This review must be prefaced with the fact that we (unknowingly) booked our week during the Chinese "weeklong" national celebration, Oct 1-7. That said, that meant 430 MILLION Chinese were traveling not even counting foreign tourist. That was in effect the perfect storm for this and all tours to be basically traffic jammed and miserable, but it was not, and thanks to our tour guide Jackie Lee, aka, Jackie Chan, and his driver, we got to the Ming Tombs, to the Great Wall, to lunch, yes to a few jade and tea shops and back to our hotel without hitting any, repeat any traffic jams as he knew all shortcuts and timings of the locals and how to avoid them all! To put this in perspective, on the road to the Great Wall, the same highway we were on, there have been 2 DAY, not 2 hour back-ups on the highway, so him getting us around without delays, plus his wit and charm and knowledge of the area was fantastic. Oh yea, one more small detail, after we got back to the hotel, I noticed either through my fault or the jade folks, my jade object was broke, although nicely packed. I called Jackie as there was no way I was going to fight the traffic and try and replace it and guess what, even on his busy tour the next day, he went to the factory, got me another, better one, brought it to my hotel and took the other one back and this was after his very long tour day for another group. Fantastic service, great tour guide and driver (amazing) and both made the best possible situation for us out of a potentially catastrophic tour day with all the traffic and congestion and travelers. Finally, the weather that day was absolutely perfect, no clouds, no rain, no pollution and we got to spend it touring the sites and not camped out on the highway, waiting to move another inch an hour as some couple reported to us. Be careful who you choose to take you on this tour, these 2 guys made all the difference in the world and it was a great time, pictures coming when I get them downloaded!
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