Viator VIP: Beijing's Forbidden City with Special Viewing of Treasure Gallery and the Great Wall Ruins at Badaling - Reviews

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Shaneel Ali

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2017

Great way to see the wall. Avoids all the crowds and the car rides were filled with history and great sites.

Joachim S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2016

The tour was announced as taking place when at least two passengers registered. It turned out that we were the only ones who had booked that tour that day. I was concerned that this could reduce the quality of the service, but I was mistaken. We had our very private tour with our own tour guide Jacky Lee and driver in an air-conditioned limousine. The guide provided a lot of details while visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. On our wish he focused on the Treasure Gallery there. The Peking-duck lunch was good and provided you with some insights in the peculiarities of the Chinese cuisine. The day was a public holiday with loads of tourists at the Great Wall. Since the motorway was almost blocked, the tour guide redirected the tour to a lesser known part of the Wall that had also much fewer tourists and was more scenic. The Wall was much more steeper there, too. It was also a hot day at the beginning of August, and temperatures reached 38 degrees centigrade. It took us 1 1/2 hours to reach the top of the mountain and to return. However, we were rewarded with a most impressive view of the area with the winding wall on top of the ridge. We also visited a silk and a jade manufacture and a tea ceremony shop. I acquired a silk gown and a jade ball of life'', which symbolizes three spheres of prosperous successive generations. In the tea shop I came across Pu-erh tea for the first time. This tea comes from Yunnan and is from the same tea leaves as green tea. The difference is that Pu-erh undergoes a fermentation and oxidation process over many years I bought a ten year old block. The ferments include peptide-blockers which prohibit the storage of fat in the fat cells of the human body, for which the tea is also called slimming tea''. This effect is confirmed by chemists.

In all this was a very rewarding tour which offers a cross-section of insights in Chinese historical and cultural achievements.

Ellen P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2016

We had the most amazing tour with our personal guide (Sue Lyn) and driver. We enjoyed Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, went to a climb the Great Wall. Our guide even arranged a special lunch for my husband who has a very limited diet, while I enjoyed a very tasty Peking duck that was delicious!

jennifer m

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2016

We very much enjoyed this tour. It was just my husband and me with a private guide named Goo. He was very knowledgeable and patient answering all our questions and explaining the Forbidden City. He took us to the Badaling section of the wall but beyond where the crowds are. We were virtually alone in a mountainous part of the wall. It was breathtakingly beautiful and the weather in May was perfection! This was a true highlight of our time in Beijing. Highly recommend and couldn't say enough nice things about our guide Goo.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2015

This was an excellent trip, the tour guide took us to a part of the wall, that was private and away from the crowds. After speking with other folks who went to the more touristy parts of the wall, I am so pleased we payed that bit extra and had the wall almost to ourselves. The guide was very knowledgable and kept us informed about the Forbidden city, we also went to a silk factory and other points of interest. Overall, money very well spent, would thoroughly recommend this trip to everyone.

Jeanelle M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2015

Amazing tour with a fantastic tour guide!

Ling N

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2015

Dream come true. Our tour guide was fun and always wanting to help take our picture. The forbidden city was very impressive. Our guide was quite knowledgable. The Great wall was amazing. I feel so blessed to have seen it. What an amazing trip!!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2015

Great experience, tour guide was professional and fun, took the back way in many places, so in the crowded environments, we were not in the crowds. The area of the wall was secluded, we felt as if we had the place to ourselves. Made for super photo opportunities. Great way to spend a day in Beijing.

Carol E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2015

Wonderful private tour. Guide was very informative.

Claudia K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2014

Great tour, great guide, got pictures with few to no other people, super

Lew and Leanne New Zealand

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2014

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

Thomas F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2014

Tour guide Jason did a great job and was extremely knowledgeable on history of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Small tour group with this tour allowed for lots of questions. Covered a ton of ground in a single day, this is the tour if you only have 1 day and can start out early.

Sheryl C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2014

Impressive! I got to see so much on this tour! Had a guide to myself. Saw everything advertised and more! Excellent job!

Katherine S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2013

Spectacular view and Guide. This tour could not have been any better then it was, but weird coincidence we had the guide to ourselves and we managed to do everything plus a bit more in the time frame allowed. SOOOO nice the guide and driver!!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2013

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!


4 star rating: Recommended
December 2016

I must say we were a little disappointed with the part of the wall we stopped at although there were not many people there but the climb up was horrendous it was just so steep

Nyla United States of ... 

4 star rating: Recommended
June 2015

This tour was amazing!


4 star rating: Recommended
June 2015

Fantastic tour shouldn't be missed. For an expensive VIP tour lunch was very disappointing in a crowded hall with bus loads of tourists above a jade warehouse where of course you are persuaded to shop.
Love the tours- hate the hard sell of products we aren't interested in purchasing, such a waste of valuable sight seeing time. Next time will pay the driver to go past and stop at a restaurant.

Pui Yan S

4 star rating: Recommended
March 2015

My husband and I joined this special Beijing tour. In terms of sightseeing, the general experience was fantastic, and we felt we were treated like VIPs as what the name of the tour suggested. We were the only clients in an air-conditioned car, along with the tour guide and the driver. The experienced tour guide stayed with us most of the time and provided useful historical background information at each point of interest. An unique aspect of this tour was that we could visit different attractions at our own pace, and this tour allowed us to visit multiple Beijing attractions within one day which fitted our packed schedule. Two things to improve on. Firstly, the quality of the lunch especially the Peking Duck was below standard when the tour description mentioned that as a highlight of the lunch. The dish we had was rough and dry. Secondly, we were surprised to be taken to two stores with one selling jade products and another selling silk products. It was ok to be taken to those places, and we were not pressured to make any purchases. Our experience could have been better if we were informed of those surprised visits in the Viator itinerary ahead of time.

William D USA

4 star rating: Recommended
December 2014

Not much to see at the Forbidden City and Treasure Gallery. Really the Forbidden city is not much more than a group of living complexes and store houses. Treasure gallery is a bit sparse. The best part of this was the Great Wall - I know it says Badaling, but we went past the touristy area a few kilometers to a spot that is not visited much - our tour guide Jackie said it was also Badaling but just opened. There were only three other people there were many parts of the wall that were not reconstructed. It was awesome and the reason that I gave this 4 stars. Our tour guide Jackie was good and knowledgeable.

Catherine M

4 star rating: Recommended
April 2014

Jackie was a well informed and friendly guide, and willing to skip some planned stops when we requested more time at the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. One star deducted for the crazy driver, who drove too fast, too often on the wrong side of the road, honked constantly, etc. But otherwise this tour was just what we wanted, with an interesting Chinese guide just for my sister and me. He was willing to answer all kinds of questions, and took excellent care of us. Pick up and drop off at the hotel was a great convenience. The lunch was decent but took place in one of those mandatory tourist shopping ops which are a bit irritating but easy enough to cope with. This was my first trip to the Great Wall, so I can't compare other sections but this one was not at all crowded, was minimally commercial (I was grateful to be able to buy water at the souvenir stand in the parking lot) and we were the only non-Chinese tourists in sight. Really steep to climb, it was lots of fun. Oddly, despite being pretty isolated, there was music piped in along the route! The Forbidden City was also spectacular to look at and very interesting to learn more about. One of the most fascinating days in a fascinating trip to China.

Diane Y

3 star rating: Worth doing
April 2017

Our guide, Carolyn, and the driver arrived on time. We drove to the park, climbed to the top, and viewed the Forbidden City and all of Beijing. Great views. Next we headed to the Forbidden City. Carolyn was very knowledgeable, but avoided the main areas because there were too may tourists. But that's what we came to see! Instead we walked around the other areas. The treasures we saw were not very impressive and did not match the pictures. I sort of felt like we missed the true treasures due to repairs or something of that sort. We stopped at a silk place along the way. Then we headed off to the Great Wall. Stopped for lunch at a jade place. Lunch was peking Duck, but not very good. The tea was even luke-warm. Carolyn and the driver decided to take us to a remote section of the wall rather than the tourist section at Badaling. Honestly, we were disappointed. We climbed what we could but there really wasn't that much. Of course the views were great, but I can't help feeling that we missed out. Then we headed back into the city. We asked to see Tiannemen Square, so we did a drive-by. Also drove past the Bird's nest and Swim Cube. Then we headed back to the hotel. And that was it.

aleksei g

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
January 2016

The quality of the tour was acceptable but not perfect. There were only two of us on this tour that day and all along the tour I felt that our guide was not doing his best, he made everything to finish the tour as fast as possible. Forbidden city treasury visit was left almost without comments and we rushed through the galleries of the forbidden city as if somebody was chasing us. Lunch was poor and beijing duck served was cold and disgusting.


1 star rating: I do not recommend this
April 2017

I booked the VIP Beijing's Forbidden City with Treasure Gallery and Great Wall for myself and three friends. It was an expensive tour but I thought it would be worth it because how often do you get to go to Beijing on vacation. The tour was suppose to start between 7:30 - 8:00am and would last until around 4:00pm. When no one showed up at the hotel we called and the company and we were told that the hotel was contacted and could not find our booking therefore, the guide was not coming. We explained that we were at the hotel and waiting and a guide finally showed up at 9:00am. We went to the Forbidden City first and it was okay -- our guide was somewhat knowledgeable but not very enthusiastic. The treasury room was completely under construction and there were only a few pieces of jade to see. Very disappointing but not the tour's fault. Next we went for lunch before visiting the Great Wall. The lunch was in a jade tourist trap sales room. We had to listen to an entire sales pitch for jade and then we were encourage to shop in the showroom with over priced statues and jewelry. Lunch was in a dirty side room and was mediocre at best. Lastly, we went to the Great Wall however, the guide said that the part of the wall we were supposed to go to would be too long of a walk so we were going to a different section. The section of wall he took us to was Badaling - and was okay - but crowded the MOST touristy part of the wall by far and not exceptional - and that would be fine if we had not paid so much money for the tour. Overall, the day was good - but not VIP good.

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