This is a really nice, large park in the middle of the city that is a good place to relax, with a beautiful lotus pond or check out the famous Shanghai marriage market on the weekend.
However, this review will be mainly about the scammers that operate there to help people avoid falling into their trap! Because since this area is very popular with tourists, it is targeted by the less nice people of China who want to take advantage of lost foreigners.
I have been to Renmin Park twice, and both times I have been accosted by would-be scammers.
As a previous reviewer said, they tend to come up to you by asking you to take a photo of them because they are visiting here from another city, and then they seem to slip into a friendly conversation. This is the first step you should beware of - because Chinese people visiting other Chinese cities rarely have such good English, and they don't ask western people to take photos of them. Usually, it is the opposite - genuine Chinese tourists want to take photos with or of western people.
Secondly, watch out if they are not too bothered about the quality of the photo you take. Both times I was asked to take photos, there was nothing special in the background, and some of the group members didn't even bother to smile. On one occasion, the girl handed me her phone with a photo of the group already on it! This was probably taken by a previous unsuspecting person, and I hope they realised what this was and got away.
Thirdly, be aware that they may be unusually friendly, and have a wide vocabulary if they start asking you questions. Most Chinese people don't know English that well, so if somebody speaks to you in near perfect English, this should set alarm bells ringing. This is especially so because most Chinese who speak excellent English are educated or well-off, and these young people looked very poor. So look at their clothes and their faces, and if this doesn't match with their amazing quality of English, you should tread carefully.
Fourthly, tea ceremonies do not exist in China. There is no such thing. If they invite you to one, it means taking you to some dodgy backstreet, where their associates will charge you an arm and a leg to buy some "special" teas, and then probably try to steal your wallet on your way out.
I was lucky because I had already heard about these tea ceremony scammers thanks to my DK guidebook, but because I am quite naive and like to believe in the best of people, I did engage in a conversation with the first group of scammers that approached me. But because I knew of this, I asked them how much it would cost. When they said 200 RMB, I explained to them that I didn't have that kind of cash on me. You would not have believed how quickly they disappeared as soon as I said I had no money!
So be aware of suspiciously friendly people with good English, particularly around the metro station exits, where they wait around for tourists who look at bit lost and are just getting their bearings.
But don't be put off! This is a nice park and it's worth visiting, and once you are inside, you tend not to be bothered, as most Chinese will either ignore you or just point and say "Weiguoren!" also, be aware that food from the stalls there is very overpriced, maybe 5 to 10 times the price of what you can get in quieter places, so take your own drinks and food if you need them
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