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  #41  
Old January 14th, 2012, 06:26 PM
PYC PYC is offline
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Originally Posted by lady maven View Post
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
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  #42  
Old February 6th, 2012, 01:02 AM
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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...
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  #43  
Old February 6th, 2012, 06:37 PM
Grannycb Grannycb is offline
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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.
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  #44  
Old March 4th, 2012, 11:01 AM
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celem celem is offline
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Default Tour companies

Why would a tour company be a bad idea?

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Originally Posted by maryann ns View Post
Whatever you do, do not pay upfront unless you are going with a tour company (which most experts in China do not recommend).
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  #45  
Old April 5th, 2012, 04:55 PM
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Default Beijing Private Tour -- April 2012

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.
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  #46  
Old April 28th, 2012, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lady maven View Post
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
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  #47  
Old April 28th, 2012, 06:21 PM
XFed2001 XFed2001 is offline
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Default Paying the Tour Guides ... US Dollars or Yuans

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
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  #48  
Old April 29th, 2012, 06:59 PM
lithlith lithlith is offline
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Default Beijing Guides in of March 2012

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.
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  #49  
Old April 30th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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Smile Our guide in Beijing

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!
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  #50  
Old December 13th, 2012, 01:33 PM
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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
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  #51  
Old December 16th, 2012, 02:18 PM
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Default Xian day trip

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.
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  #52  
Old December 16th, 2012, 02:40 PM
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lori450 lori450 is offline
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Originally Posted by C-breeze View Post
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!
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can't remember farther back than '02

Majesty of the Seas 9/02
Grand Princess 12/02
Explorer of the Seas 6/03, 10/9/05
Mariner of the Seas 12/03
Freedom of the Seas 10/1/06, 9/30/07, 3/30/08, 10/12/08
Enchantment of the Seas (Mom's 1st Annual Solo Cruise) 11/16/06, (2nd annual Mom's solo cruise)12/15/07
Independence of the Seas Westbound TA 11/23/09
Celebrity Millenium 11/24/11 -Our first Thanksgiving at Sea (and our last)
Celebrity Eclipse Eastern Caribbean 12/17/11
Oasis of the Seas 12/22/12
Century Star - Yangtze River Cruise 6/24/13
Windsurf - Northern Europe 8/4/14

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  #53  
Old December 16th, 2012, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by lori450 View Post
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!
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can't remember farther back than '02

Majesty of the Seas 9/02
Grand Princess 12/02
Explorer of the Seas 6/03, 10/9/05
Mariner of the Seas 12/03
Freedom of the Seas 10/1/06, 9/30/07, 3/30/08, 10/12/08
Enchantment of the Seas (Mom's 1st Annual Solo Cruise) 11/16/06, (2nd annual Mom's solo cruise)12/15/07
Independence of the Seas Westbound TA 11/23/09
Celebrity Millenium 11/24/11 -Our first Thanksgiving at Sea (and our last)
Celebrity Eclipse Eastern Caribbean 12/17/11
Oasis of the Seas 12/22/12
Century Star - Yangtze River Cruise 6/24/13
Windsurf - Northern Europe 8/4/14


Last edited by lori450; December 16th, 2012 at 02:46 PM.
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  #54  
Old December 17th, 2012, 12:00 AM
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ell52 ell52 is online now
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Originally Posted by lori450 View Post
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. 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).
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Last edited by ell52; December 17th, 2012 at 12:00 AM.
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  #55  
Old December 17th, 2012, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by PYC View Post
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..
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  #56  
Old December 17th, 2012, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ell52 View Post
As I mentioned in an earlier response in this thread (post #37), we used Beijing Discovery Tours. 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.
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Lori

can't remember farther back than '02

Majesty of the Seas 9/02
Grand Princess 12/02
Explorer of the Seas 6/03, 10/9/05
Mariner of the Seas 12/03
Freedom of the Seas 10/1/06, 9/30/07, 3/30/08, 10/12/08
Enchantment of the Seas (Mom's 1st Annual Solo Cruise) 11/16/06, (2nd annual Mom's solo cruise)12/15/07
Independence of the Seas Westbound TA 11/23/09
Celebrity Millenium 11/24/11 -Our first Thanksgiving at Sea (and our last)
Celebrity Eclipse Eastern Caribbean 12/17/11
Oasis of the Seas 12/22/12
Century Star - Yangtze River Cruise 6/24/13
Windsurf - Northern Europe 8/4/14

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  #57  
Old December 18th, 2012, 08:24 PM
Nonna and Papa Nonna and Papa is offline
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Originally Posted by lori450 View Post
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
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  #58  
Old December 21st, 2012, 04:06 PM
weezil weezil is offline
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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'.
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  #59  
Old December 26th, 2012, 03:13 PM
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Default Beijing

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Originally Posted by lori450 View Post
thank you! I will check it out.
http://www.chinatraveldepot.com/ChinaTours/

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

Joe
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  #60  
Old December 30th, 2012, 04:01 AM
beadshopper beadshopper is offline
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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.
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