Just back from Shanghai after being in New Zealand on Honeymoon for a month.
We as westerners were constantly harassed by people trying to sell us knock-off Gucci bags, watches
Or anything we didn’t want constantly!
After the 1st day I even contemplated staying in our hotel complex until we flew home but we chanced it thinking that these hawkers could not be out the following morning at 9am, WRONG!
Around us like sand flies to the point that I nearly got knocked down trying to cross the road trying to avoid them.
They are trying to get you to go to a market and the only peace you can get is on the metro.
That’s not all; While walking around Peoples square the first day we arrived a young Chinese couple started chatting to us and being a friendly person started to make conversation.
Gradually the conversation lent towards going to a Chinese tea Ceremony and as we had nothing better to do we decided to go along .We were led to Tea rooms just off JinJiang road in a small shopping mall type complex.
We went in the lady performed the ceremony where we sampled 5 different types of teas and had the equivalent of bar snacks Chinese style.
For the tea ceremony and the bag of tea we were charged €83(I worked this out after as we were very jet-lagged had not yet used of the money as we had literally got to the hotel from the airport and showered, changed and hit the town!)
I thought I was pretty savvy when it came to scams but this couple were so convincing we were taken in totally.
Later on that evening we went for a walk around the bund and more hawkers chasing us down at this stage I was becoming upset and stressed as to was my wife.
A very similar situation arose whereby a Chinese couple tried to introduce themselves to us then the penny dropped!
So I told them where to go!
Shanghai nice city but not if you’re a westerner.
When the Olympics role around all foreigners will be like shooting fish in barrel to these Scam artists unless something is done.
Unique Suggestions: dont speak to anyone!
While I was walking at the Bund, I saw a sign of a tunnel that link the Bund and Pudong. It cost RMB20 if I am not mistaken. I heard there is nothing so special about the colourful tunnel. Not worth it at all.
Fun Alternatives: If you want to go to Pudong, just take the Metro to Lujiajui station. Cheap and fast!
One of the oldest scams in Shanghai is the pretty girl that wants you to join her at a teahouse for chat. A foreign man CANNOT walk down the pedestrian street of Nanjing Street without being approached by these girls. Once inside the "teahouse" the foreigner is presented a huge bill, as much as US$1,000 and if he doesn't want to pay, touts or screaming hags start the threats. The girls feign surprise and disappear. This happens day in and day out and the local police station knows all about it and does absolutely nothing. Foreigners that go to the police get no help and an almost equally unpleasent experience. Shame on Shanghai for letting this scam go on for over a decade and letting tourists get treated this way.
Unique Suggestions: If you do get yourself into this situation - don't pay the amount they first request - negotiate a lower ripoff amount. Tell them you will call your Consulate.
When you cab downtown from the airport you'll see big signs telling you that the fare will be "about" Y150.
If you are unhappy with the fare asked, be sure to demand the printed receipt produced by the taximeter.
On our arrival, taxi took us to New Harbour Apartments - about a 40 minute drive. On arrival the driver asked for Y340. I am 5'15" and weigh 225lbs. I laughed. He was 5'6" and about 125lbs. He didn't. I asked for a receipt. He mimed writing one. I laughed again and said no, pointing at the printed receipt... he said "OK, Y170" I gave him Y150 and told him he was lucky to be getting that... His options were to accept payment or call the Police. Guess what?
What the lad had done was to drop off a fare at the airport, leave his meter runing and then pick us up. Big Noses don't know much about Shanghai Taxicabs; or do they?
As the true fare is only about US$ 20 it must be one of the cheapest airport runs in the world, but there's no reason to allow such a ripoff.
Unique Suggestions: Be sure to get a card with a map of your hotel/apartment location in Shanghaise. Get the receptionist to write your outgoing destination on the card - only about half of cabbies have any english. This will ensure a successful and stress free round trip. The basic fee in a cab is Y11 - which will get you quite a way. It is not usual to tip cabs, in fact I think it may be illegal!
DO NOT FOLLOW THEM.
they stalk you, pester you and some even beg u to just visit their stalls.
i was brought to the 2nd floor of a shophouse, narrow steps and very very dodgey... and was dropped at once when they realised i wasn't keen on buying fakes. all because i was stalked. so the tip is just say no, don't even smile.
Fun Alternatives: i tried taking refuge in a legit shop but she was waiting for me at the entrance. try backdoors
The bars and restaurants of Xintiandi are where rich, expat business people hang out at night. Don't join them, unless you have money to burn. A beer will set you back $10.
But, if you want to drink your money to the accompaniment of a blonde-haired, Chinese girl, rock band, this is the place for you!
Unique Suggestions: The only reasonably-priced place, I could find in Xintiandi was a little Japanese fastfood restaurant: soft drinks only.
late january I have been in Shanghai walking on Najing Road. Suddenly a guy bumped into me and asked me friendly if everything was ok with me. Only late in the evening I found my wallet was missing and so they actually have stolen some Dollars and credit cards.
later at home i found out that my creditcard was being misused and a few thousand dollars have been deducted from my account. As a description caesers club was being mentioned on my account overview.
So please watch guys bumping into you, because actually they will lift your pockets!!
All of these are tourist traps. First off the shoe shine guys wait outside nice hotels. They walk up and squirt lotion all over your shoes, and then want to clean. My friend was standing at a crosswalk, and had a guy grab his foot and put it up on the shine box without my friend noticing. Don't think by not carrying cash you are exempt from this. The same friend was directled to a nearby ATM so he could be paid.
The tea ceremony is a scam also. I know a couple friends who decided to give it a shot. They did have a good time, at least until the bill came. When they had entered the building where the tea ceremony was being held they were taken to the top floor. They found out later that each floor had a ceremony, but every floor you go up the price goes up. When the bill came they were on the hook for over $175 U.S.
I happened to be there less than two weeks prior to Chinese New Year. The city was covered with people hustling. I found out later that was because they were trying to stock pile some extra cash because they were to have two weeks off for new year celebrations.
This is actually an amalgamation of a whole range of scams we encountered- quite sad really!! We especially found it disappointing that the only people who wanted to talk to us wanted to rort us for money.
Some of the scams: young girls coming up to us (mainly my husband when they thought he was by himself!)and saying they wanted to practise their English- they really wanted to take us to a teahouse and then charge us an exhorbitant fee;young people from Xian who wanted to take us to show us their artwork;people wanting to exchange money; people wanting to sell us fake bags, watches etc; men throwing "polish" on my husbands shoes so they could then polish them;people doing a paper cut of my husband's profile;people begging.
One day we counted 32 people in 2 hours - the time it took for us to walk along Nanjing Road to the subway!!
Unique Suggestions: Smile and say no thanks. We did take pity on the shoe polish man and paid him money fro not throwing shoe cream on our shoes!!
Since we joined a tour group, it is mandatory that the tour guide bring us to this place. be aware! they will tell you that you are getting the best deal when in fact you are not! they will say that because you are tourists they will give you a special deal but they are not! one of our companions bought a bracelet worth 100rmb and was able to see the same item at old shanghai st for only 10rmb! what a rip off!!
Unique Suggestions: pretend that you don't understand what they are saying and just roam around the facility. don't show too much enthusiasm because they will then pressure you more into buying.
I was in Shanghai in September, 2006. I was invited to the Caesar's Club. I was taken to the 7th floor. I had two cups of tea. The next thing I know I had a bill for $185. I protested through AMEX and they investigated for 3 months, but ultimately indicated I would have to pay the money. I highly recommend no one go to this place. Don't even go within 10 feet of the place. There will be Chinese women who will ask you to go there. They are not prostitutes but hustlers who seem nice and seem like they want to have tea, but once they get you inside you are in trouble.
Unique Suggestions: Don't even go inside. Take digital camera pictures or video of the people if they pester you.
Fun Alternatives: Go to the Shanghai walkway and check out the awesome skycrapers and have dinner.
Last weekend we went to Bonbon for drinks. It was a 150-drink-all-you-can deal and there were lots of young expats and b-school students. After staying til 3-4, we went outside to eat some brochettes just in front of the club.
A guy approached us to ask our help to translate the address on his phone, apparently it was the police. It turns out that this guy's credit card was taken by the waiter! He ordered a bottle of champagne in the bar, which is normal, handed his credit card and after two hours he was still waiting there--no waiter, no champagne, and NO CARD!
The waiter seemed 'official' ie. working with the club and he didn't think anything was amiss until dread overtook him while waiting for the order that never arrived. Sadly he did not have a calling card so we were not able to get his contact details, since we wanted to know if we could help him out and if he eventually recovered his card.
Fun Alternatives: There's lots of other nice clubs like 97, Zapata's, or Barbarossa's.
Xin Tian Di is a new hip and trendy entertainment and shopping district in Shanghai. Upmarket restaurants and shops are packed neatly into a square, targeted at Western visitors to Shanghai. The ambience is more European than Chinese. Restaurants serve French, Italian, Cuban and other cuisine. There are two Chinese restaurants - Crystal Jade Palace and Din Tai Fung which serve quite good Chinese food. The ubiquitous Starbucks has its presence here. The fashion shops sell designer clothes which are exhorbitantly priced and on par with boutiques in Paris and London.
There is really nothing Chinese about Xin Tian Di from my perspective as an ethnic Chinese Singaporean travelling to China to immerse in Chinese culture.
Unique Suggestions: You can visit Xin Tian Di, but do not buy anything from the shops - they are exhorbitantly overpriced.
Fun Alternatives: If you want to have a meal at one of the Western restaurants, be prepared to pay RMB 200 - 250 for a 3-course set dinner. For that amount of money, there are much better restaurants elsewhere. I do not recommend having a meal at Xin Tian Di. If you want to chill out, have a cup of coffee at one of the many bars or cafes for people watching.
I was invited to a CAESARS CLUB on Nanjing Lu (a bar close to Sofitel on the 7th floor. (The 5th floor of the building has a foot massage parlour and the 6th floor has a restaurant). I had ordered 2 drinks there. Next thing I knew my table was full of food that I had never ordered. On trying to explain that I had not ordered any food and would not be paying for it, they feigned ignorance to English. Next when I returned from the bathroom there were 20 more empty glasses of ‘whiskey’ added to my table. Then 3 goons came with an exorbitant bill for the food & 22+ drinks WHICH I NEVER HAD. They physically abused and threatened me to pay up the demanded ransom while they tried to chock me. Ironically these goons (true businessmen that they were) brought in a calculator with them to try and bargain the right amount of extortion from me ! We went back and forth with the 'right price'. There was no way out for me but to pay and leave.
On returning to my hotel, I reported this to the manager. He in turn called the cops and sent his staff members with me to identify the bar. After much negotiation between the police and the crooked owner, I atleast got a 'partial' refund of my loot. He still insisted that he had to deduct his 'expenses' from the loot! When I tried to file a report with the police, conveniently they did not speak any English. Through an interpreter I was informed that if I did not have any photographic evidence they were unable to take any action against these thugs. Obviously this was not the first such incident and the cops know about such palces and their dealings.
Two well mannered and well groomed Chinese students approached me in a park, and struck up a conversation with me in English. They were very friendly and told me they were from out of town and on a tour of Shanghai with their school.
They invited me to attend a tea ceremony at a local tea house. It turned out to be a scam and I was presented with a bill for over $120.
Here's the clue, when the students ask you your name and you tell them, and then they say that that is their own name, you know you are about to be scammed.
Attached is a picture of the two students that scammed me. They told me their names were Andy and Fifi. This occured in May, 2006.
Unique Suggestions: Beware of anyone striking up a conversation with you. Attached is a picture of the two that scammed me. After this happened to me in Shanghai, I traveled to Beijing. In Beijing, at the Forbidden City, I was approached again by two students using the same technique.