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Beijing Tips - Safety & security

Security is difficult to judge as the reporting of crime is not as extensive as you would find in many other countries.  The general impression you get though, is that the streets are very safe. 

Without a doubt the biggest danger you face when visiting Beijing is being involved in some kind of traffic accident.  Crossing the road is an often frightening experience, and so is riding in a taxi for most foreign tourists. There are many unwritten rules and customs about traffic but the average tourist is completely unaware of these and just knows fear and confusion.  We would advise riding in the back of the taxi as in the majority of taxis there are no front seat belts, or they don't work.  Of course, if you are traveling in the more expensive 1.60 or 2.00 taxis, you could check the seatbelt availability before you get in.

The next danger is pickpockets.  Although none of us here has experienced this, and its nowhere near as big as a problem as in mainland Europe, Beijing people consider this one of their biggest crime problems.  Pickpockets usually operate on crowded buses but do not tend to be as organized as in other countries.

As anywhere, leaving your bag or coat unattended or out of your direct line of sight is not recommended.  We hear that places like Starbucks and KFC are famous for people having their bag taken from beside their seats.

Paying too much for things could be considered a danger.  Beijing market sales people will often start the price bargaining at a ridiculously high level.  If you just accept this you will have paid way over.  Be cautious of believing fake goods are actually real goods as this could cause you to make a massive error in price judgment.

Never accept solicitations from people wanting to take you to a "girly bar", "massage", or any other similar sounding place, and certainly do not believe any price which they are quoting you.  These people will surely take you to a place where you will be completely ripped-off.  If you want to indulge in any of these services, only consider going to places recommended by a trustworthy Chinese friend,  ex-pat, or hotel staff.  You could also refer to a trustworthy web site such as the one you are currently viewing.  (although this section is not ready yet)

As usual do not accept free drinks or food from strangers in an unfamiliar place.  There are many stories in the press about drugged food or drinks and people waking up to find all their jewelry missing.  These are real stories suffered by Beijing residents, although we're not sure if anyone would dare to do this to a foreigner, but best to err on the safe side.

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