Tour Scams, Beijing

58 Reviews

  • Tour Scams
    by varky
  • In the briefing room
    In the briefing room
    by CharissaO
  • You could see this when you enter the shop
    You could see this when you enter the...
    by CharissaO

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  • Strolch's Profile Photo

    Watch out for Mr Ma

    by Strolch Written Aug 29, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There was a partuclar person who has a number of people handing out his business cards around Beijing and close to Tien an Min Square. His name is.. Mr Ma !!! if you pick up his nasty business card then I suggest you burn it then and there! He put whole bunch of us together with some other tourists from a completely different hotel, He promised us both exactly what we wanted, stuck us in shared mini vans and sent us off to Simatai. When we were half way out there the drivers complain that they couldn't go to certain places and wanted more money and so on because now Mr Ma wasn't going to pay them anymore and it just never ended. We got a bit of what we wanted in the end but we were ripped off.

    Unique Suggestions: Whatever you do, if you arrange something through this man or someone similar, ONLY pay them on return!!!

    Fun Alternatives: I suggest that you use the slightly more expensive yet reliable option of touring through your hotel, or through someone else's hotel. We would have done this but they were sold out in seats for the day we wanted. Avoid Taxi's and private individual, a promise means nothing!

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  • bermanv's Profile Photo

    Underground Palace - Avoid at All Costs!

    by bermanv Updated Jun 26, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We took a tour bus to Badaling Great Wall and Ming Tombs; on its way back it stopped near the underground "palace" park. For some 60 yuan you get to for a couple of miles, then you are searched with metal detectors like in an airport, then you go down about 6 or 7 storey to see... nothing really! There are two or three halls with one or two (not so interesting) exhibits each. Then you go up.

    People who organized it - great sense of humor :-( .

    Unique Suggestions: Pack some drinking water. But better don't go there.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Souvenir Sellers

    by keeweechic Updated Jun 15, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At most of the tourist sights you will find the usual souvenir sellers. When buying t'shirts, makes sure you get the size you ask for and not find out afterwards like I did that I got an XL instead of a Small. Mine is now a nightshirt.

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  • geekgrrl's Profile Photo

    Tong Ren Tang Pharmacy

    by geekgrrl Written Jun 12, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This was founded in 1669 and appointed to be a pharmacy for the royal kingsmen in Qing Dynasty in 1861. We were taken upstairs to a 'consulting' room with 6 hard wood chairs. A 'technician' gave us tea and explained Chinese medicine to us. Then an old doctor came in with an interpreter. He took my pulse points and recommended two kinds of medicine. When I declined to buy this rather expensive medicine, he looked disgusted and left.

    Unique Suggestions: Even though this was a tourist trap, I found it rather interesting. The experience of having someone take my pulse points, seeing the inside of this old pharmacy was an experience in itself. So if you tour guide takes you here, relax and enjoy.

    On the wall of the consultation room
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Family Travel

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  • kdoc13's Profile Photo

    China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

    by kdoc13 Written May 12, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The tour I took made a quick and unscheduled stop on the way back from the Ming tombs. Every tour takes you someplace as part of a paid advertising thing. Most of the time it is "the Marco Polo store" where you have lunch and do a little shopping. That I am ok with.

    this trip was different. We stopped by the China Academy of Traditional Cinese Medicine, Imperial Family Expert Clinic and Tong Ren Tang Pharmacy. We were taken down a long hall and shown into a little room where we were given an explanation of traditional chinese medicine. Then we were taken to another room where a guy tapped on our wrists and looked deep into my eyes and told me that I drank too much and had a bad liver.

    Soon, I was prescribed two bottles of little pills that looked like peppercorns or rabit raisins, and bearing the taste of an equivalent of the later. Not being a big drinker, an occasional beer when I eat Korean food, I was a bit skeptical.

    I was soon given 2 bottles and told that this clinic had been the one to serve all the leaders of China, including Mao, and that it would be an insult not to buy them. I was soon out 20 bucks. My friend came out and amazingly enough had the exact same liver problems. Funny, he never drinks.

    Unique Suggestions: If you get stuck going there, just try to hide out in the hall, or politely decline the examination when offered. That will save you a world of trouble later on.

    Fun Alternatives: Most of the time, the driver for the tours hangs out in the bus. Tell the tour guide that your legs are hurting and you would like to just sit in the bus and rest. Or if possible, politely tell them you are not interested and move on.

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  • althaus's Profile Photo

    Chinese Medicine

    by althaus Written Apr 30, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There was this tour near the Ming Tombs, where the tour leader will bring us to a so called 'Chinese Medicine Research Centre' and when u step in there will be pictures of famous Chinese Scientists/Physicians and 2 very old Physician will check your pulse and recommend you some traditional cures. These are fakes and they are expensive so DO NOT get cheated. If you want to get good real traditional Chinese Medicine it is best to get it in Chinese Medicine Hall in Hongkong or Taiwan

    Unique Suggestions: Just listen to the introduction of Chinese medicine and the names of the herbs to cure these ailments and allow them to check your pulse and diagnose any ailments for free. After all Chinese herbs are really effective if they are original.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Seniors

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  • tomks's Profile Photo

    Crazy Megaphone Lady in Minibus!

    by tomks Written Jun 25, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The buses from Tiananmen Square to The Great Wall are terrible! Our guide didn't speak a word of English, so she didn't understand our request to stop using a megaphone in our 16-seat bus. Lucky we didn't sit at the front, as the guide kept shouting in Chinese on a very lo-o-ong trip out to the crowded Badaling section of the wall. Lucky we stopped at a jewellery factory on the way, just in case we felt like paying premium price for average quality jewellery. Then, when we returned to Beijing, we were dropped off in a busy intersection without a clue of where we were. Great!

    Fun Alternatives: Don't get me wrong: The Great Wall is an amazing sight. Just find a better way of getting there, it can't get much worse than this.

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  • Gard's Profile Photo

    Market on the way

    by Gard Written Apr 20, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After being on the great wall we were on our way back when our guide Judy asked if we wanted to go to the pearl market because it was on the way. It turned out that the market wasn’t really on the way and it was not the market that we thought it was. It was a shop that only sold things made from pearls. When we got there we were more or less the only guests in the store but about 15 clerks that were just waiting to sell us stuff. So we walked around for like 5 minutes before we left. I guess Dragon Bus tours get some money from the store by bringing people over like this and we have experienced the same in guided tours in Thailand. But it makes us feel a bit uncomfortable.

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  • CLOUD282's Profile Photo

    1. Many private tourist guide...

    by CLOUD282 Written Sep 8, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1. Many private tourist guide will approach you when you tour around a site-seeing spot. They will offer you a cheap price to go to Great Wall or other spots with a driver and a bilingual translator. Almost 100% these tour guides will deceive you by driving you to a place for lunch with hundreds RMB and ask you go visit some places for shopping. Trust the price list in the hotel where you stay. They just overcharge you with a reasonable price but they are honest.

    2. DO NOT attempt to TOUCH the soveniors in any shop if you are not SURE you will buy. Because once you touch it, you will find something will fall down from the stuff and you are asked to compensate for it.

    3. Remember to bargain. The price quoted always 40% of the price you need to pay in substance.

    ** Even I am a Chinese, I should admit that we are cunning businessmen. Many people are friendly. But you should be very careful.

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  • bokononist's Profile Photo

    A lot of Beijingers will tell...

    by bokononist Written Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A lot of Beijingers will tell you to check out Xiangshan (fragrant mountain). Skip it. I'm not so sure what the big attraction is but it's basically a hill on the north side (by the summer palace) with cable cars that you can ride to the top so you can see the smog over the city. It's like an amusement park with no amusements, but for some reason there are throngs of people there, and LOTS of vendors trying to sell you things. I don't know of any significant cultural/historical value to the place, and I suspect Beijingers go to get a little bit away from the city. Skip it.

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  • dr_in_asia's Profile Photo

    I must say I was disappointed...

    by dr_in_asia Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I must say I was disappointed to see so many tourist traps around so many amazing historical sites. Even though I was tempted to check out the items they were selling, I was repelled by the fact that as soon as we stepped off the us, they started to yell at us and ring bells like we were deaf. I think that there are many tourists that respond to that - I suggest you don't. There are many places that sell the same souvenirs...and I prefer to go to the ones that don't yell at me.

    Second to be aware of is that if you go on a tour - you will likely end up going to places not listed on your original itinerary - like a jade factory or rug factory or things like that. Likely they are friends of the bus driver. First thing is that items for sale in these places are usually overpriced so purchase with care. Secondly these stops are not necessarily mandatory - we ended up asking our tour guide to not stop anywhere the third day because we were really tired of them. The bus driver wasn't happy but we got to do what we wanted.

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  • I had prebooked a hotel...

    by Baldrine Written Aug 25, 2002

    I had prebooked a hotel through the tour operator who ripped me off with the Trans Mongolian train ticket (see Moscow page) which meant that as I paid for extra nights, they were half what I had paid to the tour operator!!

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  • vigi's Profile Photo

    I jumped onto a minibus to the...

    by vigi Written Aug 24, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I jumped onto a minibus to the Great Wall, didn't know that besides went to the Great Wall, it is a one day tour. This is one of a funny stupid stop called 'ghost fantasy land', very dirty and old outlook. We refused to go in, the guide turned black face without selling the entrance tickets.

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Comments (3)

  • Jul 3, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    i would suggest not going on a cheap tour if you going to place blame....Buyers beware, but sellers beware also. I find the tour was pleasant as there was 3 meals a day (wonderful dishes) and 4-5 stars hotel everyday with return airfare all for under 800USD... (which does not include BS. 50% GOV tax ; if another country besides canada , it would be good).But being that said, To all the other Chinese from other countries : BEING CHEAP DOESN"T MEAN YOU WILL GET GOOD SERVICE.So if you are cheap, and want extra services (as i seem to feel with other Bendi chineese from HK, MAL, and SING, for example) don't go cause you will whine and complain like the blokes above. Its CHina for goodness sake, It just became what it is in less than 15 years..> I wish it to be even better in the next 50. So you cheap chinese out there (and basically the entire race out side of China), don't whine, this is YOUR country!!... So either help it or just don't come back....

  • Dec 24, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    Guys please help me how to get back my money using credit card rmb60k at herbal medicine centre today for buying stupid herbs medicine for 6mths n 3mths supplies. Plssssssssssss, i'm going on the 27th dec, so please help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nov 29, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Nowdays there is a new scam going on. With my last visit to china they are using new tactics to force us to buy things. The tour guide would tell you that your tour fees is too low, too cheap not enough to cover their expenses, so iti is compulsary to bring you to those shopping areas to buy silk, jade, tea house and a free massage where they sell herbs.

    As this is not my first trip to china , i agree cause using tour agent it is compulsary to got to such places, you can still choose not to buy anyway which what i think. I also already know all of their scam.

    When i went to the first place visit , they bing me to a tea house.... the sales girl there pushing us to buy things .. all of us are very firm not to buy anything .. we escape from the so call shoping. We next proceed to the next shop .. in the bus the tour guide started to tell story that our country tour agent has agree to them that we must spend at least a feww hundred per person in each of the shopping area. He could not proceed to bring us anywhere if we do not buy anything like it or not you must at least buy something to cover their expenses for your trip as this shop also provided for your tour and your stay as your trip here is too cheap. which could not cover even the 4 star hotel stay and food they provide.

    We got no choice buy to buy something in the shop. We choose the cheapest thing to buy and go away.

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