How to Visit Guangzhou in One Day

October 17th, 2018
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Plan your Guangzhou tour? If you are pressed for time and would like to visit Guangzhou in one day or just a few hours’ layover tour, my proposed highlight Guangzhou day tour will bring both the modern and ancient Guangzhou to you, which you can customized per your own request.

It will spread to you the vivid and true picture of Guangzhou – museum, temple,  vernacular buildings, modern architecture, walking streets, river banks, parks, church  and Zhujiang River night cruising.

Guangzhou’s public bus is daunting for first-time visitors and you are hard  to get a taxi in rush hours, so I suggest a combined use of subway and walking on this Guangzhou one day tour.

Subway lines can allow you to have the right directions for your destinations and they are fast and punctual. Walking makes you get closer to the inside of Guangzhou.

Guangzhou Mausoleum of Nanyue king
Address: 867 Jiefang North Rd, Yuexiu, Guangzhou

Leave your hotel around 8:00am and try o find your nearest metro station.  Take subway Line 2 ( or interchange from other subway lines ) and get off at the station of Yuexiu Park (越秀公园) and use Exit E.

Walking along the sideway to the north direction for about 5 minutes, you will see a vermilion building – Guangzhou Mausoleum of Nanyue King.

The selection of the museum as your first destination is not because how much it is fascinating, but because the tomb shows you the building of Guangzhou as a city started over 2200 years ago.

 Guangzhou Mausoleum of Nanyue king.

Guangzhou Mausoleum of Nanyue king.

You may skip the exhibition halls for the dull and dazzling statistics and pictures, go directly to the upper floor under the main exhibition building and go to see the burial site of the Nanyue King.

 

Buried 20 meters underground, the tomb is composed of over 700 huge stones and slabs carved with colorful murals.

A huge number of ancient artifacts , bronze ware and terra-cotta ware were discovered. The King was in the jade shroud with typical jade burial rite. In addition, 15 human sacrifices found in the tomb reflects the unique burial customs.

Temple of the Six Banyan Trees
87 Liurong Rd, Yuexiu, Guangzhou

Then walk along the sideway of Jiafang North Road (解放北路) to the south direction for about 15 minutes, then right  at the road of Bailing Road (百灵路).

Again turn left at the first T-junction and walk for about 5 minutes along Liurong Road (六榕路), you will see the entrance to Temple of the Six Banyan Trees ( Liurong Temple ).  The temple is well known for its lotus flower pagoda, the main structure of the temple built in 1097.

The entrance to Temple of the Six Banyan Trees with the two words “Six Banyan” above the gate.

The entracnce to Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

The entrance to Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

The Lotus Pagoda inside the Temple

The Lotus Pagoda in the Temple

The Lotus Pagoda in the Temple

Guangxiao Temple
109 Guangxiao Rd, Yuexiu, Guangzhou

After finishing your visit to the Temple of Six Banyan Trees, you walk along Liurong Road (六榕路) to the north direction and turn right at the T-junction and walk on Cangqian Road (仓前路) to the west direction.

Again come across a T-junction and turn left and walk on Haizhu North Road. Again come across a T-juntion and you turn right and walk on Jinhui Road (净慧路), soon you will see the Guangxiao Temple on your right side.

The entrance to Guangxiao Temple

The entrance to Guangxiao Temple

The entrance to Guangxiao Temple

The Guangxiao Temple is the largest monastery in Guangdong Province with the longest history and greatest influence.  It was originally the former palace of Prince Zhao Jiande, the grandson of King Zhao Tuo, the first king of Nanyue Kingdom in the Western Han Dynasty.

The monastery has an important position in Buddhist history as Huineng of the Zen Buddhist sect was a  monk here in the 7th century.

The grand Hall of Mahavira

The grand Hall of Mahavira

The grand Hall of Mahavira

 

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall
By the Chenjiaci Station of Subway Line 1

At the end of your glimpse of Guangxiao Temple,  you exit and walk to the south along Guangxiao Road ( 光孝路). Then come across Zhongshan Road (中山路), one of the main avenues in Guangzhou and take subway line 1 from the station of Ximenkou (西门口) to the west direction and get off at the next station of Chenjiaci ( 陈家祠) and use the Exit C.

The magnificent entrance or exterior of Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The magnificent entrance or exterior of Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The magnificent entrance or exterior of Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall was originally  built by the 72 Chen clans for the accommodation and preparation for the imperial examinations from Chen families in 1894 in Qing Dynasty.

Later it was turned to be the Chen Clan’s Industry College, and later middle schools afterward. Now it is home to the Guangdong Folk Art.  The Chen clan ancestral hall is famous for the ornate decoration which is presented inside and outside the halls.

A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving are seen on the walls,beams, columns, ridges and soon, a trove of Chinese folk arts.

A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving

 A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving

A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving

Xiguan Dawu ( Xiguan Old and Big Houses)
After your exploring the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall,  walk back to the subway line 1 and take the subway to the west and south direction and get off at the next stationof Changshou Road (长寿), and  use exit B and walk to the north along Baohua Road (宝华), then turn left and walk along Baoyuan Road (宝源路) to the west direction.

In 20 minutes, you will come across the north-south Longjin West Road (龙津西路). You turn right and walk to the north along Longji West Road and soon you will come across Longjin Birdge (龙津桥).  You stroll along the banks of Lizzhiwan River and start your Xiguan Old Houses tour.

Xiguan is a traditional geographical division of Guangzhou. It is situated in Liwan District, on the west of Guangzhou. Longjin Road (龙津路) is the center of old Guangzhou culture.

The big and old buildings were built in the past  100 years. people still live in their old house. These houses  are combination of eastern & western architecture  The houses all have the traditional Lingnan characteristics blended with western styles.

The old houses lie on the banks of Lizhiwan River.

The old houses lie on the banks of Lizhiwan River.

The old houses lie on the banks of Lizhiwan River.

The big and old houses were originally built in Qing Dynasty and the Republican Era of China with a history of over 100 years.

The big and old houses were originally built in Qing Dynasty and the Republican Era of China

The big and old houses were originally built in Qing Dynasty and the Republican Era of China

Dishifu Street  (第十甫)and Shangxiajiu Street (上下九街)
At the end of your glimpse of Xiguan Old Houses, you take  a taxi or walk to the most well known pedestrian streets Dishifu and Shangxiajiu streets which are flanked by the unique and historical architecture, blending the characteristics of European and Chinese styles. It has a group of old famous stores, some well-known restaurants.

Dishifu Pedestrian Street

Dishifu Pedestrian Street

Dishifu Pedestrian Street

 

Shamian Island

At the eastern tip of Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street,  you turn right and walk on the south direction along Renmin South Road, and soon you will get to Shamian Island.

Shamian Island, is a sandbank island in the Liwan District of Guangzhou city. The island’s name literally means “sandy surface” in Chinese. The island was sectioned into two concessions offered to France and the United Kingdom by the Qing government in the 19th century.

The island is home to a cluster of the architectures of colonial European period, with quiet pedestrian avenues flanked by trees and gardens. The island houses  several hotels,  restaurants and tourist shops selling curios and souvenirs.

Starbucks housed in an old European styled building

A Church  on the small island

A Church on the small island

A Church on the small island

The Cathedral of Sacred Heart

Out from Shamian Island, you just stroll along the Green Path along the northern bank of Zhujiang River to the east direction, soon you reach Renmin South Road ( 人民南路), then walking along Renmin South Road in the north direction and turn left at Yide Road ( 一德路).

When you see  a big signboard over the street with the two Chinese chinese characters ” 石室”,then you turn left and see the towering Church.

The Cathedral is a magnificent construction with walls and columns made of granite. It is well known both in the main land China,and oversea for its gothic architectural style and characteristic features of high towers, clusters of huge columns, pointed arches and stained glass windows.

It was founded 1863 and completed in 1888, date of the Feast of Sacred Heart which become the name of the Cathedral. It covers an area of some 2754 square meters, 35m west to east,78.69m high.

The Cathedral is a magnificent construction

Inside the Church

Inside the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral

Zhujiang River Night Cruising at Tianzi Wharf
Walk out of the church and back to Yide Road (一德路) and stroll to the east and soon come across the north-south Jiefang South Road (解放南路).  Walk along Jiefang South Road till its southern tip, then walk to the east along the green path of the northern bank of Zhujiang River.

Soon you will pass by Zhujiang Square and Zhujiang Bridge and you see a waterfront building – Tianzi Wharf.  The first boating will start at 6:40pm.

The cruise tickets include a buffet on the ship.  If it is too early, you may take stroll along the waterfront green path to appreciate the views of the river banks.Lightened Bridge

Lightened Bridge

Lightened Bridge

The colored Canton Tower

The colored Canton Tower

The colored Canton Tower

After enjoying the night view,  you may use the subway station of Line 1 by Jiiefang Road.

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

Guangzhou Half Day Tour  from US$75 p/p
Guangzhou Highlight Day Tour    from US$80  p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Guangzhou
How to Visit Guangzhou in One Day
Guangzhou Pearl River Night Cruises
How to Visit Chen Clan Ancestral Hall Guangzhou
How to Visit Mausoleum of the Nanyue King
How to Visit Kaiping Diaolou from Guangzhou

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to visit Beijing Wildlife Park

October 16th, 2018
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Traveling with your kids? To plan a Beijing kid tour, one of the children friendly things to do in Beijing is to visit a local zoo. Basically Beijing has three zoos – Beijing Zoo, Badaling Safari World and Beijing Wildlife Park.

Beijing Zoo is the oldest, originally built in 1906 and named Beijing Zoo in 1955. Though smallest in size of the three zoos, Beijing Zoo has the most animal species of over 500 with a total number of animals over 50,00. It is also the nearest to the city center of Beijing, close to Summer Palace. Beijing Zoo is well-known for its Panda House where you can meet giant pandas in a close range.

Beijing Badaling Safari World is the largest mountainous eco-zoo in China with a total area of 400 acres. It is located at the foot of Badaling Great Wall, about 90km northeast of Beijing. Beijing Badaling Safari World is divided into 5 parts – Wild Animal Viewing Area, Mountain and Forest Sightseeing Area, Eco-Protection Area, Ancient Cultural Area and Leisure Area. Among other animals, you can also see giant pandas here, the African lions, American white tigers, brown bears and more.

Beijing Wildlife Park is located in Daxing District, about 50km north of Beijing city center. Of the three zoos in Beijing, only Beijing Wildlife Park offers the safari ride in a safari-park area of the park. The park has over 200 animal species with a total number of over 10,000 animals.

Now follow me into Beijing Wildlife Park.

How to get there
For self-drive, you may drive from Yuquanying on to Jingkai Expressway and exit at the Exit of Yufa (榆垡), then driver another 40,00 meters southward, you will get to Beijing Wildlife Park on your right hand ( east side of the road). For taking public buses going there, you may have following three choices:

Opening Hours: 8:30 – 17:30 ( all year round)

Park Entrance Fee: CNY 80 (adult), CNY 50 (Students), CNY 55 (Senior, 65) and Free for Kids under 1.2 meters high

Bus 943: Starting from Yongdingmen (永定门), through Yuquanying and Huangcun to Beijing Wildlife Park.

Bus 842: Starting Baiyun Road (白云路), through Yuquanying and Daxing Huandao to Beijing Wildlife Park.

Daxing Bus 28: Starting from the subway stop of Tiangongyuan (天宫院) of Subway Line 4, directly to Beijing Wildlife Park.

Beijing Wildlife Park Contact information:
Tel: 010 96285360 (enquiry), 010-89216666 (ticketing)
Fax: 010 89290661

At 7:30am Now we are driving on Jingkai Expressway starting from Yuquanying. There is a signboard pointing to the direction to Beijing Wildlife Park.

We are getting off the expressway at the Toll Gate of Yufa.

We are getting off the expressway at the Toll Gate of Yufa

This is the entrance gate to Beijing Wildlife Park. The ticketing office is on the left side of the gate. 

This is the entrance gate to Beijing Wildlife Park.

The entrance gate faces west, when you enter the gate, on your right hand, you will see a huge park map signboard which tells visitors how to visit the park.

It introduces three ways of visiting Beijing Wildlife Park – South Route Area, North Route  Area and Middle Route Area. Most people would choose to walk from south and up to the north in a loop.

And seldom visitors will choose th middle way. There are some sightseeing trolleys available for those who are slow walkers.

a huge park map signboard which tells visitors how to visit the park

To begin your visit starting from the south way, you just walk on your right hand and follow the Sign.

South Route
Area
The South Route includes Golden Monkey House, Rare Animal House, Lion & bamboo House, Bird Lane, Ostrich Park, Animal Performance Area and Trucks for safari rides.

People are watching several jumping golden monkeys at the Golden Monkey Cage House

People are watching several jumping golden monkeys at the Golden Monkey Cage House

A mandrill inside the Rare Animal House. A chimpanzee is looking at us.

A chimpanzee is looking at us.

Patas Monkeys. Theses are lively animals. They look clever and kind to each others.

Patas Monkeys

A white cheeked gibbon

A white cheeked gibbon

Now let’s walk into Lion & Baboon House. A group of baboons living together, old and young, a happy family.

A group of baboons living together,

What are the lion couple thinking of? Want to return to the wild world.

What are the lion couple thinking of ?

A real tiger is looking at a man born in the year of tiger, feeling the mutual souls?

A real tiger is looking at a man born in the year of tiger

Ostrich Area is one of the highlights in the park. It is in a wide fenced area teemed with a quite few ostriches. You can buy the food to feed them.  It is first time for me to have a close look at ostriches. 

It is first time for me to have a close look at ostriches.

By the side of the open air animal performance theatre, there is a leisure place to for you take a break, eating fast food or have some drinks. 

there is a leisure place to for you take a break, eating fast food or have some drinks

The animal show stats 10:30 am and 2:30pm everyday or you’d better check the actual time for performance. The show is rather circus-oriented. A monkey is pedaling a little bike across a high bridge; bears keep balance; lions are jumping through hoops and elephants act in a smart way. We also see the bears walking about on their hind legs in a human fashion.

Elephants act in a smart way.

Elephants act in a smart way.

A bear is walking on two ropes in suspension.

A bear is walking on two ropes.

A monkey is riding a bike.

A monkey is riding a bike.

Lions are jumping through hoops

Lions are jumping through hoops

What are they doing? Fishing? No!

What are they doing. Fishing, No!

They are feeding the fish in the pond the same way as a baby is sucking a breast for milk, a kind of fish sucking food like a human baby sucking breasts for milk.

a kind of fish sucking food like a human baby sucking breasts for milk.

The final thing to do on the South Route  Area is Safari Ride, a mesh-enclosed truck ride for an extra RMB 20. The ride makes visitors to see the animals at a close range.
We are boarding a mesh-enclosed truck holding 20 people for a 15-minute drive. 

We are boarding a mesh-enclosed truck holding 20 people for 15-minute drive.

So we have to be caged in order to get a close look at the animals in the roaming area.

So we have to be caged in order to get a close look at the animals in the roaming area.

We are driven through the different spaces separated by double gates. We are also given a bucket of carrots to feed to some of the animals, The onboard tour guide is giving us a brief introduction to the animals in different sections.

A bear is eating a carrot offered by one of the visitors onboard.

A bear is eating a carrot offered by one of the vistors onboard.

Feeding a deer.

Feeding a deer.

Feeding wildebeests

Feeding wildebeests

A smiling wolf

A smiling wolf

A wild boar

A wild boar

At the end of the South Route Area, you will find very clean 3-star toilet.

At the end of the South Route Area, you will find very clean 3-star toilet.

North Route Area
The North Route Area include Waterfowl Lake, North Bird Woods, Kangaroo Park, Tropical Birds House, Pet Paradise for kids, toilet, clinic and police station.
A pintail couple

A pintail couple

A pair of white-fronted geese.  A black swan islet.

A black swan islet.

A couple of black swans

A couple of black swans

 

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

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

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

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

Further Readings


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

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

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing

October 15th, 2018
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Beijing. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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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.”

Latest feedback from Denis:
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Hi, you website is very helpful. I can share my experience about another scam:

We used an official taxi with the meter, so when the ride was over, we wanted to pay with 100 RMB, as we didn’t have any other bills. The taxi driver didn’t like the bill we gave to him and asked for another one. Then for another one and so on (every time giving back the previous one of course).

He was also friendly but insisted on the other bill and we couldn’t understand what’s wrong and what did he wanted, so we just kindly gave him different bills to try out. At some point we just decided to leave because it started to become annoying.

After some more negotiations he finally took one of our bills, gave us the change and left. The next day, when we tried to pay by cash at a grocery store it appeared that 4 of our bills are fake and I’m quite sure they were not fake before.

Not such a big amount for learning a new type of scam (I have forgotten already that there is such a thing as fake money on the streets) though.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on taxi, please visit Beijing Taxi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Tourist Scams:

Tourist scam on Chinese Medicine ( Feedback from christian Holscher )
There is a tourist scam where people pretend to be part of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. They pretend to be doctors and ‘diagnose’ an illness just by taking the pulse. Then, they sell very expensive pills which are most likely just herbal remedies.

The company does not give receipts for their sale, and no address or contact number was provided. They clearly do not pay tax. All what they give to the customer is a worthless certificate with no address. The real of this company can be found on the credit card receipt.

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

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

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

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

Further Readings


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

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

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.