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There are two ways to get instant help when you need to go to a place and you only have the name but not the adress in Chinese :
Guanxi is a SMS/Textmessage service and works in many major cities in China.
1. type the name of the place ("Hilton") or what you are looking for ("french restaurants") as a message into your mobile
2. send to 1066 9588 2929
3. some seconds later a message comes back with the results. For e.g. the Hilton you get an adress in English and can choose "C" for Chinese adress to show the driver (if your phone can display Chinese characters). For general searches ("french restaurants") you need to choose from a list.
It's quite self-explanatory and it's 1 RMB per message sent to them.
Just dial 96 22 88 from your mobile. It's a free service (local call charges apply) of the Shanghai City Government and provides 24/7 Chinese and English-speaking service with real operators to talk to. All of their operators speak excellent English (and Chinese) and will help you immediately with:
- addresses of and advices on restaurants, hotels, shopping venues
- if required they talk to the taxi driver in Chinese to tell him where you want to go
- complaint handling if you got cheated by a shop or cabbie
- emergency handling if you need police or medical attention
- info on culture and tourism (opening hours of museums etc.)
- transportation inquiries (which metro to take to..., which bus goes from...to..)
- booking concert tickets
What they don't do:
- they are not a travel agent and hence can not book train or flight tickets or hotels
- they do not offer a regular translation service e.g. to negotiate with a vendor to get the best price for you on a market.