Kai Ryssdal: There are a couple things you ought to know before you go to China.
First of all, unless you speak chinese or have a friend who does don't leave the hotel room without getting someone to write down the name and the address of the place you're staying.
Ryssdal: (Speaking with taxi driver in Chinese)
Once you get where you're going and you're ready to come home show it to the cabbie, otherwise you may never see your hotel again.
Item two, if you're Shanghai or Beijing give serious thought to taking the subway. The systems in both cities are clean, on time and easy to navigate. And as much as cabs dissapear at 5pm on a Friday in Manhattan so to can you wait for a long long while on a street corner in Shanghai for an empty taxi to come by during rush hour.
Finally, pay only the metered fare. No need to tip fifteen or twenty yuan. Three bucks or so is going to get you most places you want to go.