Driver was rude and the tour guide was not qualified, neither of them took much interest in the tour. Badaling was changed to Mutianyu without prior consultation with us. Hours were wasted in Jade and Tea shops. When we said that we did not want to send time in shops, the tour guide said that we had to go because we booked a shopping trip. I have deliberately chosen this trip to avoid shopping! Such a shame that our visit to the Ming Tomb and Great Wall could have been so much better if we had a decent tour guide.
If you actually want a tour, don't book this one! The Great Wall is amazing, and seeing it is a wonderful experience. But this is not a tour. This is more of transportation to the Ming Tombs and the Great Wall with lunch, and unnecessary tourist trap stops. Our tour guide Summer wasn't knowledgeable about any of these historic destinations. She was difficult to understand, did not explain anything of significance about the Ming Tombs, and did not accompany the group to the Great Wall. The itinerary changed last minute, and included stops to a very expensive jade shop and a tea house, which was not listed in the description of the tour. We did not actually visit the Badaling area of the Great Wall, but the Mutianyu section instead. Then Summer had the audacity to try and rush everyone once we arrived at the Great Wall! She was not very professional or courteous, and she seemed more interested in shuffling us to the tourist trap stops then providing us with an actual tour of the two places we paid to see. We were traveling with children, and had to stop at the bathroom before boarding the van to return. The driver actually yelled at us in Chinese, and Summer was noticeably rude because we got back to the van a little late. Fortunately the experience of seeing these wonderful places for first time was awesome, and the other couples on the tour were quite pleasant. So we were able to move on past the foolishness of this sham of a tour. However I do not recommend this for anyone who truly wants to learn about the Great Wall and Ming Tombs while visiting them.
It was pretty good overall. They were on time to pick us up at the time that was mentioned. The schedule was followed accordingly and the information provided by our tour guide was interesting and insightful.
The only bad thing was that we spent way too much time at the Jade factory, which is pretty much a store that has jade products. I would've much rather spent that time at the Great Wall.
1. Our guide, Kylie, cannot speak English well. She can't understand simple questions like, 'What time can we have lunch?' or 'When can we go to the Great Wall?' She can only speak what she's programmed to speak and most of them are barely English words.
2. It seems like it's Kylie's first time as a guide but it actually it isn't. She isn't a good guide and has no common sense in guiding or giving information. She starts explaining when she reaches her check point without waiting for the group to gather. She doesn't think ahead that she needs to set a meeting point in case someone in the group loses her so we can meet up later.
3. We're taken to destinations that are not listed in the tour description. We're forced to go to a jade factory and tea house. Not that they aren't interesting but I'd prefer that I spend more time on the Great Wall.
4. It is stated vaguely in the description about the cable car to the Great Wall. It just says the price isn't included. I thought the cable car is optional. Turn out that we're forced to go up the wall with cable car and we have to pay extra 140 RMB without further notice...
5. We only have 40 minutes on the Great Wall.
6. It says in the description that the vehicle is an air-conditioned bus/coach. What we had was an old shaggy van that looks like something can goes wrong anytime.
7. The only good merit is that they offer taxi fee if you have to travel from a far hotel to meet them in the downtown.
The tour was good as it took us to the Great Wall that's what we wanted. It was a bit difficult understanding the guide.
We only had 1 hour and 15 minutes to take the sky cable to wall, walk the wall and return. Wish we had a little more time. We had a pick up from the hotel followed by visiting the Ming tomb, visiting a Jade Factory shopping and lunch, the wall and visiting a tea shop.
I am finally able to sit down a write a review. Tour date 12th July 17. We were contacted by Linda who was to be our tour guide the day before with pick up time of 0750. Linda arrived exactly on time as informed. There were only a total of four people for the trip so had plenty of room in the mini bus. Took a bit of time to get out of Beijing but this was expected at this time of day. When we arrived at the great wall at Badaling Linda gave us the choice of using the cable car or walking. Linda recommended walking. This would give us more time than wasting time queuing for the cable car. What wonderful views and and amazing sights. We spent about two hours at the wall. You were left to go at your own pace and climb as high to your own ability. After the wall we drove to the Ming Tombs. Linda was the perfect host explaining everything and passing on her knowledge which made the visit more interesting. After the tombs we went to a jade factory and shown the craftsman at work then into the shop. We were not followed around or pressured into buying anything. Lunch was included and served in the restaurant above the jade factory. A lovely lunch and there was ample food. After lunch on the return trip back to Beijing we stopped at a tea shop and sampled the different teas with an explanation of the benefits of the different types. Again we were not pressurised to buy. We did indulge and brought the fruit tea. On the way back into Beijing Linda asked us all if we wanted to go back to our hotels or be dropped off at different location. We passed the Olympic park on the way back in. Linda was very good and kept us informed all the time. Arriving back into Beijing at rush hour can be a bit nervous weaving in and out of the traffic. Dont think there are any rules of the road! A great tour and well worth the money along with great memories.
The visit was extremely good but the timing was wrong. Do not go in Summer as half of the chinese nation visit this Badaling site. If you decided to go in summer I recommend to visit the lower North Wall before the Badaling, it is lower end of course but it is still part of the wall and not a lot of tourist and people. I should go to this place. But our guide is really nice and spoke english very well.
A group of our fellow travellers were late, and we had to go and get them, which delayed us by an hour. We were then rushed round the Ming temple as someone wanted the toilet so we all had to leave.
Spent too much time at the Jade shop, but the lunch there was great, we would have gladly reduced this for more time at other destinations.
The Great Wall was stunning as expected, then on our return to Beijing we were supposed to visit the Birds nest stadium area, but as we drove passed it was just pointed out to us, but we managed to again spend plenty of time in a tea shop! The tea shop was actually interesting, but they were quite pushy for a sale.
If the biggest part of our tour party had not been late then I think the day may have panned out a lot differently. Everything we saw was very interesting, but we just wished we had more time at the sites rather than the shops.