Archive for the ‘Tourist Traps in China’ Category

How to Make a Tourist Complaint in China

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
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 Plan your China tour? Generally speaking, Chinese people are kind and lenient to foreign visitors. But that doesn’t mean you are always safe and you can lower your vigilance while traveling in China. Like other countries in the world, tourist traps, scams or bad travel experiences also exit here in China.

If you have encountered cheating, forced shopping, fake products, bad experiences with a travel agency, or travel suppliers like flights, trains, scenic spots and hotels, and the list can be longer, you should make a tourist complaint to China Tourism Bureau or its branches in major cities where you are traveling.

According to the regulations made by China Tourism Bureau, A tourist is required to make a travel complaint within 90 days. When receiving travel complaints from tourists, tourism bureaus at all levels should handle these tourist complaints within five working days.

To make a tourist complaint in a faster way, you may make a travel complaint by calling the following tourism bureaus in China:

China Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 010-65275315

Four Municipal Cities in China
Beijing Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 010-85162288
Tianjin Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 022-28359093
Shanghai Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 021-64393615
Chongqing Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 023-63236016

Hebei Province
Chengde tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0314-2024548
Qinhuangdao tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0335-3661001

Inner Mongolia
Hohhot Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0471-4606517
Hulunbeier Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0470-8346071

Liaoning Province
Shengyang Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 024-22821999
Dalian Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0411-83769989

Jilin Province
Jilin Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0432-64805588

Heilongjiang Province
Haerbin Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0451-84664315

Jiangsu Province
Nanjing Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 025-52260123
Suzhou Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0512-65223377
Wuxi Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0510-85052599
Yangzhou Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0514-87325601
Zhenjiang Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0511-85237555

Zhejiang Province
Hangzhou Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0571-85171292
Shaoxing Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0575-80223031
Tiantai Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0576-83881002

Anhui Province
Huangshan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0559-2517464

Jiangxi Province
Jiujiang Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0792-8225571
Lushan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0792-8287906

Fujian Province
Fuhzou Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0591-83355312
Quanzhou Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0595-22162068
Xiamen Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0592-5318985
Longyan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0597-2336649
Wuyishan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0599-5250580

Shandong Province
Jinan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0531-88389888
Qufu Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number:  0537-4414789
Taian Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0538-8209949
Yantai Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0535-6246929
Weihai Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0631-5313294
Qingdao Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0532-85912000

Shanxi Province
Taiyuan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0351-5679006
Pingyao Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0354-5868113
Datong Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number:  0352-5137307


Henan Province

Zhengzhou Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0371-67181000
Luoyang Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0379-64310882
Kaifeng Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0378-3972220
 

Hubei Province
Wuhan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 027-82855773
 

Hunan Province
Changshan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0731-88666279
Zhangjiajie Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0744-8383173
Xiangxi Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0743-2198120
Hengshan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0734-8861041
 

Guangdong Province
Guangzhou Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 020-86666666
Zhongshan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0760-88811825
Shenzhen Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0755-2598681
Zhuhai Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0756-3366901
 

Hainan Province
Haikou Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0898-66250780
Sanya Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0898-88392211
 

Guangxi
Nanning Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0771-5516551
Guilin Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0773-2800318
Beihai Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0779-3060140
 

Sichuan Province
Chengdu Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 028-85482323
 

Guizhou Province
Guiyang Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0851-6515242
 

Yunnnan Province
Kunming Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0871-3164961
Dali Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0872-96927
Lijiang Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0888-96927
Deqin Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0887-8231527
Xishuangbanna Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0619-5126077


Shannxi Province

Xian Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 029-8763-0166
 

Gansu Province
Lanzhou Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0931-8847867
Wuwei Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0935-2220257
Zhangye Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0936-8222595
Jiuquan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0937-2614224
Jiayuguan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0937-6321626
 

Ningxia
Yinchuan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0951-6720638
 

Qinghai Province
Xining Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0971-6150597
 

Tibet
Lhasa Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0891-6150597
 

Xinjiang
Turpan Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0995-8523653
Hami Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0902-2251984
Aletai Tourism Bureau Complaint Phone Number: 0906-2122363
 

Further Readings


How to make a tourist complaint in Beijing
Top Tourist Scams in Beijing

Any questions, just drop a line.

Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
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Plan your Beijing tour? Most foreign travelers feel very safe when traveling in Beijing. But that doesn’t mean you should lower your vigilance on possible travel scams in Beijing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on taxi, please visit Beijing Taxi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.