How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

April 16th, 2019
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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 Terracotta Warriors.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

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Plan your Xian tour? For many foreign visitors, visiting the excavated Terracotta Army is a must. These Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors were supposed to safeguard Chinese first emperor – Qin Shihuang in his afterlife.

He unified China in 221 BC for the first time in Chinese history and established Qin Dynasty (221–206 B.C.), thus starting China’s over 2000 years’ feudal society

You are kindly reminded that Qin Shihuang’s underground palace is still there and remains intact though some of the burial sites annexing to his mausoleum have been robbed.

Why his own burial site or his underground palace still intact? It is said that his tomb has solid and strict anti-gravedigging system including secret crossbows which may kill people once you are inside the tomb, and a large amount of mercury which will emit much toxic air within the tomb.

Now the entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum – One ticket for two sites. The two sites are 2 km apart connected by free shuttle buses.

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Located  2km east of Qin Shihuang Mausoleum, the Emperor’s afterlife army terracotta soldiers are only part of his mausoleum. These vivid over 2000-year-old soldiers of Terracotta Army were discovered March 24, 1974 by a group of local farmers when they were digging a well.

Now this site of Terracotta army has been turned into a world-famous attraction site, bombarded by tons of tourists visiting this museum. I’ve been to the Terracotta Army Museum for several times.

Below are some of the Terracotta Army travel tips for your reference if you are going to make your maiden trip to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum:

Tip#1: How to get from Xian Xianyang Airport to Terracotta Warriors (TCW)

1. Xian Airport to Lintong Special Bus.
At Xian Xianyang Airport, first take the Airport to Lintong Special Bus. Arriving at Lintong, then change for the local bus for Terracotta Warriors (TCW).
Departure time from Xian Airport: 10:30、12:30、15:30、17:30
Bus fare: 30 yuan ( excluding the local bus from Lintong to TCW)

2. Airport Shuttle Bus No.02
First take the airport bus no.02 from Xian Airport to Xian Railway Station. Upon arrival at Xian Railway Station, then you change for the special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to TCW.
Departure time from Xian Airport: half an hour per bus ( 08:00 – 21:00)
Bus fare: 26 yuan ( excluding the bus from Xian Railway Station to TCW)

3. By Taxi
Arriving at Xian Xianyang Airport, line up at the official taxi stand and take taxi for TCW:
Taxi Ride: about one hour and 66 km
Taxi fare: approx. 193 yuan, plus toll fee: 30 yuan

4. Private Transfer
Before getting to Xian Xianyang Airport, you can book a hassle-free private transfer from the airport to TCW. Check out Xian Car Rental with Driver for more information.

Tip#2: How to get from Xian Railway Station to TCW
It is very easy to find the special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum. If you stand facing Xian Railway Station, The Bus 5(306) parks at the parking lot on your right (or east side).

You don’t have to buy the bus ticket in advance. Just jump on the bus and later a bus guide will come to you and collect the money – RMB 7 per person.

Basic Information on the Bus
Bus Line: Tourism Bus 5 (306)
First Bus: 08:00; Last Bus 19:00
Departure Time: Leave when full.
Line Length: 42 Km
Drive Time: 0ne Hour
Bus Stops: Totally 12 stop on route
Bus Stop No.01: Xian Railway Station
Bus Stop No 08: Huanqing Hots pring
Bus Stop No 12: Terracotta Army

Be sure to get off at the last destination – Terracotta Army Museum since the Bus 5 (306) is scheduled to stop at several tourist attractions including Huaqing  Hot spring, Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum.

You don’t need to get off at these stops. The very last stop ( the 12th stop ) of this bus is the Terracotta Warriors. Just stay on the bus until you get to the last stop. Remember where you get off the bus terminal.

After finishing your visiting the museum, come to the same parking lot and take the exact bus No 5 (306) since there are some other “fake” bus 306 which eagerly push you to take their buses.

Tip#3: How to get from Xian North Railway Station to TCW
If you take high speed train to Xian, you will arrive at Xian North Railway Station.

First take Bus 266 from Xian North Railway Station to Xian Railway Station. Upon arrival at Xian Railway Station, then you change for the special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to TCW.

Bus 266 from Xian North Railway Station to Xian Railway Station: about 20 minutes per bus ( 08:00 – 21:00)
Bus fare: 2 yuan ( excluding the bus from Xian Railway Station to TCW)

There is a  luggage deposit office on the southern square outside the station.  20 yuan per piece. Please go to Information Center for more detailed information.

Tip#4: Basic information about Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum
Located 30km east of Xian, the Army of Terracotta Warriors are undoubtedly the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century. The museum is composed of three pits: Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3.

Pit 1 is most impressive and the highlight of the museum. Pits 2 and 3, though interesting, are not as impressive as the pit 1. If you don’t have sufficient time, PIT 2 and PIT 3 can be avoided.

The movie -360 degrees, the background film, is in English and very cool, which takes about 15 minutes long. It gives some background to what you see with your own eyes. It is worth the 15 minutes. The film ticket is included in your entrance fee.

Tip#5: Don’t expect too much from the Museum
Before you visit the terracotta warriors, if you have already read a lot and seen tons of pictures of the Army of Terracotta warriors, you may feel a little disappointed. So there is much hype which causes your visit to be a letdown.

Tip#06: Rent an audio guide? Hire a tour guide? or Using a guidebook?
How to visit the museum? You have three choices:
1) Rent an audio guide ( recorded guide ). You just pay RMB 40 an audio tour. The voice sounds like an American accent and it is easy to understand and informative.

2) Using a tour guide service. When you are going to buy your tickets at the ticketing office, tons of tour guides will come to you, eager to offer you the guide service.

If you haven’t done much homework before you came to Xian. You are advised to hire a local tour guide to guide or translate for you at the price of about RMB 100-150. You will get more knowledge than from a guidebook or the recordings. Just avoid the shopping sites your local guide may suggest you to go.

3) Using a guidebook to guide your tour in and around the museum.

Tip#7: Walking from Ticketing office to Entrance Gate
It takes 5-10 minutes walking from the ticketing office to the entrance gate. If you pay RMB 5, you take a small tram ride to the entrance gate. In my opinion, if you are in good shape, just avoid using the small tram.

Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

Tip#8: Exit from the museum
After you finish visiting the museum and leave for your bus terminal, or in a word, on the way back, you have to pass through an area with a lot of shops and restaurants. This obviously poses some pressure on you to buy some souvenirs or spend some money here.

If you are tender-hearted, and going to buy something to support China’s economy, please bargain!

Tip#9: Some Restaurants Rip off
There are many restaurants leading up to the museum. Some of them just rip you off. So take great care of your money!

Tip#10: Toilets in the museum are free
For the toilets outside the museum, you have to pay. But once you are inside the museum, you enjoy free toilets. They are the same squatting-style facility like everywhere else in china.

Tip#11: Take a taxi to the Museum
It takes about 160 RMB by taxi from the downtown Xian to Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors. Very often you have to bargain with your taxi driver.

Tip#12: Terracotta Army, not Qin Shihuang Mausoleum
If you take Bus 5(306) from Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum, don’t get off at Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum. Qin Shihuang’s Mausolem is not much worth visiting since it is just a mound, not excavated yet.

So don’t confuse Terracotta Army with Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum. The entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum.

A closer look at soldiers and horses

A closer look at soldiers and horses

Tip#13: Opening time and entrance fees
Ticket Selling Hours: 8:30 – 17:00 (March 16 – Nov 15)
8:30 – 16:30 (Nov 16 – March 15)
Time for ticket collecting: 8:30 – 18:00 (March 16 – Nov 15)
8:30 – 17:30 (Nov 16 – March 15)
Entrance Fee: RMB 150 (March 1-November 30); RMB 120 (December 1-the end of February)
The ticket also includes the entrance to Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum.

Note: There is a cap for the number of visitors ( limited to daily 65000 visitors ). But  basically  you won’t have any problem buying your tickets if you avoid visiting the site during National Holiday ( Oct 01 -07 ).

For booking the tickets online, you use the following two websites ( both in Chinese ):
1) http://piao.ctrip.com/ticket/dest/t1444.html
2) http://order.bmy.com.cn:88/ticket/index.htm

Tip#14 Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

The Terracotta Warriors Museum is open all year round – 365 days every year! Children under the height of 1.2m don’t have to pay.

06611Tip #15: Hassle-free Xian 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 Xian guided tours:

Xian City Day Tour from US$69
Xian Terracotta Warriors Day Tour A from US$85
Terracotta Army and Song of Everlasting Performance from US$135

Xian 2 Day Tour Package from US$170 p/p
Xian 3 Day Tour Package from US$235 p/p

Terracotta Army  Join-in Escorted Bus Tour RMB 480 p/p
Terracotta Army  Escorted Private Tour  US$ $125 P/P

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian
Tips for Visiting Xian City Wall
Tips for Visiting Shaanxi History Museum
Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower
How Visit Terracotta Army
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xian
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Best Time to Visit Xian

Any questions, just drop a line.

Tips for Visiting the Glass Sightseeing Platform in Pinggu Beijing

April 15th, 2019
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Dear Travelers,

We’d like to have the following quick guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Glass Sightseeing Platform in Pinggu, Beijing. If you have any questions or anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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Your Beijing tour definitely will include the bucket list of Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, the Great Wall of China and your list could be a bit longer if you stay in Beijing for a longer time.

Today we’d like to introduce to you the thrilling glass sightseeing platform, which is claimed to be the world’s largest glass hanger, hanging 32.8 metres out from the cliff with a jaw-dropping scenic view.

How to get to the huge cliff glass hanger? How to combine your exciting trip with the surrounding attractions on the day excursion for your long stay vacation in Beijing? We are glad to offer you some useful travel tips in this regard.

Tips
tips1. Brief Introduction to the Glass Sightseeing Platform
The glass sightseeing platform, billed as “Flying Disk/UFO”, opened to the public on April 30, 2016.

The glass platform hangs 32.8 metres out from the cliff, 11 meters longer than the Grand Canyon Skywalk inside the Grand Canyon National Park in the United States.

The glass platform hangs 32.8 metres out from the cliff,

It is claimed to be the largest sightseeing platform in the world.

The largest sightseeing platform in the world

The transparent sightseeing platform is 800 meters above sea level and 400 meters high from the bottom of the cliff, a thriller for visitors who want to experience the excitement walking in the sky.

400 meters high from the bottom of the cliff

Those who have acrophobia are not recommended to step on the transparent breathtaking glass floor.

Those who have acrophobia are not recommended

Statistics about the glass platform
Weight: 32o tons; Maximum Load: 150 tons; Maximum Capacity: 2000 people
Hanging Distance: 32 meters; Platform Diameter: 26 meters
Taking an area of 415 square meters

2. Safety
The sightseeing platform is constructed with titanium alloys, which are widely utilized in aeronautical and space fields, but first time for daily life until today in China.

The sightseeing platform is constructed with titanium alloys

The purpose of using titanium alloys to build this platform is to ensure the safety of all the visitors on the platform.

3. Location
The glass sightseeing platform is hung out from the cliff on the highest peak inside Shilin Gorge (Shilinxia Scenic Area) in Pinggu District, Beijing.

Entrance to Shilinxia Scenic Area

The Shilinxia Scenic Area (石林峡) is a good destination out of Beijing city center to touch the unique stone and rock formations in a 6-km long valley or gorge. “Shilinxia” literally means “stone forest gorge”.

Diaowo Village and Huangongyun Reservior seen from the glass platform

The gorge is located in Diaowo Village at Huangsongyu Township of Pinggu District, 100km east of Beijing city proper.

Besides its official name as “Shilinxia Scenic Area”, it also has several different names such as “Jingdong Stone Forest Gorge”, “Pinggu Stone Forest Gorge” and “Jingdong Stone Canyon”.

4. Entry Fees
Entrance Fee for Shilinxia Scenic Area : 78 RMB
Children under 1.2 meters are free of charge
Entry fee for the glass sightseeing platform inside Shilinxia Scenic Area : 40 RMB
Cable Car (one way): 100 RMB
Opening hours: 8:30 – 17:30 (closed in winter season)

The Huge Glass UFO PLatform

5. How to get up on to the platform
When arriving at Shixialin Scenic Area,  you have two ways to go up on to the glass platform – Walking up or taking the cable up.

Climb up or Cable up

It is over one and half hours’ strenuous walk from the valley bottom up to the platform. But even if you choose to take cable up, you still need to scramble up for about 20 minutes from the upper cable station before you get to the platform.

Even you use cable car service,  you still need to climb up for about 20 minutes before you reach the platform.

Even you use cable car service, you still need to climb up for about 20 minutes

6.  How to Get There
To get to the Shilinxia Scenic Area,you may take the public bus 852 ( Bus fare 16 yuan)) from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub for Pinggu District.

Arriving at Pinggu District Bus Terminal, then you change for the local bus No.25 ( Bus Fare 5 yuan ) for the Pinggu Stone Forest Gorge or Valley. Bus 25 is quite frequent. Total journey is around 2-2.5hr from Dongzhimen Transport hub.

The bus 25 keeps going the same direction where you come from with bus 852.  On the bus 25 you shouldn’t worry not to find the drop off 25. The bus takes a while to go there but at the end you will see when you have to get off.  You can pay the bus and it costs 5 yuan each person. You just have to drop the money into the box next the bus driver.

On the way back, just take the same 25 bus where you get off. To get off the bus you just have to pay attention when you are back in the city. You will see that and it’s the point where almost everybody leaves the bus. But you will recognize also where you have to get off when You see the “Chinese lanterns”  on the street light.

You may get off at stations no 7 and this is exactly where the bus hub is to take the bus no 852. If you miss to get off at stop 7 from bus 25 you shouldn’t worry. Just take the next, or the next after. The bus stops really often on that big street. But than of course you have to stay on that street to take the bus 852.Bu

Dongzhimen Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽) – Pinggu Bus Terminal  (平谷汽车站)
Bus No.852

First Bus: 6:30 am; Last Bus: 7:30 pm
Drive Time: 2 hours ( 19 stops )
Bus Fare: 16 yuan

Pinggu Bus Terminal  (平谷汽车站)- Pinggu Shilixia Scenic Area ( Glass Sightseeing Platform) 石林峡
Bus No.25

First Bus: 6:30 am; Last Bus: 7:30 pm
Drive Time: Half an hour ( 11 stops )
Bus Fare: 6 yuan

Check out Private Day Tour to Glass Sightseeing Platform.

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For self-drive, just drive along the Jingping Expressway and get off at Pinggu District and follow the road sign leading to the Shilingxia scenic Area.

7. The Surrounding Attractions in Pinggu, Beijing
As you know the gorge is located in Diaowo Village. The village itself is an interesting place to explore the suburban life in Beijing, having a bite of the local village food, drinking, barbecuing, fishing and more.

The Shilinxia Scenic Area is only 10km to the north of Jingdong Karst Cave, both of which are part of Pinggu Huangsongyu National Geopark. Many travelers would like to put the two attractions together on a day trip.

More attractions close to the glass sightseeing platform includes:
1) Flying Dragon Valley
2) Bolitai Great Wall
3) Jinhai Lake

8. Hassle-Free Private Tour to Visit the Glass Sightseeing Platform
If you don’t want go the daunting do-it-yourself-route and prefer an organized hassle-free private tour to visit the glass sightseeing platform, no worry and we have the following options:

Beijing Family Visit Springtime Day Tour
Beijing Family Visit Summer Day Tour
Beijing Family Visit Autumn Day Tour

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

April 12th, 2019
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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.