China Travel Blogs – Tour-Beijing.com

July 13, 2010

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 teashop or ceremony. The whole ceremony proceed 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  protend 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  wil 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 a 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 prces. Simply say bye 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 pedicap 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 pedicap.

1) Rickshaw Scam at the North Gate of Forbbiden 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 occure 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 aound some major tourist attractions such as Summer Palace, Forbiden 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 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 neend 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 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 an 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 Forbbiden 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

Any questions, just drop a line.

120 Comments »

  1. I was in china last week and thanks to this web page, I did not get any scam! Many time girls and black taxi approached, but I remembered your advises. What I did not like about China was the environment…too much contamination..I got sick…. the pollution is too high. The washroom are too dirty! no soap, it is easy to get sick there….Now I have to detox my body..

    Comment by Olga — September 26, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  2. Thanks for all this recommandations. I live in Paris, and we have the same !

    Comment by Greg — December 8, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

  3. I will bear these in mind when i go to beijing, thank you. However In scam 10 is it a typo when you say “if YOU are stolen call…” or do actual people get ‘stolen’ off the streets in Beijing regularly?

    Comment by Emily — January 7, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

  4. Hello Emily,

    Thanks for your pointing out the sentence in Scam 10 which sounds a bit weird, a little misleading. I have a try to change as below:

    If things from you are stolen by thieves, call the police at once

    Comment by admin — January 8, 2012 @ 9:12 am

  5. Fantastic blog my friend.

    I’m in Beijing at the moment and must say that scam 7 “tea ceremony” almost happened with me today inside the Oriental Plaza.
    A friend and I were stopped by this girl, very kind at first who took us out of the mall with a female friend. After 2-3 minutes outside the mall I insisted we were not going so they got furious at us.
    After that, walking inside the mall again, we were stopped by other girls 2 times still, with the same kind invitation for a couple of coffee.

    Please post this to your readers.

    Comment by Joao Ribeiro — January 14, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  6. I got scammed by the tea scam last night. One young girl, pretending to be visiting an older friend in Beijing for New Year came up to me in front of the entrance to the forbidden city, introduced herself and her friend and said she liked to speak English. Then she suggested that we go for a drink together (coffee, juice… they never mentioned tea.) At the first junction past the big imposing gate, the older lady, suggested that we turned left and 50m or so further down the road she entered a narrow shopdoorway. It didn’t look like a cafe but it had lettering on the door saying ‘coffee, juice, tea, snacks.’ We go into the shop and are sent into a small private room at the back. Theres a traditional style tea table and lots of teas.

    When the menu comes out, its all tea. The 2 girls both want to drink it… and, at 50 yuan, per person per cup its not cheap. I tell them that I think the tea is very, very expensive and that I dont have very much money (I reckon I have between 30-50 yuan in my purse) The younger girl says its OK, that she has some money left from her trip and wants a treat before she goes home. The older woman has already sat down and looks reluctant to move.

    I agree to have one cup of jasmine tea and tell them again that I dont have much money. They order one each. When they ask me about the tea ceremony and I say no, they dont look too happy. The menu says the tea ceremony has an additional fee – it doesn’t say how much.

    A couple of minutes later 3 teapots arrive. I drink my cup of jasmine tea. Before its empty, the younger girl refills it – with the wrong tea. She says sorry then says its OK, and that I should try all the teas. I say (again) I dont have much money.

    2 plates full of cheap potoato chip like snacks arrive. The girls offfer me the snacks. When I say no, they start eating them. Since they’ve already eaten them and we have to pay for the plateful, I figure I should too.

    The conversation dies out and a couple of minutes later the younger girl recieves a phone call telling her to go home. She suggests we settle the bill now as she doesn’t have much time left.
    The bill arrives. 150 yuan per person per tea (total… 450 yuan) 100 yuan for each plate of snacks (200 yuan total) and 100 yuan for the tea room. Total cost 750 yuan for less than 15 minutes of tea drinking (1/2 cup of jasmine tea and 1/2 a cup of jasmine tea mixed with some bright pink stuff…)

    They expect me to pay all the bill. When I tell them that I cannot the younger girl gets upset. Then the older lady suggested that the bill is split 1/2 and 1/2. (375 yuan for me, 375 for them) I tell them again, that I cannot. The younger girl gets angry calling me a liar and saying I have money somewhere and demanding to see my credit card (thankfully I left it in the hostel) I take out my purse and offer to show them the money I have… a couple of English pound coins and 37 yuan. I take away 3yuan for the subway and tell them they can have the rest. They guve me the Englsh coings back and the younger one becomes angrier saying ‘I show you memu.You say its OK.’ I repeat that I never said it was OK that I said it was expensive. She calls me a liar again and says she knows that I have money somewhere. I empty out my pockets, tisses, gloves and 3 1 yuan notes. She yells again and says that I wanted to take them to drink tea. I said that I never wanted the tea, that they suggested that we go for a drink and that I thought that we would be going to somewhere like Starbucks. Then she starts yelling that I dont even have enough for starbucks, Starbucks is 39 yuan. That I had cheated them and that I was being rude expecting them to pay for my drinks (I never expected them to pay… they were the ones who suggested it was ‘OK’ when I said that I couldn’t afford it.) I tell her that I dont know how much Starbucks coffee costs as I dont drink there.

    I push my way past them and leave. They pull my bag (a small backpack) but let me go. Walking back towards Tianamen square I start to feel a bit guilty walking away… What if I hadn’t been scammed and the girl was spending her New Year saving on my stupdily expensive cup of tea etc ??? what if she really was upset etc ?? Then a couple of miutes later when I reached the junction with Tiamamen square and I saw the 2 women walking back towards the tea shop (they told me that they would go to Xidan station…) I knew that it was probably a con and felt quite glad that I hadn’t had enough to be able to pay.

    For anyone who wants to taste Chinese tea / see the tea ceremony…

    The kind of tea normal people drink in restraunts etc. never costs this much… Also, if you go to a tea shop in a Chinese town they will normally let you taste the tea for free before you buy it… When you taste it they will usually sit you down at a small table and pour the tea in front of you (so you can see the way they use the first pot of tea to warm up/wash the cups etc… what the scammer claim is a ‘tea ceremony’)

    Also, if you go out with Chinese people, and they invite you to go with them, they rarely expect you to cover the whole bill.

    Loads of Chinese people do want to practise their English and some of the people who say hi in places like Tianamen square aren’t scammers. They are who the scammers claim to be, students front small towns visiting Beijing and glad to see/be able to speak to a foreigner. They will talk to you without pushing you into taking them anywhere.

    By staying in youth hostels, drinking in hostel bars etc you can meet lots of very friendly people who are very enthusiastic about learning/speaking English and talking to foriegners. They will suggest places you would enjoy travelling to, help you learn basic Mandarin, discuss English movies they like, tell you a bit about Chinese hostory, tell you about their upbrining and why they are travelling etc etc etc.. None of these people expect will you to buy them anything, even a cheap bottle of beer…

    And if you meet someone around Tianamen or around the tourist spots who wants to practise their English and go for a drink, and you like them, are enjoying the conversation and want to buy them one, suggest they walk with you for a while… For a drink take them to a cheap milk tea/fruit juice shop, for a coke in somewhere like McDonalds or KFC or for coffee, tea in somewhere like Starbucks. If they really are a scammer they will make excuses as to why you should go to a teashop or they will soon get bored and want to be back on the streets looking for their next victim(s)

    Comment by Kerrie — January 16, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

  7. Scam #1 should now be KTV.

    Whether you enter on your own or taken by a Chinese “friend.” You are in for a major screwing, not literally. It looks like a karaoke place, but wait. You enter the room to sing a few songs and have a few beers. Suddenly girls appear and want to drink with you, “No Charge.” You feel it looks like fun and you say okay. Suddenly a cart appears with lots of snacks and a six pack of beer. The snacks are NOT free and they are expensive–but more on that later. The girl wants a brandy and you say okay; brandy is 130 rmb [later it turns out that is per ounce–the drinks obviously turn out to be three ounces each].

    The waitress wants to drink and you say, NO. She says no problem she will buy her own drink. When she finishes it is placed on the table. The girl will play you and rub up against you and dance for you. She can really drink, [though you notice she leaves the room after each drink {only to find out later she spits it in a can or vomits it up.]

    Each time the waitress buys her own drink she places it on the table.

    When you have drunk too much and know you need to leave, the waitress says you must tip the girl and the waitress as they live on tips only, they do not get paid. What is normal tip? 600rmb a $100 each?????? Oh, and they must get tipped before bill. Why? Because they know there is no way in hell you will tip them after the bill comes.

    When the bill comes it is over $2000 for four of us!!!! Interestingly all the waitress’s drinks got counted on the bill. They merely count all the bottles and glasses on the table many of which the waitress or the girl escort were going to buy for themselves!

    You ask to see the manager and he agrees to lower the bill to $2000 but no lower. You explain you do not have that cash. No problem–one of there big guys accompanies you to the ATM conveniently located right outside the bar. On the way back to the bar you poke your head inside a room and tell some college kids to watch out they are going to get fleeced, you are ushered out so fast your head is spinning.

    After too many beers you are not thinking to just not pay, hide your credit cards in your shoe, run away, or call the police, they are counting on too much alcohol and not much clear thinking.

    Once outside I meet four young guys from America who had each been ripped off for $300 each. In talking to other people anything marked KTV and you are going to get fleeced.

    I am meeting with the Chinese consulate to see what can be done.

    But Scam Number #1 should be avoid KTV bars!

    Comment by Stephen Smuin — February 29, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  8. We are in Beijing and today got hit by the Tea sca

    A guy and girl came over to us and we thinking we would be clever told them we were French so they wouldn’t bother us. But the spoke good English and continued to chat and ask, the guy spoke to my friend while the girl spoke to me. She was very knowledgeable about world wide affairs and Chinese history. We were thinking of going to tianamen square but they told us it was closed for the flag cerimony so we stood infront of the fobidden city and watched it from across the road. We watched it together for aprox 30min, during this time the girl suggested we go for a drink after.

    We walked together back up the road and they took us up the road that runs parallel to the forbidden city. They walked and asked which place we would like to go, we tried on which they checked and said was full, we then continued and went to another.

    They ordered the tea and snacks and we just went with what they recommended, we still spoke and it felt like they were genuine. When the bill came it was 1800yaun…… We were shocked!! I asked for the menu and it showed the prices as was on the bill, so we couldnt really argue the bill. The girl asked if it was ok we split the bill 3 ways. We knew when the bill came out that we had been scammed but didn’t understand why they were also paying….. I had never heard of this thing before. Have been many countries thought the world and have avoided the strip club and bar scams with girls and others but these guys were very convincing!!

    I dnt think my friend and I wanted to admit we had been scammed but we knew we had and later that evening we had girls coming over asking if we could chat with them and soon after asking if we wanted to go for a drink…. That would have probably been easier to notice but these guys spent so much time with us talking general chit chat before suggesting a drink.

    Be careful people, no one is that nice for no reason!!!

    Comment by Satty — March 26, 2012 @ 1:56 am

  9. Just back from being hit by a tea scam on my first few hours in Beijing. Still can’t believe it – the couple were very nice and knowledgable about Europe. They started talking to me (a single female European) at Tianamen square and said they would show me the areas around the Forbidden City which they did. After 30 munutes I was getting keen to get back to the Subway but they insisted that we have a cup of tea for helping them to improve their English. Still I never suspected a thing, the girl in the couple ordered samples of 10 types of tea then snacks arrived then she ordered 2 favorite pots of tea – we were there 30 – 45 minutes, she was persuading me to have a glass of wine – pretty glad now I didn’t… There never was any mention of money, then the bill arrived – almost 300 euros of tea was drank. Having travelled with business for 10 years all the over world I prided myself in never being conned – but I was well and truly caught today. I am telling everyone I know that may even think about going to China about this scam as I am well and truly disgusted that such a cute couple could con me out of 300 euros.

    Comment by Teresa — April 15, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

  10. Beijing great wall day tour scam
    As we are from Singapore we understood Chinese and took a mandarin speaking day tour that we picked up from our visit to the forbidden city. Initially the tour seemed fine, although we any parts of the supposed tour was not fulfilled. The worst was yet to come when towards the end of the journey we were brought to one of warehouse which looked like a typical shop selling jade. The tour leader had told us that the bus had to make a mandatory stop here to wash the bus. When inside we were ushered into a big room with sofas and seated. A lady came in and started to tell us about how to tell the differentiate a good and bad jade when suddenly her manager came in and said that their big boss had decided to visit and that we were a special group. After awhile the big boss came and started to talk to us and told us that his father was seriously ill and that a master had asked him to come to our specific group to ask for blessings. We were then ushered into another room and asked to shout blessings into a camera for his father, after awhile he started to threaten us verbally and when people tried to leave the room he threatened to beat them up. With this scaring tactic he then asked us who was willing to pay for donations for him to light lanterns for blessings for his father to live longer, everyone was so scared that we were compliant and he asked people to willingly donate and a few people were the main targets and he kept swiping their credit cards till he chalked up more than 2k rmb which he “rewarded” with his expensive jade (which prob is worthless). In the end we were finally let off after he took the details such as the name address and identification number of those who donated. Truly a scary experience and this were done to their own china people.

    Comment by Sam — April 28, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

  11. For Teresa if u can contact her: Why did you pay the whole bill? There where three of you. Is it only the foreigner who is expected to pay? I would have just paid the 100 euro and left.

    Comment by Trevor — May 12, 2012 @ 3:37 am

  12. Tea Karaoke scam,

    In Being settled in walled the street, I was alone, 2 very nic girls, same story as above only the bill was presented for 2900 RMB, The girls ordered Juice, Wine, Tea,

    I just refused and said call the police, no way, the girls start crying, we are so poor, you Americans think you own the world, blah blah, at the end I was hungry. Per the scam, they pull out some money and offer to pay a part, I say no, I won’t, period, they lock the door, I stood my ground in the end I paid about 400 RMB or 60 bucks,about what would have been fair. It was very obvious, though I would not go and would not pay, and they didn’t know what to do with me. It was wild, any way a sucker born every day and two to take him

    Comment by Richard — June 13, 2012 @ 6:45 am

  13. Got caught out by the tea house / ktv scam.

    Walking down the street near forbidden city, 2 girls approach me. One says she studies English, they are themselves visiting Beijing from a smaller village. They chat away, we turn down dong’anmen street, and suggest they are thirsty – “long day walking around forbidden city”.

    Im thirsty too, so agree. Then they quickly turn into the really small “tea house”, 1 table, a small room at the back with a ktv system… When they took me in there, alarm bells ring… I see a lock on the door with a key inserted. I’m worried I’m paranoid, so don’t want to abandon them In case they really are just 2 girls being friendly – but say we should drink on the table, near the door, rather than the small back room. They agree.

    Drinks come out, but I’m worried, so barely have a sip. They drink away – tea, orange juice, wine. We chat… And it’s actually quite interesting, they tell me about China. I enjoy it.

    Then the bill comes out.. 1100rmb. Ridiculous. I make a fuss…. But they seem so innocent, they agreed to pay half. In the end, I hand over around 400rmb. They walk me out, and I remember something they mentioned… I was asking about their jobs, one girl said she earned little over 6000 rmb a month. “so 1 visit to a tea house costs you a 6th of your monthly wage?.”

    At that point, they make their excuses. I realise I’ve been thoroughly scammed. I turn around to ask them… Not sure really. I suppose I wanted them to admit it, as I’m slightly annoyed / embarrassed to have been so easily taken in.

    I walk back past the shop 10mins later… Not really sure what my intentions are, perhaps to prevent it happening to someone else. As I walk down the street, I notice im being followed. I double back, and back again, just to confirm it. Then I approach the guy and ask, “why are you following me”.. He says “I think you are looking for two girls yes..” he gives me a hard look, and points me in the direction away from the teahouse. To be honest, going back was far more stupid than being initially scammed.

    I realise now, as I look around, that there are 3-4 guys watching this closely. I walk away from the first, back toward the busier shopping street. A guy on a bike follows me all the way to wangufging, before turning back… Where he stops outside the tea shop I was scammed in.

    The point of all this is to tell everyone that this is very scary, organised crime… Yes it was carried out by 2 innocent looking girls, but you are watched every step of the way by the surrounding gang.

    I do not know why nothing is done about it… It seems well documented on the internet… And the tea houses are obvious in their purpose. I’m surprised Beijing would allow this so blatantly, so close to a national monument.

    In the end, the money lost was insubstantial – really. I feel sad this has tainted my trip to an otherwise wonderful country. I also feel sad for the girl I spoke too…. Her English was very very good, she was obviously bright… But I worry now over the circumstances of her fallen into scamming. Is she doing voluntarily? Perhaps.

    I’m just sad.

    Comment by John — July 13, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  14. Dear John,

    Don’t be so sad. Life is still beautiful despite of some die-hard evil things like the tea gang. Much thanks for your valuble time writting this detailed account of your unhappy experience in Beijing! This will help prevent others from being taken in. Thanks!

    Comment by admin — July 13, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

  15. A scam that is running at the forbidden city is the Rickshaw scam. I was taken to the forbidden city by a taxi that I had arranged from the hotel. It let me off at the exit of the forbidden city, instead of the entrance. Immediately a Rickshaw driver approached me and told me I was at the exit and he would take me to the entrance for only “3”. I refused several times, but then noticed that it was at least a 30 minute walk to the entrance. After checking the price with him several times (3 Yuan) we were off. Soon enough he was taking me into very small alleys away from the normal streets. When he stopped, he said “Ok, now you pay”. So I got out the 3 Yuan, but suddenly his english was much better and said “300 not 3!”. Then showed some type of bogus homemade are card that said the fare was 300 Yuan (about 50 US dollars). I refused to pay and said he was trying to steal and that he should be ashamed. He became very angry and then several other young men began to gather around in the alley. I walked away but he followed, yelling at me with the others. I held my ground, but in the end gave him 5 dollars to get him off my back. My Chinese hosts were shocked at this story and said that Chinese people are honest and would never do such a thing. :-)
    Lesson: Make sure you are taken by your taxi to the real entrance of Forbidden City (better yet, take the subway – its very nice and very cheap!). Don’t ever take a Rickshaw unless you feel like getting lost and extorted. Finally, google maps works well in China – use it! It saved me.

    Comment by David — July 16, 2012 @ 2:44 am

  16. Hello David,
    We are glad that you held your ground. Thanks for your time writing your experience in taking a rickshaw at the north gate of Forbidden City. The rickshaw scam is a warning for the tourists in future. We have added Rickshaw Scam as No.4 in our Top 10 Tourist Scams in Beijing. Thanks!

    Comment by admin — July 16, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  17. Hi,

    My friend got fleeced by the nephew of the last emperor.

    Tour guide took us to a shop just before the exit of the Forbidden city and introduced us to the nephew.

    Offered calligraphy by the nephew.

    Cost my friend 1200 Yuan.

    There is in fact a nephew… but according to those who have been scammed it’s not whoever you’re talking to.

    :-(

    Comment by Michael — August 1, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

  18. I was scammed 13,500 Yuan at a tea house by 4 English speaking ‘friends’ who I met at Tiananmen Square. The guys said they were staying at the Novatel on a business trip paid by their boss. They seemed so genuine and not the scamming sort. But piecing it together afterwards there was a lot of questions about what I do for work and conversations about how much upper class Chinese people will pay for wine when they go out for a meal… But they referred to themselves as middle class so I wasnt expecting a bill for ‘upper class’ beverages.

    Between the 5 of us we drank 2 bottles of Spanish red wine, a beer each, some tea and food. No matter what country you’re from it shouldn’t cost that much for lunch.

    I only paid my share after the other guys paid on their credit card in front of me.

    I still can’t believe I paid it, these guys were really really good because they come across as regular business guys in their early 30’s.

    It’s amazing the city allows this to continue, it was a tidy tea shop a few minutes walk from Tiananmen.

    Oh and the next morning I was hit up again after taking a ride on one of the 300 yuan rickshaws from the north gate of the Forbidden City… No way was I going to pay this time!

    Beware!!

    Comment by Leigh — August 5, 2012 @ 8:39 am

  19. Hello Leigh,
    Thanks for your time writing your experiences pertaining the teahouse scams at Tiananmen Square and the rickshaw rip-off at the north gate of Forbidden City. Your post is a good reminder for new visitors coming to Beijing. Thanks!

    Comment by admin — August 6, 2012 @ 8:24 am

  20. I just danced the Beijing tea house hustle.
    Very similar experience to the rest of folks and I’m sad to hear this might be part of a bigger organized crime thing. At least I thought the girls did a good hustle, the tea was great, fine conversation. They should certainly get the proceeds, if in fact there are any. I had paid with a credit card and managed to cancel the transactions with my bank back home after returning to my hotel a half hour later (and reading all these posts).

    My dilemma was whether or not to go to the police with this. I figured, most likely from the multitude of posts (dating back a decade or so as far as I can tell) the police must be in on this or it would be stamped out in no time. If they’re not in on it, and I some how am able to bring these girls to justice (and the teahouse involved) what happens then? Do they get executed or sent to the gulag for hard labor? I don’t want that either. If it’s an organized crime thing and I push it too hard then I worry about my own safety. So I’ll just leave it I guess.

    I live in Taiwan now, and I will just go ahead and say for the record that I have found the people there impeccably civilized (to a fault even), and if anyone ever approaches me on the street in Taipei to go to a teahouse and have a chat, I will still go.

    Comment by Ryan — August 26, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

  21. Tiananmen Square fake helpers/officials around Mao’s Tomb

    We were in Tiananmen square this morning and got taken by a scam we had not read about in any travel guides. We are pretty familiar with many of them but this was new.

    As we stood in line to go see Mao’s tomb, a man approached us and said that we couldn’t have our bags if we were going into the tomb. He walked us across the street to a locker set up and we had to pay 50 yuan to leave three bags there. Fair enough. although we do think it is likely less than that.

    Then as we walked there we told him we only had one person’s passport and he indicated that wasn’t a problem because he would get us in. He looked official enough with a blue top similar to others there. Then out of the blue he stopped us and said that we had to have shoes on…..2 of the adults in our group had sandals on. That would cost 25 yuan per person. So we bought the shoes. Then he needed 20 yuan per person for us to go in the exhibit. That is when we got suspicious because we knew it was free. We said we would pay him 20 yuan if we got in because we were wondering about the passport issue.

    As it turns out, you apparently do not need shoes to get in, we saw several people with flip flop sandals in the lineup who got through without shoes on. In addition nobody checks ID so the thought that he could get us through on one passport is also false. 

    So, at the end of the day we were 70 yuan shorter and a whole lot wiser. We did see other groups of Caucasian people being led down the same garden path.

    Thank you for the many tips.

    Regards, joanne 
    Sent from my iPad

    Comment by Joanne — August 28, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

  22. Hellow Joanne,

    Much thanks for your story about fake helpers/officials around Mao’s Tomb – a new scam! This will be helpful in guiding new visitors to Tiananmen Square.

    Mausoleum of Mao Zedong Admission is free. 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 listed as below:

    1. Storage charge for cameras
    One-time cameral: CNY2
    Normal camera: CNY3
    Long lens camera, Laptop, Video camera

    2. Storage charge for bags
    Less than 20 cm: CNY2
    20cm – 30cm: CNY3
    30cm – 40cm: CNY4
    40cm – 50cm: CNY5
    50cm – 60cm: CNY6
    60cm – 70cm: CNY7
    70cm – 80cm: CNY8
    80cm – 100cm: CNY10

    Comment by admin — August 29, 2012 @ 1:13 am

  23. Hi Admin,

    Hope you could also provide your feedback on the experince I posted. I just want to know if such thing was normal or a new scam.

    Thank you.
    Justine

    Comment by Justine — August 29, 2012 @ 9:05 am

  24. Hello Justine,

    Thanks for your feedback on 877 for Badaling! Have you encountered any scams in Beijing? If yes, please post it here and help others. Thanks!

    Comment by admin — August 29, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  25. My friend and i were brought to imperial Pharmacy (tong ren tang) by our tourist guide. There, we were asked to stay in one room where there are lots of comfy chairs (just like in a massage parlor). After which, there were two staff who did brought in basins with hot water with tea bags. They have told us to soak our feet and did a massage afterwards. Then an english speaking lady went inside the room and did some orientation about chinese medicines. Two tibet doctors went inside as well with translators and diagnosed our condition by just checking our hands and tongue. After the sessions, we were asked to buy some medicines to cure our illnesses. I was charged 2,400 CNY (around 435 USD) for 3 bottles of herbal medicines.

    After that experience, we felt that we were scammed. I wanna know if the said pharmacy is legit since its not included in the scam list. Also, i wanna know if these medicines that we bought are safe to drink since there’s no english translations in the boxes except for the website that says ‘www.tongrentang.cc’. Appreciate feedback regarding our experience. Thank you.

    Comment by Justine — August 31, 2012 @ 12:49 am

  26. Hello Justine,

    Sorry that you and your friend were scammed.

    Tongrentang, or Tong Ren Tang (Chinese: 同仁堂) is one of the two most well known producers of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in China: Tangrentang in Beijing ( operating drug stores predominantly in Northern China); Huqingyutang in Hangzhou (operating drug stores predominantly in Southern China). Both are time-honored Chinese pharmaceutical companies founded in Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911).

    Fake Tongrentang stores are rampant online and offline. The authentic Tongrentang is very much frustrated at so many bogus Tongrentang drug stores, but they have much difficulty in combating them! The official website of Beijing Tongrentang is http://www.tongrentang.com/ (Chinese), http://www.tongrentang.com/en/index.php (English). On its official website, Tongrentang has listed 45 illegal websites operated in the name of Tangrentang. “www.tongrentang.cc” is listed No.05 of the illegal websites on the page of http://www.tongrentang.com/news/view_news.php?id=2527 .

    Tongrentang Official Complaint Phone Number (Beijing): 87632652, 67015895

    Thank for your time writing us your experience at so-called “Imperial Pharmacy (tong ren tang)”. This will help keep others from being scammed. We’ll add the fake Tongrentang on the scam list.

    Comment by admin — September 1, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

  27. hi all,
    how i wished i read this before hand. i got scammed at a KTV.

    right, so i was off alone at night, looking for massage when this girl outside a ktv opposite citibank. she said theres massage inside 100 yuan and 100 yuan for room rental. so 200 yuan total which is not too bad considering i had 300 yuan in cash at that moment

    i went in. girl came in. asked me what i wanted to drink. i said coke only. she brought in her own drink without asking me. then i started getting suspicious, and asked her how much is everything. then it started with her saying i need to pay her “lady tips” which is 500 yuan.

    i argued with her and walked out the room. next thing i saw was 3 guys waiting at the corridor and by the way there were no other customers there. one speaking english pushed me back in the room and closed it. told me i had to pay (this is the way it is in china).

    i shoved the 300 to the girl and asked her to shut up already. and then asked for the bill. 2200 yuan was the bill. shocked as hell. the two drinks she took cost 880 yuan each.

    the english speaking guy took my wallet and started rummaging through. then 2 of them escorted me to the atm (citibank). my legs were shaking coz there were no one else in sight and these guys looked really thuggish. i was ready to pay and get lost. unfortunately, my atm cards were not working.

    tried another bank still no results. and now he told me lets go back and meet my boss, maybe he let you go. legs shaking i stopped right in front of the ktv and said call ur boss to meet me here on the street. they strong armed me back inside.

    boss came out. thuggish as usual. rummaged thru, and discovered one of my atm cards had a debit function. thank god. i never used that before. he swiped it and told me to get lost.

    moral of the story; dont enter their damn ktvs..ur trapped…5 mins and one coke and i forked 2700 yuan.

    by the way what do you guys think would have happened if i dint have that debit card-would they let me go-or cut my hand??

    Comment by pires — September 8, 2012 @ 1:13 am

  28. Hello Pires,

    Sorry to hear your massage story at a KTV, which is reminiscent of a scenario in a mafia movie. “Some people” are looking for girls under the pretext of having body or foot massage at a studio. But these “some people” often fall in a pit and blackmailed by the KTVs or massage studios in connection with mafia. They think these”some people” won’t dial 110 to contact the police because of their obscure mentality.

    Of course, you are not the “some people”. You are only misled by the girl. So when we are looking for massage, we must be vigilent on the authenticity of the studio by consulting your hotel staff, your Chinese friends or check massage information online.

    Pires, thanks for your time writing us the story to give some enlightening to the new comers. Thanks!

    Comment by admin — September 8, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

  29. After reading the top 10 scam in beijing,

    How would I still get a Hutong ride by trishaw?

    Comment by Mei — October 1, 2012 @ 2:00 am

  30. Hello Mei,

    There is a Hutong Tour Rickshaw Ticket Office by the side of Bell Tower ( on the southwest of Bell Tower ). They sell various kinds of Rickshaw tours. But still be vigilant on a particular pedicab driver. Tourist Traps are still there like any popular tourist spots in the world. Have a good time!

    Comment by admin — October 1, 2012 @ 8:47 am

  31. I got scam a few months ago by the Tea ceremony, at this time i just arrived in Beijing a week ago for work sent by my company, I was walking nearby Wanfujin the big shopping street close from the forbidden city when a girl arrived and started talking to me in a very good English.

    When kept talking and walking along Wanfujin when she suggested we go to drink a Tea and join a Tea ceremony, very interested in traditional Chinese customs and not aware of this scam i said why not.

    I won’t talk about the ceremony because it’s always the same basic scam. After it she received a call from a supposed friend and had to leave, then i said “and what do we do for the bill ?”, she said i must pay this is the custom in China, man always pay.
    Then the bill arrived, it was about 700RMB for 20 minutes of tea drinking, i said i won’t pay and this is a scam, so the staff person said i must pay or they will call the police.
    I told them they can call the police if they want, this is a scam and if i get fined for not paying whatever because all this place will be closed by the autorities and they all gonna go to jail for years.
    They didn’t trust me and i reminded them that i had my camera and recorded everything (i always record my sightenings/travels), i have proof and they don’t.

    The staff guy said it’s alright and they left me go out.

    The only thing is to be smarter than them.

    Comment by Chris — October 7, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

  32. Hello Chris,

    You have outwitted a scammer. Great! You has had the upper hand from beginning to end this time because you know you haven’t done anything wrong and have nothing to worry about.

    Some people are scammed because they have some weak points that have been made use of by swindlers.

    Comment by admin — October 8, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

  33. Tea Karaoke Scam,

    I happened today to me, nearby forbidden city. One girl just stopped me and chat with me. After a while she offered to have a tea, so we went somewhere nearby forbidden city, into very small coffee shop, only one dark room, with small table and KTV system. She asked immediately to have a wine or something stronger, but I was so tired so I told her that I do not want to get drunk and we ordered two teas. She was asking a lot about me and then trying to sing some songs and even we had one dance together. She asked several times if I want red wine and I always said no. After one hour, she offered to go outside for a walk. I said ok and she called waitresses to bring the bill.

    Bill was 1900 RMB!!! for two teas. I said, it is impossible, that some tea can cost 950 RMB and they must be cheating. She get very angry and saying that I am not gentleman but she can pay half. I said sorry, I do not have that money. She told me to pay by card (that I had in my pocket but she did not know about that), so I said that I do not have any card here.

    And i shown her that I have only around 220 RMB in my pocket.
    So she said, give me 200 RMB and I do not want to see you and talk to you never and I will pay the rest…
    I said I am sorry, I can not give you that money because I need around 100 to get back to my hotel, so she kept asking how much I can pay, I said 50RMB and she started to scream at me that she will leave and she will not pay anything and I will have to pay that whole amount.

    I said ok, I give you 100 RMB and I immediately left. Than I kept asking people around that coffee shop about the price of tea and I met one guy who told me that I am not fist one…

    In few minutes two next girls stopped me and invited me again for a tea!!! I was sure that they will want to go to the same coffee shop as I was scammed. I asked them where they want to go and I was right, they shown me the same “scamm office”. So I left and try to call police, but they did not understand English so I decided to let it be and I went away.

    Immediately two black Audi A6, with very dark windows were spying me every moment, I met these two black cars driving around at least 10 times. I realized that something is wrong and I can get into big problems, so I finally took taxi and just came to my hotel and I am reading all of these stories, I did not know that this is happening but I should be happy that I lost “only” 100 RMB.

    Comment by rubik — October 10, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

  34. Hello Rubik,

    Thanks for your personal story of experiencing a real Tea Karaoke Scam, a vivid warning to oversea visitors coming to Beijing! We are happy to learn that you have only lost RNB100.

    While we are complaining about the disgusting and die-hard Tea Karaoke Scam, it is advisable to think about our own mentality which may give a chance to Tea Karaoke Scam. Why me?

    Thanks again for your time and vivid story!

    Comment by admin — October 11, 2012 @ 10:14 am

  35. Thanks for the top ten scam post. Unfortunately I read this after my first night in Beijing. I walked into a dive KTV bar which with two girls I met on the street claiming to be business students they seemed authentic and looked like typical students they spoke very good English (warning). I ordered a beer, they had pear juice all at an ok price 40 rmb or so each drink. Then we heard people singing in the room next to us and one of the girls suggested we grab a room when one was open and sing some songs. I hate karaoke, but it seemed harmless enough. Well, after 8 songs and 4 more drinks, we got hit with a 5200 rmb ($800 us) bill! I argued that the decimal had been misplaced, but I was outnumbered by 3-4 bar staff who wouldn’t let me leave until I settled at least 1/2 of the bill which was still too much. The trick was the wine, they claimed it was about $500 a bottle french wine which tasted like crap. The KTV room was about 100 rmb/hr. Then they pulled out a price list and sure enough that’s what the wine was going for. Rather than risk a fight, or arrest since we did technically order wine (actually the girls drank it). I just paid the bill and got outta there. Beware the KTV bars and friendly girls who are eager to take you there!
    J

    Comment by KTV_ed — October 19, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

  36. Hello Johnh,

    Sorry for the KTV scam! Thanks for your time writing us your experience! It is a good warning for new visitors to Beijing.

    Comment by admin — October 19, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

  37. Going to Beijing this Tuesday… getting quite worried after reading all this.

    I guess what I need to take from this page is avoid good looking, good speaking chinese girls who randomly approach your for a chat.

    Comment by mustafa salim — November 4, 2012 @ 9:09 am

  38. Hello Mustafa,

    Actually these kind of tourist scams could be found in some of the tourist cities in the world. In some cases, we are cheated and scammed simply because we are too “greedy”, greedy for girls, greedy for free lunch and the list could be longer due to our own human shortcomings. Of course, some people are conned simply because they want to interact with the locals, learn more about the local culture and custom, but they are really innocent of what is going on.

    Comment by admin — November 5, 2012 @ 12:38 am

  39. The same thing happened with me in Beijing but God Saved me with my wisdom. lol
    i was walking in a street just near W2 building in Beijing and a boy approached me and started to talk and telling me whether we could be friends. i told yes that is fine we are friends. then he asked me to go for a drink i said sorry i m Muslim and i don’t drink Alcohol, then he said we can have coffee, when he insisted again and again i felt a little more strange and i thought that he might be a gay and just want me to get on him lol but i was not that kind so i refused. i said i m sorry i don’t want to drink coffee or tea – thank you. and then he just left.

    then on the same day few hours later at the other part of the street two other girls approached and asking me the same things if we could be friends i said yes then the second thing they said is if we could go somewhere sit and have green tea and talk so they can practice English. so i told them if they want to practice English or just friendship so we can sit on the bench just beside the street and talk as much as they want but i not willing to to drink anything. lol. then they said oh ok bye bye see you next time.

    i felt very strange and when my Chinese good friend got off work and came our of the W2 building i asked him this thing he himself did not know deeply but he told me they are cheaters. later i asked some foreigner classmates they told me these stories and when i searched in Google so i found mother friends having same experience and felt sad for those friend who lost money in these scams.

    i just thought how they could be this much good to invite me immediately within a minute after meeting lol.

    Being a Doctor i just know Care is better than Cure. Always take care and be wise to make things clear first with the strangers and then move.

    Comment by Dr Ali Lohar Khan — November 9, 2012 @ 12:56 am

  40. Hello Dr Ali Lohar Khan,

    You are smart! Very good! No free lunch. Some cheaters make use of some of our human shortcomings in seek for free lunch, money and sex.

    Thanks for your time writing your successful story, which is useful for newcomers!

    Comment by admin — November 11, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  41. Hello there fellow scam victims,

    I am Joshua Collins from London and I am currently studying at Loughbrough University, UK. The way I was scammed has not been mentioned here so i feel i should tell all. As a seasoned traveller (spent most of last year backpacking through bradford and burnley) I did not feel I would be susceptible to any scams yet as I walked through the back street of a hutong in Houhai Beijing I fell victim to the most heinous of dupes. I was approached my three handsome young Chinese Albino men who could all speak perfect English and asked if i liked massages, sensing the opportunities I shared with them my love of massage. As we walked and talked the conversation turned to an ancient chinese massage, whereby the only details that exist of its procedure were found just 3 years ago in a pheasant skin scroll beneath the Forbidden city. Curious I asked more.

    The three young men told me that it involved the gentle massage from the trunk of an elephant. They invited me to their hutong house where, to my disbelief, in the living area an elephant sat eating. They quoted me 75RMB and I willingly obliged. It was at the point they asked me to entirely remove my clothes that I became wary. Once I removed my clothes the elephant was led out of the room. It was at this point that I was raped and robbed. This incident has left my physically and mentally scarred and I would urge anybody that gets offered the elephant massage to leave the area immediately. Involving the police did not help.

    Comment by Josh Collins — November 13, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  42. Hello Josh Collins,

    Sorry for what has happened! The scam is shocking and disgusting! In China, it is better not to talk to the strangers approaching to you!!

    Comment by admin — November 14, 2012 @ 8:00 am

  43. Hi,

    I was confused whether the trt medicines i got from 23 Dong An Men Street Dong Cheng District Beijing postal code 100006 is real. I could not locate the store in the trt main website but could find it in google map. It is a huge trt store and looks real. A second look on the pamplet, the email contacts were all yahoo and sohu. I am doubting if it is safe to take the medicine I bought. Can you help to shed some light?

    Comment by Kylie — November 25, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  44. Hello Kylie,

    What you have said is a bit too general that we cannot tell whether your medicine is fake or authentic. For authentification, it is advised that you provide the following information:
    1. Pharmacy name
    2. Add
    3. Phone number
    4. Website.

    Thanks for your message.

    Comment by admin — November 25, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

  45. I was bored one winter and went strolling around to find a scammer when 2 girls spotted me near the Forbidden city. They suddenly jumped towards me and wanted to practice their English as we walked. I said ‘fine.’ and off we walked to Tienanmen Square. We walked into the square and the girls were uncomfortable and under dressed to walk in the slush. They went through the routine of questioning to find out what I knew and how long I was in Beijing.

    The punch line finally came when one asked of I have seen the Chinese acrobats. I said I have seen them in my home city. She said they were going to the Acrobats that night and asked if I would like to joint them. I simply said no. She persisted for a while and realized I wasn’t moving on this one and they both trudged off unceremoniously.

    This was a one off but I am sure there are many like this. I carried on and got the typical coffee, tea, restaurant and art student lines, but this acrobat girls was the most memorable.

    Comment by Paul — December 11, 2012 @ 11:45 am

  46. Hello Paul,

    Thanks for your time posting the story about the two acrobatics girls, which is helpful for the tourists coming to Beijing and avoiding a possible scam. Thanks again!

    Comment by admin — December 12, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

  47. A fresh victim of the tea ceremony scam… (just a couple of hours ago, actually).

    After spending several days in Beijing, saying “no, thanks” to every single Chinese person that approached me, I visited the Forbidden City and asked my (now obviously) unlicensed guide about the intentions of the people that simply go “hello, where are you from?”. She told me that they were just curious and wanted to practice English or take a picture with me. I thought, “ok then”.

    So, when I reach Tiananmen square, a guy approaches me and we talk for a minute or so. Classic tourist chat. Harmless. Then, several minutes after, three women approach me. Older than me, totally unattractive. They were very nice, and we start to talk and walk towards Old Beijing (I was planning to walk that way beforehand). After 30 minutes of walking and talking (at the moment, I was having a great time getting to know these people) they tell me they’re going for a cup of tea and ask me to join them. I figure a cup of tea can’t be that expensive, and join them. We enter a private room, a waitress comes in and they start the whole tea degustation thing. The decoration was very humble, which matches with their alleged incomes and reassures me that it can’t be very expensive…

    Suddenly, they order a bottle of Chinese wine. Same thing as before, it can’t be that expensive right? I was honestly having the time of my life there, thinking to myself: “this is real tourism” (sad, I know). We spent over an hour there, the conversation was honestly interesting and I was showing them pictures of my family and girlfriend! In one word, I surrendered my trust to them. Then the bill came: 4,000 yuan.

    That’s when you realise how stupid you are. I was thinking I was going to pay 1,000 yuan for my part of the bill, but they expect me to pay the full amount. I say no way, this is a rip-off and I’m not paying their part. They con me into paying only half of the total amount. At the time, it was a relief. So I paid 2,000 and they gave me some tea bags and even walked me to the subway station. I was refusing to admit it. It’s one thing to be robbed, it’s a much worse thing to be conned. Hurts your self-esteem.

    Also, I thought about going back to the tea shop, but now I’m glad I didn’t. It’s organised crime…

    I was conned for the first time in many travels, visiting many countries and even some developing countries. It’s really sad and the Chinese government should do something about it. By the way, reading your list, I see that I have been able to avoid other cons, such as the rickshaws at the exit of the Forbidden City.

    Beijing seems unforgiving.

    Comment by Zigor — December 15, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

  48. Hello Zigor,

    Thanks for your time writing us your story about how you have been hit by a tea trap. Sorry for the die-hard disgusting crime! We’ve been trying hard to disclose the dirty part of the city of Beijing. There is a long way to go before all these criminal activities can be wiped off. We are still working hard towards the goal.

    Comment by admin — December 16, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  49. Hello. I just came back from shanghai a few days ago and I bought bottles of medicines from “同仁汉方研发” . I was in a tour group so I thought the medicines are real. I am not so sure now:/

    Pharmacy name: 同仁汉方研发
    销售地址/Address: 北京丰台区宋家庄聲(sorry please replace 耳 with 香)园一区二橦(replace 木 with 巾)1605
    Number: 400-700-7352
    Website: http://www.tongrenhanfang.com

    I just checked the website and it doesnt show anything relevant! Can you help me clarify my doubt? Thank you!

    Comment by cheryl — January 9, 2013 @ 4:02 am

  50. Hello Cheryl,

    When you say “I thought the medicines are real”. What do you mean by “real”? Real Chinese medicine? Or real Chinese medicine made by Tongrentang (Chinese: 同仁堂). I don’t know whether the medicines from “同仁汉方研发” is real or not, but I’m sure they are not the Chinese medicine made by the well-known producers of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in China – Tongrentang (Chinese: 同仁堂).

    Tongrentang, or Tong Ren Tang (Chinese: 同仁堂) is one of the two most well known producers of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in China: Tangrentang in Beijing ( operating drug stores predominantly in Northern China); Huqingyutang in Hangzhou (operating drug stores predominantly in Southern China). Both are time-honored Chinese pharmaceutical companies founded in Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911).

    Fake Tongrentang stores are rampant online and offline. The authentic Tongrentang is very much frustrated at so many bogus Tongrentang drug stores, but they have much difficulty in combating them! The official website of Beijing Tongrentang is http://www.tongrentang.com/ (Chinese), http://www.tongrentang.com/en/index.php (English).

    It seems ““同仁汉方研发” is a little bit misleading by using the same name of “同仁” (Tongren) as the famous brand “同仁堂”.

    Comment by admin — January 9, 2013 @ 8:54 am

  51. I wish I had of visited this blog page before went to the Forbidden city as my wife and I were hit by the tea room scam. They seem so believeable and kind but when you walk away you realise with disbelief that you have just been ripped off for 200 – 250 CNY. It leaves you with no faith in human madkind.
    We travelled to several cities south of China and met many genuine people whom actually picked up the bill until we arived in Beijing and found that every corner you turn is a scam of some description.
    Anyway we have put this down to experience and reading this blog page gives some reasurance that we are not the only dills walking around Beijing.

    Comment by Gary — January 16, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

  52. Dear Gary,

    Thanks for your time writing us the tea scam you have expereinced around the Forbidden City,which will remind new visitors of the possible tourist traps around this area. Life is still beautilful. Thanks again for your feedback on your Beijing trip!

    Comment by admin — January 16, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

  53. Amazing that I got hit by several scams in my first trip to Beijing.

    First, I went to the taxi line like a smart boy, and several Chinese soldiers, very very friendly, looking very official, helped me get into the right taxi. turned out to be a black taxi and cost me 550CNY to get to my hotel. I protested a bit but they pulled out a very official looking list of all hotels and official airport price. Got to my hotel and found out normal cost is 120CNY.

    Ran into some very friendly students, trying to talk me into going to an internet Coffee place for a cup of coffee. They were too persistent, I smelled scam and am sure it would have a cover charge or connection charge I would get stuck with.

    On the way to hotel a few more attempts to engage me.

    On the positive, I stopped into the Legendary Hotel (quite luxurious) and asked for directions. A lady there at the Concierge desk (Tracy Cao) went way out of her way to help me find my way to my own hotel via taxi. Classy person.

    Comment by Tony C. — January 28, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

  54. Hello Tony C.,

    Thanks for your posting your taxi experience in Beijing! It is also my First time to learn about the taxi trick regarding so-called official taxi-rate list of all hotels and official airport price. Never such a taxi-rate list!

    These swindlers have been using all possible ways to deceive people and make dirty money. They are bad and disgusting. Thanks again for your useful post to remind newcomers!

    Comment by admin — January 29, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

  55. I’m not rich. Im from australia.

    Last night, On my first night in beijing i went for a walk and met some very nice students my age. We share stories about culture, language. The told me they where on holiday in beijing. It was friday night and they invite me To join them for a night out. To cut a long story short a few drinks, a small meal, and sing a few songs in a karoake bar cost me 500 usd.

    I feel So stupid, what i find really sad was that i was lonely and genuinely thought i had found some nice people to share some time with. Much of my budget is now gone. I worked so long for this holiday. I am worried the bar will take more money from my card.

    Comment by michael m — March 2, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

  56. Hello Michael

    Are you traveling Beijing alone or on a group? These “fake students” are disgusting like die-hard croaches. We’re sorry that you’ve fallen into their trap. A fall into a pit, a gain in your wit. Don’t feel sad about it.

    Just a kindly reminder, you may try to contact your credit card company to deny them money. Just have a try!

    Comment by admin — March 3, 2013 @ 1:34 am

  57. Oh my God! I wish I had seen this website earlier!

    Today, I was tricked into the tea ceremony scam. I went exactly as mentioned above. I “student” talked to me and eventually took me to a tea shop saying that we sit and enjoy tea. The bill was huge and although we shared it 50%-50% it was more than my 3 days hotel bill! I was so shocked, buy this “student” was so calm, I had no choice but to pay. By the way, I used my credit card to pay as I did not have much cash then. Now I am worried about the security of my credit card. Should I change my credit card? any possibility of cloning the card by these people?

    Comment by Dev — March 24, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

  58. Hello Dev,

    Sorry that you have been hit by the “students”. As far as we know, these “students” and the people behind them only want to get money from your credit card, and little possibility of cloning your credit card.

    By the way, it’s best to get in touch with your credit card company if thinngs go wrong. And try to extract the money with the help of your credit card company.

    Comment by admin — March 24, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

  59. I was hit by TWO scams today, and boy do I feel suckered! First I was approached by two women who said they were visiting from the south of China. We chatted for a bit and then they suggested getting some tea. We walked into the first tea shop we saw and each ordered a tea. The price came to 500 yuan each. They each “paid” with their visa. I was shocked. The money part made me angry, but the betrayal part made me feel much worse. I’m still in disbelief that these two, kind-seeming ladies who shared so much with me could have been hustlers. Finally, a “student” convinced me to have a quick coffee with him so that he could practice his English. In Korea, where I live, this is normal and innocent. I did and the bill for my powdered coffee came to 100 yuan. These people are the lowest of the low. Unbelieveable.

    Comment by Jamie — March 27, 2013 @ 8:55 am

  60. Hello Jamie,

    Thanks for posting your story about your encounter with the “students”! This is helpful for newcomers coming to Beijing. Have a good time in Beijing! and Don’t be affected by the experience and life is still beautiful. Thanks!

    Comment by admin — March 27, 2013 @ 11:49 am

  61. As a *Chinese* university student studying in Beijing for 4+ years I can tell you that these scams are true, and EVERYWHERE. Yes Beijingers are helpful, yes they are kind and warm-hearted, but that doesn’t mean all you meet occasionally and coincidentally have a good intention.
    There are scams in other places, and so there are scams here in Beijing. SOMETIMES YOU WON’T EVEN NOTICE IT (personal and friend’s experience).

    Some remarks to the article:

    >> Tea Scam: it happens in central part of Beijing mainly, esp. in the Forbidden City and the surroundings.

    >> Art Student Scam: 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.

    >> Black taxis: they rip you off the same way they do to us. Quick trick: as of Aprial 2013 (this post was written), ALL taxis in Beijing have a licence plate beginning with 京B (京 is the shortened form for Beijing in Chinese, and B is a reserved letter for public transportation vehicles in Beijing.)

    >> Fake Badaling Great Wall: to be quite frank ShuiGuan is more adventuring and less crowded. If you visit the Great Wall simply for recreation then Shuiguan can be your destination. But again, plan the itinerary yourself, NEVER RELY ON UNKNOWN TRAVEL AGENCIES FOR GREAT WALL TOUR. P.S. Badaling is always over-crowded. Another option is visiting MuTianYu Great Wall.

    >> ‘Fake volunteers’ at 877 station: again as i’ve said previously, plan your visit to the great wall on yourself, and do not trust any others. I don’t know why local government have allowed such scams going on and on for 10+ years. More importantly, you may find advertisements on bus stops reading one-day travel to the Great wall with a telephone number–that’s totally a scam and the Bus Company is having a hard time removing it.

    >> Delinquent/Illegal Tour Guide: local Chinese are ripped off by them all the time, let alone overseas travellers. One principle I abide by when communicating with strangers on travel is: if something is too good to be true, then it is problematic; and if someone is too amiable and hospitable within the initial 15 minutes of your conversation, avoid’em wisely. An extra rule: always beware. better keep your money in your pocket than being regarded indifferent.

    >> Pickpockets: they are not as many as those in Xi’an. But if you left something unnoticed for a long time in public places you probably won’t recover them. Sometimes they are taken away by cleaners and guards but you just don’t know where to find them if you can’t speak Chinese.

    One of the uncommon ideas to travel in Beijing is to join activities on Couchsurfing.org. You can check it out if you like.

    Comment by NeilBR — April 1, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

  62. Hello NeilBR,

    A big thank for your review on the Beijing Top 10 tourist scams! Your post will help people better understand those scam tactics and play them out.

    We’ve also just updated our Beijing Top 10 list per your latest review. Thanks!

    Comment by admin — April 1, 2013 @ 11:54 pm

  63. Hi! Great article! I’m from Argentina and I will be travelling to Beijing for the first time this August. Do you know it there is a way to get to downtown Beijing by train or subway from the airport? I don’t want to be scammed by illegal taxis.

    Thanks in advance for the answer!

    Comment by Melisa — April 20, 2013 @ 11:02 am

  64. Hello Melisa,

    Please don’t be scared by the illegal taxis. Just follow the taxi sign at the airport and take your taxi at the official taxi stand.
    See: http://www.tour-beijing.com/taxi/

    Or you may use airport shuttle bus.
    See: http://www.tour-beijing.com/beijing_airport_shuttle_bus/

    Or you may use airport express light train. See:
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/travel_blog/beijing_china_sightseeing/beijing_airport_express_train.php

    Comment by admin — April 20, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

  65. 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.
    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-01/23/content_16166995.htm

    Comment by GoYvon — April 21, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

  66. Hello GoYvon,

    Thanks for your message about the new kind of taxi scam in Beijing.

    Comment by admin — April 21, 2013 @ 10:54 pm

  67. Rickshaw scams are not only for the north side of the forbidden city.

    After seeing the “Legend of Jinsha” show, I got out and asked someone at the door for a taxi. He pointed me to a Rickshaw. I gave the driver my hotel address and asked up front how much it would cost. She said “4”. I said “4 yuan?” and she said “Yes, 4 yuans”. It had costed me 16 yuans by metered taxi to get from my hotel to the show. 4 yuans seemed like an very good deal. It was my first night so I still had no point of reference as to what costs what, except my ride to the show. So I said ok.

    Eventually she stopped, said the hotel was one block away and asked for the money. I felt bad because 4 yuans didn’t seem like enough. So I gave her 10. She said it didn’t cost 4, but 40. I was a bit annoyed of having been lied to, but tired (had been up for 26 hours, 13 of those in the air), I gave her 40. Again, she said it was not 40, but 400, then she pulled a price sheet with 400 yuan on it. Now I really became mad and I started to argue. More so because I didn’t have 400 on me. I brought the price down to 200. She left.

    After she left I looked around a bit, started walking in the direction that she gave me. Something felt wrong. So I pulled my smartphone out and the GPS placed me a good 30 minutes walk from my hotel, at 22h at night and extremely tired. It took me a good two days of being angry before I could start talking to people and not feel like everyone wanted to rip me off.

    But most of the time, when someone talks to you first, and in English, good odds are it’s a scam. Sad but true.

    Comment by Christian — April 27, 2013 @ 9:17 pm

  68. Hello Christian,

    Sorry for your bad experience! Your review is useful for those new travelers visiting Beijing on the rickshaw you haved used after seeing the “Legend of Jinsha” which is performed at the Beijing Workers’ Club in Beijing.

    Thanks for your time writing the feedback, a kind reminder for foreign travelers coming to Beijing in future.

    Comment by admin — April 27, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

  69. So, i just got tea scammed yesterday around the forbidden city/Tienanmen square area. Same as others who have been scammed. these people are very good. they prey on your kindness and you wouldn’t expect it at all.

    On our way to the forbidden city, three girls asked if we were lost and needed help but we said we were okay…. conversations started and of course the whole going to a tea shop and having tea and snacks business. they were very friendly and nice…. and lets be honest we foreigners do like it when we find someone who can carry out a conversation in english. little did we know it was all a scam. the bill came, and it was 1860 yuan.

    I only had 200 quai on me so my friend had to pay with her debit card. they didn’t even suggest we pay the whole amount…. it was to be split between the 5 of us and we did see them pay their part (or at least it seemed like they paid). my friend had to go to another store to pay the bill with her debit card. After the whole shenanigan, we came out thinking…. “Damnnnnnnnnnn that was one expensive ass tea… i mean, who pays $65 on 3 tiny cups of tea”. we took pics, said our farewells and parted ways.

    then my friend said…. “umm i think we just got tea scammed”… never heard of it before so i replied.. “nah… they were probably just some rich bitches that drink expensive tea”. We went back to the hostel and looked up tea scam and concluded we did INDEED get tea scammed.

    we asked the hostel receptionist if we could cancel the charge but she said because it was a debit transaction, we couldn’t cancel through our bank only through the merchant. we google translated some simple sentence…. Tea scam… too expensive… call police.. we want our money back… and took it to the shop.

    I am Black and can be aggressive when called for. We were able to intimidate the restaurant scammers involved. my friend did call the cops but she didnt know how to describe our location, so they were little to no help. Thank God we had a receipt (860rmb tot). they tried to take it from me but i didnt trust them. I thought they might tear it so i held on to it and told them they could look but not touch. they said because we drank some of the tea, we had to pay some… i suggested 100rmb for both of us but they said it was too little. My friend suggested 200rmb coz she didnt want the situation to drag on considering we had to cat a train back to shanghai in an hour. We had 2 options…. cancel the whole transaction and pay 200rmb in cash or leave the transaction as is and they refund us 660rmb cash. Didn’t want to risk getting fake bills so we paid them cash and cancelled the transaction. Got the new cancelled recipt (btw, they wanted to keep the original receipt making some excuses but i told her no because we were going to use it to verify with our bank the transaction was cancelled).

    We left the shop feeling better. I am still mad about paying 100rmb for tea but its more acceptable than 430quai each. No body followed us (unlike other comments i’ve read) and we verified with one of the area guard that the cancellation receipt was indeed one.

    This is definitely an organized crime because when we mentioned we were tea scammed to the guard, he knew where it was and pointed towards the direction of the shop. maybe hes in on it too, who knows. we will check with our bank later on this week to make sure the transaction was cancelled and we didn’t get scammed an extra 200quai. That would be really sad but funny.

    I mean, if we were going to get butt raped (analogy), we weren’t just going to bend over and take it…. had to get a couple of scratches in there too…. I suggest people go back…with your receipt and a cop! if you just let it happen and don’t do anything about it, the crime gets worse. TRUST!

    Comment by Destiny — May 2, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

  70. Hello Destiny,

    Yes, you are right by saying that “I suggest people go back…with your receipt and a cop! if you just let it happen and don’t do anything about it, the crime gets worse.”

    Comment by admin — May 2, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

  71. Hi, the same thing that Christian describes above happened to my girlfriend and I today. We got in a rickshaw outside the Temple of Heaven and asked how much to go to Beijing railway station. He said 50, we said no as we knew it was cheaper in a taxi. We said 30 to which he agreed after we started to walk alway. Less than a 5 minute ride later we arrived at the station, handed him 30 yuan, he laughed, pulled out a laminated price list and said 500 yuan (our turn to laugh). After much arguing in the middle of the road we eventually gave him 50 yuan. We won’t be using one again! Shame as our general opinion of Beijing is quite good!

    Comment by Michael — May 5, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

  72. Hello Michael,

    Thanks for your feedback! Your experience on a rickshaw scam is a good reminder for people to be more vigilant if they are going to use a rickshaw.

    Comment by admin — May 6, 2013 @ 1:24 am

  73. Well I have experienced a The Scam with a rikshaw driver. I wanted to get to a Place in North Beijing that was like a 5minute ride, i was tired After walking for the whole Day. So i Took a rikshaw, he was very friendly and started to Drive along small roads. Near to the Goal he went Into a narrow Road and ripped me Off 300 Yuan. So guys Take a taxi or the U!

    Comment by Manu — May 6, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

  74. I fell for the taxi scam, the tea scam and the rickshaw scam during a solo visit to Beijing in 2007. It was a little frightening as a solo traveller as especially the rickshaw scam involved a near assault with the driver. I handed cash over for the taxi in dollars, was scammed using s debit card in the tea room and managed to get away from the rickshaw cowboy. No-one can help you unless you travel with a local guide so watch out for these “friendly” offers.

    Comment by josh — May 9, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

  75. In the two days I’ve been in Beijing, I’ve had the tea invite, art gallery, and fake tour guides with printed business cards, happen to me (approached by 7 people first day and 3 in second day). However maybe because I’ve had my past experience with scams and rough cities I’ve visited around the world, I didn’t fall for them. When I was a teenager, I fell for a scam in buying a cheap piece of metal souvenier sold by hippies in Peru at expensive price and in Colombia I fell for the taxi scam where the taxi driver said he couldn’t find the destination address but he would try to help me, at the end we headed back to the airport and he charged me 25 dollars for a ride that costs 6. Then I took a airport guaranteed taxi and got there quick with no problem. After I knew my route I could tell taxi where to go and not fall for taxi scam again.

    I believe this happens all over the world, but as stated here before, one should be weary about weary about very friendly locals and say no to offers and take airport or official approved taxis, whenever possible. I think the taxi one is hard if one just came into the country. But keep your eyes open and be skeptical!

    Comment by Frank — June 4, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

  76. Hello Frank,

    Thank you for taking the time writing the post. Your travel experience is much useful to tourists visiting to Beijing. Much appreciated! Kind Regards.

    Comment by Daniel — June 5, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

  77. Here is a hustle I haven’t seen mentioned. At the Beijing airport near the check-in desk we were approached by him nicely dressed man Who asked to see our tickets then our passports and ushered us over to the correct check in window. We presumed he worked for the airline until he asked for compensation for his help. It is surprising that the authorities allow this to go on inside the terminal –particularly the part where we were asked to hand over our passports.

    Comment by Frankk — July 12, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

  78. Hello Frankk,

    Thanks for your post about the scenario that you have talked about! It is a good reminder to shun the persons who offer such illigal service and don’t your passport to anybody except policemen.

    Comment by Daniel — July 12, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

  79. Traveling to Beijing. Wondering if to book a tour for the major attractions, or just figure it out on my own. Traveling in Aug

    Comment by Maria — July 27, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

  80. Hello Maria,

    Some prefer organized tours; some prefer independent travel. It alldepends on your travel experience and time. Have a good time in Beijing!

    Comment by Daniel — July 27, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

  81. Hi,

    I too wish that I had read this blog before coming to Beijing. We got tea scammed today. Just Chinese tea and one coffee and some coconut drinks cost us 1200 CNY. They seemed rather friendly. My son gave a good tip that I can share. The café had only one table. And we all were seated there.

    They offered cigarette and also suggested Karaoke. Son walked out of the place at that point and was saved more hole in the wallet.

    Finally, wife and son had a big laugh at my expense.

    I have travelled a lot and spent a lot of time with impromptu friends. My first time to be scammed. Tip to everyone – Don’t lose faith in humankind because of these scamsters. You were the idiot like I was.

    Cheers,

    Comment by Amit — August 6, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

  82. Hello Amit,

    You are great by saying “Don’t lose faith in humankind because of these scamsters”.

    Comment by Daniel — August 7, 2013 @ 9:11 am

  83. Hubby and i got the tea scam. The woman was Very Good! Must be an actress. Said she was a teacher and wanted to practice her english. Bill for 2 sodas and 1 beer was 980 yuan. Husband refused to pay. The “poor teacher “had to pay the rest. She was almost in tears because she could not afford it. Great acting!

    Comment by sam wilson — August 13, 2013 @ 1:41 am

  84. We got the tea scam. But hubby refused to pay 980yuan for 1 beer and 2 cups tea. The “teacher” almost cried because she had to help pay the bill but she needed her money for bus. Great acting!!!! We paid 300 yuan just to get out of there.

    Also got approached with the student artist scam but we smelled a rat and said no thanks.

    Here’s another one… went for peking duck at quaduje. Arrived at 6 and was greated near the entrance where a lady said they were full. She then took us to a sister restaurant. We realized it was not a sister restaurant. As it turned out the food was good. But not the quaduje experience.

    Government should definitely step in to protect their tourism.

    Comment by sam wilson — August 13, 2013 @ 2:02 am

  85. Another scam that is not listed here is related to Quan Ju De (Hepingman Branch). We arrived for dinner at 6pm, but were greeted by a lady out front who told us the restaurant was full. She said they had another outlet down the street and she took us to it. When we got there, we realized that we had been “redirected”. Decided to go with the flow and we had a nice Peking duck, but will have to return another day to try Quan Ju De.

    Comment by Aletarw — August 17, 2013 @ 6:42 am

  86. I & my hubby will be travelling to Beijing in middle of September. I read all these blogs about scams happened to most of tourist. I was wondering whether I book a tour guide or use my own to explore the city.

    Thanks guys for all your comments about tourist scams in Beijing.

    Comment by christine — August 29, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

  87. Last night my friend and I went for Peking Duck. We were greeted outside by a friendly man who said the place was full. He chased us down on the street right after, said he spoke with his manager who booked us a table at another location. We were led away to a small restaurant and overpaid by about 150RMB. The food was actually OK but still a scam. It was executed so well, we didnt even notice and thats after having our guard up for tea scammers.

    Beijing is full of scam artists and the taxis around tourist sites are a complete nightmare. My one tip is to always agree to a price beforehand, and if someone tries to scam you, just make a scene and threaten to call the tourist police number. Good luck out there.

    Comment by Ryan — September 19, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

  88. I have two experiences to share.

    1st AVOID TOURISM COMPANIES, the ones who talk to you at street, promissing a great price to go meet Great Wall (for exemple), they will make you pay more inside the bus, will take you to the worse secction of the Great Wall, and prepare yourself for a long day stopping at market places, realy awful experience till my chinese girlfriend found a subway station and we run away. If you want sightseeing, get an legal one, from important sites.

    2. AIRPORT HOTEL, i smelled rat from begining but i was rly tired, at Beijing i arrived for wait my flight back to brazil, a young guy with China Air shirt approach and ask if i want go to Airport Hotel to rest a bit, i accepted. And of course the Hotel isnt AIRPORT Hotel, the guy ask TIP, the hotel is expensive for a couple hours, the shuttle who take you back to airport ask TIP too, but i paid no one because i keep playing with them, saying they tricked me.

    Anyway, china is great, but like evey place have theirs tourism traps. Just Pay attention, good luckk

    Comment by Ivan — October 21, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

  89. Hello Ivan,

    Much aprreciated! Very useful travel experience!. Thanks!

    Comment by Daniel — October 21, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

  90. Fell for the tea room scam in Beijing this Oct 2013, and lost 200 Yuan. But on the plus side, the 3 ladies were so good at their game, I feel like the 200 Yuan is worth for the first hand experience. Got Pproached in Shanghai again, but by then I had wizened up. Great blog, and just like a lot of others, I wish I had read up this blog before my visit rather than after. But that said, to experience the scam first hand was a great learning experience.

    Comment by JC — October 22, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

  91. I arranged for a seemingly simple tour to badaling, ming tomb and Olympic stadium – 400Mb for car, driver and guide, excluding entrance fees. When I got into the car, the guide told us we will drop by a pearl centre and jade shop. I refused, as i only had one objective – see the walls. But they insisted n expressed surprise that I was not aware that this is not a tour but a business trip. I expressed my anger that their manager had not told me anything abt side trips at all, and asked to get off the van at the nearest subway. I felt frustrated that I had wasted my time. When my family and I got off the van, there was no time for me to get to great walls. It was our last day in Beijing. That was one heck of a lesson.

    Comment by Julian — October 23, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

  92. My dad and i got ripped off by a guy who charged us for like 100 yuan for a few minutes journey. We were waiting for a taxi and this guy approached us and decided to gibe us a lift. We thought we can trust him. My dad paid him like 30 yuan but he wanted the remain 70. So after a argument. We decided to just leave the money and open the card door. When we about to open the door. He stepped on the gas. So my dad paid him another 50 and said thats all he had at that time. Then he decided to let us go. I was shaking. My adrenaline was rising like crazy. Remember always choose a taxi driver who installed meter thingy rather than a stranger.

    Comment by Imran — October 28, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

  93. i just got ripped off by this guys that was going to take me for a push bike ride. The agreed price was 40Y but before i even got to my destination, this bike pusher demanded 400Y (yeah, the laminated piece of paper everyone talks about with official logo of the chinese company). Anyway, before i realized what just happened, i was surrounded by a whole army of them that watch how this guy was screaming at me in chinese. hell if i knew what he was saying…. well, i played the silly card, open my wallet and gave him the last 100Y i had. lucky, this little old lady came out of her house and told them to let me go. Good to know that i’m alive and telling you all this story. they all look innocent but be careful with this scam type. Better to use cabs and the ones with the letter B in it.

    Comment by Carlos — November 2, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

  94. Tea scam charged my credit card CNY 9,950, they rubbed out the US currency amount. Was so obvious, so I refused to sign and went to the police. They tried to get me to give them cash and I said, “no, and when the police come we can discuss further”. This happened on a Saturday and they are saying the bank with the machine would credit on Monday….I just notified my credit card company. Needless to say, good lesson on importance to ask how much first. Do you think the bank with the machine was really contacted/legit? My feeling was it was to appease me and the police.

    Comment by CJ — November 2, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

  95. This is my story and it happened less than three weeks ago, on the last week of October 2013. Apologies for the length of my tale, but I want to detail every little trick these con artists use. I only hope that someone will read my story BEFORE going to China.

    It was my first trip to China, I have since left and am currently writing this post from Japan.
    On my second night in Beijing I left my hotel and took a night stroll in the popular and affluent shopping district of Wangfujin. Barely 5 minutes out on the streets and two young, beautiful, well-dressed Chinese women in their mid to late twenties or at the most early thirties (difficult to say with all the make-up) approached me. Or rather accosted me right there on the streets. They were really cool, really nice, spoke perfect english and looked the part. By the part I mean they looked like well to do women with a solid source of income. Designer clothes really classy fall collection (it was in October) nice handbags, high heel shoes and so on.
    They struck up a conversation with me right there at the traffic light, asking me where I was from, was it my first time in China? Business or pleasure? And so on (With hindsight I now know they were scoping their target).
    They seemed genuinely excited to be speaking english with a fellow english speaker and suggested we go for coffee and talk so that they could practice their english some more. They had told me they were finishing up their Masters in English at one of the local universities.

    Quite frankly I was excited too…Here I was, making two new friends, locals who spoke english and Mandarin and easy to the eye as well. What a great way to learn more about the culture, Beijing, China. I honestly didn’t find it odd that two well-dressed woman would boldly approach me like that, since on my previous days in Beijing and Hong Kong before that, I would be approached and photographed practically every hour on the street. You see I am black, and some people around these parts of the World find it odd/funny/surprising/exciting/disturbing to find themselves face to face with such a man as me. So I get approached a lot and street photo shoots are just part of my normal day. Back to the story, the two ladies were very talkative and actually fun to talk to as well. They suggested a coffee shop they knew but I suggested the Starbucks close by the hotel. They insisted it was already closed, they had walked past it minutes before meeting me. I thought that was odd ’cause it was only 9pm and last night they had closed after 10pm but whatever, I told myself. They suggested a place they knew just around the corner, and off we went, chitchatting about silly things. Literally less than 50 meters from where they first had stopped me was a rather dark alley with a neon sign saying “Japanese Restaurant”. Below that sign was a much smaller inconspicuous neon sign saying “the bar”. I only saw that smaller sign on my way out of the place when I was looking for landmarks thinking some triads types were gonna jump me and the police would have to be involved. “so we’re going to a Japanese restaurant” I asked, a bit uneasy about the sudden change of scenery away from the lights of the main street. “Yeah how cool is that right?” We then took a flight of stairs into some basement, I could hear some music, Bruno Mars was playing. It was a bar. Looking back, as a seasoned traveler I never should have gone into that basement, it felt dodgy, the whole scene felt wrong. A red district Bangkok type of dodgy bar in a basement, in a dark alley in one of the most affluent shopping district in Beijing? I was right. From the moment I stepped in and sat down, it all spiraled downhill.

    So we sat down, I was strategically sandwiched between the wall and the girls. no way out. In the bar, two other patrons only. They looked like regular. They looked like they had business in this bar. Two big guys, a bartender and a waitress. Within seconds and I mean seconds after we sat down the bartender dropped some cheap peanuts and other crappy snack (some seeds of sorts) on the table. Seconds later the waitress drops three glasses of wines on the table. Seconds after that and the bartender is back with some cheap tea and super small tea cups. The whole thing looked rehearsed, staged. Automatically then and there I told the girls I wouldn’t drink alcohol and I had to go back to the hotel. They could see I was tensing up. So they geared up their game to the next level. The conversation became sexually charged. They were laughing, drinking, and suggesting I should get a Chinese girl asap. The one was overly suggesting that we should bang in the bathroom of this bar. I was like ok maybe its a sex scam. The other girl took my cup of tea and drank it and gave me hers, no doubt she could see I was skeptical about ingesting the tea before her. I drank (sort of under pressure to remain polite) two of these mini cups. The tea tasted like sh%t but they assured me it was from the best leaves in China. Yeah whatever you say, 15 minutes later I was ready to go, I called for the bill and right there the two other guys stepped out of the bar and the mood changed.

    The bartender arrived and slapped me with a bill of 500$ US. At that time I knew what was up. I told the guy you must be kidding me. For two crappy 30ml cup of tea and some wine???
    “Sir the wine is from France and the tea is our best. He showed me a beautiful leather-bound covered menu with the silliest prices. One cup of tea 85 US dollars, one bottle of “French red wine” (no name) 1000 (one thousand) US dollars. Piece of crap snacks 100 US dollars and so on. A special “made for tourists” menu. Common in China.

    I refused to pay up, they all became quite animated, the mood had turned really hostile, the gloves were off. They were trying to intimidate me. The girls were insisting I pay up or else. I told the bartender I was never gonna pay for the wine I didn’t even ordered nor drank. After a long discussion he then agreed and said I should pay 200 dollars US for the 2 cups of tea. An iPod for 2 cups of warm water basically. No way. I told him all the RMB (yuan) I had on me was the equivalent of 40 US dollars and even that was too much for the tea. More commotion, arguments. I tried to leave they blocked my way. I was trapped at the table. They wanted my credit card to cover the expenses…I laughed and told them I don’t have any credit cards on me.

    Now it’s all turning aggressive. They want to check my wallet and I tell them that’s never gonna happen. Finally, tired of these shenanigans I pick up my phone and call the hotel. I explain my situation, my location and ask them to call the police immediately as I felt in danger. At that stage, the bartender called one of the girls aside and came back to the table stating “you’re free to go”. “Say what?” I said. You’re free to go, the girl paid for everything with her credit card, you’re free to go. No need for police, go now. I don’t want no trouble here, the girl paid up, go. Go now, no police.

    As I stood at the door at the bottom of the stairs it dawned on me that the two girls were waiting for me in the alley and the two other guys had left when the bill had been called. I took a deep breath and told myself that this is communist China, they can’t be armed, the police is feared and unforgiving in this country, they wouldn’t try anything stupid. As I emerged out of the basement into the seedy alley. The guys had split. The girls were still on to me with the scam talking about “we paid 500 US dollars pay us back now”. The one was intoxicated (she had 2 glasses of wine in 10 minutes). I told them to go f$%*k themselves and went about my way.

    Back in the hotel I googled Beijing scams and came across tens of testimonials of foreigners taken in for hundreds and even thousands of dollars by the “english practice ” scam or a variation of it. The tea ceremony scam, the art student scam, the karaoke bar scam. The traditional restaurant scam. I also read this website the night after I “escaped”.
    I counted myself lucky that night and remembered that the morning of the very same day two lovely girls in Tiananmen Square, one an english teacher and the other an english student were making small talk with me and invited me to a karaoke bar. I had refused as I was truly exhausted but took their numbers and promised to call them back the following day. I now thought “damn” they were on to me for all I have.

    From that day, every single day and night in Beijing and Shanghai, two different girls every night would call me to practice their english. I would toy with them before telling them to f_ off and they would know then that this guy knows what’s going on. Often I would see a foreign guy with a big smile on his face, a camera dangling on his shoulder and 2 girls walking by his side and would think “the circus is about to start”.

    I hope my story will help others. Always have a mobile with you and when stuck call the police or involve your hotel.

    Comment by Tam — November 15, 2013 @ 11:48 pm

  96. Hello Tam,

    Much appreciated for your detailed and instructive trip report on your experience with “English praticing girls”! Hopefully all the future foreign visitors, especially solo male travelers would read your story before visiting Beijing and other parts of China. Kind regards, Daniel.

    Comment by Daniel — November 16, 2013 @ 11:17 am

  97. One more reason for me to hate China.
    I’ve been fooled in the KTV scams by some people that seemed to look friendly.
    I called the police and they told me to show up tomorrow there. What type of police is that?!?!?!?!

    Comment by Luciana — November 27, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

  98. To be fair, Luciana, it’s rare that police will attend a “civil dispute” in Western countries either. You weren’t robbed or assaulted, which would obviously be a criminal case. Obviously it could be considered fraud, but perhaps you “agreed” to pay the ridiculous sum of money. Your word against theirs.

    I’m sure in reality, the circumstances would be obvious – that it was a fraud – but you can see why the cops might well have other priorities. It’d require the will of the local authorities to crack down on this kind of thing – like cracking down on window washers and shell games in our countries. Hopefully they’ll wake up to the harm to their tourist industry – I’m sure most people who get ripped off this way wouldn’t return unless they had to on business.

    Comment by Trix — December 1, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

  99. Still kind of shocked by the tea-cer scam, just few hours ago.

    I am really sad for all the people who trusted these scoundrels and got robbed or worse.

    I was talking a walk in wanfujin and enjoying my time in this otherwise nice part of the city, when suddenly a girl stopped me asking me where i was from and that she wanted to practise her english etc. and I said why not let’s take a walk together and we can have a nice chat since I did not have any particular plans except for, unfortunately, going to eat something.

    So she offered to come with me and have a cup of coffe (again, never mentioning tea). So I, with no other purpose than having a chat with a chinese girl and meet new people went there with her and she took me in a small tea house close to the “Xiaochijie”.

    The boss led us into a small and quite “creepy” traditional private tea-room. Then when I asked how much a plate of rice would cost (70 yuan) I was not hungry anymore and opted for a pot of jasmine tea (100 yuan, fair enough) then she kept being nice and polite even showing me all the pictures of her hometown. I stupidly already knew that in some part of big cities there were these kind of rip-offs but I would never imagine this would happen in Beijing. Later after drinking couple of cups of tea another “friend” of her came and she said that she had called her before asking her to join us for a cup of tea , nevertheless she never made such a call and did not text to anyone while she was chatting with me. (like, are you fucking kidding me?).

    So given the situation was getting really suspicious I suddenly stood up and said I had to leave cause I had an appointement somewhere else, than the boss came (randomly) and said she would bring the bill . It was 100 yuan so I said that we should split up so she got suddenly upset telling me that in China men always pay, so I told them I am not chinese and I don’t give a fuck but she said she did not have money so when I saw she had 50 Y bill I just took it out of her hand and gave to the boss (a middled-age woman) my 50 y (fair enough for a pot of tea) and her 50 y. She insulted me in chinese but given I’m studying chinese I understood and so we argued for a while when I finally got out of that bloody place. I also met her again on the streets and she started to insult me again, the point is: “do the people know what just happened?” No. So i could not do anything except moving on and keep walking down the boulevard. (and this is very frustrating).

    I know being naive is not a very good habit but sometime you feel you want to trust others and meet new people hoping they are as honest as you are, quite sad. People beware! As chinese people say: “知人知面不知心. “you may know a person’s face but not his mind”.

    Comment by F — December 9, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

  100. So I got Tea Scammed! I went to visit Tiennamen square and I’m alone and these two “tourist” Chinese women come up to me and start a conversation. The forbidden city area was closed so they offered to show me around another area. They take me to this little tea spot and into this kareoke room, but I’d been scammed before by the lady bar so I avoided that room. They said, oh it’s fine we can just go into a plain room if you don’t want to sing. Now mind you I’m thinking these two women have nothing to do with this spot but it all makes sense to me now. The bill came and it was 300 yuan! I was LIVID. They were like oh you’re not going to treat us? They’d been so nice and I felt pressured into it because I’m naive and thinking I guess… but I’m asking them to explain the bill and they give me some b.s. about each cup being 20 yuan and trying to explain it’s no big deal but I’m like maybe not to you!!! I’m SO glad I found this website. I knew something was fishy paying seventy dollars for three cups of a tea and a cup of coffee. I took it as a lesson not trust Chinese strangers. But I feel a lot better knowing that this is a common practice and judging from the other stories on here it seems as if I got off cheap. Afterwards walking with them they kept asking if I was okay and I told them hell no I’m not okay. I just spent seventy dollars. They kept saying I was a gentleman. If by gentleman they meant sucker. VERY clever hustle. I’m just glad I know better now.

    Comment by Justin — December 20, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

  101. 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 :)

    Comment by Elaine — December 29, 2013 @ 9:24 am

  102. 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.

    Comment by James P. — January 30, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

  103. 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 ..

    Comment by R Man — February 6, 2014 @ 2:17 am

  104. 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

    Comment by Daniel — February 6, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

  105. 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 $$.

    Comment by Jo — February 15, 2014 @ 9:15 pm

  106. Hello Jo,

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

    Comment by Daniel — February 15, 2014 @ 9:24 pm

  107. 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.

    Comment by Rich — April 28, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

  108. Hello Rich,

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

    Comment by Daniel — April 29, 2014 @ 7:59 am

  109. 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

    Comment by steve — May 8, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

  110. 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.

    Comment by Stephen — May 11, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

  111. 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

    Comment by Mug — May 19, 2014 @ 7:54 pm

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

    Comment by Roddy — May 29, 2014 @ 2:44 am

  113. 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!

    Comment by Akalan — June 21, 2014 @ 12:25 am

  114. 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.

    Comment by maia — June 25, 2014 @ 4:38 pm

  115. 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.

    Comment by Bill — July 8, 2014 @ 5:26 pm

  116. 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.

    Comment by Diane — August 11, 2014 @ 12:40 am

  117. 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

    Comment by Benson — August 27, 2014 @ 11:39 pm

  118. 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!

    Comment by Daniel — August 28, 2014 @ 3:29 am

  119. 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.

    Comment by Percy — August 30, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

  120. Hello Percy,

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

    Comment by Daniel — August 30, 2014 @ 11:51 pm

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