The following tips were contributed by forum users at travelchinaguide.com on ways to avoid tourist traps. The information is based on users’ personal experiences and opinions and should not be regarded as official advice.
Great Wall - Badaling
Beijing | JOHNNYW | 2007-05-24 05:25:15 GMT-5
If you plan to see the Great Wall, don't bother visiting Badaling, near Beijing. It was a real let down. Very busy and so well 'restored' it looked brand new. You spend an hour climbing to the top tower to see a bad gift shop and enormous billboards on the mountainsides.
Don't Buy Electronics
Beijing | EEUREKA | 2007-01-05 22:56:53 GMT-5
While I was in Beijing I went to the Silk Market a few times to go shopping. Some people I was traveling with found "a great deal" on iPods. The vendor said they were 4g, and even turned them on to let us try them out. Two of my friends ended up buying them, but when we took them back to our hostel and charged them up we found that they were a complete scam. They only held about 1 CD worth of music and also had problems charging and keeping their battery life.
The No. 2 Traveling Bus
Beijing | CHINACHICK | 2005-5-29 17:53:17 GMT-5
I had some friends coming to visit me so I thought I'd take them to the Great Wall. The No. 2 Travelling Bus also included the Ming Tombs, which my friend wanted to visit. We arrived at the bus stop (near the main Beijing Railway Station) and chose the 'luxurious' bus for a 50 yuan round trip. At 9.30am we all chugged away on our sixteen-seat minibus to the sound of our guide giving a loud history of Beijing on a microphone.
Our first destination was a desolate area with no one in sight. Everyone paid their 45 yuan entrance fee and marched in. We first refused to pay as we had no idea what was behind the tall locked gates, but after 10 minutes we paid the 'shark' and went in. We were presented with an English-speaking guide, who deserted us after a few minutes because she didn’t, as it turns out, speak any English at all!
We did eventually make it to the Wall, but four hours after stopping at a dried fruit wholesale store, an uninteresting part of the Ming Tombs, a highly overpriced canteen, and a jade factory.
Also, it is a good idea to take your own snack food. The canteen food looked awful so we refused to pay 20 yuan to eat there, thinking we would wait for the Great Wall and buy a snack there. Of course, they took us to a part of the Wall that very few tourists visit, so there was only one shop selling crisps, and that was our lunch!
Xi'an | BETHANYBETHANY | 2006-11-30 01:15:54 GMT-5
Do not buy things at Shuyuan Gate. Most things are fake and much more expensive than the real value.
Xi'an | BETHANYBETHANY | 2006-11-29 22:12:39 GMT-5
Do remember to take public buses when traveling. There are many private buses to scenic spots, but these buses are more expensive and sometimes they will shift you to another bus or dump you before you get to your destination. It is also dangerous because these buses may not be in good condition and the bus drivers are not always skilled.
Small Buses to Hua Shan
Xi'an | CLARENCE | 2005-12-22 03:26:53 GMT-5
These small buses will not go if they are not full. I waited from 8am in the morning till 11am and they still refused to go because it's winter and the people going to Hua Shan are few.
-General- | KEVINWARDCFC | 2006-06-18 02:06:28 GMT-5
When you arrive at a tourist destination in the late evening, you may be accosted by young men waving and offering business cards, with photos of scantily clad ladies who are in the flesh trade. Those foolish enough to fix their eyes on the card will notice - too late, alas - that their bag or pocket has been violated and lightened. Beware of these young men and also of the ladies in whose interests they ply their trade.
Whopping Entry Fee
Jiujiang | KEVINWARDCFC | 2006-06-14 11:17:39 GMT-5
Not far from Jiujiang there is a quaint resort called Guling in the Lushan Mountains. It was the summer get-away for people as far away as Wuhan in the last century. It still is a lovely summer resort, but they charged me an exorbitant 135 yuan to enter. I feel this is out of proportion to what is on offer inside.
Double Fare for Foreigners
Ningxia | LEMONCACTUS | 2006-05-14 00:34:12 GMT-5
I had such an incredible time in Ningxia that this one bad experience really is very small, but I feel it's worth telling.
At the bus station in Gu Yuan I was charged double fare for my bus ticket to Yinchuan. My friend paid 70 RMB and I was required to pay 140 RMB... simply because I am a foreigner. On my ticket was the symbol 外 (wai) for foreigner.
Fortunately my friend was as annoyed by this as I was and kindly argued my case for a considerable amount of time with the manager, who eventually refunded me 70 RMB.
Beware the massage parlor!
Baotou | BRIDGET | 2006-01-09 09:38:36 GMT-5
My friends and I decided to visit a new spa/massage parlor that opened in Baotou. Without the need for an interpreter we arrived at this price: full-body Chinese massage, 50 yuan for 1 hour. It was a bit expensive, but it's a new place, and everything is beautiful, so we decided to do it.
They took us 3 girls up to a room with 3 beds, we changed into the "pajamas" that they gave us, and awaited the masseuse. The massage was terrific. After it was done, we changed again and went downstairs to pay. They told us it would be an extra 60 yuan each for the use of the massage room! That was completely ridiculous, as they never mentioned this at all at the beginning.
After talking at length, we got them to remove the room use charge, and we paid our money and left. I don't think this is a normal charge when getting a massage. Of course you must be in a room. You cannot do it in the lobby! Why would they try to make you pay extra for the room? We will never go there again!
Don't trust "new friends" in cafes
Shanghai | GROOX | 2005-7-26 15:19:42 GMT-5
My first week in China, walking down Nanjing Road, a girl asked me if I wanted to go for a cup of coffee. She said she wanted to study English in the autumn and maybe we could exchange a bit. She brought me through a jewelry store to an upper floor and into a café.
She talked to the waiters, and they denied giving us a table at the window. Then I looked at the menu and saw it was incredibly expensive. I ordered just a small beer (because it was cheaper than coffee) for 80 RMB. They brought fruits and 2-3 drinks for the girl (within 3 minutes).
When I asked for the bill it was 750 RMB! Suddenly the girl was telling me she didn’t know when she ordered, and of course she had no money and I had to pay. Three waiters surrounded me until I paid the bill.
The most expensive beer I ever have been for.