Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing

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Plan your Beijing tour? Most foreign travelers feel very safe when traveling in Beijing. But that doesn’t mean you should lower your vigilance on possible travel scams in Beijing.

The remark below is quoted from Percy from USA:
Thank you for having this site. As a traveler and student of human nature, I appreciate the scam warnings and the comments. I am a native New Yorker, and I feel it important to remind people that scams are not only in China.

Anywhere around the world where there are larger groups of humans, there will be more opportunities for scams. It seems the way of the Universe that these will be filled. You should always be aware, do research and remember that if it seems off, or too good, it is probably a scam. This is true in China, the U.S., or any other place where humans exist.”

Scam #1 Avoid KTV bars
Whether you enter on your own or taken by a Chinese “friend.”, in most cases you are in for a trap! It is a karaoke place. You enter the room to sing a few songs and have a few beers. Suddenly girls appear and want to drink with you. Then suddenly a cart appears with lots of snacks and beer.

The snacks are NOT free and they are expensive–but more on that later. The girl wants a brandy and you say okay. You will end up paying huge amount of money! Just avoid KTV!

Scam # 02:  Tea Scam
At some heavy tourist areas (like Tiananmen Square, Wangfujing Street…),  you will be approached by one or three  attractive females or gentlemen, who are  willing to have a natural and nice talk with you or  even give you a free tour of hutong  in a polite way.  She or he will talk about the interesting things in Beijing, or talk about the culture or history of your home country and even world affairs!

Then if everything goes smoothly, then  invite you to a traditional Chinese teashops or ceremony. The whole ceremony proceeds then at the end of the ceremony your “friends” will ask you to pick out some favorite teas. So the scam start when it comes time to pay the bill, and it can again run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Simply don’t go for it!

To make the tea scam more natural,  they  pretend to be very friendly. They even don’t suggest you pay the whole amount. It is to be split between you and your “friends”.  So you  will see them pay their part. It is a scam!

It happens in central part of Beijing mainly, esp. in Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the surroundings.

Scam # 03: “Art Student” Scam
Also at some big tourist destinations,  some young people,  disguised as ” art student’”,  will approach you. They offer you a free tour of an art show. Thus begins the “Art Student” scam.

Actually they will take you to an art shop selling all kinds of “art” stuff. This is just a waste of time. You can easily find these art pieces on the market. They sell the same “art” at higher prices. Simply say bye to them.
It happens mainly in historical sites, and public transport hubs. They are good actors(actresses) indeed. To us Chinese people they say they are out job-hunting and is penniless; to overseas travelers they say they are art students. Many of them are very properly dressed.

Scam # 04: Rickshaw Scam
Some first-time oversea or even domestic travelers visiting Beijing fall into the traps of some seemingly “humble rickshaw drivers”. For example, let’s say, you and a rickshaw driver agree on a price of RMB 40 for a pedicab ride. It will turn out to be RMB400!. The trick is that your rickshaw driver will pretend to be ignorant and he will pull out a laminated price list and say it is 400 yuan instead of 40 yuan. Better take a taxi than a pedicab.

1) Rickshaw Scam at the North Gate of Forbidden City
There are two entrances to the Forbidden City – the south gate ( Meridian Gate – Wumen)  and north gate( Gate of Divine – Shenwu Men).  The south gate is linked to Tiananmen Square to the south. You have to enter Forbidden City from its south gate and exit from its northern gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route.

Make sure you are taken by your taxi to the south entrance of Forbidden City (better yet, take the subway line 1 –  its very nice and very cheap!). Don’t ever take a Rickshaw at the north gate of Forbidden City unless you feel like getting lost and extorted.

So if you visit Forbidden City by getting to a wrong gate (north gate), don’t use a local rickshaw to get back to the south gate, just walk to the right gate (south gate). For the same reason, if you exit from the north gate after visiting Forbidden City, don’t use a rickshaw for your next place.

2)  Rickshaw scams also occur at the entrance to the “Legend of Jinsha” which is performed at the Beijing Workers’ Club in Beijing.

3)  Rickshaw scams possible at any places in Beijing
Rickshaw scams could occur at any other places in Beijing. Be Vigilant!

 Scam #05: “Black” Taxis
When arriving at the airport, keep away from the taxi drivers who approach you in the terminal or outside the terminal as they will charge you much more than the actual price. Just following the sign pointing to the taxi line just outside the terminal. Taxi drivers should use their meter; make sure that the driver puts down the flag.

Taking a taxi from the airport to the downtown Beijing costs just over RMB 100 plus RMB 5 toll fee. Beijing legitimate taxi license plates will begin with the “Beijing B” otherwise it is possibly a black taxi!

After paying a legal taxi, you will get a legal computerized receipt in which you can find the taxi company’s phone number while a black driver only offers you a hand-written receipt with which you will never find him! A black driver would charge you RMB 400 – RMB 500 for the airport downtown drive! Normally a taxi ride from the airport to the downtown of Beijing costs you around RMB 120.

Black cars could be found around the subway stations, shopping malls, and also around some major tourist attractions such as Summer Palace, Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street and Beijing Railway Station as well.
By the way, your taxi driver may pull out a very official looking list of all hotels and official airport price. Never belive so-called official taxi-rate list of all hotels and official airport price. Never such a taxi-rate list!

It seems that there is a new kind of scam in Beijing when it comes down to the taxi’s.  Taxi drivers are asking their passengers to get out of the car and help to push it / close the trunk. When the passengers are outside, the drivers takes of with all their belongings.

For more information on taxi, please visit Beijing Taxi.

Scam # 6:Fake helpers/officials around Mao’s Tomb at Tiananmen Square 
When you line up for entering Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, you will probably meet some fake helpers or officials who are trying to “grab” some money from you.  To avoid being cheated, please read the following travel tips:

The admission to Mausoleum of Mao Zedong is free. No need for passport ID check and no need for buying shoes to replace your sandals (though not encouraged). As with most mausoleums, strict rules are enforced for visitors. No bags and cameras are allowed inside the hall. One locker is located 500m to the east of the mausoleum. The deposit is not free ( yes, a little strange)! The charges on deposit locker ranges from CNY 2 to 10.

Scam #07:  Scams Occurring Around Tiananmen and Forbidden City
The area around Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City is a favorite hangout for scammers.  Below is a trip by a scam victim named  Akalan:

In fact this was my 4th trip to China, but first trip to Beijing. Many a times many people, usually young ladies chatted with me and they helped me a lot. Even on the same day morning I went to the Great Wall and a young girl with good English walked with me. All those I met earlier were genuine people who just wanted to help a visitor to their country. Most of the time they did not even allow me to pay a bill, ticket price or taxi fare.

With that sort of experience, I had no suspicion on this woman. Still my priority was to get into the Forbidden city ASAP, as it was passed 3pm and I knew that the ticket sales would stop at 4 pm. This lady said that she would show me the “East gate” where I can enter without a long queue. Yes, there was a queue of people at the main entrance.

I simply followed her advice and she walked with me to “show” the entrance. On the way she said she is from Xi’An (a city I visited 1 month ago) and we had quite a good conversation on history, culture and languages. She also explained some history of the area.

She said her friends from another province are there and they will meet her in 10 min. If I can wait 10 min, they also can join me to go inside the Forbidden city. While waiting for them, she suggested me to sit some where and have a tea or fruit juice. In fact after walking and climbing whole morning in Great Wall area, I was thirsty and wanted to sit and stretch my legs. So I agreed.

I tried to sit on some chairs laid outside, but she suggested to go inside – less noisy, less dust and air-conditioned! I picked a Chinese tea and the scam began!

You know the rest. Yes, she split the bill, still I lost a few hundred! Worst thing was that she took me to a gate, assuring that I could enter from there, but obviously there were no ticket counters. I had to get to an electric car. The driver charged 20, instead of 2, as he sensed my urgency!

He actually did not take me to the ticket counters, instead, he stopped somewhere and a woman approached me. She was telling me that the ticket counters are closed and she would sell a ticket to me for 100 ! I did not want to let some one rip me off for 3rd time, within 15 min. Finally when I found the ticket counters, they were closed! So I missed the Forbidden City!

Scam #08: Avoid Itinerant Tour Companies at Street
AVOID TOURISM COMPANIES, the ones who talk to you at street, promising a great price to go meet Great Wall (for example), they will make you pay more inside the bus, will take you to the worse section of the Great Wall, and prepare yourself for a long day stopping at market places, really awful experience.

If you want sightseeing, get a legal one, from important sites.

Scam #09: Cheating Rampant at North Gate to Forbidden City 
There are two main gates to the Forbidden City – the south gate ( Meridian Gate – Wumen)  and north gate( Gate of Divine – Shenwu Men).  The south gate is linked to Tiananmen Square to the south. You have to enter Forbidden City from its south gate and exit from its north gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route.

So don’t try to go to the North Gate to Forbidden City.  The North Gate now only serves an exit gate.  If you get to a wrong gate ( the north gate ),  just walk along the streets circling Forbidden City and move on to the south gate. In this case, you are not encouraged to use a rickshaw or a 3-wheel motorcycle taxi at the north gate of Forbidden City.  Some  of the rickshaw and 3-wheel motorcycle taxi drivers are just disgusting swindlers.  Avoid Them!  Below is the account by Bill of the victim at the North Gate to Forbidden City.

I was a victim of two scams in the same day! The first was with a 3-wheel motorcycle taxi at the north gate of the forbidden city. I was offered a ride to the south gate for 3 Yuan. The taxi drove through a maze of narrow alleys and he stopped at an isolated spot. Then he demanded 300 Yuan, about $48.

The second incident was the tea shop routine. A nice couple invited me to a local place near Tiananmen square. I told them about the taxi incident and they sounded shocked and empathetic! We were given snacks (2 Yuan per bag in the store), some high quality tea, orange juice, and about 1-2 ounces of wine. The bill was 1200 Yuan plus 100 for the tip. He paid half (money probably borrowed from the owner), but I was still squeezed for over $100.

The next day, near the same square, a woman began a nice friendly conversation with me and tried to do the same thing. The good-bye was very quick.

Scam #10:  The Counterfeit Money
Hi there – another scam to add to the list is the counterfeit money. We used a standalone ATM at the silk markets and received many hundreds of RMB that was fake. We didn’t know of course – its nearly impossible to tell. Now we have some lovely souvenirs that look like 100 RMB notes 🙂
The advice would be to use a bank ATM I guess.

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

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145 Responses to “Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing”

  1. Elaine says:

    I had a great time in China and only fell victim to the “Art scam” at the summer palace. But this wasn’t so much a scam as a rouse. I bought an oil painting for $60 – a reasonably fair price and I still have the ‘art’. And I wasn’t pressured at all so that was all me. None of the other scams happened to me and I think that’s because I was with a tour group. There are downsides to traveling in tour groups but the upside was that our guide took great care of us. With his warnings and guidance (and apparently much needed protection) we had a great time. I also helped some *genuine* students (a class of 13-year-olds) practice their English at a historic site. And these sweet kids just talked with us for 10 minutes or so-they didn’t ask us to go anywhere or try to sell us anything. I left with a very favorable impression of Chinese people 🙂

  2. James P. says:

    I’ve been compiling a list of all of the travel scams in Asia, and the fake ticket booth isn’t just limited to Mao’s tomb…I’ve seen it at the Batu Caves, and in places at Siem Reap.

  3. R Man says:

    Hi need help !! I just travel beijing during Chinese New Year having bad experience tourist agent bring us to place selling jade which most likely all fake as now still waiting for result to prove whether issit fake! and all of us bout 20 PAx seems like kinda scam almost s$10k and I back to my country now issit anyway to call china consumer to file a complain get back our. money ?thank so much ..

  4. Daniel says:

    Hello R Man,

    Happy Chinese New Year!

    1. First of all, you may contact your travel agent to get your money back by returning your jade items.

    2. If your travel agent refuses to help you fix the problem, you may turn to the orgnaizations concerned to get your money back.

    In my opinion, the first method is fast and simple and the second method would be long and a bit complicated.

    You may contact China National Tourism Administration for assistance and its contact information as below:

    Complaint Telephone Numbers
    Institute to Receive Complain of China Tourism:
    Tourism Quality Supervision Management Institute of National Tourism Administration
    Working time: 8:30-12:00 14:30-17:00
    Voice Tel: (010)65275315
    ADD:A9 Jianguomennei Avenue, Beijing
    Postal Code: 100740

  5. Jo says:

    Just want to say thanks for putting up this website. Wish I had read up on this before my visit! I would have saved myself some $$.

  6. Daniel says:

    Hello Jo,

    Thanks! Life is just a process of experience. Never too late to learn. Be happy with our life.

  7. Rich says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Really Thanks for post this. It is just great information for tourist. I had been scammed (happily not much), but I realize is not uncommon, so I feel not so stupid :-P. As you say, is never too late to learn.

  8. Daniel says:

    Hello Rich,

    Much delighted this post is of some practical use to Beijing visitors. Enjoy your Beijing trip!

  9. steve says:

    enhanced scam no 2: tea scam

    i met group of three chinese men in their 30ties at tia anmen square claiming they are working for IBM in Shanghai and visiting Beijing due to conference. but today they have day off and have time for sight seeing. they will tell you to go different way as you planned, forbidenn city is closed, open at 3pm..etc and that they want to go there but later, they even did not mention the tea and walk with you chatt, good conversation, taking pctures and then they ask for business card, email, nobady has pen so lets go for a beer. as only you and one from these three scamers are drinking beer other two ordered tea but of course invite to taste and it goes so on…will also tell ypu that in chu=ina is usal to drink red wine when making friends…so be c arefull

  10. Stephen says:

    I met these same men in Tienamen Square, identical story. I later thought that if I took my camera out and began to snap their picture, they would have gone away. They are very friendly and engaging. They gave much information and spent two and a half hours with me. I did not have much money so they got only a little. What they did not know was that I would have bought drinks and paid them to talk, for what they got, there was no need to cheat. They only made 10 dollars an hour each for the time they spent, jokes on them. They probably make more most of the time, they got very aggressive. My question: if this site knows about them why do not the police take care of it, clearly the people on the street knew what was happening and the shop is in collusion.

  11. Mug says:

    Wish I’d read this before
    Heavily caught with the taxi scam with some official looking people at the airport; went out for a walk and got the artist scam but really don’t like Chinese art and it looked fairly crap – which it obviously is – so didn’t buy. Then got the karaoke bar scam this evening – alarm bells ringing in my head but ignored because I believe in the basic goodness of human nature. That cost me 400 yuan to extract myself from.
    The ‘artist’ and the karaoke girls were so charming and convincing that I have difficulty believing they were the scamsters that they obviously were.
    So I’ve been here for a little over 12 hours and am probably £100+ down as a result
    I will still believe in the goodness of human nature but will check for each new city I visit the scams I can expect.
    Like everyone else I just feel so stupid at being taken in!
    And I see that Snickers Bar in the shop across the street are 50yuan – bet that’s not what you pay if you’re not a gullible foreigner

  12. Roddy says:

    Thank you so much, I am heading out there in June.
    cheers,
    Roddy.

  13. Akalan says:

    I wish I read this page 1 week earlier! I was a victim to the “Tea House” scam. The scammer, a lady was very clever. I came to the Tiananmen area and was going to buy the ticket to enter the forbidden city. A lady who was walking besides me casually said “Hello” and started a chat while walking.
    In fact this was my 4th trip to China, but first trip to Beijing. Many a times many people, usually young ladies chatted with me and they helped me a lot. Even on the same day morning I went to the Great Wall and a young girl with good English walked with me. All those I met earlier were genuine people who just wanted to help a visitor to their country. Most of the time they did not even allow me to pay a bill, ticket price or taxi fare.

    With that sort of experience, I had no suspicion on this woman. Still my priority was to get into the Forbidden city ASAP, as it was passed 3pm and I knew that the ticket sales would stop at 4 pm. This lady said that she would show me the “East gate” where I can enter without a long queue. Yes, there was a queue of people at the main entrance.
    I simply followed her advice and she walked with me to “show” the entrance. On the way she said she is from Xi’An (a city I visited 1 month ago) and we had quite a good conversation on history, culture and languages. She also explained some history of the area.
    She said her friends from another province are there and they will meet them in 10 min. If I can wait 10 min, they also can join me to go inside the Forbidden city. While waiting for them, she suggested me to sit somewhere and have a tea or fruit juice. In fact after walking and climbing whole morning in Great Wall area, I was thirsty and wanted to sit and stretch my legs. So I agreed.
    I tried to sit on some chairs laid outside, but she suggested to go inside – less noisy, less dust and air conditioned!
    I picked a Chinese tea and the scam began! You know the rest. Yes, she split the bill, still I lost a few hundred! Worst thing was that she took me to a gate, assuring that I could enter from there, but obviously there were no ticket counters. I had to get to an electric car. The driver charged 20, instead of 2, as he sensed my urgency!
    He actually did not take me to the ticket counters, instead, he stopped somewhere and a woman approached me. She was telling me that the ticket counters are closed and she would sell a ticket to me for 100 ! I did not want to let some one rip me off for 3rd time, within 15 min. Finally when I found the ticket counters, they were closed! So I missed the Forbidden City!

  14. maia says:

    thank you for this site. it really helps a lot eventhough im just planning to go to Beijing next year. im still in the process of doing my own research for my DIY travel to Beijing. And im glad ive come up to this site.

  15. Bill says:

    I was a victim of two scams in the same day! The first was with a 3-wheel motorcycle taxi at the north gate of the forbidden city. I was offered a ride to the south gate for 3 Yuan. The taxi drove through a maze of narrow alleys and he stopped at an isolated spot. Then he demanded 300 Yuan, about $48.
    The second incident was the tea shop routine. A nice couple invited me to a local place near Tiananmen square. I told them about the taxi incident and they sounded shocked and empathetic! We were given snacks (2 Yuan per bag in the store), some high quality tea, orange juice, and about 1-2 ounces of wine. The bill was 1200 Yuan plus 100 for the tip. He paid half (money probably borrowed from the owner), but I was still squeezed for over $100. The next day, near the same square, a woman began a nice friendly conversation with me and tried to do the same thing. The good-bye was very quick.

  16. Diane says:

    I wished we had read this before we went to Beijing. Never again will we ever travel to China or buy anything that supports China in the U.S.

    A miserable country with greedy, cheating people. Went to the taxi line and asked for a state taxi-should have been 80 to the hotel. Instead he pushed us towards the black cab. The driver yanked our bags from our hands and threw them in the trunk.

    As soon as we got in we asked him how much. He just took off-got outside the airport and pulled over to the side of the road and demanded that we pay him 550 cash right then.

    We asked him to take us back to the airport and he refused, basically holding us hostage. I believe if we got off he would have taken off with the bags and of course neither of us wanted to be left alone with him. Needless to say, we were forced to pay up. It flavored our whole trip to Beijing and I will share our story wide and far so others do not get cheated as we were.

    There are too many other places to see in the world that aren’t affected by gender, human, and animals rights issues. Yes they do treat animals extremely cruelly…eating cat and dog (companion animals) and torturing them terribly. Just check out the internet.

  17. Benson says:

    Want to go from port of Tianjin to hotel in Beijing and am being told $185 each way ( spending the night) is the a shared ride or cheaper taxi. Thanks

  18. Daniel says:

    Hello Benson,

    As far as I know, the market price for the one way private transfer between hotel in Beijing and Tianjin Port is approx.USD 185 per car ( a standard Chinese car ( for two person with two large pieces of suitcases). If you have extra large suitcases, you’d better off reserving a van which costs about USD 250.

    If you feel the price is above your budget, you may take the highspeed train from Beijing South Railway Station to Tanggu Railway Station where you take a local taxi going to Tianjin Cruise Port. If you go in this way ( train + taxi ), you need to take care of your suitcases all the way.

    Have a smooth transfer!

  19. Percy says:

    Thank you for having this site. As a traveler and student of human nature, I appreciate the scam warnings and the comments. I am a native New Yorker, and I feel it important to remind people that scams are not only in China. Anywhere around the world where there are larger groups of humans, there will be more opportunities for scams. It seems the way of the Universe that these will be filled. You should always be aware, do research and remember that if it seems off, or too good, it is probably a scam. This is true in China, the U.S., or any other place where humans exist.

  20. Daniel says:

    Hello Percy,

    Much appreciated! We’ve quoted your remark in the beginning of the Top 10 Scams in Beijing. Thanks again!

  21. Michel says:

    Iam going to visit Beijing for 4 day. Can i get a translator who can speak english or french to do the visit with us ?

  22. Daniel says:

    Hi Michel,

    It is not cheap to get an English or French interpreter. If you need the interpreter service, you may send your request to Tour Beijing by email: info@tour-beijing.com . Have a good time in Beijing!

  23. Dan says:

    Tea scammed. This time a professional gentlemen from Hong Kong, a “Professor” and “Medical Doctor.” By the time they had me in their room (Forbidden City of course closed–BS), I had sipped little tea and they wanted me to order. I did, but thought the amount was $326 RMB. Found out later $326 US on my credit card. I had taken pics of the place across the street, so went to my hotel and complained. I had no address, just the name of the store and even that was confusing to the hotel people. Still, I had my picture. They recognized the place and so did the taxi driver we went with to see the shop owner. It was clear they were in on it and the shop owner claimed that he thought I was friends with the guy that was with me. I got the money back (with receipt), but they refused to give it back unless I paid $66 (400 RMB) for the drinks. I put it on my credit card, but called Bank of America about it later and will dispute the charges. Truly hate Beijing. I hate coming here, but have to for business. That was my first time to Tianamen and I wanted to see the Forbidden City. Can’t now.

  24. Le says:

    Thank you for the tips. I glad I read this. I’m visiting Beijing coming March 2016 but now I’m a little nervous. LOL. I guess I have to be tough and vigilant out there. Again thank you.

  25. Steve says:

    I wish I’d have read these scams before travelling China. I’ve never experienced so many scams in one trip in my life! I cannot believe I’ve been foolish enough to fall for them having travelled extensively across Asia and Europe. I have fallen for the tea ceremony scam in Shanghai – a couple wanted me to take their photo, got talking and invited me to join them. As interesting as it was I felt I paid well over the odds. However, that was nothing compared to the ‘2 girls wanting to speak English and chat scam’. “One drink of coffee” I said…foolishly somehow that ended up drinking beer and red wine! Their wine prices were insanely expensive and they expected the guy to pay. I was naive and didn’t want to cause a scene so paid but never ever again. It’s put a bad taste to China for me and I doubt I’ll be back in a hurry. They then wanted me to go to KTV so I’m pleased I said no, enough was enough! I hope more visitors check these sites before travelling, I will in future wherever I go. Can’t believe I fell for it so easily.

  26. Anu says:

    I wish I’d googled this before I got scammed. Same Tea House routine. Forbidden City. Yesterday. Feeling foolish, but I’m afraid my prepaid travel card will be misused. Has anyone experienced this?

  27. Grzegorz says:

    I fully agree with these information. Today I was scammed. A very nice and well speaking English woman offered me a short trip around Tiananmen square and Forbidden City. After the nice conversation and hour spent on the square and the city she offered a rest in a tea pub. Finally I have to paid 1200RMB for a bottle of wine. The rest of the bill she paid by herself. Please be aware. They operate very smart and you can scam very easily. Yes, can’t believe I fell for it so easily.

    Please also be aware on the TAXI drivers which offer you pick up from Airport to your hotel in Beijing. Please use only regular one, clearly marked and always ask for a bill. The TAXI price to Beijing center should be around 100 to 120RMB max . I paid two times more.

  28. Roger says:

    Just made my first visit to Beijing. My wife is a university professor in the US and we were hosted by a Chinese university for a meeting. We had a wonderful time—the local university assigned two hostesses to us and so we were very fortunate to have no problems at all…we got to visit the wonderful Forbidden City, and to shop and avoided scams.

  29. Shah says:

    Just to share my experience last night. After finished some shopping at the Silk Market store, we decided to take a taxi since its already late, 9.30pm and a bit tired after a whole day full with sight-seeing activities. We feel very lucky since there is one taxi waiting outside of the Silk Market store and taxi driver agreed to take us to our hotel in Beishatan area (about 18km trip). He said the taxi’s fare will be costly a bit since the night charge will apply and we are ok on that as long as he using the meters. After 2 minutes in the taxi, we notice the fare’s meter running crazily, the fare increase 2 yuan RMB in every 2 second. We asked him why the meter running so fast, he keep mentioning that this is normal for the night rates. So we asked him to stop and decided to take subway. He said that there is no subway in that area but we are ok with that. He finally stop and taxi’s fare is 98 yuan RMB for 4 minutes ride. We give him 100 yuan RMB and get out from the car. Suddenly he said that our money is a fake. We said that is from the bank and quickly walk away from him. We just pretending to be brave and but in actual we are really worried that he will do something bad to us. The nearest subway station is actually just 5 minutes walking from the drop off point. So please be aware with this tactic if you plan to visit china in the future.

  30. Daniel says:

    Hi Shah,

    Thanks for sharing your story! Much appreciated for your time! It is very useful for future visitors.

  31. Gretta says:

    Hi there – another scam to add to the list is the counterfeit money. We used a standalone ATM at the silk markets and received many hundreds of RMB that was fake. We didn’t know of course – its nearly impossible to tell. Now we have some lovely souvenirs that look like 100 RMB notes 🙂
    The advice would be to use a bank ATM I guess.

  32. Daniel says:

    Hi Gretta,

    Thanks for your post regarding the counterfeit money! Much appreciated!

  33. Mark says:

    Hi,

    Got scammed twice today (within 15 min)
    The three wheel scooter from North Gate to
    an alley, he wanted 300, got 20. Im big and threatened
    him to punch or call the police.

    Later on this “english teacher” from Shanghai
    offered me to chat and talk english. She is 35 years old, glasses
    wears a backpack and has dark hair. We went for tea and food.
    I felt something was wrong so I wanted to go…ended up with a bill of
    500, paid 100. But it was a huge fight. Got the food in a plastic bag.
    She screamee: u go home to america u cheap pig !

    What a great country…

  34. kevin says:

    I have lived in Beijing since may 2010.
    only scams I have seen is this.
    art gallery scam in wanfuging I walked away.
    but a new one is this.
    you will get maybe 2 girls who say they are poor students and need money for food.
    also you may get a man and women with a baby.
    who say they have arrived in Beijing and there suitcases were stolen and need money.
    just tell them to go to the police.
    I guess I have been lucky regarding fake money and false taxis
    never use the rickshaws.
    most Chinese are fair people bad people everywhere in the world
    if you buy fruit or food watch and see how much other people pay before buying then you know true Chinese price

  35. Artur says:

    Just got scammed for 300Y a few hours ago.
    A couple of mid-30 laddies approached me at the subway station and started a conversation.
    They were, supposedly, insurance sellers. After tea, wine (and some decent food), the bill arrived. 3100Y.
    I gave them all I had (300) and they “paid” the rest. Being scammed does feel pretty bad, but since I would’ve probably paid 150 for what I had with a smile on my face, 300 wasn’t terrible.

  36. Ann says:

    My husband and I and our daughter just came back after spending 8 days in China (3 in Beijing, 2 in Xian and 3 in Shanghai). We encountered many scammers and were actually caught twice (Jade and Tea Ceremony). We spent hundreds of dollars on jade and subsequently discovered that it is worhless. Thankfully the tea was only $100 but nevertheless, still wasted money because we were under tremendous pressure to buy!

    Do yourself a favour – don’t buy anything despite the pressure you will be placed under!

  37. Rick says:

    Wow. I was considering spending some layover time in China but not now. What a bunch of creeps. I am a pretty experienced fighter and would rather fight my way out of a situation than pay $100 for tea. I guarantee I am the biggest guy in the country!!! Only thing I’ll lose is some skin on my knuckles!!! I hope someone tries to intimidate me in a basement tea room! Problem is I’d never be in there in the first place !!

  38. Nathan says:

    Tea-scammed today outside the North Gate of the Forbidden City- the guy claimed to be a psychologist from Taiwan visiting for the month. So he brought us to a tea room he really liked and asked us what we’d like, naturally as we’d only been in Beijing for 2 days we invited him to choose for us. He sat with us for a few hours and we learnt alot about China etc. He was so lovely and friendly- giving us his email address and inviting us to find on CouchSurfing to stay with him when we go to Taiwan. He even paid for us to get into Coal Hill when we had no change to do so. But as the bill arrived it was for 500Y. We said we thought it was too much and he offered to pay 150Y for his share. Even as he left my wife and I deliberated as to whether it was legit or not but after reading online were gutted to find about the Tea Room scam. But sure you live and learn and after blocking our credit card as a just in case we were able to laugh that in the first 2 full days in Beijing we got scammed twice!

  39. Antonis says:

    Hi, I almost fell for the tea ceremony scam today; As soon as I exited the forbidden city north gate (my fellow travelers went on to the jingshan park and I being fat and tired from walking the beautiful halls of the forbiden city went towards tienanmen east to do some shopping wangfujing)I was aproached by a nice chinese girl that claimed she was from Shanghai and tha she also just exited the forbidden city. She was too magically going to the subway and she just wanted to practice her english. Being fat we mainly talked about chinese cuisine. At some point at the beginning of beichizi str she started mumbling something about a drink since its hot. I told her about the excellent What?bar that is on the same street (a really nice place that I visited yesterday) that was only 4-5 mins away. As soon as I said that she said just left without saying anything, which is quite a bummer cause she the first english fluent chinese I met and I feel I’m missing part of the culture due to the language barrier. Anyway afterwards one of my fellow travelers that had read this page told me about the scam. All I can say is always be careful.

  40. David says:

    Many thanks for sharing! Indeed a very comprehensive list of common scams in Beijing and even across China. If I can add some from http://travelscams.org/asia/common-tourist-scams-china/, do be wary of the fake traditional chinese medicine stores which you will be bound to visit should you travel in a tour group. Should you choose not to travel in a tour group, also be wary of fake buses and bus stops! An infamous one is the fake bus stop and buses 919/877 to Badaling Great wall.

  41. JenYa says:

    Hi everybody

    I just visited beijing last week. From what i read here, I feel very fortunate that the events which i considered as scams turns out to be nothing compared to what I read here. First, the biggest scam that i experienced was when i had my breakfast at Donghuamen market at Wang Fu Jing street. I was hungry and i entered into this simple establishment of an eatery. I did not ask for pricelist but i reckoned that the price must be cheap because of its seemingly “traditional” feel. I ordered lomien (fried noodle) and a bowl of soup tofu because they look delicious. However, once eaten, they were tasteless and kind of undercooked. Worse yet, when I saw the bill it was 63 Yuan which is horribly expensive because next morning, I ate the same food (better cooked and taste much better) at different eatery near my hotel far away from that aforementioned market, it was only 19 Yuan.

    Also, i booked myself a tour to Greatwall Badaling (+ lunch) in my hotel which sells the one-day tour at 290 Yuan. But i bargained and finally i only paid 200 Yuan. I don’t know whether i overpaid but during the tour i met people joining the tour from other (more expensive) hotels who apparently paid the same tour for 450 Yuan !!. I was told (by the tourguide at the beginning before joining other tourists) not to divulge the price i paid to other tourists. But apparently i did tell one of them because i felt emphatetic for those people who stayed in more expensive hotels because some of them are professionals sent by their company to stay at the hotel for a few weeks business trip but not neccessarily rich folks.

    I just hope that the government of Beijing will pay a more special attention to avoid having these kinds of business practices in the future because in the long run it can impact the tourism in beijing in a negative way.

  42. Islam says:

    Thx very much for all those tips … am sure they will b very helpful … best regards

  43. Sjors says:

    Tea Scam here! In the End the joke was kinda on them.

    Lady came up to me at Tiananmen (14:00) and I directly had the feeling something was odd and there must be a catch somewhere along the line. But thought: I’m a big guy, what they gonna do haha; I’m in for it, let’s see where she’s gonna take this! Also, I knew i had my 100RMBbills in my right pocket and the small bills (20s/10s/5s/1s in my left pocket, totaling 90). She told great stories about being here for a conference and the usual (as read above) day off and toured me around, told me that Forbidden City tickets were sold out. I didn’t believe her at first, because I saw people going in. However, she convinced me that only pre-ordered group tours were still allowed in. I should have checked myself of course. She wanted to go sit at a teashop for a short break, but I told her I don’t have time (14hour layover). Then she urged for a small drink and I agreed.
    We went in this coffee shop (which was about 20meters North direction on Beichizi Street away from Donghuamen Street), with COFFEE SHOP big on the windows. I requested to see the menu and saw the prices 40RMB for beer and 90RMB for a pot of tea. I thought, well I finally arrived at the catch with this lady, and kinda started to laugh. Decided to drink 1 pot of tea with her just because she showed my around anyway, quickly enough she ordered another one and some snacks. Directly said to myself, “I need to get out of this” and told her I had to go sightseeing again. Total bill was 240RMB, which is so overpriced haha. I told her I didn’t have such amount with me and showed my small bills. They then asked if I had EUROS or CARDS and I said I did not have any of those. I ended giving up 60RMB, because I told them I needed 25 for the Airport shuttle. Just plainly told them I didn’t have anymore and said, well you are a working for a big company, why you just don’t pay the bill and she agreed to pay the rest hahaha. That was just too funny =) Of course she didn’t even give that lady anything and we went seperate ways. Made my way back to National Museum, but was closed by this time.

    Only thing I regret is that I didn’t get to see the Forbidden City and the National Museum 🙁 I knew there was something

    Long Story short, I ended up paying not even 10 euro’s for tea and snacks =) haha. Still overpriced, but well worth the tour hahaha. Joke’s on them! Don’t believe anyone that says something is closed, check yourself! Also, have your money split (like my) in different pockets! Big money (100s) away from the small (change) money and told them I just didn’t have anymore cash and my EUROS/CARD was in my bag at the airport haha.

  44. John says:

    I wish I had read this before I got scammed! Actually, as far as I can tell, I succeeded in avoiding several scams before – such as “Forbidden City through a different entrance, no queue” scam, the “art gallery” scam, and I plainly avoided taxis and rickshaws altogether (luckily). Of course, I did not know they were scams, now I realize that. But today I got caught! Actually, the first time, in full street (Wangfujing I think it is the name of the street), a nice lady in her 30s or 40s, dressed in red, approached me, said “hello” and started to ask me questions, then “invited” me to coffee, which I refused. A few minutes later, while I was approaching the eastern gate of the Forbidden City (which was already closed), thinking about going northwards to Jinshan Park, another lady interacted with me while I was crossing the street. This one looked younger, perhaps in her 20s, and was rather poorly dressed, and I believed her when she said that she was from some other town in northern China and that she studies English (actually, she spoke the best English I heard from a Chinese in the two weeks I’m here). As some other Chinese people (especially children) approached me in the past two weeks and I had nice conversations with them and their parents, I thought this is also the same case. She was nice and smiling and I agreed on having a “coffee”. The rest you know – we entered a place that she recommended, a bar near the corner, we ordered something – actually, I had a beer, while she had two cups of tea, two cups of red wine, one coke, snacks and so on, and by this time I knew I was scammed so I asked for the check. I expected several hundreds yuan but it was 1180!! I paid with my card (I didn’t have so much cash with me anyway) so it looks like almost $200 flew out of my pocket! Then she invited me to a karaoke bar but I obviously refused, and I still wonder how idiot she thought I was as to ask me this! I was very happy to be out in the street alone. The only thing that really bothers me now, apart from the money I lost, is the fact that she gave me a “gift” – some tea in a Chinese traditional-sort of red box. I wonder if it’s really tea?? Is it possible that the “tea” is also a scam or even worse?

  45. Anonymous says:

    I also fall in to tea scam, while i was walking alone along Tiananmen Square, a girl in her 20s stated to walk alongside me, talked for a while and then asked if we can sit and had coffee, she took me to tea shop ordered tea and then came her two more female friends, they said that it’s Chinese tradition to drink vine when you meet new friends, so they ordered vine and coke. It was 4 cups of tea, four vine glasses four coke cans that resulted into RMB 1180. I paid the whole bill.

    They also suggested that we should go to a Karaoke bar but i refused to follow.

    I wish that I could have read about these scams earlier.

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