You can make phone calls abroad in most of the large city hotels. Waiting times are not too long and the lines are usually quite good.
It is not always possible to dial direct to places within China even when a dialling code is given.
China from abroad: dial the international code followed by 86 then the area code without the first 0 followed by the number required.
From China: 00 followed by the country code (Australia 61, Canada 1, Eire 353, New Zealand 64, South Africa 27, United Kingdom 44, United States 1).
Hong Kong from abroad: 852; from Hong Kong 001 Macao from abroad: 853; from Macao 001 Taiwan from abroad: 886; from Taiwan 002
Phonecards with values of 20, 50 or 100 yuan are available for use in cardphones.
The whole of China operates on Beijing Time which is Greenwich Mean Time plus eight hours.
Summer time (GMT + nine hours) from mid April to mid September has been in force for some time, but there are indications that it may shortly be discontinued.
Tipping is officially not allowed but it is becoming increasingly common in places which have been opened up to tourism, so use your discretion.
A more acceptable practice, especially in the smaller provincial cities, is to give some small gift such as stamps, books or photos as a souvenir of your home country.