When touring in China, you can save a great deal of time if you are aware of the business hours of various enterprises, especially that of the service industry and make a schedule of your requirements. By taking note of office hours, opening hours or operating hours wherever you go, you will avoid the frustration such as that on finding the last bus has gone, the park has been closed or the show has been over, for example. In order to help you in this connection, we offer this basic information about business hours in China. There may be exceptions, of course, but in the main the hours apply in the majority of cases.
Opening hours of scenic spots are very important to be aware of during your China tour. Most attractions are open between 08:00 and 18:00, and some with night views may close around 22:00. For some attractions, the opening hours differ between peak season (April to November) and low season (December to March): in peak season, they are open from 08:00 to 18:00, and from 08:30 to 17:30 in low season.
Airports, Railway Stations, Buses and Taxis
Not all the airports are open for 24 hours a day, and the service hours are usually between the first flight (around 5 or 6 in the morning) and 2 a.m. the next morning; only some large international airports provide round-the-clock services, such as the Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. All the railway stations in China open 24 hours, including the waiting halls and the ticket offices. During your tour in China, if you missed the operating hours of the ticket windows outside the railway station, you can go to the ticket office in the railway station to purchase tickets. Buses usually run between 06:00 and 19:30 or 20:00, and some have a longer service hour to 23:30. Most cities also have night buses running for all night. Taxis in China run for 24 hours, but there is a surcharge between 23:00 and 07:00 the next morning.
Restaurants and Hotels:
Most large restaurants are open from 10:00 to 21:00, but may have afternoon breaks between 14: 30 and 17:30 in some cities. Small restaurants serving breakfast open earlier at 06:30, and there are also fast food outlets offering round-o'clock service, such as KFC, McDonald, and Dicos. Restaurants will extend their service hours during the holidays and even stay open overnight on the eve of the Chinese New Year. Hotels usually apply 24 hour change-over at the front desk to enable guests to check in at anytime. Theatres, Internet cafés, bars, and KTV Rooms are usually open 24 hours.
Shops are open from 10:00 to 21:00, while some supermarkets and shopping malls open earlier at 09:00 and close later at 22:00. During the national holidays like May Day Holiday (May 1st-3rd) and the National Day Holiday (October 1st-7th), all shops prolong their service hours by half hour to one and a half hours. However, it is different during the traditional Spring Festival. Shops close early in the afternoon on the eve of the Chinese New Year and shorten their opening hours during the Spring Festival holidays (Lunar December 31st to January 6th).
Government Apparatus and Enterprises
The business hours for government apparatus are mostly 09:00 - 17:00, with an hour's break at noon. The private enterprises practice eight working hours a day, from 08:00 or 08:30 to 18:00, and permit a flexible period for lunch and a nap around noon. Foreign visitors should pay attentions to the office hours of local Exit and Entry Department, which are usually between 08:30 and 17:00 on weekdays; they are usually closed on weekends.
Post Offices and Banks
Post offices don't have the same business hours in a city. Most offices open at 08:30 or 09:00 and are closed at 17:00 or 18:00. At weekends, festivals and holidays, the working hours are shortened by one to three hours. It is the same with banks. However, some banks may be closed at weekends and during holidays, for there are many self-service banks installed with CDM, ATM, and Self-service Fee Paying Machines.