Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing


dear travelers

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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!

Plan your Beijing tour七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上? 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:
七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上Hi, you website is very helpful. I can share my experience about another scam:

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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.


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
七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上 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.

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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.

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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.

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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!

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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.
七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上 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!

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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 
七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上 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:

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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!

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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.

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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.

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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.

七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上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.

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157 Responses to “Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing”

  1. Denis says:

    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 RNB, as we didn’t have any other bills. The taxi driver didn’t like the bill we gave to hime and asked for another one. Then for another one and so on (everytime giving back the previous one of course). He was also friendly but insisted on other 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 finaly took one of our bills, gave us change and left. The next day, when we tried to pay by cash at grocery store it appeared that 4 of our bills are fake and I’m quite sure they were not fake before.
    七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上 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.

  2. Daniel says:


    七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上thanks for your latest update! we have quoted what you have said in our article for the benefit of new visitors. much appreciated!

  3. Abe says:

    Unfortunately, I saw this article a bit too late…
    A similar version to the Tea scam: a couple approached me and started discussing. They were really nice and welcoming and said thatchy are also visiting Beijing. I asked about a local restaurant and they suggested to accompany me and recommend when we see one. Their excuse for approaching me was that they are learning English and would love to practice it. In hindsight I should have suspected them as they spoke had a good command of English, relatively to locals…
    Me, the always-believing-in-good, walked with them having a lovely discussion. Shortly after they “found” a local place. We shared a large bowl of noodles, tea and coke. as we began eating they asked me if I ever had Chinese wine. I said “no” so they called the smiling elderly lady who served us and shortly after I was offered some wine.
    to make a long story short(er), the bill came and showed 820 RMB… for a restaurant which serves a 20 RMB noodles this was very high. So I asked why and was shown a menu where the price off the wine was 800 RMB(!), probably a price of very high class wine in a great restaurant.
    I tried arguing about the different menu and ended up in having few large men popping out of nowhere threatening me. I decided to swallow my pride and not get to something to intimate with this bunch.

    i know that there are many scams, in many countries, but (as the staff in my upscale hotel testified) china is known for it.

    七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上my advice – do not make friends in the streets of beijing and don’t be tempted to go into places you do not choose yourself.

  4. bilbo78 says:

    Hi there, I was victim of a tea house scam in Beijing and I would like to share you my Story:
    I was at about 7 pm at Qianmen Station (line 2) when two women between 30 and 40 approached me and said they were english teachers. Well, seconds before their Approach i made a Photo of a nice hutong and by incident they were also on this photo. Well the ladies were rather ugly but very friendly and I thought Ok, lets practice English (I am German…). We walked a while but I felt strange and uncomfortable. They proposed to go into a tea house and to search for one. I believed they were teachers and also believed their search for a tea house. When we entered a dark alley with the tea shop (which had no brand Name etc.) I became nervous but the women calmed me down and knew how to deal with this. Well, in the tea house we talked a lot of boring stuff. Luckily I really urgently had to go to toilet, so after 20 min I had to leave. Before this, the bill was presented. I ordered only a small beer. And Paid 422 Euros!! I was a Little scared and only wanted to get out of that small private room and I thought they have their means to make me pay. So after visiting the toilet, I went ot Qianmen Station and then home. Luckily I have some chinese Friends who then contacted the Police. We walked around the hutong but I could not find the tea house. after 40 min I gave up the search and wandered through a narrow alley. Suddenly, a door opened and the tea house boss who cheated me came out. I was Walking directly before that tea house!! Unbelievable. So then we went 50 m from that tea house, called the Police and then we went in to the boss with the Police. By the way, Chinese Police is absolutely hardcore. I cannot recommend dealing with them. Well, I stayed from 5 pm till 10 pm at the Police Station to make a complaint agains the tea house. Since I had a E-Mail adress of one “english teacher” and photos and the exact time and everything is Video surveilled, those criminals could instantly be found. This was exciting, because the Police showed me older photose of the english teachers with different haircuts etc. Well my bank cannot pay back the 420 euros since I signed the receipt. But Maybe the Police here will force the tea house boss to pay. It was already proven that he has no License for this tea house and used a fake credit Card Reader. Oh well. But I must really say that the Police did not treat me very well but nevertheless recorded my answers to their Questions correctly. Those guys are really hardcore.

  5. Dr. David Greene says:

    thank you for the tips, have been planning for a trip and this article seems very helpful to me.

  6. carl says:

    the story by bilbo is common here in beijing the scams worked are many i.e tea shop, rickshaw rides,art gallery + jade. street food.etc.

    the main tourist places to beware are tiananimen sq and wangfujing walking street anywhere tourists go in large numbers. i have lived in beijing since 2012 and to be fair to the majority of chinese people i have not had any bad experiences whilst here.

    crime is very low in Beijing best to remember is this thing i was told when i arrived about china.
    the Chinese will not rob you physically but some will rob you financially.not all but some will do so.

    as westerners we tend to be polite people, so when somebody comes up to us, we stop normally and listen and talk. normal chinese keep walking and never stop for strangers. this is both our weakness + strength, many of these scammers know or think we are rich because we can afford to come to china so we are the cash cow targets.

    regarding the beijing police about any problems, well they tend to look after their fellow citizens first and will take their side . are the police corrupt in beijing not all but many are dodgy. many police have dealings with the black society here and are receiving bribes for looking the other way. so do not expect much help there.

    七乐彩预则最准专家今晚上all in all, beijing is a great place to visit, but just be aware of odd things and keep your wits about you. read the letters and scams in this website and you will be ok.

  7. Daniel says:

    dear carl,

    thanks for your time updating the information on beijing tourist scams! much appreciated!

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