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China Travel FAQ - Phone & Postal

 
  1. How can I have the phone call when I travel in China?
2. How much shall I pay for call in china?
3. How to make local call, domestic long-distance call and international call in china?
4. Can you tell us something about Postal Service in china?
 
 
1. How can I have the phone call when I travel in China?
 

You can have the local call, domestic long distance or IDD call in your hotel room. You may also make phone calls in post offices and public phone booths, where you are asked to pay right after you have finished your call.
We advise you to use IC phone card (magnetic cards) issued by China Telecom. You can buy this card in the shop at the hotel (if you don’t know where to buy, you can ask the front desk of the hotel). Most newsstands in major cities also carry phone cards. You can have a call using the IC telephone installed in the lobby of the hotel or in the airport. Some IC cards can only be used in Beijing but some can be used all over the country. It is advisable to but the one which can be used national wide. Because if you go to other places and if there is still some money in the card, you can still use it.If you have American phone card, you can use the telephone in your room to try. Normally it can not be used in China.
If you have the cell phone with you, you can have the call in china if you have subscribed for service of roaming international wide with your current cell phone provider in your nation, such as Sprint, T-Mobile or AT&T. If your cell phone is compatible in china, you can also purchase a SIM card from China Mobile or China Unicom, two largest mobile companies in China. The SIM card slips into the phone and is automatically activated once you place your first call. (Next time you take a trip, even if it’s to another country, you will only need to insert a SIM card for that country.)
If you run out of the money and need to add more talk time, you simply purchase a recharge voucher. You can “recharge” your phone by inserting the digit pin number directly into the handset, press send and the phone is automatically credited with more call credit.
It is very convenient to use the SIM card for call in china because you can call at any time. But if you use Chinese SIM card for international call, you have to go the cell phone company to subscribe for the service for overseas call first.

 
2. How much shall I pay for call in china?
 

Local calls are free if you call in the hotel room, but you have to pay for domestic long distance and international call. For domestic long distance call, 0.7 Yuan/per minute, extra 15 % service charge for every call; for IDD call, 8 Yuan/per minute (1 USD/ per minute), extra 15 % service charge for every call. You can pay the expenses when you check out.
If using the IC card, for local call, 0.2 Yuan for first 3 minutes and 0.1 Yuan/per minute after that; for domestic long distance call, 0. 7 Yuan/per minute; for IDD call, 8 Yuan/per minute (1 USD/ per minute). There is no service charge for every call. Also when you add 17909 before the area code or country code, you can get more talk time.
If using the cell phone, no matter you will call or not, you have to pay basic charge of 50 Yuan/per month first, then you pay for every call. For local call, it is 0.4 Yuan /per minute; for domestic long distance call, 1.3 Yuan/per minute; for IDD call, 8 Yuan/per minute (1 USD/ per minute). When you add 17951 before the area code or country code, you can get more talk time.
Calls made between midnight and 7am are 40% cheaper than at other times.

 
3. How to make local call, domestic long-distance call and international call in china?
 

When you make a local call, just dial the number you want directly.
When you make a domestic long-distance call, remember to dial the area code before dialing the number you want. When making an international call, you should dial 00, the country code and the area zip code before dialing the number of the person you want to talk to (if the area code of a given country begins with 0, delete it when you make the call).
To call a number in China from abroad, dial the international access code (00), the country code for China (86), then the local area code (if the area code begins with 0, delete it when you make the call) and the number you're calling.

 
4. Can you tell us something about Postal Service in china?
  Tourist hotels provide postal services. You can buy stamps, send the postcard and mail the letter at the business center or the reception of the hotel. The business centers of major hotels also offer telefax and telegraph services. But If you send important items such as antiques and cultural relics that are under customs control, you will have to go to the local branch of the international post office.

Sending Mail
Mailing service is available in urban post offices and some hotels. When mailing a letter in China, make sure to use a standard envelope, fill in the postal code, and attach enough stamps (you can consult with the personnel in the business center if you are not sure how much amount of stamp you need to buy for the letter or postcard to your nation).
Express mail service (EMS) is available in most post offices and express mail companies.
The international postal service is efficient, and airmail letters and postcards will probably take around five to 10 days to reach their destinations. Write the address clearly and if possible, write the country of destination in Chinese for faster delivery. Domestic post is swift - perhaps one or two days from Guangzhou to Beijing. Intra-city it may be delivered the same day it's sent.

Sending Parcel Abroad
If you are sending items abroad, take them unpacked with you to the post office to be inspected and an appropriate box/ envelope found for you. Most post offices offer materials (for which you'll be charged) for packaging, including padded envelopes, boxes and heavy brown paper.
Customs inspections will retain anything suspected of being pirated and you will have to complete a customs declaration form.
Once the box is sealed, you then go to pay for the postage. Hang onto your receipt (the one for the postage of the item), as it could be useful for chasing misdirected goods, should this happen.

Postal Rates
Postage for domestic letters up to 20g is ¥O.80. EMS Domestic Express Mail Service (EMS) parcels up to 200g cost ¥15; each additional 200g costs Y5. For international EMS, the charges vary according to country. Aerogram is available at post offices. There are discounts for printed matter and small packets. Maximum weight is 30kg.

Private Carriers
There are a number of foreign private couriers in China that offer international express posting of documents and parcels. None of these private carriers is cheap, but they're fast and secure. In major cities these companies have a pick-up service as well as drop-off centers, so call their offices for the latest details. The major players in this market are United Parcel Service, DHL, Federal Express and TNT Skypak.