Lanterns hanging over tourist area in China

Why You Shouldn't Accept A Teahouse Invitation While Visiting China

By Jenna Busch


There is a scam that sometimes happens in China known as the tea scam or teahouse scam. A friendly person offers to take you to a tea tasting then sticks you with a huge bill.
The way it usually goes is that a person approaches you in a friendly way (often a single, pretty woman who targets men). They may ask for a picture to strike up a conversation.
After chatting for a bit, they invite you to join them for a tea tasting or say that you can watch a traditional tea ceremony. They may also invite you to lunch or even a bar.
You get there, try out the different teas, and when the bill comes it's an exorbitant amount of money. When it's passed to you, your friends may have mysteriously disappeared.
This scam happens most often in touristy areas or big cities. It can also happen when you go to karaoke or when you go to meet a Tinder date at a bar, restaurant, or teahouse.
The best way to avoid the scam is not to leave where you are for another location with strangers. If you do go somewhere (even by yourself), ask for the price upfront.