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William is an excellent tour guide -- he was knowledgable, flexible in terms of scheduling, and well-versed in English. He intrepidly led us up the Great Wall in -20 C temperature and wind chill as well as around Tiananmen and the Forbidden City. The trip was a great value in my opinion.
My tour was a private tour: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven in Beijing 5533CBJH. The tour was thorough and interesting. To walk through Tiananmen Square was to get an appreciation for the size of the square and the People's Hall. Next was the Forbidden City. My guide, Cris, was thorough in describing the history and life within these walls. We litteraly walked through history as we examined the architecture and through the various halls that were home to the history and maturing of the art of pottery. The grounds and buildings were beautiful. We next took an optional side trip to a silk manufacturer, which was interesting. I had time to review their shop - too many items to choose from! From there we went to a local restaurant. I don't know if it is policy, but since I was on my own, I ate lunch alone. I would recommend giving the client the option - I would have liked to carry on our conversations over lunch.
We finished the tour at the Temple of Heaven: a very expansive garden with historic temples and buildings, including Echo Hall, the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and the Round Temple. But the walk through the woods and the serenity of nature was a nice end of a long day. Cris, my tour guide, was genuinely kind, informative and easy to converse with. She answered my questions and helped me gain greater understanding about Chinese life, culture and history. I recommend this tour and I hope you can get Cris.
Excellent way to experience Beijing for first-time Americans like my wife and I. Our guide John was very informative. His English was excellent. He made us feel welcomed and comfortable in what for us was a very foreign environment. As per the tour description he picked us up upon our arrival, got us checked into the hotel, took us out for meals, and guided us on our tours around Beijing. Based upon our desires, he selected the restaurants and did all the ordering. We greatly enjoyed all of his selections. We feel like we had very authentic dining experiences.
The sites are wonderful, but be prepared for extensive walking and bad air. The first full day was six hours of walking before we asked to take a rest in advance of the acrobatics show. John was able to accommodate us by finding a coffee and tea room where we spent a quiet hour. The show and the Great Wall were awesome! However, the air quality in Beijing was extremely bad while we were there. Visibility from the Forbidden City and the Great Wall was very limited which was disappointing. That combined with the strenuous walking makes this tour difficult for those with health issues.
The default hotel is the Jingtailong. It is within walking distance of Tiananmen, shopping, and dining. Some of the staff speak English. The included breakfast is at the hotel's restaurant and is an Asian/Western buffet (have your room key card available). The rooms and beds are large and comfortable but the beds are firm. Check-in/check-out is different from our experiences in other countries. While John handled the check-in, it involve a lot of activity and time. A deposit is required- keep the receipt. Check-out also involves a lot of time and activity- present the deposit receipt to speed the refund. The housekeeper will inspect the room for damages before the desk will complete check-out. Allow 30 minutes prior to pickup.
Overall, this tour was awesome and met or exceeded all our expectations.
Grayden H Australia
Excellent insight into the Forbidden City. Would be good to have gotten more information on Tiananmen Square or being able to tour some of the surrounding builds of the Square. Tour guide was excellent - really nice and spoke the best English of any of our guides.
Tour 2 of 4 in Beijing and a more cultural and historical look at Beijing, We had Jackie Li for the second day running and on this tour my wife and I were the only 2 so a private tour which was lovely. I have already made reference to other peoples reviews relating to "full days" and side trips on tours in my review of the Badaling section of the great wall, I think that they both add to the tours and make them more comfortable. After our tour of Tiananmen Square and the forbidden city (Where our guide showed us where to get the best photos away from the crowds) then it was on to the silk factory where we bought some lovely gifts for our family, again no pressure to buy and if you say no they don't mind as I didn't buy things on every tour. However my wife had wanted to go to the silk market anyway, yes you can buy things cheaper elsewhere and we did that as well but the quality really was better in the silk factory so just decide whether you want cheap from the silk market or well made from the factory, there isn't a huge difference in price.
Then we stopped at the temple of heaven and the walk through the park and gardens was wonderful with local people meeting to dance, play or yoga in the park is really something special and shows a real sense of community in Beijing that is lovely. I realise I don't mention the sites themselves much but the speak for themselves.
Then off for lunch which was pleasant everyday although the first day at the jade factory was probably the best or at the enamel factory but all lunches on every tour were very nice and plenty of food.
Then back to the hotel by 2pm and off out for the afternoon.
Excellent full-day tour which covered the main sights in Beijing. Knowledgeable guide who genuinely enjoyed role and culture of the attractions. Although Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City could be reached easily alone, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven more difficult to locate so this tour was invaluable. As with Great Wall tour, visit to 'tourist trap' shopping sites annoying but likely to subsidise the price.
Our tour picked us up at the hotel on time. It was just the two of us and one other woman on the tour. Our guide was full of information and talked almost non-stop. This was an extremely fast-paced tour. I would recommend this tour to people who only have a short time in Beijing because it crams a lot into on day. We first went to the Summer Palace and although we spent about 1.5 hours there, we only saw a fraction of it. You could easily spend an entire day there. The next stop was the Pearl Market where the showed us how pearls are made and opened an oyster. We were brought up to the next level where they wanted us to buy pearls. Afterwards, we were taken to the Temple of Heaven and spent about 45 minutes there. From there we went to lunch at a buffet. The food was not great. All of the dishes were vaguely labelled 'pork', 'chicken' and 'vegetable'. After lunch we were taken to the Silk Market. Another shopping experience where they showed you how silk is made. They let my boyfriend open up one of the cocoons, stretch the silk and help make a layer of a quilt. It was a fun experience and we did end up splurging on two silk quilts. After was Tiananmen Square. We only really saw it from across the street, but we were there long enough for photos. We went directly into the Forbidden City and again, we were there for over an hour, but only saw a small section of it. The guide walked very fast and we were exhausted by the end of the day. He was full of information and offered to take photos for us (which was the best part of being on such a small tour). There were a lot of people and panhandlers around the tourist attractions and having a mandarin speaking guide helped shoo them away faster. At the end of the tour, the guide offered to bring us to a cheap place for a foot massage. We were taken to a holistic medical school where we were given foot massages by students and the cost was whatever you tipped. Great tour even with the forced shopping stops.
Throughout my two week trip in China, I was most looking forward to the historical side of Beijing, primarily Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. I had learned a lot about China's history and it had always fascinated me. I truly wanted a private experience (where I could pester the guide with tons of questions) and this tour delivered! My guide was an expert on all things China and answered all my questions and gave me more insight than I had expected to receive. All at such a great price too!
Great tour at an unbeatable price! I'm so glad we chose this option. It was our first time in China and this was a great introduction for us. It covered all the basics - Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace and Forbidden City. It was the perfect mix between the must-see "tourist" attractions and cultural immersion we would not have been able to do on our own. Great sights, friendly people and amazing country!
My tour with Mr. Jimmy Li was an excellent 1 day tour. I appreciate that I was able to visit all three venues the same day-Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and the Great Wall. There were five other persons on this tour and it was a good group. Mr Li did a great lecture on each venue as well as answering questions. Our Chinese lunch was delicious and the jade and silk demonstrations were good. I would highly recommend this tour if you have only 1 day to spend in Beijing. The time at the Great Wall was adaquate as was the other venues. The transportation and driver was good as well. Thanks for the good communications on the meeting place and pick up time. Arrived back at my hotel on time.
Steven E United Kingdom
very busy day started at the wall was very busy, then visited Tiananmen square and Forbidden City was brilliant so much history
MEGAN J Australia
This trip was fantastic. The adventure to both Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall was breathtaking. The experience was made so much better for the excellent local guide. An absolute definite if you're ever in these parts.
Jackie Li JL was my tour guide. Reliable and punctual, relatively good English speaker, energetic, joyous, empathetic, funny, sensitive and gives a sense of security to me. Note, this is my 1st tour and I normally plan my own itineraries.
Start: 7am for me.
1st and 2nd Stop - Tiananmen Sq and Forbidden City : Historical, huge and spacious. Loads of history, JL can provide you both short and long versions. Tian Sq is the gateway into the city. Bring your passport, good walking shoes, and sense of humor. It's a 2.5hr walk. We took the EAST RHS pathway through the city which was less crowded by 95, benches on the corridors to rest, better angle for photography trust me and relaxing for an autumn day walk. Covered too, if it rained. JL was sensitive enough to see one of our members had difficulty walking. - You need to walk to the center to see the insides of the 3 buildings on the outer court.
3rd - Silk Factory : Shoppers kindly bring your Credit C. Loads of nice silks, Duvet Cover set was worth it, RMB3.5k. I bought loads of scarves. Simply awesome!
4th - Lunch : Reasonable unelaborated simple 4 course Chinese meal. There were 4 of us, so good for a nice table by the window.
5th - Temple of Heaven : Relaxing, traditional music played from afar, retirees hung out to gamble, long corridors leading to the top of the temple. Simply breath taking, spiritual honestly.
6th - Pearl Factory : I didn't buy anything here. A US tourist said the sea water pearls were overpriced. We picked an oyster, and was given a tiny pearl from that oyster. Yaay!
7th - Summer Palace: JL did a good job telling stories of the Empress Dowager. The lake was peaceful, the architecture was inspiring.
8th - Hotel : End at 5pm and brace through the Beijing Traffic Jam! We walked more than 10km, so we didn't mind sitting. Recommended? YES! JL, thanks for the guide, you are really good at it!
The tour covered all of the important attractions of Beijing. Michael Ren Jingyu was our tour guide. He is knowledgeable about all of these sights and gave the tourists good information about the history and the significance of the places that we visited. He also took care to swap itinerary items to avoid peak crowds at the Forbidden City. The lunch provided was authentic and quite delicious Chinese food. As expected, one day is much, much to short to take in what this vast and monumental city has to offer, but this tour provides a good overview and interesting vignettes of Beijing. For me, I later went back to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City to satisfy my curiosity to learn more about these .
This full day tour takes a lot of walking. When I checked in at the hotel, a message with pickup time and person was waiting for me. We had a good tour guide named Victoria, spoke really good English. She showed up a few minutes late from my designated pickup time at 7am but it was fine. The minivan was packed and it felt crowded for 11 of us. Victoria sat on a stool behind the front passenger. Buffet lunch wasn't that good for me and we had to wait a few minutes for clean plates when we arrived at the restaurant. We just had at overlook of the Tiananmen Square from across the street before entering the Forbidden City. All the other places we visited were photogenic but they were all crowded with mostly local looking sightseers. It was still fun and I enjoyed the trip.
The Summer Palace was the highlight of this day out, which is a big day out and lots of walking. It was absolutely beautiful and i really enjoyed this part of the day. The Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City are impressive and full of cultural history. Our tour guide Cynthia was fantastic, very bubbly and full of information the whole day. The lunch provided on this day out was terrible unfortunately as it was mainly fried food which was semi cold.
While we enjoyed the tour I did think the morning felt a bit rushed... the 'Tiananmen Square' piece of the tour was literally just standing in the middle of the square and looking around us, I thought there would have been a bit more to it. Jingshan Park was beautiful, I wish more time was given here. As there were only the two of us on the tour it was a little harder to have any time to sit, take a break from all the walking or just to enjoy the locations you were visiting. Our guide was lovely though and after a few days in Beijing we had loads of questions for her which she happily answered! She showed us how to follow the Subway system also which was really helpful to us over the next few days.
If you do the tea ceremony though, maybe be a little wiser than us and ask for the price first before taking part. Afterwards the price seemed to vary depending on how much we spent buying the teas...
The afternoon was brilliant, we really enjoyed the hutong tour and lunch in a local's house. It was just a very different experience and the food was yum :)
Overall, we thought this an excellent tour. We got to see the sights without being pushed to shop. The guide was excellent and knew all the tricks to making it an excellent tour. We enjoyed going to local, non-tourist, restaurants, though the literature made the Peking Duck sound like a catered banquet. The acrobat show was awesome. The Wall, Forbidden City, of course sell themselves. The only down part was the hotel was advertised as 5 star. The Peninsula was advertised, but fine print directed us to another hotel, three star at best, with a good location near Tiananmen, but not really what we expected. Overall, well worth the trip and really nice to have a private guide.
Guide: Great, Sites: Great, Everything-in-between: UGH! My guide Jason was great, he was funny and very knowledgeable. The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Temple of Heaven tours were amazing, but by the time we got to the Summer Palace I could tell the clock was ticking faster than we were moving. I had to go back to the Summer Palace later and spent about 4hrs just wandering around, it is a truly amazing place and cannot be seen in an hour. The stuff-in-between that was terrible was lunch (a buffet that made me sick later) and Dr. Tea…watch out for this place. I am a tea snob, love it, and the tea during tasting was great quality…the stuff I took out of the package when I got home was the same overdried left over bits that I get at Walmart, but I paid close to three times the amount!
Peter B Australia
Jackie, our guide was excellent and the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall were amazing. Jackie's indepth knowledge of the Forbidden City was very much appreciated and I don't think we could have done this attraction by ourselves. Could have spent more time at the Great Wall and less time shopping. We were expecting one stop at the Jade factory but the Tea Shop and Silk Factory weren't mentioned in the itinerary when we booked. Overall, though a fantastic day if you want to truly explore these amazing icons.
Our tour of Beijing Essential Full-Day Tour including Great Wall at Badaling, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square was wonderful! We had a great day where we were shown the major sights of the city plus a few extras like the silk and jade factories. I loved that all the entrance fees were included in the tour price. Also, the convenience of being picked up and dropped off at our hotel was greatly appreciated. I was slightly disappointed in the lunch, but that wasn't the main attraction, so I didn't dwell on it. Over all I would highly recommend this tour to a friend!
Tour was great, our guide was informative and funny. The Great Wall was amazing (must go again in spring time). Forbidden city and Tiananmen Square was an experience. No waiting in lines for passes, transport or security. Went to a silk house and tea house, interesting, but they try to sell things.
The Great Wall was the highlight and the tour overall was good. We would have liked more time understanding the significance of Tiananmen Square though. Overall a good way to see everything, well top 3 main sights if you only have one day.
Belmont United Kingdom
The tour started at 7.00am. We went on one of the first days of the Chinese National holidays so everywhere was packed to capacity. At 7.30am we were standing in Tiananmen Square, overwhelmed by the number of locals that can gathered. The visit to the Forbidden City was good but limited in the sense that we did not really go into any of the internal "temples" as we walked through the F/City on the outer footpaths, which were still within the F/City so as to avoid the crowds. We arrived at the Summer Palace at 2.30pm by which time over 110,000 people had entered so that will give you a feel on numbers! Likewise, in order for the small party to keep together, we were constantly on the move, so little time to really look at anything. We visited a Chinese Medicine Hospital (waste of time), as well as a silk factory (quite interesting) and a pearl factory (great if you wanted to buy some very reasonable priced pearls). Obviously the latter three stops were purely there to part with some cash! Our guide, Mr Jacky Lee, was excellent as he took time to take photos of the couples in the group and he knew the best places to capture the photos so well done to him. Lunch provided was good. Apart from the crowds, a really good day was had by all.
Martin M USA
Very busy day. We did not actually go into Tiananmen but viewed it from across the busy street. Our guide Mr Jackie Lee was very knowledgeable, and very enthusiastically pro-China. The Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven were jammed but we made the most of it
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