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.
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.
great really enjoyed the Forbidden City
Our tour guide Cynthia was very kind and nice with us. She tried to made our tour very exciting and interesting. My flight was delayed so I start the tour later, after the Forbidden city so she told me they will make a refund for that. I didn't asked for it so it was very nice from her.
We went to the Jade Factory and we ate there; the food was very good and enough for all of us. After that we went to the Silk Factory and to the Great Wall. It was amazing but maybe not enough time, only 1:30 hour. We finished at the Tea ceremony very interesting. GREAT TOUR! RECOMMENDED FOR ONLY ONE DAY IN BEIJING!
We had Robert as a tour guide today to the square, forbidden city, and temple of heaven. He was engaging and really a good teacher to my son for mandarin in addition of course to his extensive knowledge. We would highly recommend him to others.
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.
Great day with Michelle, walked around Forbidden city and climbed the wall, a must
Lew and Leanne
This was a great day. We were picked up at our hotel on time and taken the short distance to Tienimen square. Then onto the Forbidden city. For most of our visit to the Great Wall, we were the only visitors there. Our guide Carolyn was fantastic. Highly recommended
In contrast to the tour to the Great Wall and Ming Tombs the day before this was a fantastic tour. As with the previous day my wife and I were the only ones on the tour. The tour was comfortably paced for us. Tiamanmen Square was busy due to being the Mid-Autumn Festival. It was unfortunate that it was raining as we walked through the Forbidden City, however our guide (Cherry - if that is her real name) took us along the right side away from the masses and slightly higher than the main throng of visitors. She regularly pointed out photo opportunities.
Getting back to the coach it was onto the Silk Factory. Although there was an opportunity to buy, there was no sign of any high pressure sales.
Onto the Heavenly Temple and the rain had stopped. Again our guide provided us with excellent information and provided us with time to have a look by ourselves. Before lunch it was on the Pearl Factory. Getting a theme here? Yes - we were shown how fresh water pearls are cultured and farmed, but it was followed by a purchase opportunity, but as with the Silk Factory no high pressure sales techniques used.
Lunch was at a restaurant as was good quality and quantity. And onto the Summer Palace. By now the sun had come out. The Summer Palace was busy, again because of the Mid-Autumn Festival. We walked to the Marble Ship, before coming back on the Dragon Boat (you will have to pay extra, but well worth it).
Would I recommend it - most definitely. We were not subject to high sales pressure at the Silk or Pearl Factories. Cherry was a great guide.
Our guide 'Jackie Lee' was the highlight of the day. We are still talking about him! This is a great tour. The Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven are very interesting and the Summer Palace is beautiful. I wish these tours avoided local businesses like the pearl factory though.
We had an incredible day on this tour. Not only was our guide Jason passionate and a wealth of information but the tour truly encompassed the very best that Beijing has to offer. The views from Jingshan Hill and the Great Wall were breathtaking. While I'm not usually a fan of duck, the Peking duck was unique and delicious. Trying it is a must. With Beijing being a very busy and sometimes chaotic city, having our guide meant we could relax and simply take in the beauty around us, especially in the massive Forbidden City. Thank you for an unforgettable day in Beijing!
WOW! Where do I even begin? This was the tour of a lifetime! We were picked up by an incredible guide who was so excited to show us his city. We were a little worried about the language barrier but he spoke perfect English. This tour was literally like walking through history and I couldn't believe how much we fit into one day. I loved being able to explore the Forbidden City both from inside and from Jingshan Hill where you see an incredible birdseye view. From up there, you really get a sense of the immensity of this place. But my favorite part had to be walking on the Great Wall of China -- a dream of mine since I was young! What I loved especially about seeing this part of the Wall is that there were no crowds. In fact we were the only people there! And to be walking on such an important part of history while taking in the panoramic views was worth the trip to Beijing!
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.
I recently had some tours from some of your lovely guides around Beijing of the forbidden city, temple of heaven, Beijing opera and the night walking tour. The tour guides were wonderful; very knowledgeable of the areas, and fun people to spend time with. I was very impressed with their prompt and timely starts to the tours, which was especially important being in a new city as it was reassuring that I was meeting them in the correct place and there was no confusion. I have experienced poor timeliness in the past so I was really appreciative of the tour guides for this attribute. The tours were well structured, and very good value for money, and I was happy that I was neither rushed nor delayed with the time I spent at each location and with the guides. The mixture of private cars, local transportation, and planned meals was excellent and I feel that I had a well rounded and informative experience in Beijing learning about the history and culture of the intriguing city. I particularly appreciated the professional experience and coordination between the main office, the guides, the locations visited and the drivers. I have been very happy with the experience and I fully recommend that others use Viator for planning their own tours. In light of this I have copied into this email my friend Ester who would like to organise some tours for Beijing, and I hope you are able to organise some fun activities for her! She is particularly interested in going to the Great Wall of China. Thank you very much for the wonderful experiences which I will carry with me for a life time!
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