Excellent value tour prompt pick up on time by our English speaking guide Jason Howe was very informative
first stop The Great Wall-JUYONGGUAN breathtaking experience not as crowed as other sections very step stairs up not for the unfit.
Second stop The Ming Tombs peaceful and architecturally brilliant well worth the drive
Lunch was in the jade factory restaurant, Jason made sure our lunch was to our specification (vegetarian)
finished the day off with a Tea Ceremony.Highly Recommended !!
Since I was the only one on this tour for that day, the tour became a private one. Michael, the English speaking guide was knowledgeable and friendly. The punctuality of starting time at the hotel was commendable.
We booked a private tour in order to have flexibility, and found that our guide appeared to have a different view of the day. Our visit to the Great Wall was set at a mere 2 hours, while we could have spent much longer there.
We felt rushed, for no reason other than the fact that we were booked for a HORRIBLE lunch at the Jade Factory, where a sales person (who was very sick) followed my every step through the store in an attempt to sell us junk. We did not ask to visit the Jade factory and felt the high pressure sales approach was very inappropriate.
We would have loved to have spent more time visiting the Spirit Way.
Our guide gave us a choice to visit a tea house or a silk factory on the way home. We chose the silk factory, and again felt pressured to make a purchase. BTW, we did buy a "king" size comforter, which turns out to be no more than a full to queen size.
All in all, our guide was well spoken and knowledgeable. Had we confined our activities to touring, it would have been a great day. BTW, Our only bad meal in the entire trip was had during this tour.
Kept putting us in high pressure sales positions at a Jade Factory and at the Dr Tea tea house.
I found it a bit uncomfortable at first because it was me and my daughter and our guide was a male and I didn't realise we were only going with him and his driver. He was very nice informative once we started chatting. A bit scary at times with the driving. But apart from that it was the was ok.
Great spot to see the Great Wall
Visiting the tombs were good, but getting to see and explore a segment of the Great Wall was amazing! Our guide was wonderful - very knowledgeable and a great photographer to boot. She was kind enough to take pictures of all of us to record this incredible experience. This day was much richer with all of the historical tidbits that was shared by our guide. This tour is very highly recommended.
Had a great time on the tour of the Great Wall. We were picked up promptly at 7:00 am at our hotel. A very nice mini bus and only 5 people on our tour. Our tour guide Jackie Le was just a wealth of information, not only about the Great Wall but, Beijing as well. We went to the Ming Tombs first and no crowds at all, very interesting. Then, to a jade factory. I liked it but, I read some reviews where people thought it was too touristy. I enjoyed it and purchased a few trinkets. Lunch was good, included in the price. We got to the Wall after lunch and were given 1 1/2 hours to explore/climb. It was just enought for me but, I suppose some people would have liked more time. On the way home Jackie had the bus driver take us past some of the Venues from the '08 Beijing Olympics including the "birds nest". Very impressive! Then we stopped at a silk factory. I found it interesting but, again I don't know if everyone would. We had a great day and were back at our hotel before 5:00. I would definitely use Viator again and request Jackie Le. We booked online and got a discount, where do you go wrong with approx 65 USD for a whole day tour and information learned that you would never get if you did this on your own!
Jason speaks perfect English and is a wonderful and honest guide. He is also a huge American sports fan which makes for great conversation.
The great wall is a very impressive must-do. Our tour guide Jason had very fluent english. The ming tomb was interesting but we were disapointed that the spirit way was not included in the tour or proposed as an option.
Two negative points about this tour. Firstly the tour does not go to Badaling. I had previously taken the tour in June 2012 and was told that Badaling was too busy so another section - Juyongguan Pass was visited. So this time visiting with my wife I expected to get to Badaling. But no! Juyongguan again. Was told that they do not go to Badaling. Second negative point is the oppressive sales pitch. I was expecting from last time - at the advertised visit to the Jade factory, and the un-advertised visit to Dr Tea. However this time there was another unadvertised "opportunity" to spend money. This was at a 2008 Olympic site were foot massages and other health related activities were available.
This tour has some much potential, however the high pressure sales pitch, the un-advertised stops on the tour (designed to part you from your money), the low quality of the food provided for lunch (at the Jade factory), all combine to make it a memorable experience for all the wrong reasons.
Cynthia (if that is really her name) was overpowering who spent most of the time asking questions about the locations being visited, before giving the answer. Myself and my wife were the only visitors on the tour and we found it tiring after a few hours.
Would I recommend you take the tour - only if you are of strong will to resist the high pressure sales pitch, otherwise do not bother.
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I would not recommend the tour. I would just go to the sites on my own. The sites were absolutely amazing, especially the Great Wall. It was absolutely breathtaking.
Problems: My tour was scheduled on Wednesday. I called 24 hours in advance as recommended to confirm my pick up time. I called all day and never got through. I kept getting a message that the line was busy. Wednesday came and I went to the lobby at 7:20 as the voucher said I would not be picked up until 7:30 but to be ready 10 minutes early. No one came to pick me up. I had the front desk call and they finally got through, I was told that the driver was there at 7am but left because I wasn't ready. I went back to my room and checked my e-mail. Instead of CALLING MY PHONE to let me know the driver was there, they had emailed me! Needless to say I had to reschedule the tour for the following day and I thought, "wow, what crappy customer service".
I was picked up on Thursday at 7am. I was the only one on the tour and was happy because I paid for the group tour but now was getting a private tour. The tour guide's name was Jackie Lee. His English was tough to understand. Then he started telling me about the Ming Tombs and kept talking about concubines and "happy massage". He said "happy massage" so many times I felt very uncomfortable. Then I was asking about panda bears and again he started talking about "happy massage". This was completely inappropriate.
After he rushed me through the Ming Tombs, he took me to the Great Wall and basically sent me on my own. I walked the wall without the guide. Afterwards, he took me to lunch at the Jade Market where he REPEATEDLY pressured me to buy something. I bought a ring, which I'm pretty sure was fake. The stone fell out within five hours of purchase. I later learned that he earns a percentage of whatever he can get tourists to buy. The tour was supposed to last from 7:30am-7pm. He ended my tour by 3pm. Don't do a tour, go on your own and save the headache
Good guide give us a lot of imformations about China. Cable car up and slide down from the wall - fantastic. Very scenic part of the wall. Very good lunch.
Great tour - very interesting. Excellent tour guide - pleasant, informative, friendly and very thoughtful. Kept tour 'moving along' at a good pace! A real asset to your company - thank you Jackie!
Convenient way to see the Great Wall, as transport to the area can be difficult otherwise. Sufficient time at both the Great Wall and Ming Tombs and an excellent and knowledgeable guide and driver but could have avoided the hour-each 'tourist traps' to a Pearl Market and a Tea Shop, which were clearly on a commission basis.
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