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Drinking Water & Electricity

Unlike in most western countries, the tap water in China is undrinkable before it is boiled.

Drinking Water - Hotels:

Hotels will provide guests with bottled water (free) for drinking and brushing teeth. In larger hotels there may be a little sign in the bathroom that reads something along the lines of "tap water not potable," but don't take the absence of this notice as an indication that tap water is safe to drink. Nowhere in China is it advisable to drink tap water without boiling it first.
Drinking Water - Restaurants:

Most restaurants will have some bottled water on the menu. In some cases it might be quite expensive such as Evian or San Pellegrino, and these types of imported mineral waters are considerably pricey even outside restaurants (often at least US$1 for 350ml). There are a number of ways you can ask for free water from the establishment. See next item.


How to Order Drinking Water in a Restaurant:

You needn't worry, in most cases, the water is coming from bottled Chinese drinking water:
bing shui, pronounced "bing shway", is water with ice;
kai shui, pronounced "kye shway", is boiled water and it will be served hot;
he shui, pronounced "huh shway", is drinking water and it will likely be served hot or warm as Chinese believe it is unhealthy to drink cold water.

Drinking Water Outside

With the improvement of living standard, the output and sales of drinking water have increased sharply in China and the market will maintain a growth at 15% in the next 5-10 years.

Although the tap water is not drinkable, you won't have to worry about finding water when you go out as it is quite easy to buy bottled water in shops everywhere in China. Foreign brands are available in the supermarkets of big cities, while in small cities or rural areas only local brands are sold.

At present, Wahaha, MasterKong, Nongfu Spring, and C'estbon are the top four bottled water manufacturers in China.

Several popular brands of bottled water, such as Wa Ha Ha, Nestle and Nongfu Spring, are available for purchase, while bottled tea and juice are also popular. Ordinary bottled mineral water and various beverages are commonly sold in many street shops, supermarkets, restaurants and hotel stores for about CNY2 per bottle.

Domestic electricity supply voltage varies between countries. Over 30 countries (including those in North America) use a voltage of 110V~130V, while another 120 countries (including most of Europe), use a voltage of 220V~230V. The electricity in China is generally 220V, 50HZ, AC (Hong Kong is 200V; Taiwan is 110V), while the supply voltage of Japan is 110V, 60HZ.

If you travel to China and wish to bring electric devices for use during your stay, a transformer, which can be bought in China for CNY100-200, is necessary. Most of the hotels in China have both 110V and 220V electrical outlets in the bathrooms, though in guest rooms usually only 220V sockets are available.

As the shape of a socket varies between countries, a portable plug adaptor may also be necessary. It can be purchased from travel stores (such as Franzus) or electronics stores (i.e. RadioShack, Best Buy) in your local countries. Also you can buy it in China.

Tips:
1. Electricity Voltage
The following information refers to the electricity voltage of some countries:

Argentina 220V/50HZ Barbados 115V/50HZ Belgium 220V/50HZ
Brazil 110-220V/60HZ Britain 240V/50HZ Burma 230V/50HZ
Canada 120V/60HZ Cuba 120V/60HZ Denmark 220V/50HZ
Egypt 220V/50HZ Finland 220V/50HZ France 220V/50HZ
Germany 230V/50HZ Hungary 220V/50HZ Italy 220V/50HZ
Malaysia 240V/50HZ Mexico 120V/60HZ Netherlands220V/50HZ
Portugal 220V/50HZ SouthAfrica220V/50HZ South Korea110V/ 60HZ
Span 127V, 220V/50HZ Sri Lanka 230V/50HZ Togo 220V/50HZ
Vietnam 120V, 50HZ Uganda 240V/50HZ U.S.A. 120V/60HZ


2. Standards of Sockets
At present, there are five main standards of sockets in the world, including the standards of Europe, America, Britain, South Africa and China. Hereunder are the related pictures for your reference:

European standard
This type of sockets (also called German-standard) is widely used in European countries. Plugs fit very well into such sockets, making it difficult for plugs to work loose by accident, which helps to increase safety.

American standard
This is an American-standard socket, which is widely used in the USA, Japan, Canada and other countries.

   British standard
The British-standard socket is mainly used in Britain, New Zealand and many other countries. Also Hong Kong in China uses such a socket.

  South African standard
This is a South African-standard socket, widely used in Africa and India. The upper hole is bigger than the two lower.

  Chinese standard
Such a socket is common in China, Australia and many other countries.