Is China safe for tourists?




Corey Tournet

In general yes. The biggest concern is usually your property not your safety. Your wallet etc. can get stolen quickly if you are not paying attention. Of course this varies by location, for example people in Hangzhou are more likely to return a lost wallet than in Shenzhen. Talking to a local bodyguard, he said the Northwest is the most dangerous place and one reason is the lower population density.

Chinese have a different perspective on safety, they feel the downtown areas are safer, and it gets more dangerous in the outskirts of cities.




Mozafar Hayder, on the move

Originally Answered: Is traveling in China safe?

Almost too safe.

People stare at you curiously if you look obviously different, and if they - or you - break the ice, they will ask you for photos, speak to you or try to speak to you, offer you food on trains, offer you cigarettes, drinks, to play cards or mahjong etc... I was almost craving something dangerous to happen to have a story to tell.

* my China trip involved Shanghai, Wuhan, Beijing, Xian, Inner mongolia and Gansu. I am aware China is much bigger than that, but I can only imagine it being even safer and friendlier outside of these areas.

** I traveled with a Chinese friend for a week or so (out of more than a month), and I became aware that some of the things that are being said to me are not particularly nice. But I still didn't care, it's one of the friendliest places I have been and I couldn't understand a word!







Stephanie Smith, worked at Goldman Sachs

China is generally very safe for tourists. From my perspective, the center of the economic world will continue to shift toward’s China’s incredible ability to execute and get things done.

But these are the 3 big reasons I couldn’t live there:

1.Smoking. Everywhere you go there are people blowing smoke in your face. It’s disgusting and everything stinks, every restaurant, elevator, even walking down the street. As a non-smoker, it’s disgusting and stinks.

2.Time. Going to the bank, getting stuck in traffic, queues for things… I just can’t stand the waste of time doing some things. Some endless paperwork to do simple things just feels not as efficient as they could be. I can’t stand wasting time waiting for things, it is worse than wasting money.

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Alex Roman, Travel expert at hikersbay.com

Foreigners can be targeted for passports, laptops, mobile phones, purses and handbags. Major tourist sites and areas frequented by foreigners attract thieves and pickpockets. Take extra care at major tourist sites, street markets, Beijing International Airport, major international events and conferences and popular bar areas after dark. If your passport is lost or stolen, report it to the nearest police station or Public Security Bureau, who will issue a ‘confirmation of loss’ report. Don’t resist any attempted robbery.

Serious crime against foreigners is relatively rare, but incidents do occur. There have been incidents of sexual assault and robbery of foreigners, particularly when travelling alone in a taxi late at night in major cities. Where possible, take an ‘official’ taxi, make sure someone knows where you are and try to take a note of the taxi’s number.

There are occasional incidents with taxi and pedicab drivers who insist the passenger misunderstood the fare. Avoid travelling in unmarked or unmetered ‘taxis’ and insist on paying only the meter fare. Ask the driver for a receipt (fapiao), on which the taxi number should be printed. You can take this to the police to lodge a complaint.

Counterfeit bank notes (especially RMB100) are increasingly common. They are generally crumpled to avoid detection. Unscrupulous traders may try to switch your genuine bank notes for counterfeits. Check carefully before accepting notes. It is quite normal to do so.

Beware of scams particularly in popular tourist areas. A regular example is the ‘tea tasting’ scam. Scams usually involve a foreign national being invited to visit a bar, shop or cafe – for example to practice English or meet a girl - but results in demands for an exorbitant fee, often payable by credit card. This can result in threats of violence or credit card fraud.

Don’t trek alone in isolated areas, including those that follow parts of the Great Wall. If you do, leave your itinerary, mobile number and expected time of return at your hotel or with a third party.

Areas bordering on Siberia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Laos and Burma are poorly policed. In Yunnan Province, drug smuggling and other crimes are increasing. There is a risk of attack from armed bandits in remote areas.









Micheline Mousse

China isn't the South Korea and is definitely a place you must visit once in your life. Straight answer is like any other countries of course it depends on the area, what time is it, and what you are doing there. The food are delicious, the scenic views and diversity incredible.

Ive travelled a few times to China and never encountered anything that's dangerous. What you should watch out for is probably pickpockets around the semi rural area or in the public transport, but other than that nothing malicious really. Just stay within tourist area and you should be fine.

That being said like with any countries, researching the customs and cultures here will get you a long way to getting along with people. Most dont speak english so make sure you learn some basic words like toilet.





Chuxhu Joseph, lives in Dalian, Liaoning, China (2004-present)

Well I’ve lived here for 14 years now and haven’t had any serious issues with safety but if you go looking for trouble you’ll surely find it. Compared to most countries, even first world countries, China is really safe and Chinese people for the most past are very hospitable and welcoming. Street cams and police deter street crimes but there are a few incidents here and there.

A few place to look out for trouble would in clubs or bars . Night life is pretty decent and you’ll surely find locals eager to meet foreigners but there are also locals who aren’t so friendly . Altercations between foreigners and Chinese typically end very badly for foreigners. A fight between one foreigner and one Chinese person will most likely quickly escalate into a “5 Chinese vs 1 foreigner” beat down.

My advise would be to avoid any and all situations that could turn into a fight, the police won’t help you and you could end with serious injuries.





Robert Gerchalk, Been to about 35 countries, spend time in Thailand

I went to Guangzhou for a few days. Had not problems. Internet searches said that taxis might cheat you, but I didn’t ride them. I rode the subways mostly with no problems, clean, modern, no problems or beggars as are common in New York and Paris, etc. On arrival I got a sim card at the airport, took a long time but done. I got off at the wrong subway stop for my hotel at the Tianhe neighborhood. Ended up walking a few kilometers with pack on my back. No Google maps but Apple Maps worked, albeit slowly. I got to my hotel, the non-English speaking clerk called a man who translated. Hotel had no heat, I slept with my clothes on. The street behind if was a little lane full of shops and eateries, everything open very late, great street food, barbers cutting hair at midnight. I felt safer than my home neighborhood (Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA at the time).



Mason Paige, studied at University of California, Berkeley (2013)

Yes, very much so.

Try to learn basic chinese before you go. That small gesture alone can make Chinese people warm up to you. They greatly appreciate the genuine effort you put in order to learn their language. Don’t worry, they know chinese is not the easiset language to master so a little stumble here and there will be fine!

Please be mindful that you might be surprised how your culture can vary vastly than chinese culture; but still, be respectful.

Each province speaks their own dialect and there many different tribes living in different part of China. Just wonder how many civilizations you can observe while you’re there! (Not to mention beautiful mountains and lakes often seen in chinese paintings).

Of course, it does not hurt to refrain from wandering around alone at night and make sure to watch out for traffic when you’re crossing the streets. (Read: use common sense when travelling).







Vic Shay, lived in China

Train stations, metro stations, bus stations, ports and of course airports, all these places load scan machines to scan every passengers bags and luggages. Some times on the side stands police officers and police dogs. If they find weapons (guns) in your bags, you are done, at least 5 yrs in jail. Same when they find drugs, and if over 1kg found, death sentence!  

They (the station staff most of the case)are gonna mark down your passport info if they detect metal stuff such as hammers or knives in your bag. Long knives are prohibited though.

This explains why big towns with huge population feels safer while rural areas with small population lower education lower econamically income and less police strength seems unsafe. This makes sense and most foreigners go to the big cities other than small cities like 10k-20k people population.





Nettuno Rossi, 5th year in China

Safe from violence Yes.

If We want to extend a bit the concept of safety above being physically threaten China can be unsafe for other things:

-traffic and accidents. Indeed many Chinese take traffic rules as a suggestion.

-scam. the famous tea scam, shop scams, taxi scam.

-pickpocketing. Have you ever wonder why most Chinese wear their backpack in front? It's not a fashion statement. Indeed in some areas you better watch your belongings.

-food frauds. like gutter oil and similar..

As tourist the pollution is not a problem that can harm you.

Overall is a quite safe country










Richard Corfield


Friends who worked in Beijing describe it: Although there is almost no chance of tourists being mugged, you must always be on your guard for the many people that will try and take your money 'with' your permission.

In Beijing and Shanghai there will be many, many people who will try to scam you, from *really* overcharging for a taxi/rickshaw (my wife and I were angrily shouted at to pay for $50 USD for a 10 minute journey, which was funny given that we painstakingly agreed the $3 cost in advance with the driver). 

But: There are elaborate scams based on implied fear and social manipulation (eg never agree to stranger's request for you to look at an art exhibition - that's a classic scam). 

Almost always the best response is to play dumb and say that you're going to ask a policeman about whatever's happening. You'll hopefully see the scammers back down very quickly.

My wife and I experienced scamming attempts many times, but the "best" example came from a guy we met travelling...

He went to see the Terracotta Army in Xian. He took the public (non-tourist) bus. A couple of stops before the one he was expecting to get off at, a guy who had been talking with the bus driver - and in the same uniform as the bus driver - approaches my friend, "You're going to the Terracotta Army? So am I. You need to get off at the next stop, and I'll show you which bus to get."

My friend thanks him for the bit of local knowledge and gets off the bus (in the middle of nowhere) with the local. "Where do I go to get the other bus?" he asks. Local guy points to his car and says, "There's the bus you need... twenty dollars!"










Haris Siddique, Co- Founder at Artimization.com

Honestly, We can’t say that every country is safe as crime and peace prevails in every country and its economy.

But as per my knowledge by working with travel agencies in China. Its a safe place for tourist and government of China also give protection to international visitors.

One of my friends recently book Shanghai tour and he told me that it was a great trip and the people of China was very collaborative.

You can walk around in night on the streets without any fear and enjoy the beautiful lighting of the city.






Jess Mulligan, Gamer, Writer, Incessant Reader

In the past 10 years, I've been to Beijing (twice), Shanghai (6 times, once for 3 weeks)), Nanjing and Dalian. As a 'business tourist', I tell you I have never felt physically safer than the time I spent in any of those cities. I remember being out on a street by the river docks in Shanghai at 2:30 am, trying to hail a taxi, and having a guy call one for me.... then try to sell me one of about 50 watches he had inside his coat, :). (I actually bought a Mao watch for a friend that collects propaganda.)

In terms of other people violating you in some way, pick-pockets are probably the worst you will face. However, you must be careful crossing the street; the traffic is horrible and literally hundreds of pedestrians are killed each in the major cities




Roger Gilmartin, Traveling the world and learning wherever I go

I’ll be happy to add my experiences to all the others who have offered theirs.

In all my time in China, most of the time spent in North central, central, North east, and eastern China, I didn’t have a single problem or provocation from anyone. Every one we met was eager to oblige taking pictures for us (and we would do the same).

Airports, train stations, bus depots, all the cross roads of life were all pleasant, and there were no problems. Even in the more crowded tourist attractions, everyone was orderly, and where we had questions, the staff in each place was eager to help.

I have so much more of China to explore - can’t wait to go back.






Kally Belle, a model learning Japanese

Well, the only thing you need to worry about—taking care of your belongings.

  1. About the accommodation: you can find a hotel or apartment anytime, many small hotels are opening 24 hours, you just need a map software to find them.
  2. About the food: you can find food anytime, so much restaurant. but on 3– 6 am, you can find food on place beside the bar or school or housing estate, or some small supermarket of 24 hours.
  3. About the safety issue: other answers have said a lot. My opinion is if you are a male, you can go out anytime and anywhere, but keep an eye on your belongings. If you are a female, don’t stay outside too late, 2 am is the latest time.
  4. If you have some questions, you can ask citizens or police or the Internet.
  5. A girl alone should have a company.


  1. 关于住宿:你可以随时找到酒店或公寓,很多小酒店都是24小时营业的,你只需要一个地图软件就可以找到它们。
  2. 关于食物:你随时都可以找到食物,餐馆非常多。但是在凌晨3 - 6点,你可以在酒吧、学校、住宅区或24小时营业的小型超市旁找到食物。
  3. 关于安全问题:其他网友已经讨论了很多。我的观点是,如果你是男性,你随时随地可以外出,但要注意自己的随身物品。如果你是女性,最好不要在外面呆得太晚,最晚不要超过凌晨2点。
  4. 如果你有什么问题,你可以向市民或警察或在互联网上求助。
  5. 一个独身的女孩应该找个伴同行

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