Taxis are one of the best ways to get around China. They can usually be found anywhere at anytime of day or night in most cities across China and they are quite cheap. Here are some tips for catching a taxi in China and making the taxi ride as smooth as possible as well as a list of some good to know words and phrases in Mandarin for taxi rides.
2. Enter and exit from the passenger side. The driver side doors are usually locked and it's much safer to enter and exit on the passenger side.
3. Pay with cash and carry assorted small bills. Some taxis take credit cards or pre-loaded city public transportation cards, but most only take cash. The drivers often don't have change to break large bills so try to have exact change or close to it in small bills so you don't need to break a 50 or 100 RMB note. Counterfeit money shows up in change from taxis sometimes so check your change if you have to break a large bill but try to be prepared so you don't lose out on change or get counterfeit change.
4. Make sure the fare meter is dropped right away. Big city Taxis always have fare meters so make sure the driver drops it right away and only pay what it says, this usually isn't a problem just something to be aware of. If you must take a taxi in a small city with no meter try to bring local or Chinese speaking friends with you to help discuss and negotiate. Clearly determine the price and location before leaving and pay that exact amount on arrival only, but try not to do this unless it's an emergency or the only option.
5. Be sure the driver knows where to go. Ideally have a business card or a clear printed name and address of your destination. It also helps if you know how to clearly and correctly say the name of the place in Mandarin and if you know a major well known landmark near your destination to tell the driver as a back up plan.
6. Don't tip. Tipping is not a part of Chinese culture, it's not rude to not tip, a tip is never expected. The driver will always give back any extra change.
7. Ask for a receipt. This isn't that important but it may make you feel more comfortable and help is certain situations. If you have a bad experience in any way, lose something, or need to report your taxi driver a receipt will have the date, time, price, and taxi number on it for proof and reference.
8. 空车 (Kōng chē). Keep a look out for an illuminated sign saying 空车 on a taxi to flag down. This mean vacancy, or the taxis is empty and able to pick up a passenger.
Useful Words and Phrases
2. Zhí zǒu - Go straight.
3. Zuǒ zhuǎn - Turn left
4. Yòu zhuǎn - Turn right
5. Qǐng tíng zhèlǐ - Please stop here.
6. Qǐng gěi wǒ fāpiào - Please give me the receipt.
7. Xiè xiè, zàijiàn - Thank you, goodbye.