950
Telephone 951
Time 953
Toilets 953
Tourist Information 953
Visas 953
Women Travellers 955
Work 955
CONTENTS
Budget
Budget rooms can be found in hotels rated
two stars or less. Outside of the belatedly
growing band of fresh youth hostels (www
.hostelchina.cn), expect basic facilities, grimy
bathrooms, dirty carpets, flickering TVs, noisy
neighbours, very basic or nonexistent English-
language skills and a simple restaurant or
none at all. Virtually all budget hotel rooms
should come with air-conditioning and TV,
but not all rooms have telephones (at youth
hostels, for example), so ask beforehand.
Foreign travellers have traditionally
been steered away from ultra-cheap Chi-
nese guesthouse accommodation towards
lodgings approved by the Public Security
Bureau (PSB), which were invariably more
expensive. This is beginning to change,
but many cheaper guesthouses still refuse
foreigners. In far-flung villages, families
open their houses to guests, generally for a
pittance; such accommodation options are
called nóngjiā (农家).
In some cities and towns it is worth going
with touts who collect at the train and bus
stations, as they can introduce you to cheap
accommodation, but only if they can offer
a good price.
In all cases, ask to see a room before taking
it and check for smoke alarms. Hotel fires are
quite common in China, and fires can get
the upper hand because of the lack of smoke
alarms and locked fire exits (check the exits on
your floor and complain if they are locked).
The pinyin and Chinese characters for
guesthouses:
zhāodàisuǒ 招待所
lǚdiàn 旅店
lǚguǎn 旅馆
Certain temples and monasteries (especially
on China’s sacred mountains) can provide
accommodation. They can be very cheap,
but extremely ascetic, with no running water
or electricity.
Staying in a university dorm is sometimes
one of your cheapest options. Many univer-
sities will rent out vacant dorm rooms in
the foreign student dormitory. Universities
also sometimes have actual hotels, although
the prices are usually on a par with regular
budget hotels.
Midrange
Midrange hotels (three to four stars) offer
comfort and a measure of style, but are often
PRACTICALITIES
There are four types of plugs in China: three-pronged angled pins (as in Australia), three-
pronged round pins (as in Hong Kong), two flat pins (US style but without the ground wire) or
two narrow round pins (European style). Electricity is 220 volts, 50 cycles AC.
The standard locally published English-language newspaper is the China Daily (www.china
daily.com.cn). China’s largest circulation Chinese-language daily is the People’s Daily (Rénmín
Rìbào). It has an English-language edition at www.english.peopledaily.com.cn. Imported
English-language newspapers such as the Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Asian
Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the South China Morning Post can be bought from
five-star hotel bookshops, as can imported English-language international magazines such as
Time, Newsweek, Far Eastern Economic Review and the Economist. Look out for expat English-
language magazines with local bar, restaurant and events listings in town. Magazines include
That’s Beijing, That’s Shanghai and That’s Guangzhou.
Listen to the BBC World Service (www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/tuning/) or Voice of America
(www.voa.gov), although these websites are quite often jammed. China Radio International
(CRI) is China’s overseas radio service and broadcasts in about 40 foreign languages. The
national TV outfit, Chinese Central TV (CCTV), has an English-language channel – CCTV9;
CCTV4 also has some English programs. Your hotel may have ESPN, Star Sports, CNN or BBC
News 24.
China officially subscribes to the international metric system, but you are also likely to
encounter the ancient Chinese weights and measures system that features the liǎng (tael,
37.5g) and the jīn (catty, 0.6kg), which are both commonly used. There are 10 liǎng to
the jīn.
BOOK ACCOMMODATION ONLINE
For more accommodation reviews and rec-
ommendations by Lonely Planet authors,
check out the online booking service at
www.lonelyplanet.com. You’ll find the true,
insider lowdown on the best places to stay.
Reviews are thorough and independent. Best
of all, you can book online.
© Lonely Planet Publications
934 935
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