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Warnings or Dangers
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Healthy and Safe Travel in China


Before setting out for the various fascinating destinations, foreign tourists may need first to get themselves informed of the various problems they may encouter in China. Here comes a more.



Warnings or Dangers


The following tips are contributed by travelers on the forum of


Counterfeit Money and removed door locks

Beijing | DEBRA123 | 2007-07-13 23:59:27 GMT-5


I was in Beijing less than one month ago. Prior to going I read these warnings/dangers and they were very helpful. However, nothing was ever mentioned about the amount of counterfeit money that is floating around! Beware! Luckily I lost only about $50.00 total in counterfeit bills - especially watch out for counterfeit 100RMB. Also, before you get into a taxi make sure that you can see the locks on the door! A cab driver locked me in his cab and I was trapped in the cab and couldn't get out because the locks had been removed from the back!!! Unbeknownst to me, counterfeit money was given to me as change at the Summer Palace and when I tried to pay the driver he said it was counterfeit and locked me in the cab - luckily I had other money with me that wasn't counterfeit!!! Like any other place...there are dishonest people in the world and China is no exception.


What I wish I knew before going to Jiuzhaigou (part 2)

Jiuzhaigou | CSHANSELLO | 2007-04-12 21:30:39 GMT-5


A few more tips...


7) Follow the wooden plank roads. When you follow the plank roads, you will see more of everything, and everything in this park is worth seeing.

8) If you only have one day, see the main valley, starting at the "virgin forests" and working your way down. There are more colored pools on this side of the park, and more places to walk.

9) Don't get stuck with what you don't want, because it will probably cost you dearly. We were at a restaurant, and ordered eggplant. I came back from the bathroom, and there is a pot of soup on the table. They said they gave us this since they were out of eggplant. Fortunately, I had already seen that the soup was 168 Yuan on the menu, and sent it back, ordering a cheaper dish.

10) This park is absolutely worth visiting. I couldn't believe how beautiful and unspoiled it was. If you want to see the natural beauty of China, this is the place to go!


What I wish I knew before going to Jiuzhaigou (part 1)

Jiuzhaigou | CSHANSELLO | 2007-04-12 21:29:07 GMT-5


1) Food and drink are not readily available in the park. Every bus stop has a toilet. I only found snacks and water in the village I visited and at the transfer station.

2) The services in the park are designed to work around the tour groups. If you want to do things apart from the crowd, it is more difficult. I didn't eat lunch during lunchtime, and went to the transfer station to try and get some food. Since I was there at the wrong time (3pm) all of the food and snack counters were closed. I couldn't even buy a bottle of water.

3) It takes between 1 1/2 - 2 hours to go between the park and the airport. My mother and I paid 300 yuan for a taxi. Our hotel set it up. It was worth the convenience.

4) The airplanes out of Jiuzhaigou are always late. We booked our tickets through a hostel in Chengdu. We were going to transfer at the Chengdu airport, and go straight back to Nanjing. She booked the tickets so that we would have a five-hour buffer between flights. It turned out that our plane to Chengdu was over four hours late, so we just made our plane to Nanjing. This happens often enough that the people at the hostel knew.

5) Buy: a tourist sketch map (3-5 Yuan), and the small book called "A Complete Tour Guide of Jiuzhaigou, A world of Fairy Tales" (29.80 Yuan). It is the most informative book I have bought in China.

6) I paid 280 Yuan per night for a decent 4 star hotel that was an 8 Yuan taxi ride from the gate (called the Kang Ba Noble Manor). Even this was a little high. Listed prices are never true, so haggle.


Smog and sweat

-General- | JOSE | 2007-04-01 20:33:24 GMT-5


Sep 2004. Chongqing. In spite of the beauties of the city, take care with the smog if you are dust sensitive. Also, it is very warm there and if you are going to walk around the city you must be prepared with light cotton clothes to overcome the climate.


Hotel spas and saunas

-General- | DICKNKY | 2007-02-18 23:40:55 GMT-5


No matter how many stars your hotel has if you use the sauna/spa you will be offered a massage, which is later redefined as sex massage. 3 or 4 firm "no thank yous" are required to make your lack of interest clear, but the next day you will be asked again.


Endangered Plant/Gonggashan

Sichuan | NAMELESSTAO | 2006-12-08 09:10:41 GMT-5


The vendors and guides on and around Hailuogou glacier sell a small plant. Its name is Cong Cao. The vendors usually keep it in a little box and the guides keep it in a cigarette box. It can be as long as a cigarette, but usually shorter and less thick. It has a thin skin of dark brown covering a lighter interior. Cong Cao sells for about 5 RMB dried and 20 RMB fresh.


Please don't buy it. It's sold under the pretext as being the best thing around for mountain sickness.


First of're not really that high at Hailuogou. Second of all, if you're with a tour, chances are you won't be up there that long anyway.

And lastly, it's expensive and it won't work if you already have a headache.

This plant only grows above 4000 meters. It has no leaves, no fruit and no seeds. It propagates underground. It looks like a piece of thick brown grass.


On Gonggashan, it's becoming scarce.


Watch your bag!

Xian | LOVESASIA82 | 2006-10-25 21:29:22 GMT-5


When you are on a bus or even walking down the street you need to keep your bag closed. If you have a purse make sure it has a long strap to hang across you and keep it to the front. If you use a backpack you may want to wear it with the bag in the front at times. It is a good idea to put a little bell on your zipper so when you stop to look at something you will hear if someone tries to open your bag. In Xi'an a popular area for pick pocketing is in the city center around the bell tower. The mall and high priced stores are here; put your bag in the front while walking in this area!


Nanjing Lu

Shanghai | DUNC | 2006-10-08 04:29:23 GMT-5


Guys, yes just you boys, I'm sure you're clued up on travel safety but I'll say this anyway...

......NANJING LU.......

Do NOT accept any invitation to a bar or coffee shop from young women, or even men nowadays, to help them with English, French or any language, study, thesis etc unless you want to pay anywhere between 500-3000RMB for the pleasure of a whisky!

It's not illegal as the prices are displayed, and the bar will deny all knowledge of your 'friends' association with them, they send in the heavies if you refuse, luckily as I'm in a relationship I never get approached but my colleague had 300 conned in this very way, and stories abound about many more cases! Be wise!


The most infamous cafe is above a jeweler’s shop.

Think about it, if they are genuine students they'll happily accept a Starbucks or McD coffee.


Tricks of Chongqing travel agency for Yangtze cruise boat (2)

Yangtze River | ALICEGAO | 2006-09-25 03:52:47 GMT-5


In the end, our cabin was smaller than your average Chinese toilet, dingy, dirty, smelly and either unpleasantly hot or cold. We were met with amazingly gruff and unfriendly (often bordering on rude) service, aggressive hawking of various wares, etc. We were provided with a "tour guide" who did nothing except show up and ask us to buy tickets. For the two times our tickets were included, she was nowhere to be found and we spent a good part of the time allotted for touring these boring sites looking for her. We were also made to buy a ticket (first priced at 120 kuai each, later "discounted" to the real price of 40 once we saw that written on the ticket itself) in order to simply go to the parts of the boat where one could see the surrounding scenery, and almost none of the tickets were included. We were asked to pay for almost every one of our stops, excepting two (which no one would really want to see anyway). The worst of which was the actual three gorges dam, where we were not told that our tickets weren't included and we got off the boat, went up in the lift, and suddenly saw our boat departing. We were then completely stuck; buy a ticket to tour the damned dam for 150 kuai or buy a bus ticket to where the boat would meet us for 30.


Long story short, you could say it about doing anything anywhere, but be really careful when you embark on a tour of the Three Gorges. At all costs avoid 重庆市纵横旅业有限公司 (Chongqing Zongheng Travel agency Ltd.), right near the train station!! Don't get ripped off like we did!


Tricks of Chongqing travel agency for Yangtze cruise boat (1)

Yangtze River | ALICEGAO | 2006-09-25 03:51:14 GMT-5


Be particularly alert when choosing a service if you're planning a tour of the three gorges area. We, despite our best efforts, were severely ripped off! We were shown luxurious, fantastic photos of first class cabins and after a week of lying low due to an unfortunate accident in which I was burned, we decided to shell out the extra cash for first class - about 1,500 kuai per ticket. We were assured our rooms were the rooms from the picture and all tickets and everything except food was included.



Guangzhou | TEKNOMED | 2006-08-19 02:06:37 GMT-5


Beware of little girls selling flowers along the embankment of the Pearl River especially at the entrance of the Pier where you join the Pearl River Cruise. They will cling onto your legs and won't let go until a ransom is paid.


IMPORTANT: credit cards and bankcards in China

-General- | GRIZ326 | 2006-07-13 12:33:47 GMT-5


I used my bank card one time in Beijing to get cash. The next day, my bank card was locked.


The bank told me the card was locked because of rampant identity theft and fraud in least that is their excuse... The truth is probably that most bank and credit cards ensure the user that they will not be liable for loss due to fraud but the bank is liable - so the banks are protecting themselves from losses.


If you alert your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans abroad, they will not/may not lock your credit card or bankcard.


The locking of my bank card forced me to take a cash advance from my credit card for the first time ever. You know you get clobbered with interest on cash advances!


If you notify the bank and credit card companies you may be able to avoid this inconvenience.


Tibet Cultural Tips II

Tibet | RUNNERMORE | 2006-07-11 18:31:23 GMT-5


Ask permission first before taking pictures of other people in the Barkhor areas. Sometimes they will ask you for money but most of time it is ok to give them a little gift.


Be cautious about dogs when you are walking in the local residential areas.


There are many WCs in Lhasa. You have to pay 0.2 Yuan entrance fee and 0.8 Yuan for tissue if you need one. There are many Shops for Showering in Lhasa. Price varies from 3 to 5 Yuan per person. There are many Internet Cafes around the Barkhor Areas. Price varies from 5 to 10 Yuan per room. If you are interested in collecting coins, you can find various patterns of coins of major countries exhibited in the Potala Palace.


Tibet Cultural Tips I

Tibet | RUNNERMORE | 2006-07-11 18:32:00 GMT-5


Due to few communications with the outside world, Tibet keeps its own strong culture and it is different from other parts of China. Here are some tips for tourists travelling in Tibet to h elp stay aware of some cultural differences: There are many old houses in eastern City with low roofs and doors, e.g. the Post Office at eastern end of South Barkhor Street. Take care not to hit your head when entering these houses. It is warm when walking on the street, but it would be cooler when staying in the shadow or in the house. Please bring with you a coat wherever you go. Walk clockwise around the Barkhor Street, especially during the rush hour of pilgrimage from 9 am to 6 pm. It’s impolite to enter some places near Jokhang Temple. Please ask permission with body language if they can’t understand English first before approaching.


No killing in the presence of Tibetan people, including a fly. There are many beggars in the street. If you decide to donate, look around first to avoid be surrounded by crowds of beggars later. If you don’t wish to give them a coin, just walk away and no one will complain. When you can’t get rid of them, say “Ming du”, which means “no” in Tibetan.



Shanghai | UXB69 | 2006-06-27 22:21:12 GMT-5


Re: ROCKYR dated 15 April 2006. Two Chinese girls saying they could walk with me, to practice their English, they said that they worked at an export company. Then they asked me for coffee, next thing whisky arrived. I left after one drink. The bill arrived for 1,500 yuan. Luckily I only had 300 on me. Beware who you have coffee with on Nanjing Road. I took a photo of that “respectable” shop.


Be aware Shanghai women at Nanjing road

Shanghai | ROCKYR | 2006-04-15 21:45:39 GMT-5


If they talk to you "Neehao", don’t talk or do any thing that will show you interest in them. Because they will make your trouble by inviting you to have a cup of coffee at the shop, the same one as the coffee shop at the 7th above the jewelry shop where they have a business relationship, then they will order whisky at a very expensive price and you will pay not less than 4000 RMB, for your first time on Nanjing road. And they will leave you at the end. I dont know why the Chinese police dont arrest those scoundrels.

Fake Money

-General- | CLN5509 | 2006-04-06 17:38:15 GMT-5


Look out for fake money every note 5CNY or higher should have a ribbon of metal, so you must hold the note to the light to see the ribbon it could look like a shadow on the note but it could also be false. And remember even when you are changing money at the hotel it's possible to get a fake note


What could be more innocent than students and tea?

Beijing | ANAINCHINA | 2006-04-05 06:47:11 GMT-5


Watch out for students who want to practice their English on Wangfujing area. I went to a tea shop with a young man who claimed to be an English student and wanted to practice (I'm a teacher). An hour & some tea & peanuts later, the waitress brought in a calculator and typed in our bill -- 560 kuai! I knew it was a scam the minute the waitress squeaked "dollar?" The young man was working for the teahouse; he would bring foreigners in so they could charge them outrageous amounts. I heard a similar story from some Aussies who were charged 800 RMB (about $100 US) to see a tea ceremony, again with English students.

I put 40 RMB on the table and walked out, despite the guy's protests that this bill would break his bank account. It was definitely a sketchy situation -- when has a waitress ever brought the bill on a calculator?

I've lived in China for a year and I love it here. Once you get past the belligerent yelling, most Chinese are lovely people. Just be careful -- if something seems suspicious, leave!


Be aware of people trying to get known to you.

Shanghai | ZDES | 2006-03-13 23:51:46 GMT-5


I have to confirm the "Go for a cup of coffee to get to know new friends" by GROOX. I've had similar experience, walking the Nanjing Rd. a young man started talking to me, saying he's from Japan, and had been living for 1 year in Shanghai... Ok we talked together and then he offered to go to a bar where young people, mostly students go. I resisted for a while but then decided to go. Well, I should be warned...we went into a bar off from the main Nanjing Rd.; nobody was there except few girls. We sit down and the girls immediately come to us. I tried to stop it but we had 3 beers and some refreshments for the girl... I said stop and asked the bill (the man that got me there got away saying he's paid for his beer). The bill was 374 Yuan within those 5 minutes we were in. I argued with the staff, however they started to surround me - really not feeling well, especially with my phone left in the hotel, so no chance to call the police or whoever. I argued it down to 100 for the 3 beers (of course the cheater didn't pay for it) and got away. I've been also solicited by several girls to go for a drink. However I was warned by GROOX's tip. After that, when another girl approached me again on Nanjing Rd., I told her I've just had bad experience of very expensive bar and she only said "Ooops" and turned away - so you can imagine yourself what it's all about.


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