Hi I was in Beijing 3 years ago for nearly a week & visited the Great Wall too.
In all that time from travelling on the Underground / Train & generally walking & taxis too I never encountered any problems whatsoever even with going around street markets.
Like any city just take care of your valuables & respect their culture.
Taxi drivers everywhere in China are looking for a free hand out. You have to remember there is no tipping. I stayed at the Shangri la Hotel which is a good move in the end. The hotel checks out all Taxi's going and coming. Gives you a slip with the cab number and drivers name. He will be banned from the Hotel if he rips you off. The security of some Hotels are good but you pay for this in your high priced Hotel's, in th price of the hotel Security. If you and your family are alone without escort you are in trouble as you have opened the door for being taken on a long out of the way ride . And ask for a tip, even though their is no tipping. The American in front of me tipped the driver big. And the driver ask for a tip from me also. My escort stopped this request before it happened.
There is a quick way to a destination and a long way. Get familiar with the lay of the land if you can. I learned the hard way.
I regret that I did not read the warnings before my travel.
After I left my hotel in the city centre I was approached by 2 nice 'students' who wanted to talk to me 'to practice their English' and offered help to show me around. I did not mind as I had one day between my flight connections. The girls did not stop talking and smiling and I did not smell the scam.
The invitation to have traditional Chinese tea served at the back of a Gift Shop was very expensive. They did not want to let me out before paying $330.00 as 'I have chosen a very expensive tea'.
Be warned! If someone will want to 'practice their English' or show you around just send them to hell.
I had read about this scam in the Wang Fu Jing street well a girl or girls with come up to you and ask to go some where and have a drink and then you get a big bill. I thought for sure this scam had run its course but nope sure enough at night on this street it happened..... i knew it was scam so I just refused. I would say dont go here at night as even besides that the beggars really come out and go right for the foreigners.
Watch out for the guy trying to take you to his club. Never get in someones car. Taxi's are too cheap, and I love riding the city bus. The bus is an experience in itself, but if you get lost, don't be afraid to ask for help getting to your destination. The Chinese people seem to find Honor is helping.
DONT RENT HOME IN DONGWANGZHUANG -WUDAOKOU.,THE BUILDINGS ARE OLD THERE ARE ALWAYS NOISY RENOVATIONS AND DIRT AND NOBODY CARES ABOUT IT..STREETS ARE ALSO DIRTY,,SOO NEVER RENT HOME WUDAOKOU-DONGWANGZHUANG AREA..ITS A BIG NEIGHBOORHOOD WITH MANY BUILDINGS,,
The Y files, where Y stands for "yikes!".
In every metro and train station we used, we found an x-ray machine where you were asked to x-ray your bags. At some stations there was the scanner for people, just like at any given airport, but when it beeped they didn't search me or ask me to take off my jacket or my boots. At no point was anyone from the the staff rude towards us.
I saw some people who were asked to open their bags but that didn't happen to us.
This might've been one of the few times where the Chinese actually queued...sort of.
You wish to cross the street and when the pedestrian light turns green, all vehicles stop for you, right? Wrong! Cars and buses here do not stop for anybody, even if you're on a zebra. So better look both ways, wait then cross when clear and as quick as possible.
SOME GIRLS USE INTERNET CHAT OR STREET HUNT TO APROACH U ,THEY LOOK INNOCENT THAN THEY WILL TAKE U AN EXPENSIVE PLACE WHERE THEY HAVE ARRANGEMENT WITH BOSS TO TAKE YOUR MONEY ..I M PUUTING ONE OF THOSE GIRLS PIC , USE INTERNET CHAT IN BEIJING
SOME WOMAN WILL TRY TO LURE INTO TRAP THEY WILL SAY THAT THEY WANT MEET U ,THAN WILL TRY TO TAKE YOUR MONEY IN ONE WAY ,I M PUTTING ONE OF THESE WOMANS PHOTOS FORM TONGZHOU DISTRICT-BEIJING,,BE CAREFULL,,
DONT RENT APARTMENT BEHIND XIJIAO HOTEL WEST 1 BUILDING ITS 21 FLOOR HIGH BUILDING WHITE BEHIND XIJIAO HOTEL,THERE IS SECURITY IN ENTRANCE,,MANAGER NAME"MAO" ,WILL RENT HOUSE TO YOU AND EVERYTIME WILL MAKE U PAY SERVICE FEE..THeRE IS NO SERVICE AND EVERYTIME U PAY RENT HE WILL CHARGE U.IST KUANGYE DAXUE WEST 1 BUILDING,,2 HIGH BUILDINGS BEHIND xijiao hotel(blcu west gate)
Beijing seems to always be in traffic hour, perhaps this is why the drivers feel they must rush and cut in front of everyone whenever they have the chance. when crossing a road with no lights (or even if there are lights) always stick to the crowd. the drivers (esp the bus drivers!!) seem to speed up when they see people crossing, hoping to cross before you do!
stick to the crowd and you'll be fine!!
Taxis: if you take a taxi, sit at the back because many of them don’t have front seat belts or if they do probably won’t work (usually the most expensive taxis, 1.60 or 2.00 Yuan, have seatbelts, however, just follow my advice and seat at the back). Be involved in traffic accidents in China could be one of the most complicated issues of your entire life.
Pickpockets: it is also a big issue in China. Pay special attention when you travel in crowded buses, trains or subway.
Unattended bags or coats: wherever you take a seat (except in the hotel room or at your friend’s house) don’t ever leave your belongings.
Ripped-off: always bargain for untagged prices (except at the major department stores). If you feel the price is too high or feel there is something you don’t feel comfortable with simply don’t buy, shop around.
Fake goods: watch out!
"Best before"…: check the expiry date or date of validity, especially foods and drinks.
Strangers: don’t accept free drinks or food from people you don’t know. Being drugged and waking up only with your clothes have happened many times.
Beijing by far makes Japan look safe when it comes to riding a bicycle. Cars sip in and out and it appears the general population doesn't know how to drive that well. Having experience a serious bicycle accident before I know what it feels like to crash at 45 kph. A helmet can go a long way towards saving your life or at the very least keeping you from scarring your whole face up, ripping away your scalp, and turning you into a paraplegic. Better safe than sorry.
In one of the street markets on the Wang Fu Jin, a merchant embraced capitalism a bit too much. After I gave him the money he wished to renegotiate the price, and didn't want to return the money when asked, had a PLA (People's Liberation Army) guard not been behind him, with enough english or people skills to see something had gone a miss I might still be ten rmb down. In short dont hand over money unless you have the product in hand. Carrying a backpack is a good idea, though it is safe to leave your personal items in your hotel (typically), so invest in small key locks, to put on your backpack zippers, your things cant be taken, so long as you dont take your backpack off. Oh, and keep your wallet/passport/etc in an inner coat pocket or variation on fanny pack, and dont keep checking for it!