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So worth it to do the day trip up to Beijing and see the Great Wall if you are only in China for a short time. In total I had 3 days in China and wanted to make sure I saw the most. It was a very long day I got picked up at 4:15 am and I did not return to my hotel until 11:30 pm from my airport drop off. Everything ran very smoothly to my guide picking me up with a driver at my hotel to take me to the airport, to my next guide and driver picking me up at the Beijing airport. Afterwards the same process happened to get me back to Shanghai. My guide, James was wonderful, sweet, and very knowledgable about all the places we went. He knew where to get pictures and guided me around to the souvenir shops. It was crowded at Tiananmen Square and in the Forbidden City but James guided me around and it did not seem that crowded at all.
This tour was fantastic. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. She took the time to really tell us about the significance and history of each location. She was also very patient with us when we wanted to stop and take pictures. I can't recommend this tour enough for all that you see. The Forbidden City was amazing, if a bit crowded at spots, and the Great Wall was really magnificent.
We were hesitant to book this tour because there were no reviews to give us any idea of what to expect. So here is our review to help others if you are deciding to book this tour. Be forewarned that this will be a very long day. As you can see, we gave it a 5 star rating and here is the reason why. We were picked up by our tour guide, Elaine, at our hotel at 4:15 am and she took us to the airport for our flight to Beijing. When we got to the airport, Elaine went inside with us and took care of getting our boarding passes for our flight. She directed us to our gate and told us that she will meet us back at the end of the day to take us back to our hotel. The flight to Beijing was very smooth and when we arrived, our tour guide, Jenny, was waiting for us with a sign as we exited the terminal. The ride the the Great Wall was about 45 minutes to an hour. When we got to the Great Wall, Jenny was with us all the way and took very good care of us. She didn't rush us as some of the walk was difficult due to steep inclines. She took it upon herself to carry some of our belongings and also offered to take our photos at many different points of the tour. We were lucky to have had a beautiful, clear and sunny day up at the Great Wall, we could see Beijing city from the Great Wall and according to Jenny, this is a rare occasion. Standing on the Great Wall and seeing it's vast existence is mind-blowing. After we descended, we had an authentic Beijing lunch at a local eatery at the base the Great Wall. The food was very good, but don't let the condition of the eatery scare you. Be sure to bring toilet paper as they do not provide this in the bathroom. After lunch, we drove about an hour to the Forbidden City. This was absolutely breath-taking. Jenny was able to get us into the Forbidden City without having to wait in line. This saved a lot of time and allowed us to spend it inside. Jenny had a wealth of knowledge about the Chinese history of each dynasty that ruled along with the life style of living within the Forbidden City. Again, Jenny was so willing to take our photos and she did not rush us through the tour. We had a little bit of time left before our return flight and Jenny wanted us to take advantage of every minute so she took us to Hutong area where the bell tower and drum tower is located. She also took us to a popular local eatery where we tried some unusual dishes....needless to say, it was very interesting. Fromm here, we decided to head back to the airport. When we got there, Jenny went inside with us and made sure we had our boarding passes and took us directly to the security check point. If not for her, we would have been totally lost and for this we were very grateful for her guidance. Due to unexplained circumstances, our return flight was delayed for 1 1/2 hours. We were suppose to return to Shanghai by 11:30 pm but instead, did not land until 1:30 am. We were concerned that our tour guide was not going to be there to greet us since our flight was delayed for such a long time, but upon our exit from the airport, Elaine, was there waiting for us. THANK GOD!!!! Clearly, she was exhausted but she didn't leave us strained. We couldn't stress enough how wonderful our tour guides were and how well they took care of us from beginning to end. The price of this tour is quite expensive but if you're going to be in Shanghai, taking the extra trip to see the Great Wall and the Forbidden City is a must and we highly recommend this particular tour without hesitation.
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