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Kizmet
October 17th, 2010, 12:53 PM
First, thanks to all of you for all the posts on this board. It has helped us so much to research and make our decision to try our first Seabourn cruise.

We will be in Beijing for 5 nights and would like to know if anyone has any current recommendations for a private tour driver and guide while in Beijing. Several that we researched require payment in advance. We are concerned about doing that since weather or jet lag may play a factor in our plans.

We are all packed and ready to go.

greta1
October 17th, 2010, 08:00 PM
is there a good reference site for tour guides in general?-- this would be helpful if allowed. Thanks

DCCruiselover
October 17th, 2010, 09:32 PM
I arrived last week in Beijing, stayed there for a couple of days and traveled through China. I will be back in Beijing today for 5 more days. I booked all my airport transportation with private car, driver and guides through Beijing Xinhua Tours. My contact is Tina@etours.cn
Drivers and guides have been on time and had signs with our name on it. (we arrived at midnight from Chicago and the driver was waiting for us with a smile on his face!!)
I found this contact through tripadvisor. Also, their prices are good! Hope this helps.

maryann ns
October 18th, 2010, 08:11 AM
Go to TripAdvisor and do a search for Beijing private guide. You will find dozens of posts. Read carefully. There are several who are recommended by more than one person.

I am currently research for the post cruise part of our trip to China, and have several well recommended guides in mind.

j2ink
October 18th, 2010, 11:44 AM
Do you actually want a tour guide, or just a driver to get you around the city? If you haven't already done so, you should consider if you really need a tour guide for places like the Forbidden City. You can spend hours there walking on your own with a tour book/map and learn more than you probably ever wanted to know about all the major buildings and history. The buildings are well marked, and there are signs in English. As I recall, there are also tape player tour headsets that you can rent. I think the same is true for the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. I personally did not want someone blabbing away for hours on end as I was walking around these sights.

rrqueen1
October 19th, 2010, 11:33 AM
We stayed 3 nights pre-cruise in Beijing and used Catherine Lu as our tour guide. We didn't have to pay Catherine up front; in fact, we paid her the last day of our tour. She was great to work with; answering all my emails within a day; in fact, some within a few hours. Knowing that this would probably be our one and only visit to China, we wanted to see as many historical sights as possible. Catherine is very knowledgeable of Chinese history; so much in fact, that I believe I know more about China's history than the United States history! After picking our family up at the airport, we spent the afternoon at Tiannanmen Square and the Forbidden City, then attended a Chinese acrobat performance. She even made reservations that evening for Peking duck at Da Dong's. The next day we toured the Temple of Heaven, took a pedicab tour of the hutongs, and then toured the Summer Palace. Our final day was spent at the Great Wall at Mutianyu and the Ming Tombs. She even arranged for transportation to the cruise ship terminal in Tianjin the following day! She can be reached at catherine_1130@hotmail.com.

lilyxy79
October 21st, 2010, 09:17 AM
there are many tour guides by recommended on Tripadvisor forum, you can search it
Lily

maryann ns
October 21st, 2010, 11:13 AM
Whatever you do, do not pay upfront unless you are going with a tour company (which most experts in China do not recommend).

2kiwis
October 27th, 2010, 01:45 AM
Earlier this year we had 3 days in Beijing, booked a recommended guide and she was fine on the first day. The second day she didn't turn up at the hotel, only to have arranged a replacement guide for us. This was a man, who had his mate driving and his sister learning the ropes. The car was a beat up full of impregnated smoke.
A pretty unpleasant day was made worse by the guide wanting to take us places we had been the day before and to places we didn't want to go where he got a commission.
He did tell us that if the guides don't check in at a given number of these commission houses they lose their government accreditation. Don't know how true this is, but needless to say we did our own thing on day 3 and they didn't get the tip they sought.

maryann ns
October 27th, 2010, 07:59 AM
You would do us all a favour by posting the name of this guide.

sondi 14
October 27th, 2010, 10:24 AM
I agree that would be very helpful to those of us who are going to Beijing and have already booked a guide or are thinking of booking one to know who this particular guide is.

curtis2190
November 21st, 2010, 09:00 PM
I just returned home from Beijing and I used Qing as a guide and her husband was the driver. They both did an excellent job. I found Qing's name recommended repeatedly on a few forums. She was excellent and her husband was a very safe driver.

Hasan
November 23rd, 2010, 07:23 AM
First, thanks to all of you for all the posts on this board. It has helped us so much to research and make our decision to try our first Seabourn cruise.

We will be in Beijing for 5 nights and would like to know if anyone has any current recommendations for a private tour driver and guide while in Beijing. Several that we researched require payment in advance. We are concerned about doing that since weather or jet lag may play a factor in our plans.

We are all packed and ready to go.

I have put my guide here long time ago but it is gone.highly recommend.How knows BJ pretty well,speak very good English.We used Konglin for our trip to Beijing..How knows BJ pretty well,speak very good English.He has a mini-van.his email address kung316@yahoo.com.we paid when we finish our tour with him.

maryann ns
November 23rd, 2010, 10:02 AM
Konglin's email address is konglin316 at hotmail com
I have been corresponding with him.

CruisingGoddess
February 5th, 2011, 01:49 AM
I'm bumping this topic because I'm currently looking for a tour guide for Beijing. Please let me know if you can recommend anyone else or also recommend one of the guides already mentioned. Thanks in advance!

lady maven
February 6th, 2011, 12:04 AM
I have been in touch with and booked a tour with BEIJINGTOURSGUIDE. this will involve a pickup at tianjin port, driving to beijing, visit tiananmen sq, forbidden city, summer palace and an overnite at a hotel, 2nd day after a visit to the mutianyu great wall and the sacred way a transfer back to the port. my contact there is danielyan@beijingtoursguide.com. I found him to be very responsive and i think quite reasonable ; the company required 50% deposit (paypal) ......this is for our trip in march.

Shazaam
April 7th, 2011, 07:49 AM
We've just finished three days in Beijing and we used Victor (chinapeace88@sina.com) based upon several recommendations we found here and on TripAdvisor. He picked us up at 7:30 am when our cruise docked at Tianjin so we could proceed directly to the Great Wall and make more efficient use of our limited time. During our three days with him, he paid all of the admissions up front, all toll charges and parking fees, etc. and we only paid him at the end. His fees are about $100 per day in the Beijing region.

Victor's English is quite good and he is knowlegeable about the sites you visit giving you the context while you visit by yourselves. However, for those expecting a private guide, you would need to make other arrangements.

He made excellent restaurant recommendations e.g. the Da Dong Peking Duck Restaurant, that were superb and unmatched by others we tried.

Victor is quite prompt about replying to emails and very flexible about customizing an itinerary. Tell him that Lynne & Keith recommended him to you.

ksps cruise fan
April 7th, 2011, 11:32 PM
A comment about Victor and another guide I recommend highly.

Last year, before our cruise, we exchanged some exploratory emails with Victor about using his services. Shazaam is right about Victor's excellent English, but I want to clarify the comment about his not being able to guide you inside important sites. Victor is not a licensed tour guide; he has no guide badge that will allow him to enter places like the Forbidden City for free. However, if you're willing to pay his admission to any site, he can accompany you inside and tell you what you're seeing.

In spite of our positive impression of Victor, we ultimately chose to use Justin's services. Justin is a senior licensed tour guide who does the guiding for visitors touring Beijing with Abercrombie and Kent as well as doing free lance work. Justin's English is good enough that he was hired by a corporation that holds an annual conference in California for the purpose of helping small businesses in China make connections in the US. Justin served as one of the translators and facilitators. (In fact, we both arrived at the airport in Beijing within hours of one another after our trans-Pacific flights.)

If Justin recommends taking you to the Guanfu Museum, follow his advice. This private museum -- the first private museum in China -- has a wonderful collection of furniture, jade, bronzes, and ceramics. Another atypcal activity: Justin took us to the tea wholesale market and we had a tea tasting experience. (Incidentally, this was our second visit to Beijing so we were able to go beyond the must-do list of first-time visitors. I think we spend a total of three 3 1/2 days in Beijing prior to embarking on Nautica.)

Here's Justin's email address: justinwang82@gmail.com

Justin made arrangments for Mikki, his Shanghai-based colleague to take us touring when we docked in that city.

Redhaven
April 24th, 2011, 03:20 PM
We were scheduled on an Asian Diamond Princess Cruise in April 2011 and wanted to spend several days touring Beijing prior to boarding the cruise ship. After much research we decided on Alvin (alvinbenton@hotmail.com (alvinbenton@hotmail.com)). Alvin was amazing starting with his communication via email to his site tours and drop off at the ship. We could not have asked for a better experience. Alvin knows Beijing like no other. We saw Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and walked the Great Wall at Mutianyu, as well as a wonderful tour of the Olympic Stadium and the city itself. After our Great Wall walk he took us to a local dumpling restaurant where we spent $11 US for a lunch that easily would have fed four and one that still has our mouths watering! We choose not to do evenings with Alvin as we needed rest, but he offered all types of evening experiences as well. He is so full of interesting information that you will feel fully educated on China after your days with him.

drhugs
May 10th, 2011, 08:55 PM
Being a solo traveler has its own set of challenges, so when I disembarked the Diamond Princess on May 6, 2011, I decided to remain in Beijing, China for 4 days. After reading the rave reviews for Catherine on so many different levels, I decided to use her services. Obviously she must be a superior guide, as she was already quite busy with bookings. She responds quickly and efficiently. She was able to recommend another certified guide, Tracy, for the first day who was great. We toured the Forbidden City with zest and fervor. Tracy did a fabulous job, was very knowledgeable, and made the afternoon fun. I had a terrific day. The following day, Catherine was available and took me to the Great Wall and Summer Palace. She is a true delight. She arranged everything, was extremely knowledgeable, flexible, "protective" of me(being a single woman alone in Beijing--which I just loved!), and made the day great.

The next day, I decided to fly to Xian for the day (I must have been crazy). Catherine once again took over and recommended a highly capable guide, Jeff, who met me at the airport, took me around Xian city in the morning to the Drum and Bell Towers, chose a great place for lunch, and guided me throughout the Terra Cotta Warrior Museum, park, and grounds. He was an excellent guide sharing much information about Xian and the Terra Cotta Warriors. He also took "very" good care of me, and I so enjoyed the day with him. He then took me back to the airport for my flight back to Beijing to fly in the morning home to Las Vegas, Nevada. What was so touching was his parting words, "Please email me when you return home, so I do not worry". I do not know many guides that would take such a personal, caring, and compassionate attitude with a total stranger. I kept my word and emailed Catherine and Jeff letting them know I am home safe and sound.

If you are going to Beijing and need a guide, I would HIGHLY recommend Catherine and her recommendations (Tracy and Jeff in Xian). Catherine made my days in Beijing wonderful, stress free, and exhilarating. She is very responsive to your needs and will create an itinerary based upon your travel requirements and wants~~whatever they may be, and let me reassure you~~whether a group or a solo traveler---YOU WILL BE IN THE MOST PROFESSIONAL AND CAPABLE HANDS. I am so thrilled to have met Catherine, Tracy, and Jeff. They truly made my visit to Beijing and Xian a memorable one.

drhugs
May 10th, 2011, 08:59 PM
oops--I was so happy with catherine's services in Beijing that I forgot to include her email address!!!
catherine_1130@hotmail.com

Have a great time in Beijing, use her services--you will not be disappinted!

pactaz
May 26th, 2011, 03:50 PM
We just returned from our Diamond Princess cruise which ended in Beijing May 6, 2011. We booked a private guide and driver through Tour-Beijing.com and cannot say enough about how pleased we were with everything they arranged. Our package included transfer from the ship, hotel, most meals, and 4 days of sightseeing with Alan, our guide, and Mr Che, our driver. Linda He at Tour-Beijing was our contact and worked with us to make sure this tour included everything we wanted.
Alan speaks beautiful English and as a history major, he know SO much about the city and it's history, as well as being well-read about current events and world history. Our driver amazed us daily with his ability to navigate the unbelieveable Beijing traffic.
We did have to pay a deposit ahead of time, with final payment day of arrival. Communication was open and current all through our planning and even on day of arrival, we emailed to confirm our afternoon guide and had a response within minutes.
We were very pleased!!!!

campingman
May 29th, 2011, 05:58 AM
We were met at the ship in Tianjin by Bevis ,transfered to the very fast train for the quick quick trip to Beijing then picked up by his experienced van driver for very detailed touring.
Just preplan with Bevis with what you would like to do and he will do his best to accommodate.

Bevis is a young 30s articulate Beijing Tour guide with experience in the Rail System and the Cruise Industry.

ymbevis@msn.com
He also obtained us the best Sleeper Berths/Tickets on the Smooth /FastOvernight Train
Beijing to Hong Kong.

He gave us very personal attention during our stay and even got us in front of the long departure lines when we departed Beijing by train.

If you wish just to be involved for one day from the Port to Beijing touring with the initial fast train return i would suggest to organize a small group to make it all worthwhile to keep your costs down.
The guide services offered by Bevis are very very good and his costings affordable.

ymbevis@msn.com

Turtles06
June 7th, 2011, 11:15 AM
My partner and I spent several days in Beijing last month (May 2011) prior to a Viking River Cruise, and for two of those days we hired a private guide, Sunflower Lee. (I'd found a recommendation for her on Trip Advisor.) We highly recommend Lee. She is aptly nicknamed "Sunflower" for her wondefully cheerful disposition. She took great care of us, was extremely flexible, and even insisted on coming back to our hotel a couple of hours after our day with her was done to escort us to where we were having dinner (in the hutongs) because the directions were a bit complicated. She did not have to do that. And she took us on a wonderful walking tour of the hutongs along the way.

We had set up our itinerary with Lee by email in advance, and adjusted it once we were in Beijing and figured out what was realistic for us (e.g, given the jet lag). On one of the two days, we went to the Great Wall at Mutianyu; Lee procured a driver and car for this purpose. Lee is also an excellent photographer and often suggested that she take my camera so she could take pics of my partner and me; this is one of the only trips where we've come home with pictures of the two of us (and that we actually like!).

Spending two days with Sunflower Lee was like spending time with a friend, not someone we were paying. We would not hesitate to hire her again if we were to return to China.

Here's her contact info:

sunflower9811@hotmailDOTcom (obviously, replace the spam-limiting "DOT" with a period)

christyblue
June 18th, 2011, 04:49 PM
Hi, drhugs,

we are visiting Beijing for a few days pre cruise later in the year, I'm told that it is quite a distance to the cruise port and can be expensive, can you give me an idea of what this journey will cost.

Bowie MeMe
October 23rd, 2011, 09:04 PM
I have the folks listed here but would certainly like any others that you have experience with. We want to do Beijing and Xi'An then we will fly to Bangkok and have four days there.

Guides for Beijing, Xi'an, and Bangkok would be appreciated with stories of the marvels you have seen. We are planning for Oct. 2012 (Oct. 15 -Nov. 11)

aussiecruzer
October 24th, 2011, 05:25 AM
We have just returned from a 3 week trip which included 8 days in China, covering Shanghai, Xian and Beijing. We booked through China Highlights and were extremely happy with their services. In each city we had a friendly local guide and driver and car to show us around. Each of our guides spoke excellent English. All in all, a hassle free trip. Would certainly recommend China Highlights.

sondi 14
October 25th, 2011, 02:00 PM
Bowie MeMe

We used Lily when we were in Beijing last February. We loved her and really saw a lot of Beijing in the 2 days we toured with her. She spoke excellent English and was very knowledgeable. I have 2 email addresses for her. They are lilyfuwa@gmail.com and lily_fuwa@yahoo.com. Enjoy Beijing - we loved it.

I think we were on the same Canada/New England cruise last year.

Bowie MeMe
October 25th, 2011, 09:15 PM
Thanks for the recommendation. We were on the Crown for New England/Canada last year. Sept. 27 2010 I think was the date. That was an easy cruise and we really enjoyed it though the weather (especially in Boston ) was not that great.

sondi 14
October 26th, 2011, 12:22 AM
That was the cruise we were on as well. It was a good cruise, but as you said, the weather wasn't great. I'd love to return in better weather.

Good luck with a guide in Beijing. We found the city really interesting. The whole trip was great - part cruise and a land trip to Beijing for 3 days.

moondance75
October 27th, 2011, 05:34 AM
I am getting quotes of about $200 to take the 5 of us from Beijing to the cruise terminal. I just started looking- but three places came back consistent.

Bowie MeMe
October 27th, 2011, 07:57 PM
See if you can get a quote for a van for the day. Ask for maybe a 1/2 day tour and then the transfer. For 3 people I have been getting quotes of $200 to $300 a day for guide van and driver. Princess transfer is $29 pp but that is with the post cruise 5 day package. (which we are not taking now)

brucert
November 9th, 2011, 06:35 PM
Earlier this year we had 3 days in Beijing, booked a recommended guide and she was fine on the first day. The second day she didn't turn up at the hotel, only to have arranged a replacement guide for us. This was a man, who had his mate driving and his sister learning the ropes. The car was a beat up full of impregnated smoke.
A pretty unpleasant day was made worse by the guide wanting to take us places we had been the day before and to places we didn't want to go where he got a commission.
He did tell us that if the guides don't check in at a given number of these commission houses they lose their government accreditation. Don't know how true this is, but needless to say we did our own thing on day 3 and they didn't get the tip they sought.

2kiwis

we are in the process of arranging a private tour guide in beijing and your post above worries me. please tell us who you used that you were so unhappy with. if doing this publicly breaks any forum rules, then please email me privately at brtuffli@sbcglobal.net with the information.

thanks

bruce

geeandme
November 15th, 2011, 04:28 PM
we was in beijing last year and used lily her e-mail is lily_fuwa@yahoo.com lily_fuwa@ yahoo.com

she was a terrific guide and you only pay her when you arrive

she can also arrange a driver (her father-in-law ex police ins)

would highly recommend

Also used the bullet train down to the port
for any more info glenisevans@hotmail.com

smudge58
November 27th, 2011, 08:07 PM
When we booked our cruise we decided to spend a couple of days in Beijing before we joined the ship. We would have liked to spend longer but couldn’t afford more time off work. Luckily friends of ours who had been to Beijing in the Spring recommended Violet as a tour guide. With limited time it was great to have our own tour guide and we feel we got to see more and learn more about the Country than we would have if we had been on a coach with 40 other tourists.
Violet proved the transport, a comfortable saloon car with driver and suggested an itinerary. We went to the Great Wall but not the section most tourist go to. Violet was fantastic, very informative and made the trip fun. She suggested that we took the toboggan down from the Great Wall which was enjoyable and different. In the afternoon we went to see the Summer Palace which was again extremely interesting and very enjoyable having Violet as a private tour guide.
Before going to the Summer Palace they took us to a local restaurant where normally only local people go. It was great to try the Chinese Hotpot, a dish that you cook yourselves on a heater in the middle of the table. Violet recommended and ordered the dishes for us and told us how to cook them. It was lovely.
That day we also went to the Birdcage. It was a great day and we fitted lots in. The next day we visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City before joining the ship.
On the whole we loved our time in Beijing, we would have liked longer but our experience in the short time we had was enhanced by Violet. She is extremely helpful and friendly and went out of her way to ensure we had a fantastic time. She also helped us after our cruise when we realized we had left some kit in Beijing.
Her English is excellent, she is a lovely, helpful, friendly lady and I would not hesitate to recommend Violet as your guide in Beijing
Violet's e-mail is lnghulyn@hotmail.com and she responds straight away.
Thank you Violet, you made our stay in Beijing so much more memorable!

lostatsea200
December 1st, 2011, 03:08 PM
We are looking for a guide to pick us up airport? late night. And take us around. My partner has not been to China before, so will want to see the great wall, imperial palace, temple of heaven. It will be late March, so alot of sightseeing will be in the cold. We are looking for a guide that can do this, without requiring a deposit. We also will need a transfer to the port in catch the ship. Sofar the couple that we contacted wanted 300usd per day. Does anyone know if this is the going rate? Please assist.

ell52
December 1st, 2011, 03:52 PM
We are looking for a guide to pick us up airport? late night. And take us around. My partner has not been to China before, so will want to see the great wall, imperial palace, temple of heaven. It will be late March, so alot of sightseeing will be in the cold. We are looking for a guide that can do this, without requiring a deposit. We also will need a transfer to the port in catch the ship. Sofar the couple that we contacted wanted 300usd per day. Does anyone know if this is the going rate? Please assist.

We recently used Beijing Discovery Tours (http://www.beijingdiscoverytours.com/index.html). They do require a 30% deposit (which I think is quite reasonable), but you deal directly with one of the owners (Jeff) who is very responsive. The website isn't the slickest out there, but he delivers on service. You can choose one of the tours on their website or he can help you customize what you want. They use only licensed guides and drivers. The guide we had (Cassie) was also excellent.
.

Ole Faithful
December 6th, 2011, 06:09 PM
I have used The China Guide twice this year. It is operated by an American who lives in Beijing.

They have a great web site, are on Facebook and highly rated in Trip Advisor. There was no deposit required. They met us at the Cruise ship in Tanjin and delivered us to the airport. The tours were GREAT and my favorite was the Great Wall at Mutianyu and thesled ride (luge run) down to the parking lot!

iherb
December 31st, 2011, 05:11 PM
We stayed 3 nights pre-cruise in Beijing and used Catherine Lu as our tour guide. We didn't have to pay Catherine up front; in fact, we paid her the last day of our tour. She was great to work with; answering all my emails within a day; in fact, some within a few hours. Knowing that this would probably be our one and only visit to China, we wanted to see as many historical sights as possible. Catherine is very knowledgeable of Chinese history; so much in fact, that I believe I know more about China's history than the United States history! After picking our family up at the airport, we spent the afternoon at Tiannanmen Square and the Forbidden City, then attended a Chinese acrobat performance. She even made reservations that evening for Peking duck at Da Dong's. The next day we toured the Temple of Heaven, took a pedicab tour of the hutongs, and then toured the Summer Palace. Our final day was spent at the Great Wall at Mutianyu and the Ming Tombs. She even arranged for transportation to the cruise ship terminal in Tianjin the following day! She can be reached at catherine_1130@hotmail.com.

We used Catherine Lu's services a few years ago. Everything was done perfectly - car van to the Great Wall, dinner at peking duck restaurant, walk around Tianamen Square, pedicab through Hutong. She even waited at the train station with us for the train back to the port. Well recommended:)

PYC
January 14th, 2012, 06:03 PM
Lady Maven,

I was wondering if you had taken the trip to Beijing with this tour company. My wife and I were planning to book with this particular company, but are worried about the legitimacy of the company. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. PYC

PYC
January 14th, 2012, 06:26 PM
I have been in touch with and booked a tour with BEIJINGTOURSGUIDE. this will involve a pickup at tianjin port, driving to beijing, visit tiananmen sq, forbidden city, summer palace and an overnite at a hotel, 2nd day after a visit to the mutianyu great wall and the sacred way a transfer back to the port. my contact there is danielyan@beijingtoursguide.com. I found him to be very responsive and i think quite reasonable ; the company required 50% deposit (paypal) ......this is for our trip in march.


Lady Maven,

I was wondering if you had taken the trip to Beijing with this tour company. My wife and I were planning to book with this particular company, but are worried about the legitimacy of the company. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. PYC

suzyluvs2cruise
February 6th, 2012, 01:02 AM
2kiwis

we are in the process of arranging a private tour guide in beijing and your post above worries me. please tell us who you used that you were so unhappy with. if doing this publicly breaks any forum rules, then please email me privately at brtuffli@sbcglobal.net with the information.

thanks

bruce

Bruce...if you got an answer about the tour guide they were unhappy with could you please share it with me. suek46 at hotmail dot com

Thanks...

Grannycb
February 6th, 2012, 06:37 PM
Were your guides booked months in advance or within a few weeks of travel? Were any of these guides/companies available in different cities? Please keep the recommendations coming.

celem
March 4th, 2012, 11:01 AM
Why would a tour company be a bad idea?

Whatever you do, do not pay upfront unless you are going with a tour company (which most experts in China do not recommend).

Roses2
April 5th, 2012, 04:55 PM
At the end of our Asian cruise we spent 3 full days touring Beijing. Our research on Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic led us to contacting Catherine Lu and what a perfect choice she is. Our experience could not have been better.

We began our email conversation with Catherine several months before we arrived in Beijing. Her responses were quick and always very helpful as we developed our tour itinerary for the three days and she was very flexible in adjusting our schedule.

Although Catherine was engaged during our time in Beijing she assigned her colleague, Maggie to us. Maggie could not have been more helpful, flexible, charming, or responsive. Both Catherine and Maggie are Chinese Government licensed tour guides and this is very important. They have passed rigid examinations and they absolutely know their stuff. They also get free admission to all the tour sites so they can accompany you through each site. (There are many tour guides you may find through the Internet that our not licensed. Beware of using un-licensed guides in China).

We also would like to especially commend Catherine’s assignment of a great safe driver, Mr. Liu who was a terrific assistance to us. He was safe and extraordinarily pleasant to be with during our time in Beijing.

We unhesitatingly recommend Catherine Lu to anyone visiting Beijing and if she assigns Maggie and Mr. Liu be prepared to have a wonderful visit from pick up at the cruise port to drop off at the airport. Maggie excels at assisting with haggling with vendors and be sure you eat at Maggie’s favorite restaurant and savor the best Chinese meal you have ever had and where you will be the only non Chinese in the place. We advise you avoid the “famous” duck restaurants and stick with Maggie’s choices.

We travel the world often and seldom have we had a private tour experience as good as we had with Catherine Lu.

XFed2001
April 28th, 2012, 05:52 PM
I have been in touch with and booked a tour with BEIJINGTOURSGUIDE. this will involve a pickup at tianjin port, driving to beijing, visit tiananmen sq, forbidden city, summer palace and an overnite at a hotel, 2nd day after a visit to the mutianyu great wall and the sacred way a transfer back to the port. my contact there is danielyan@beijingtoursguide.com. I found him to be very responsive and i think quite reasonable ; the company required 50% deposit (paypal) ......this is for our trip in march.

lady maven: how did your experience with BEIJINGTOURSGUIDE go? We're going in Feb but only spending 2 nights; we already have a hotel but possibly interested in what this company offers..... Thanks

XFed2001
April 28th, 2012, 06:21 PM
In reading the posts, I couldn't discern whether payments made to the guides were in $USD or Chinese Yuans. I presume that one could charge the costs (admissions, car, guide, tips) to a credit card if there is a tour company involved ... yes? Thanks for any clarifications

lithlith
April 29th, 2012, 06:59 PM
We were in Beijing in March 2012 following a cruise on the Diamond Princess.

I used a combination of looking on TripAdvisor.com and CruiseCritic to determine with whom I wanted to book tours. Since it was our first time to China and I was unsure as to what type of service to expect, I booked our two days of sightseeing with different companies as I didn't want to be stuck with someone for two day if they weren't any good.

We used the services of Catherine Lu (highly recommended on TripAdvisor.com) to arrange our pick up at the Tianjin port, transfer us to Beijing and give us a tour. I contacted Catherine in January, but I'm sure you could contact her a few weeks out and she would arrange something. She was not available and we had her colleague Maggie as our guide. We had to send $100USD by PayPal as a reservation and the rest was paid in USD on the day of the tour. We had arranged that all entrance fees and lunch be included in our price ahead of time. We visited the Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square, Temple of Heaven, and the Pearl Market. Our guide and driver were good and I would recommend them.

We used The China Guide www.thechinaguide.com (recommended by someone on Cruise Critic) for attaining discount tickets to the Chaoyang Acrobat show and for our second day of touring Beijing. I contacted The China Guide in January to arrange our March visit. Again, I'm sure you could contact them a few weeks out and they would accommodate you. This company is owned/operated by an American living in China, which appealed to me. They offer unlimited bottled water all day and lunch and entrance fees were included the price. We did not have to put a deposit down and paid in Chinese Yuan the day of the tour and night of the acrobat show. (On a complete side note - the acrobat show is a MUST see while in Beijing!) On our full day tour we saw the Beijing Zoo, Summer Palace, Great Wall at Mutianyu, and Olympic Venues. We had a great guide and driver. If I were going to Beijing again today, I would book with The China Guide.

davwen81
April 30th, 2012, 08:22 AM
We have just returned from China and in Beijing used Jessie Di. She was excellent and we got her name and contact details from trip advisor under Beijing tour guides. She can organise a driver, has excellent English and is a delight to tour with. We went to the Hutongs, Drum and Bell Towers, Dragon Lake and then a local restaurant for lunch which cost $13 for the three of us and was delicious. We would highly recommend Jessie and we did not pay her till the end of her tour. Hope that helps and you enjoy Beijing!

lori450
December 13th, 2012, 01:33 PM
Thank you all so much for your feedback. I have contacted Catherine Lu about our June 2013 trip and eagerly await her response. i would love to know of any sites or restaurants you may have visited in Beijing that you loved. (other than the traditional Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Olympic site, etc.). Thanks

C-breeze
December 16th, 2012, 02:18 PM
Does anyone know if it is possible to see the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian for a day trip? We would like to tour Beijing the first day of our 3 days there and then go to Xian for the day. We would come back in the evening and the last day see more of Beijing. We do have to travel back to our ship in Tianjin which departs at 6 p.m. Is this doable or would we miss too much of the Beijing sights?

My husband really wants to see the warriors, but I am not sure this will be doable.

lori450
December 16th, 2012, 02:40 PM
Does anyone know if it is possible to see the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian for a day trip? We would like to tour Beijing the first day of our 3 days there and then go to Xian for the day. We would come back in the evening and the last day see more of Beijing. We do have to travel back to our ship in Tianjin which departs at 6 p.m. Is this doable or would we miss too much of the Beijing sights?

My husband really wants to see the warriors, but I am not sure this will be doable.

Give a quick search on this forum. i know I saw a whole thread on just this question. details and all!

lori450
December 16th, 2012, 02:45 PM
Thank you all so much for your feedback. I have contacted Catherine Lu about our June 2013 trip and eagerly await her response. i would love to know of any sites or restaurants you may have visited in Beijing that you loved. (other than the traditional Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Olympic site, etc.). Thanks

Just a follow-up. i emailed Catherine Lu. The response I got was less than satisfying. She asked for more details of my trip instead of answering my questions. When I sent this back to her, I got a standard, "This is our favorite tour plan...." type of answer. It totally disregarded my email's information and listed all the sites I had told her we were already going to see. So, once again I emailed back, reiterating for the third time my itinerary and the things I would like to see. This was totall ignored again and she gave me some other formulaic tour plans that did not address or even acknowledge the list of things I had requested. If I can't get her to actually read or answer my emails, I will not depend upon her to fulfill my requests. i am very disappointed as so many of you recommended her. I am off to try to find someone else. Suggestions would be great!

ell52
December 17th, 2012, 12:00 AM
Just a follow-up. i emailed Catherine Lu. The response I got was less than satisfying. She asked for more details of my trip instead of answering my questions. When I sent this back to her, I got a standard, "This is our favorite tour plan...." type of answer. It totally disregarded my email's information and listed all the sites I had told her we were already going to see. So, once again I emailed back, reiterating for the third time my itinerary and the things I would like to see. This was totall ignored again and she gave me some other formulaic tour plans that did not address or even acknowledge the list of things I had requested. If I can't get her to actually read or answer my emails, I will not depend upon her to fulfill my requests. i am very disappointed as so many of you recommended her. I am off to try to find someone else. Suggestions would be great!

As I mentioned in an earlier response in this thread (post #37), we used Beijing Discovery Tours (http://www.beijingdiscoverytours.com/index.html). You deal directly with one of the owners, Jeff, who is based in the U.S. His partner in China is Andy. Their site isn't the fanciest or slickest around, but they really deliver on service.

They have standard set tours, but they are also more than willing to customize a tour for you. Jeff is very quick to respond to questions and will email back and forth with you until you get exactly what you want. They only use licensed guides and drivers (drivers and guides are separate).

General Max
December 17th, 2012, 08:43 AM
Lady Maven,

I was wondering if you had taken the trip to Beijing with this tour company. My wife and I were planning to book with this particular company, but are worried about the legitimacy of the company. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. PYC

Check out www.thechinaguide.com for Beijing overnite tour. Ask for Yan Ban. This is an American owned company which does not include shopping stops to get ripped off..

lori450
December 17th, 2012, 10:13 AM
As I mentioned in an earlier response in this thread (post #37), we used Beijing Discovery Tours (http://www.beijingdiscoverytours.com/index.html). You deal directly with one of the owners, Jeff, who is based in the U.S. His partner in China is Andy. Their site isn't the fanciest or slickest around, but they really deliver on service.

They have standard set tours, but they are also more than willing to customize a tour for you. Jeff is very quick to respond to questions and will email back and forth with you until you get exactly what you want. They only use licensed guides and drivers (drivers and guides are separate).

thank you! I will check it out.

Nonna and Papa
December 18th, 2012, 08:24 PM
Just a follow-up. i emailed Catherine Lu. The response I got was less than satisfying. She asked for more details of my trip instead of answering my questions. When I sent this back to her, I got a standard, "This is our favorite tour plan...." type of answer. It totally disregarded my email's information and listed all the sites I had told her we were already going to see. So, once again I emailed back, reiterating for the third time my itinerary and the things I would like to see. This was totall ignored again and she gave me some other formulaic tour plans that did not address or even acknowledge the list of things I had requested. If I can't get her to actually read or answer my emails, I will not depend upon her to fulfill my requests. i am very disappointed as so many of you recommended her. I am off to try to find someone else. Suggestions would be great!

This is so different from the experience we've had in communicating with Catherine over the past year. We'll be using her when we're in Beijing for 5 days in late February/early March. When we first contacted her, I told her that we would set our itinerary at a later time, after I had done my research as to what we wanted to do and when. We emailed a few times, and when I asked, she provided her fees, and we sent a her a deposit of a day's fee. Within the past few months, I've narrowed down our daily itinerary, and sent it to her. She made one suggestion, but our schedule was completely customized to our specifications.

I'm sorry you've had such an experience with her. I hope she's not getting "too busy" with her tour company that she's changing the way she offers tours. She is so highly recommended that any big box changes would be a shame, and a disappointment. Good Luck with your searching.

Mary

weezil
December 21st, 2012, 04:06 PM
Based on various recommendations here and on Trip Advisor, we have just booked a 3 day tour, airport pick-up and port drop-off with Catherine Lu. We have emailed her twice in the last 2 days and had a response within 3 hours each time! She has also been very helpful with ideas and arranging our own wish list of things to see. I am sorry to hear that not everyone has had this experience but we have been very impressed so far and I felt it important to pass this info on as recent 'bookers'.

jcerst
December 26th, 2012, 03:13 PM
thank you! I will check it out.

http://www.chinatraveldepot.com/ChinaTours/

Lori,
Our friends and neighbors law firm use this company.

Joe

beadshopper
December 30th, 2012, 04:01 AM
Hi

I haven't read all this thread, but would like to share a great driver we hired whilst in Beijing: mark520bj@hotmail.com

We were not required to pay upfront, his car was large, fitted our family of four and he supplied cold drinks!!!

We did not book him as a tour guide, but a driver (with car) to take us to the Great Wall - I believe he may offer other services as well.