So this summer I went to China with my aunt & uncle for the first time ever. And our plan included a €99 Beijing Tour (8 days).
It's a tour that's supposed to cost you only €99 (or $, depending on where you're at), which covers hotel fees, meals, entry fees for museum or whatever you'll be visiting.
But, really? only €99?
I'm just going to talk about the scams, as for the visits and stuff, I'm just going to skip it, but if you're interested, you can ask.
- TEA SHOP
At the end, they presented us the teas we tried and were trying to sell them to us. The prices go from ~$25 to ~$60.
I really liked it but.. I was like "even my Mariage Frères tea doesn't cost that much?" so I wasn't planning to buy anything. The salespersons start coming at us asking us if we were interested and we told them "no" but you know, they were really persistent.
After many "no" without success, we finally said yes and bought some tea, for $60. If you think that's bad.. wait for the other shops we visited!!
- $200/EACH of supplement for the trip??!!
*everyone gasping in the bus* "Wait, what is that?" "That wasn't in the deal." "$200?!"
Me: "What, I freaking vegetarian, I can't even eat duck?? I don't even want to watch this show."
Tour guide: "Guys, I can't prepare plans for you individually, so we all have to go ok?"
We all paid $200/each.
Needless to say, I went to that Beijing roasted duck restaurant, I have white rice and some vegetables from the only vegetarian dish we were sharing together. That was apparently worth $40. Damn.
- SILK FACTORY
But who got money for silk right?
We arrived around 8:45 in the morning at the factory/shop. After a really quick presentation of how silk were made, we were brought to a room, where they were trying to sell us silk bedding.
So there's like different generation for the silk bedding = different prices.
It starts from ~$400 and goes to ~$1000! Like, how expensive is that? Naturally, everyone was dead set on not buying anything.
Not buying? Can you? The answer is: Of course... NO.
Around 10:30, the salesperson was getting impatient, so she took out a latex mattress for roughly ~$900.
Still not buying? You can't go if you're not buying leh! We all understood that, so a couple gave in and bought the mattress because it was the most "useful" thing they could get.
The husband even joked and said that he can only bleed once, but no more or he will die. Understand: I'm getting scammed, I know it, but only this time ok?
Only one couple buying? That can't do! They kept us around until around 11:30, when eventually, they had to let us go, but said that at least we have to buy a small thing like a silk scarf or necktie at the back of the shop.
WTF IS THAT? We went out of the factory/shop all being so offended that they basically obliged us to buy from them. And the prices were absolutely out of our reach!
- JEWELRY (JADE) SHOP
aka THIS. IS. THE. BIGGEST. SCAM. IN. THE. HISTORY.
Someone knock on the door, another worker.
"Our new manager will come and continue the presentation."
"Oh, our new manager? Alright." The new manager comes in, a male, in his 30's.
First of all, we can all see that he is not really at ease, he is stuttering, we are losing concentration, sleepy. He speaks for a good 30-40 mins? Then there he starts his story, saying that he usually doesn't give a presentation because he did it once and basically tourists disrespected him so he swore that he will never present again. But Fathers' day is just around the corner, and he wants looks good in front of his dad (the owner) by doing a presentation.
He wanted us to listen, even if we are not going to buy anything at the end, but at least, we had to listen to him and leave a good impression etc.
Cool. Ok. We'll listen.
So we were trying to be reeeaaallly nice, by listening really hard and even giving reactions etc.
"You know what. You guys are really nice. Instead of showing you around the shop, I'm going to bring you to upstairs, where usually only important customers can go. I'll treat you like my friends because I'm really thankful that you were all so cooperative to my presentation."
SUCH A GREAT ACTOR! COULD WIN AN OSCAR FOR HIS PERFORMANCE!
- He first gave us 3 real pearls charms for 100RMB.
- He then brings out some necklaces, that his supposed sister designed for their mother.
Silver 925, but with a real pearl. The price for us? Only 300RMB.
The show goes on.
He faked being very friendly. Gave us fake deals.
But the thing is that his acting was so great that we believed that he was very friendly.
So everybody just bought.
Until later on that day, we realized that all the things we bought weren't worth the prices we paid for.
The shop we went were called Beijing Jewelry Zhanlan Club (aka Derun), you can find more reviews/stories on the internet. Do not buy! Or buy the least you can.
Overall review: Was it worth it for €99 (€299)? No, not really.
The 5 stars hotel we stayed in was pretty expensive, but shitty Wi-Fi connection, lost somewhere in the suburbs. Very pretty but wouldn't go there again if given the choice.
After finishing this tour, we agreed with the other tourists that "There's no next time."
Lot of scams, lot of dishonest deals etc. Pretty bad experience.
I wouldn't suggest that to anyone unless you don't believe me, you really want to spend a lot of money.