Taking a Taxi in China

You would think taking a taxi one would not have any difficulties except perhaps language.  Language is one problem as 99% of taxi drivers do not speak English.  When you wish to go some place, write down where you want to go in English and have someone in the hotel write it in Chinese to hand to the taxi driver.  A taxi taken from the hotel will usually be very honest and run the meter.  After you obtain your luggage at the airport you will leave through some doors to a waiting crowd of people….some of which may be people asking you if you want a taxi.  DO NOT go with them.  They charge whatever they can get and are usually private cars who do not wait in the taxi line and are illegal.   On the street when wanting a taxi you put your arm up and wave your hand up and down as if to wave goodbye.  Do not put a single index finger pointing up.   Most taxi drivers only know an area within 3 miles of where you are and do not like to go outside this area since they also can make more money on short hauls rather than long distance into areas that they are not familiar with and may have to stop on the street and ask people for directions. Taxis on the street do not like to go to the airport as they must sit in line for sometimes hours to get a fare.  Taxis are compact cars mostly Volkswagons holding three people at the most and limited space for luggage.  If you have more than three people you will need to take two taxis.   Taxi drivers make a very good income and it is not necessary to tip them other than to round off the meter to the next higher yuan if less than 1 yuan. Example:  5.20 yuan fare you should give them 6 yuan.  Coming from the airport there is a  toll fee which will be added to the meter fare.   For more information on China infrastructure differences contact us at    interlak@eskimo.com    My name is Dave and have traveled China for 25 years throughout the country.