Do Not Recommend this tour....In review of this tour I, my wife and daughter all concluded that a better description of the actual tour and guide are needed. Are tour starts by van pickup at the hotel as advertised. But without the English speaking guide and a non English speaking driver. So we had no idea what was happening other than what the lobby concierge had translated and confirmed that we were the correct tour we booked.
After a 30 minute vigorous drive seatbelts are a MUST we meet our guide and two other persons on the tour to head to the next and last hotel to pickup the last person on the tour, so over an hour in just driving to pickup customers.
Then another hour drive through the city traffic to the first location, just to be overly rushed though the Summer Palace. Had to ask to stop to use the bathroom and to buy a sovereign because guide was not stopping to wait.
Asked to see if we were going to enter any of the buildings or even the palace, just to be told no.
Then hurried out the gate to the van to be taken SHOPPING.....Not...... we were taken to a predestined stop to be pushed into a silk store and hounded by sales people to buy silk bedding or clothing that we did not want. After sitting for about an hour and not buying anything the guide took us to Temple of Heaven. Again to just be rushed through and gave 15 minuets for pictures.
After that we were taken to lunch at a nice restaurant for about an hour. Then to a Fresh Water Pearl store another predesignated store to just to be again hounded to purchase their pearls as if there is no other place on earth to by pearls. This stop took well over an hour and they were not happy we did not buy anything again.
So now the day has been spent mostly driving from spot to spot or being pushed to buy stuff at their guides choice of stores.
So we arrived at our last stop, just to be completely rushed by the guide through every site at the Tiananmen Square right through to the Forbidden City. And in the Forbidden City we even asked to go into the buildings just to be ignored and countinued at a very fast pace and we again even had to ask to stop to use the bathroom.
So at the end. We simply asked to be dropped off at the shopping plaza in the middle of the city so we could actually do some shopping and took the metro back to our hotel.
You are so rushed through the actual places you booked to see. But, when we stopped st the shopping sites there was no rush.
Honestly, the best part of the day seemed after we were dropped off to shop on our own!
This was a great tour and a perfect way to see the highlights of Beijing in a day! There were only three of us in the group and our guide William was flexible with time at each stop, allowing for guided time as well as free time to explore and take photos. William answered all our questions about Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and any other topic. There were two shopping stops, for silks and pearls, but no pressure to buy. Lunch was nice with a variety of dishes to pick from.
At the end of the tour, William suggested a drop off spot which would allow me to explore another area of Beijing, but also easily return to my hotel via subway.
All in all, a great day!
Good tour, saw a lot of places in one day. Its good if you have a short amount of time and want to see a bunch of places. You only see tiananmen square from across the street, so its mostly forbidden city, summer palace and temple of heaven which is what i wanted to see. They do take you to 2 factories which is annoying but i guess its part of most tours. Guide spoke good english. Lunch was pretty good as well.
Obviously, the sites we visited were amazing, however a few notes of caution. We had three shopping stops which, in our opinion, took time away from seeing the historical sites. We could have done without so much time at the Silk and Oyster shops, and more time seeing the Summer Palace. Our guide, Cherry, was okay, but we've had better English speaking guides on this trip. Overall, you must see these very important sites while in Beijing.
Cheryl was my guide for this tour. She was engaging and knowledgeable. She was also great at keeping her group together and getting us ahead when possible. Having gone to the Fobidden city, the day prior, I initially thought I wouldnt want to see it again but Cheryl used the side walkways and corridors to show us the site. This made for better pictures and less interruption. She also gave great advise on how to improve your photos..She always offered to take photos of you at the various sites. Cheryl kept a tight schedule and even when I had a mishap at the Temple of Heaven I was unable to regain entry to the courtyard all hampered by the language barrier she made sure that I was comfortable.. At the Summer palace we opted to utilize the boats at an additional cost and that was a great addition.
It was a lovely day which culminated with shopping for pearls and silk. A lovely day with a great guide
Not recommended. The tour stopped at two sales stops, which were not on the agenda we signed up for. Because of the significant time spent at these stops, we were rushed through the stops we did pay for. The additional stops were silk museum, and traditional medicine, which was incredibly high pressured to buy hundreds of dollars worth. So high pressured, it was very uncomfortable. It was around 90 minutes for these sales stops, plus any additional driving time to get there. Leaving us only 1 hour at the Summer Palace, which we were left by ourselves to walk around. Look into other tours groups, and ask before booking how much time is spent on extra stops.
It was a beautiful clear day. I was lucky and there was only three other people on my tour. It was nice to have a small group because it felt more personalized. We went to four locations plus a silk shop and pearl shop. With so many places to go I would have suggested we skipped both of the shops and spent more time on the historic spots. Maria was our guide and she was awesome. Very attentive and informative.