Heya, these are some of my travelling tips. I'm not claiming to be an expert, but these are some things that have served me well when travelling in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and Bangladesh and I hope that these may be of help to you too!
Ripping you off
Just get used to it, if you're not local, they'll try to over charge you when buying food or goods at the street or in shops. The degree to which this happens varies from person to person and from city to city, but as a rule of thumb, expect to be over charged (and bargain thereafter).
As far as I could tell, though, restaurants are a nice exception to this. Also, street food sales people charging Y1-2 are accurate enough, as is water bottles for Y1-2
When taking a Taxi, insist that he/she's using the meter. If travelling longer distances (e.g. the airport 45 mins away) agree on a price on the beforehand (Chinese: duoshao qian). Otherwise, they'll often try to rip you off (e.g. my driver in Jinghong tried to get Y50 off me when driving the 5km out to the airport, where he should (as far as I could understand) have asked for Y10-20).
When all this is said, I want to add that that I've only experience that they want to fool you about monetary issues. They don't take the piss sending you to the wrong direction, on the wrong bus etc. It's just in money matters you need to take more heed than normal.
Trust your sense of direction
Get yourself a good map (local book shop, Lonely Planet, tourist information etc) and find what's north: the sun rises in east and goes down in west. At noon, the sun is in the south. That's the basics.
Know this; although Chinese people are a friendly, helpful bunch, they're in my experience, really bad in reading maps. I don't know why this is, but don't be surprised if a taxi driver or bus chauffeur is not able to tell you where in their city you are on the map (even when the map's in perfect Chinese).
Also, if you believe you should be going left and the bus driver argues right, big chances are you're the one that's right Again, not based on academic research, only my own experience from three weeks of travelling.