Shamian island and the area around it is a tourist trap. The stores on these streets jack up their prices on items that would be cheaper found at other non-touristy areas of the city, as they know foreigners frequent the area. The shops tend to be by massive new hotels that foreigners classically frequent. Even if the shops tend to have a traditional facade on the front, don't be fooled; they are tourist traps.
Unique Suggestions: When you happen to find a shopkeeper who speaks any of the Western languages fluently you know the shop prices will probably be steeper- although you still have a chance to haggle, if that is your type of speed. If you are an avid haggler this will be a great experience, as the Chinese are notoriously good at haggling. In fact, the shopkeeper almost expects you to try sometimes. In a touristy area where languages like English are prevalently spoken over Chinese, this gives tourists a chance to try out their chops.
Fun Alternatives: Feel free to visit the newly renovated downtown- buses are tricky if you aren't a native speaker so find a cab- its easy. When you go downtown, visit the funnily named "Tee Mall" they forgot how to spell "the," apparently. There is a massive bookstore nearby and you can find all kinds of American movies for cheap (these are also completely legal versions, by the way, so you CAN take them home). Remember Guangzhou IS a big city, so you CAN leave the tourist trap areas to look for some real gems! Also, don't be afraid to ask for directions! Ask people on the street, remember that some will be unfriendly, but most of the people are nice folks.
There are many tourists traps aiming on the western tourist, so watch out and be careful, and, do not be tempted to buy those brand fashion products for 10% of the cost you pay in Europe or the US, be sure that they are fake.
Fake notes, ABUNDANCE! Though we changed our notes back in our country, alas, we still held on to 2 X RMB100 fake.
Careful of taxi. When we were at the airport and train station, there were no lack of over-enthusiastic cab drivers who keeps wanting to grab our luggage and drag to their cars. We did not get onto any, but its safer to get onto meter-charge cab.
Unique Suggestions: Arm yourself with a UV-enable pen. We got ours at a figurine shop, at RMB25. It shines UV light so you can use it to check on the 100dollars notes.
If u dun have the pen, ways to check the note is, the shirt of the President, yep, colour can be rubbed off if its a real. So turn the note over, and rub his shirt on a piece of paper, red ink can b rubbed onto the paper. And also, the shirt is supposed to have some...texture, so when checking, can feel for it. If not, check the watermark, through careful inspection, it can be seen if its a fake.
If you ever travel to Zhu Hai and go to their big underground shopping mall, near the Zhu Hai custom to Macau, never never believe in 64G thumbdrive the shop attendent may be selling you. It is, 64G of fake thumbdrive.
We recently went to Zhu Hai and our friend was stopped by a shop attendent introducing him a 64G thumbdrive. Wow, 64G, that's hugh! The thumbdrive was even packed nicely and printed "SONY" on it. What's more, the attendent was charging him only RMB$300. Of course, as cautious travellers (haha, we thought we were cautious enough), we asked the shop attendent to test the thumbdrive. The attendent did test the thumbdrive on their shop's laptop and it did show 64G. My friend even asked him to download some files to see if the thumbdrive has the correct remaining drive space after downloading. All is accurate and perfect! What made my friend even happier is that he managed to bargain to RMB160 for the thumbdrive.
Sigh, we were disappointed and realised we were cheated only when we return home to test the thumbdrive in our own computer. The thumbdrive cannot even store a 2G file.
The shop attendent must have did something on their laptop to show the 64G.
So, becareful and when things seem too good to be true, think twice.
Unique Suggestions: Well, if you have your laptop with you, you should try out your computer purchase on your own laptop before buying.
Beware, we grabbed a taxi cab from Guangzhou to Dongguan for 240 RMB. Price changed to 280RMB once we hit the freeway. We refused and asked him to pull over and just take 30RMB, a more then fair price for the short drive we took. He carried on and we left it. He was obviously angry as he had a foreigner in the car (wife who looks Chinese negotiated the fare) and a foreign customer should pay more. When home we handed him 240 as agreed and he asked for 280RMB. We said "No".
He then returned one of our 'Hundred RMB bills" and asked for a newer one. We were not thinking and exchanged it.
(We only get new money here and there is nothing higher then a 100 RMB bill, so there was no way we could of owned the fake he passed off on us.) As well, I was more concerned about him suddenly freaking out and darting off while my daughter was still getting out of the car. The second her feet touched the ground, he was gone in a flash.
I've been here long enough to know the drill and my Chinese is good enough to communicate. I have jumped out the window of a moving taxi and started punching his window until he stopped, as he'd locked me & my wife & daughter in his car, ignoring us as we demanded he stop.
A few weeks ago my UK customer was also ripped off and ended up in a 1 hour standoff at his hotel. He eventually paid about 8 times the reasonable fare for the 'Airport to the downtown Guangzhou hotel' run. That was the start to his work vacation. I just received the largest order ever from this company, I am guessing he now appreciates the challenges of living and dealing in China. It increased my business and likely will keep their local UK firms doing business too.
Anyway, watch for the 100RMB switch.
Unique Suggestions: If using taxi and wanting to avoid trouble, write the agreed fare on paper, they understand numbers. Have address written in Chinese (IE Business card) or have the people at the destination negotiate the fare for you.
If using meter, make sure you know the route.
If you are going to debate a fare, get your kids & luggage out of the car before the drama starts. AND drama WILL start for as little as 1RMB.
And, it is likely best to just pay if you are a short term guest here. It sucks to get ripped off, but it may not be worth ruining your vacation over it. Fits of rage over a dollar or two is not an uncommon thing here. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Fun Alternatives: Take the bus or the subway, it clean and enjoyable. I always enjoy travelling with the locals, as this is the 'real' China.
When departing the Guangzhou Baiyun airport you may get directed to the "luggage strapping" center. This is purely optional and not needed for normal luggage. However it is recommended for crates or cardboard boxes. The airline will accept your luggage without these straps.
Unique Suggestions: Just say no
Fun Alternatives: Strap or tape the luggage yourself ahead of time.
Just to be on the safer side, if you do take taxis - take the yellow cab/taxis..
Was told that they are the local Cantonese drivers, most of them go by the meter and they are not choosy of the destinations...
I have taken about 20 trips so far, all are pleasant and without any conflicts..TG
Unique Suggestions: Yellow Taxis, the way to travel....
when buying stuff (the exception being food n big shopping centers), look around in other shops b4 purchasing. chances are you'll be able to find the same item offered for a lower price. and always remember to bargain, esp if you're obviously not local (identified by accent or skin colour). more often than not you'll be able to buy the item for 30-40% of the quoted price.
No. 1, Sha Mian Nan Lu. (8121 8000, Fax 8121 9001)
Room 1509, Main Building, GITIC Hotel, 339 Huan Shi Dong Lu. (8335 0909, Fax 8335 0718)
2/F, Main Tower, GITIC Hotel, 339 Huan Shi Dong Lu. (8335 1354, Fax 8332 7509)
Room 804-808, East Tower, Garden Hotel, Huan Shi Lu. (8387 9005, Fax 83879006)
Room 801, Wing C, China Hotel, Liu Hua Lu. (8666 0569 ext 0, Fax 8667 2401)
Room 1578, China Hotel, Liu Hua Lu. (8666 0795, Fax 8667 0315)
Room 905,GITIC Hotel, 339 Huan Shi Dong Lu. (8330 2067, Fax 8330 3601), website www.cgguangzhou.org
Room 427, White Swan Hotel, Sha Mian Island. (8188 6968 ext 421/426, Fax 8186 2041)
Room 803, Main Tower, GITIC Hotel, 339 Huan Shi Dong Lu. (8330 3405, Fax 8330 3437)
19/F, GITIC Hotel, 339 Huan Shi Dong Lu. (8330 6533, Fax 8331 7033)
Room 5207-5208, CITIC Plaza, 233 Tian He Bei Lu. (3877 0556, Fax 3877 0270)
Unique Suggestions: Japanese Consulate
1/F, Garden Hotel, 368 Huan Shi Dong Lu. (8333 8999 ext 197, Fax 8387 8835)
Room 1915-1918, 19/F CITIC Plaza, 233 Tian He Bei Lu. (3877 0766, 3877 0765, Fax 3877 0769)
63 Sha Mian Da Jie. (8186 1854, Fax 8186 2872)
Room M07, 2/F, Garden Hotel, 368, Huan Shi Dong Lu. (8333 8989 ext 3701/3710, Fax 8388 9567)
2/F, Hua Xia Hotel, Hai Zhu Square. (8330 5911 for Culture and Economic, 8330 5910 for Visa, Fax 8330 5915)
1205 Main Tower, GTTIC hotel 339,Huanshi Dong Lu. (Tel:8331 0976, Fax 8330 2939)
18/F,West Tower,International Trade Centre,Tiyu Dong Lu. (Tel:3887 0555 Fax 3887 0923)
Fun Alternatives: See above...........
Hey, you can find a lot of restaurants they even offer cats and rabbits for dishes! Although they would tell you cat and rabbit's meat is nice to eat. But guys, please don't eat them - don't think think they are cute?
Watch out when buying clothes. They might look good and real, but the quality usually is in comparison to the price paid. We even noticed this when buying Esprit clothes in a dpt. store.
Don't trust those ppl in the shop.No matter how they describe the products and you will regreat if you lost this chance..Truse me, all shop are the same,,especially when you buy the tea.
no one would cheat you if you understand the Cantonist.so the lagest problem is to learn the meaning of their life and language.