Avoiding Traps

China is a vast country offering many sightseeing options for tourist. It is generally safe place for overseas visitors. However, there are some tourist scams you should be careful with for a perfect tour in China. Always be careful of what you do and with who you can trust to avoid kinds of tourist traps in China.

1. Super-cheap Tours

There are always many cheap tours offered when you are planning a tour in China or arriving in some city of China; a low-price itinerary will list more shopping places besides the usual sightseeing activities and force you to buy; and you don't have much time at the places that you may intended to visit.

2. Fake Antique – The real antiques are not for sale on the market and Chinese government does not allow antique dated before 1795AD for sale or export; if the seller claims it is real and true, with prices around several hundreds or thousands rmb, that’s definitely artifacts!

3. Fake Jewelry – There are some fake jade, ruby as well as Tibet arts accessories; Make sure you buy the wanted jewelry at reliable jewelry store, with useful methods to tell if it is real or fake; and most 80% Tibet type accessory are made of glass and iron, not of real beads and silver.

4. Black Taxis & Small Bus – It referrers to the illegal taxis or cars that can be found all over China. The driver will not only overcharge you, some will lead to some tourists’ shops or small destinations for bigger trap; some drivers are not skilled at all; Just take the official operated buses when in airport or around the attractions.

5. Student Scam – at some big tourist destinations in China, some young people, will pretend to be “art student” or “English study student” and approach you. They will try to selling some art craftworks at much higher prices then its original prices, or just lead you to some bars, cafes or teahouse with the excuse of learning English, to buy some drinks or coffee then ask you to pay at large amount of money!

6. Beggars – Some children will beg for money, sometimes even grabbing onto your legs until you give them; if you did give out money, you will be surrounded by a swarm of them. Just avoid those beggars especially child beggars.

7. Pickpockets – Always keep your eyes on the bags, cameras and other valuable belongings when you are in the city center, railway station or bus stations; some young men or ladies who will approach single tourist and steal something from her/him. A tour guide will be very helpful for night activity and thieves won’t target on tourists with local guide.

8. Burning Joysticks – If you visiting some temples, the guide or monks inside may persuade you to burn some joysticks to pray for god; notice that the minimum size joysticks is priced very low and sometimes free of charge; while at some temples, the hug joysticks may ranging from RMB100 to thousands, if you are persuaded to burn bigger joysticks. 

9. Vendors and Counterfeit Bills
If you wandering around the scenic spot, a tout will approach you and ask if you want to buy souvenirs; if you handed out big note, some vendors will probably give back fake notes. So just prepare some small change in rbm 10, 20 when you are travelling around.

10. Free Tour Guide
Free tour guide are found in tourist heavy area, like the bund of Shanghai, Western Street of Yangshuo, etc. They approach you and offer to be free tour guide; if you agree, they will lead you to some places and find the best way to get your money. You won’t see the true and real sights, and you will loss some money.


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