6.1 RMB (yuan) to $1 USD (pronounced ren min bee) people's (ren min) money. - Use the ATM machines for best access and exchange rates.
- Airport exchange booths charge a fee
- Use the ATM's at the airport to get currency as the Taxi's and Buses do not take credit cards or foreign currency
It us NOT easy to reconvert cash to USD when departing China. A local Chinese can convert, but foreigners have limits. Keep all your exchange receipts just in case you are asked if and when you can get the right place to convert. Or find someone who lives in China to do the exchange.
Hints for getting to your hotel:
- Have the address of the hotel printed in Chinese to show the taxi driver.
- Have the phone number of the hotel available so you can call the hotel for instructions for the taxi driver.
Taxi: 1 hour ride, less than 200 rmb ride. However taxi drivers are known to leverage the knowledge that visitors don't know the fares by negotiating a high fare. Negotiate hard and at least one taxi driver will cave.
Bus: Efficient and just as quick. Less than 30 rmb into town. Taxi fare to hotel is less than 50 rmb.
Remember that many places do not take credit cards. Only the hotels and higher end establishments/restaurants take credit cards. Bring RMB cash when shopping, eating and getting transportation for the best overall experience. Unless of course you have a Union Pay card (debit or credit).
Electricity, Adapters. etc:
China is 220V, so don't plug in your 120V hair dryer without a transformer. Hotels usually have hair dryers anyway.Plugs are shaped similar to USA outlets. Also may have outlets with a 45 degree angle (versus straight up/down in USA), but unless marketd they are 220V (bathroom plug may have a 120V for shavers).
Weather and Temperature:
March is one of the best months to visit Shanghai. Average temperature in March is 9C/48F. There are gentle winds, and it is advised to dress in layers.
Other Helpful Items:
- Bring the basics: aspirin, nose drops, Tums/Pepto Bismol, band aids, neosporin, etc.
- Don't drink the tap water unless you bring your own brita filter bottle ($20 in USA). Local bottled water us good and inexpensive. Brands such as Dasani, Nestles (spring or filtered), Coca Cola bottlers, Nongfu Springs (local spring water). Coke, Coke Zero, Pepsi and Pepsi Max are available.
- Beer is good, inexpensive and varies widely in price. Tsing Dao is most popular, but other brands are worth trying. The north area had a lot of German brewer influence in the 1800s, so it is found everywhere in China.
- Facebook, Youtube & Twitter do not work in China.
- Recommend getting a Skype or Viber account so that you can communicate with home cheaply. FaceTime also works for Mac users.
- SIM cards are available and recommended for those who need to make local calls to coordinate events.
- Text messaging is expensive unless you sign up for an international plan.
- Data is expensive unless you sign up for an international plan (can easily run up $1K bill if not turn off mobile data)
- Voice is expensive no matter what plan (hence the skype or viber). But if you need voice let your service provider know so that you have international travel and want voice access. Control it carefully. Average 1 min call is $2 usd.