Archive for the ‘China Travel’ Category

Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing

Monday, May 16th, 2022
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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!

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:
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.

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 2:  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 3: “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 4: 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 5: “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:Outside Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao

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 7: Scams at 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 8: Scams from Itinerant Tour Companies at Streets

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 9: Scams 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 Scam

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.

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go for self-guided tours and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Package
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Car Rental in Beijing
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
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 Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

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

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Chengde Taxi: Chengde Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones

Thursday, April 14th, 2022
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Chengde Taxi

Plan your Chengde tour? At the time of my writing, generally the present number of taxis in Chengde is fairly enough to meet the market demand.  So, it is relatively easy for you to hail a taxi on the streets in Chengde.

To rent a car with driver in Chengde, please check out the link:  Chengde Car Rental.

Taxi Models in Chengde

 The main types of taxi in Chengde are Elantra, Santana, and Suzuki.

Chengde Taxi Fares

● Flag down rate: the starting rate is 7.00 yuan, including 2 km;

● Rate per km: the fare for taxis below 1.4 L (including 1.4) is 1.4 yuan per taxi per km; Taxis above 1.4 L will be charged 1.8 yuan per vehicle per km;

● Waiting fare: every 5 minutes of waiting will be charged by 1 kilometer, less than 5 minutes will be free of waiting fee, more than 5 minutes less than 10 minutes will be charged by1 kilometer. More than 10 minutes less than 15 minutes will be charged by driving 2km, and so on.

● Night service charge: from 23:00 to 05:00 the next day, the rate will be 0.2 yuan added per vehicle kilometer.

● Empty driving charge: over 5 kilometers, 50% of the rate will be charged for each kilometer.

● Taxi through roads, Bridges, tunnels and other need to paid by passengers.

Chengde Taxi Company Bookings

If you need to book a taxi, please make the call as following:
Tel: 0314-2160073; 2082937

Hailing a Taxi in Chengde

The best places to hail a taxi is near the Station, Scenic Spots, Hotel.

It is very easy to hail a taxi on the streets. People prefer to hail a taxi near a bus stop instead of those taxi stands.

Chengde Taxi rider’s rights

As a taxi rider, you have the rights below:
Direct drive to your destination and no compulsory car pooling
Go to any destination in and beyond Chengde
Your car driver knows the streets in Chengde and the way to major destinations in Chengde;
Your driver should know and abide by all traffic laws;
Air-conditioning on demand;
A radio-free trip;
No Smoking
A clean passenger seat area;
A clean trunk
A driver uses the horn only when necessary to warn of danger;
No Tipping

Chengde Taxi Stands

There are no particular taxi stands in Chengde. People just hail a taxi anywhere it is safe.

Chengde Taxi Complaints

If you have any problem with a taxi in Chengde, pleas contace the following:

0314-2162222; 0314-2160073

Chengde Taxi Useful Information

Using a meter instead of bargaining with the cab driver
Refusing a forced pooling taxi

Downtown-The Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples: RMB10

Chengde Train Station to your downtown Hotel in Chengde RMB 10 -15

Chengde-Beijing: RMB800-900

Tip:  Hassle-free Chengde 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 Chengde:

Chengde tour
Chengde One Day Tour
Chengde 2 Day Private Tour Package with hotel
Chengde Car Rental with Driver

Beijing Chengde One Day Tour By High Speed Train
Beijing Chengde 2 Day Tour by Train
Beijing Chengde 2 Day Tour By Car or Van
Beijing Chengde One Day Tour by car or van

Further Readings

Best Time to Visit Chengde
Top 10 Attractions in Chengde
How to Visit Chengde in One Day
Chengde Outdoor Winter Activities
Best Travel Options Between Beijing and Chengde
Chengde Taxi: Chengde Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones

Any questions, just drop a line.

Tianjin Taxis: Tianjin Taxi Fares, Tips and Phone

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Plan your Tianjin Tour?  Basically it is convenient to travel around Tianjin by taxi.

If you are going to catch flight or train, upfront booking is highly recommended. If you want to rent a car with driver to travel around Dalian, you may check out the link: Tianjin Car Rental.

Tianjian Current Taxi Models

There are a number of different types of taxis in Tianjin.

Major Types: Weizhi sedan, Corolla, Sonata, Jetta,Charade, Sagitar, Elantra, Red Flag,  Passat…

Taxis are waiting at Tianjin Binhai International Airport.

Taxi Fares

Two kinds of Taxi Fares

First Kind ( for taxis below 1.6L)
• RMB 11 just for getting in and within3 km
• RMB 2.2 for each additional km

Second Kind ( for taxis above 1.8L)
• RMB 13 just for getting in and within 3km
• RMB 2.5 for each additional km

The following are for all models of taxis:
•1 km charged for each 3 minutes stopped in traffic
• After over 10 kilometers, 50% of the total fare added as surcharge for return trip
• No extra charge for night drive
• No tipping.

Taxi Call in Tianjin

Tel:022- 95128

Hailing a Taxi in Tianjin

Hailing a taxi is very easy in Tianjin.  Stepping off the curb and holding out your arm.
•When just the front is lit, the cab is available.
•When no lights are lit, the cab is occupied.

Tianjin Taxi Riders’ rights

As a taxi rider, you have the right to:
Direct the destination and route used;
Travel to any destination in and beyond Tianjin;
A driver should know the streets in Tianjin and the way to major destinations in Tianjin;
A driver knows and abide by all traffic laws;
Air-conditioning on demand;
A radio-free trip;
No Smoking
A clean passenger seat area;
A clean trunk
A driver uses the horn only when necessary to warn of danger;
No Tipping

Taxi Stands

There are over 200 hundred taxi stands in Tianjin. Taxi stands are located at major transit hubs, hotels, office and retail centers and hospitals throughout Tianjin.

But these are not enough for people to take taxis. So very often you have to hail a taxi from a non-taxi stand.

Tianjin Taxi Complaints

If you ever have any problems with a Tianjin Taxi, contact the following:

Tianjin Passenger Traffic Management & Supervision Office:
Tel:022-23549000
Address: Pingshandao No.02, Hexi District Tianjin  Zip Code: 300074

Kindly reminder:
Before you make any complaints, be sure to provide such information as time, place, license plate number, invoice etc.

Taxi Useful Information

•A maximum of four passengers a taxi;
•4 passenger limit.
•It is always more difficult to get a cab when it’s raining or during peak hours.
•If you want to call for a ride (rather than hail a cab) you will need to contact a taxi company in advance.

Estimated taxi fares for the often used taxi service

Tianjin – Tianjin Cruise Port: Approx. RMB 180
Tianjin Airport – Downtown: Approx.RMB 60
Tianjin – Beijing: Approx. RMB 600 – 800

Tip:  Hassle-free Tianjin 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 Tianjin guided tours:

Tianjin Tour
Tianjin One Day Highlight Tour
Tianjin Huangyaguan Great Wall Tour
Tianjin Day Tour from Tianjin Port
Huangyaguan Great Wall Day Trip from Tianjin Port
Beijing Tianjin Round Trip Day Tour by Car or Van
Beijing Tianjin Round Trip Day Tour by Bullet Train
Tianjin 2 Day Highlight Tour
Tianjin Car Rental

Further Readings

Best time to visit Tianjin
Tianjin Cruise Port
Tianjin Cruise Terminal
Tanggu Taxi: Tanggu Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Beijing Tianjin expressway road trip
Tianjin Cruise Port Transfer
Tianjin Sightseeing
Top Things to Do Tianjin
Beijing Tianjin Tour
Home Port of Tianjin Port International Cruise
Xingang Coach Transfer
Xingang Port
Tianjin Port
Tianjin Port Map
Tanggu Railway Station
Tianjin Railway Station
Beijing South Railway Station
Tianjin Airport
Binhai New District

Boating on Haihe River
Dongjiang Bay Beach
Tianjin Beitang Ancient Town
Dynasty Wine and Chateau Dynasty

Any questions, just drop a line.