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The tour guide will take you to shopping stops, beware of the jewelry shops, looked like a scam to me. The same trick: always the boss will come to entertain guess, give a ridiculos price discount, a few thousand price tag jade/jewelry offered at Rm100-200 as a friendship gesture.
Beware of Kanghui Travel agency, we signed up a day tour Gaungzhou city tour with them , paid over Rmb200 per person, the tour bus was was really old and no air-conditioner, we almost suffocate throughout the journey. The jewelry shop male attendants looked like gansters, very fierce and threatening when we refused to buy anything.
Updated Mar 7, 2013
Cheater liquor stores abound. They would sell you liquor but many turn out fake. Real bottles but fake contents. Clerks even pulled a trick on me by showing me a bottle of maotai that broke when i lifted it up. Obviously the bottle was defective from the beginning but the clerk demanded that i pay for the liquor which she pegged at RMB 10,000. Outrageous!!!! So be careful about different liquor scams such as these....better buy your liquor at big supermarkets to be safe
Written Oct 9, 2012
Be warned to those coming to Guangzhou on April 15 till May 5 each year, the reason is the yearly trading fair & meeting in the city of Guangzhou during these time of year. It is believe (according to what local peoples told me) with an estimate 10000+ of representatives and traders coming from all directions to gather at Guangzhou and therefore hotel prices gone up by 200 – 300% during these period. Budget hotels too grab this golden opportunity to increase their price.
Also be warned that the temperature of May is crazy hot at an average of 30+ celsius, you will be sweat like rain only after 30 minutes of walk on the street, the wind too is hot like hair dryer. The best way of waering is sleeveless singlet and short pants with a pair of sporty shoes, with or without underwear is up to you.
Even taking a city bus or a Metro is a big torture during this period because you will have to fight for a place at anytime.
Photos uploaded are the low budget hotel (deep inside a residential district, far away from city center) that I stayed during May, the price increased up to 168 Yuan for a single room, normal price is 80 Yuan.
Updated May 2, 2012
When I visited Guangzhou, I use travel agent to have sight seeing in Guangzhou. My Guide is very nice person. But when someone ask him about direction or things he explained (e.g. in museum) he never replied anything and keep silent. Then at the end of the tour, I ask him that is it common in Guangzhou that people will not reply anything when someone in need of help for direction or something else? He said, yes...it is common. Then I think to myself that, never expect help from someone when you are lost or in danger. Very mean country! So well prepare yourself before visiting Guangzhou or even China.
Written Mar 21, 2011
this is a bad choice for a holiday destination, especially if you look obviously like a foreigner.
i'm already chinese by race, i look chinese, i speak chinese and cantonese, but i'm Singaporean, not born or bred in China and on the first day i too got scammed by the first Guangzhou person i interacted with, the taxi-driver, told me my $100rmb was torn and i stupidly changed it for him and later found out he switched my good note for a torn counterfeit. on the second day, a shopkeeper tried to do the same to me, told me the note was torn and she wanted another, and i told her not to try it in the most menacing tone i could muster and she backed off. by the third day i was breaking 100rmb notes at every "decent" supermarket or chain restaurant, yelling rudely at shopkeepers, glaring at everyone, staring feverishly at the notes i give to pay, and only then was i kept "safe" from their scams. (probably because then they thought i was one of them because that is how they behave)
it's a terrible place for a tourist from a safe/civilised hometown. in guangzhou there is mistrust in the air, everyone is paranoid about the money and everyone is hostile and rude. they are just as terrible to their own fellow man. i've seen a shopkeeper in a full out catfight with a fellow PRC customer yelling the house down and the shopkeeper telling the customer if she doesn't have money she should go and be a prostitute. don't expect any service standards or social grace of any kind. it doesn't exist in their culture.
the worst thing about guangzhou is what i found out as i was leaving the city to the airport in a cab (and terribly relieved to be doing so). for some reason i decided to start conversing with the cab driver because i was so curious to know how the *** these hostile crooks think. so i told him in my culture people do not cheat other people. and that cheats were despised by my society. and that i find the counterfeit problem is china very annoying and detrimental to the tourism industry. he told me that in china, people are desperate to make more money. they would cheat to speed up the process of making money and have no qualms about it. cheating is a very normal way of earning money in guangzhou. also they will not help if they see an injured person on the street. because they do not want to implicate themselves in unnecessary trouble. this is how guangzhou people are. they have no morals. lying, cheating is ok, and it's everyman for himself.
so, i have since concluded: guangzhou has serious societal issues. widespread moral defect and in self-perpetuating downward spiral. some bad people unloaded a whole chunk of counterfeit notes on the city and now its scammed people are desperate to rid themselves of it, and kind, unsuspecting foreigners are a simple easy way out of the problem to them. or maybe they are conspirators. whatever the reason, just trust me, do not trust guangzhou people when it comes to money (and maybe everything else). men, women, young or old, watch them when you hand them money.
and seriously, do reconsider guangzhou as a holiday destination. true, with the right bargaining tactics (like speaking rudely, insisting on 20% if the price the shopkeeper offered, walking away disinterestedly etc bluffery) shopping can be incredibly cheap. but you know, having been through it, i don't think its worth the stress of having to constantly be on your toes and checking and doublechecking the most basic things like money, cab drivers, shopkeepers. and plus i don't like giving my hard-earned money to a city of people who have no qualms about cheating me of more.
Written Jul 5, 2010
You heard about the 100 RMB bill switching that takes place. How about getting over-charged more than 5 times the normal price ?
This took place on July 30, 2009. I left HKG and arrived at Guangzhou railway station. Immediately upon our arrival after crossing the gate at customs, a man presented himself as a taxi service. As it was pouring outside, I seized the opportunity and found it convenient.
On the way to his vehicle, he insisted to carry my luggage which I certainly found normal.
I made the biggest mistake of my life by first accepting this ride in a van (not a green taxi) despite I was warned to use only taxi with meters. When I got to this so-called taxi (van), another guy asked me to pay immediately which I did not find odd at that time as sometimes you can be in a situation where you pay for your travel expenses beforehand.
He asked for me RMB 280 ( a regular taxi would cost 50 RMB for the same trip) and asked me for another RMB 100 if I want to take the highway option. I refused and I took the RMB 280. Once I was inside the van, I made sure that I could opened the window (just in case) and I pretended calling someone on my mobile.
I arrived at the hotel safe and sound. I even gave 20 RMB as tips to the driver as he asked me for "tips"...This is one of the only english word he knew.
So lesson learned: Never never never get into this type of taxi service at the first exit of the railway station and instead go take a taxi at the official line up location...
(Yes I admitted that I was stupid (big time)and naive in my decision).
And by the way, do not count on the authority to crack down on such ops... there is no such thing in this part of China
If you can avoid Guangzhou, please do so as this city has (unless you are attending the Canton Fair) is full of Scammers, fake bills, fake goods, beggars and of course people like my filthy scum piece of garbage taxi driver
NB My wife and my daughter were travelling with me.
Updated Aug 11, 2009
When I was in Guangzhou for the first time on business I was touring around an outdoor shopping market near the Holiday Inn. I was being careful and carrying my backpack on my front but I guess I wasn't careful enough. I felt a prick on my arm and ignored it at first thinking it was an insect but then a few minutes later I started feeling very light headed and almost drunk. I am very sure I was drugged so that I could be a better target to be robbed. Luckily I did have a travel companion who assisted me back to my hotel. I am a very independent female traveler and business women and have never felt as afraid for my life as I did in Guangzhou. This city is extremely crowded, polluted and the people for the most part dishonest and looking to rip you off. Be very careful when visiting this city and do NOT go alone!
Written Jul 6, 2009
If you are like myself, a Mandarin speaker, you might find it a bit difficult to move around in Guangzhou since Cantonese is much more widely spoken here. I have encountered a few occasion that we could not talk to each other due to the language issue.
Well, this is not really a big deal, but it is just annoying sometimes.
Written Jan 3, 2009
I've heard about getting fake money from big bank's ATM and didn't believe it until a close friend of mine got his from one of the local bank's ATM. He drew RMB$2000 from a local bank's ATM in Tian He district (actually doesn't matter the location bcos it may happen anywhere) and later found one of the $100 note to be a fake note. Disgust, anger follows but nothing can be helped. Once you leave the ATM, there's no proof of you obtaining the fake note from that bank's ATM and to ask for a "refund" back.
Heard recently that another japanese friend got two $100 fake notes from a ATM machine near Concordia, Tien He district! Sigh....cannot even trust ATM now.....
An uncle, a local cantonese, advised me to use the ATM, that also functions as a cash deposit machine to withdraw money in the future. According to his son, who works in bank, such ATMs double checks the authenticity of the money before issuing out the money, unlike other ATMs that are only for withdrawal. I'm not sure how true this is but I will seek his advice. Better be safe than sorry. Sigh......
Written Jan 22, 2008
You might have heard about how extensive fake money is circulating in China. Yes, I must agree to that and that's why I'm writing to remind VT friends to be especially careful when they visit China.
I got my first RMB100 fake note from a taxi driver. He claimed that my RMB$100 note has a torn at one corner of the note and he cannot accept it and asked me for another $100 note. Without giving much thought, I gave him another $100 note while I accepted "back" the torn $100 RMB from him. Later when I try to use the $100 note in the supermarket then I was informed it was a fake note. This is the swopping method often practised by taxi drivers.
My friend got her first $50 RMB from taxi driver using the same swopping method too.
The fake notes circulating in the market now are quite professionally made. They have all the waterink marks, the coase surface at the collarshirt of the picture in the note etc. It's hard to differentiate unless you alreadly know it's a fake and purposely examine the note.
So I would recommend to all VT friends, try to remember the last 4 digits of your notes when you pay the taxi driver the taxi fare. If he claim that your money cannot be accepted, make sure it's really your own money he's talking about. Refuse flatly to give him another note if you sense any thing suspicious, or tell him that's the only note you have etc.
You can make police report if you received fake notes from others but I've spoken to a policeman, small cases( involving only small amount) are difficult to settle/ to crack.
Many banks have posters describing how to differentiate fake money. It's good to learn more but often, it's very difficult to differentiate especially for someone who don't deal with counting money alot or someone who have not seen fake money before.
Written Jan 22, 2008
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