Beijing Tour Guide Recommendation?

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#1
USA
34 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
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.
#3
Washington DC
118 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
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 [email protected]
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.
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#4
Nova Scotia Canada
4,588 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
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.
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#5
Southern California
205 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
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.
#6
Southern California
33 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
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 [email protected].
#8
Nova Scotia Canada
4,588 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Whatever you do, do not pay upfront unless you are going with a tour company (which most experts in China do not recommend).
#9
Wellington, New Zealand
445 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
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.
#11
353 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
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.
#12
Seattle, WA
19 Posts
Joined May 2010
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.
#13
Nova Scotia Canada
4,588 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Konglin's email address is konglin316 at hotmail com
I have been corresponding with him.
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Sailed:
Eden (Navimag) four nights on ferry up inner west coast of Chile, March 2016
Expedition (GAdventures) Antarctica, Feb/March 2016
Dragon's Pearl Halong Bay, Vietnam 2014
Azamara Quest Far East, March 5, 2011
Victoria Empress, Yangtze River, March 25, 2011
Azamara Quest Ancient Empires, Nov. 14, 2009

Independent land tours:
Skiing in France, then drove to Tuscany, down to Sicily and back to Lyon: March/April, 2017
Argentina and Chile - cities and Patagonia, 2016
Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Seoul, 2014
New Zealand and Australia 2013
China 2011
Argentina and Peru, 2007
Europe, 1985, 91-92, 95, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2011
numerous in US and Canada
Guatemala and Mexico 1971, 1972
Haiti, 1970
Jamaica, 1968-71
#14
Frisco, TX
3,280 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
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!
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Rebecca
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#15
westchester, new york
83 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
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 [email protected]. 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.
#16
Ottawa, ON
92 Posts
Joined May 2009
We've just finished three days in Beijing and we used Victor ([email protected]) 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.
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#17
862 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
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: [email protected]

Justin made arrangments for Mikki, his Shanghai-based colleague to take us touring when we docked in that city.
#18
Silicon Valley California
39 Posts
Joined May 2010
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 ([email protected]). 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.
#19
Vegas
128 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
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.
#20
Vegas
128 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
oops--I was so happy with catherine's services in Beijing that I forgot to include her email address!!!
[email protected]

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