MU insights | Preparing the essentials for your trip to China

Preparing the essentials for your trip to China: currency exchange, SIM cards, and transportation

This blog post will be covering everything from currency exchange to purchasing SIM cards and getting around in Guangzhou, China with ease. So that by the end, you will feel confident and prepared for your journey to China.

You can also watch our video on currency exchange and transportation on YouTube!

Exchanging currency (RMB)

When you arrive in China, the first thing you will need to do is convert your money into Chinese Yuan dollars (RMB). Here are a few options that might help you decide how you would like to convert your money. First, you can head to your local bank and ask them to convert the money in RMB. Banks typically offer competitive rates and a range of services to meet your needs. Another option is that you can go to the exchange encounters at the airport. But, if you happen to be short on time, ATMs in China are also convenient, but be sure to check with your bank for any charged fees.

It is also worth to note the growing popularity of digital payment tools in China. For example, you can use Alipay, which is a mobile payment app similar to PayPal as it allows you to make cashless payments. Alipay works as a mobile wallet-based payment tool that allows users to link their bank accounts, debit or credit card information to their Alipay account, which then acts as a digital wallet that helps users make online and in-person purchases using their mobile phones. One of the most distinctive features of Alipay is that users can make transactions by scanning QR codes. Sounds convenient right? This e-wallet app can be downloaded on your mobile and it offers a safe, secure and convenient process for consumers and businesses.

Another payment option is through WeChat Pay. WeChat Pay is a payment feature integrated into the WeChat app, it allows users to complete payment and other transactions from the convenience of their mobile phones. Like Alipay, WeChat also offer QR Code Payments.

While not necessary, setting up accounts on these platforms is recommended, especially if you are planning to stay in China for a longer period of time.

Purchasing a SIM card

Staying connected is essential when traveling, and in China, there are three major mobile operators for you to choose from: China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom. These mobile operators offer various prepaid and postpaid SIM card options catering to different needs, whether you need data-only or a combination of call/messaging and data. SIM cards can be purchased at various locations as well, such as online, airports, official mobile provider stores or malls.

China Mobile

China Mobile offers prepaid SIM Card options for travelers. This mobile operator brand provides voice calls, messaging services and data plans that allow you to have access to the internet while on the go. But, making calls and text messages internationally may be expensive, so be sure to check price details ahead of time.

China Unicom

China Unicom provides voice calls, messaging and data roaming services to fit travelers’ needs. The network for China Unicom is also more compatible with foreign phones, and China Unicom provides packages specifically designed for travelers. SIM cards can also be shipped within China mainland or internationally, including U.S., European countries and more.

China Telecom

China Telecom’s plans include voice calls, messaging and different data services. China Telecom has lower-price plan charges compared to China Mobile and China Unicom, they also offer significant amount of bonus credit with new subscriptions.

Prices for different mobile operators may vary, so make sure you compare the options before purchasing a plan that is best suited for your needs. For convenience, you can also consider purchasing a SIM card at the airport.

Getting around in Guangzhou

There are different ways of getting to the Canton Fair. While most visitors may opt for the metro when traveling from the airport to the Canton Fair due to its conveniency, here are some alternative transportation options as well:

Metro

With over 22 lines covering the city, getting around in Guangzhou will feel like a breeze, thanks to Guangzhou’s Metro transit system. Ticket prizes will vary by your travel distance; typically, ticket fares charge from 2 to 14 yuan. The metro line that is connected to the site of the Canton Fair at Pazhou Station is Line 8, and it takes approximately an hour to arrive at the Canton Fair. Line 8 also connects to Line 2 in Baogang Dadao Station and Line 3 in Kecun Station.

Bus

In addition to the Guangzhou Metro, an alternative transportation option that is just as convenient and affordable is buses. There are over 13,000 buses that run on over 1,200 routes in Guangzhou, and bus fares generally cost 2 yuan per ride. The Guangzhou Airport Express also offers direct shuttle bus service between the Canton Fair Complex and Guangzhou Baiyun Airport for all three phases of the fair from 9:00am to 6:00pm. The duration that it takes to arrive at the Canton Fair Complex by bus is about an hour.

Taxi

Taxi is another popular option, but taxi service will be in high demand especially during peak hours of the day (7:30am to 9am, 4:00pm-7:00pm). If you are planning to take a taxi to the Canton Fair, you can simply tell the taxi driver that you would like to go to “Pa Zhou”, “Canton Fair” or “Guang Jiao Hui 广交会[which is the pronunciation of Canton Fair in Chinese]. Taxis typically take around 50 minutes and cost about 140 yuan.

When you enter the Canton Fair Complex, don’t forget to visit our Westin showroom. MU Group has a 3000-square-meter showroom in Canton Fair Complex, showcasing a wide range of product categories such as kitchenware, home appliances, bathroom products, toys, lights, electrical appliances, storage, tools, personal care, beauty storage and so on. Visitors to the exhibition hall can enjoy complimentary afternoon tea, access to meeting rooms, and professional assistance from our sales representatives.

With these travel tips, you will now be able to navigate currency exchange, SIM card purchases, and the transit system in China like a pro.

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