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Taxi misunderstandings in China?

Travel Forums Asia Taxi misunderstandings in China?

1. Posted by emilie67 (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hello everyone,

I would like to go Beijing and Shanghai for my upcoming holidays and there I have a very specific question regarding communication especially in transport. One of my friend told me that he had quite a hard time when he was in Beijing to communicate with taxi drivers.

My friend introduced me two websites: Guanxi and Geogini which provide you location information in Chinese and English via SMS/internet or something like that …

Anyone has ever tried those services? Do they work on foreigners mobile? I went on their websites but it’s not very clear and I would prefer some feedback to know if it’s really useful or just a crappy mobile/internet tool.

I know it’s somehow a small detail and perhaps I shouldn’t bother with that but I had my amount of troublesome taxi misunderstandings when I was in Vietnam

Thank You for your answer



2. Posted by rosenhung (Budding Member 26 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Emilie,

I see your worry but can you tell your troubles with taxi drivers in Vietnam. thanks you

3. Posted by fussy (Inactive 208 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Why use taxis? Both cities have excellent and cheap metro systems. The soft sleeper class train (overnight) between shanghai and beijing is also a good option.

As for taxis we met an american chap in beijing who had a mobile phone app that gave the destination in the local language and if the taxi driver cannot read, it can be palyed aloud. Perhaps you could investigate this option.

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5642 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Why use cellphones?
It's much more fun to 'communicate' with hands and feet and learn a few words yourself.

Where is the nostalgia of travelling without phones and laptops

No, seriously, just try and have some fun in that taxi, I loved the detour in Shanghai I had in a taxi, and although metro is cheaper, taxi's are still dirtcheap and you actually see something in between. Well, at least more than a metro, which almost never delivers you to the place you want anyway, so if you don't want to walk or are tired of walking in such a big city, a taxi is a good option.

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Aug-2009, at 03:04 by Utrecht ]

5. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

If you have a guidebook, like Lonely Planet or whatever, you can usually just point out the location as they usually helpfully put the Chinese characters next to the description.

However be prepared for a fascinated 5-minute examination of your guidebook before you get it back!

6. Posted by rbyslipahs (Respected Member 349 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

As a backup, have someone write down in simplified Chinese (unless you are in an area that uses traditional) where you need to go. That has been helpful for me before. But definitely try communicating with the driver, because that's always fun, and certainly have the guidebook with you!

(and greet, leave, and thank in Chinese -- all are really simple: ni hao [or nin hao for respect], zai jian, and xiexie xiexie -- you always say xiexie twice; the cabbie will love it)

7. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

From what it says in the facebook group of that 2nd website mentioned, it has only just been launched this month.

8. Posted by emilie67 (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!


Thank you for your answer. As some suggested it, I will stick to my guidebook translation.

I think I've been worried too much about that, place to funny communication experience. :)

A last question since the metro seems to be a good solution also, the MRT station are translated into english characters?