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Review of our driver: Kong Lin

California
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Review of our driver: Kong Lin

Hi, just got back from Beijing and wanted to review Kong Lin whom we used for one of our days:

1) Great Wall - Mu Tian Yu section (Left around 7:30AM)

2) Sacred Way (no tombs)

3) Fragrant Hills (unfortunately not the peak since we missed to close time of the cable car @ 4:00PM)

4) "The Loft" noodle house (Left around 7:30PM)

First, why we chose Kong Lin. We basically composed one e-mail and sent it to all the tour providers we could find good reviews for and sent each one an e-mail telling them our itinerary, asked them certain questions (ex: Do you take us to tourist traps?), and asked them how much the tour would cost. Then we waited for replies and received quite a few. Kong Lin was the only one to e-mail us pictures of his tour guide credentials and was also the least costly (most being ~1100RMB or greater, Kong Lin was 700RMB). I think the difference here was that most of the others required both a driver and a separate tour guide

while Kong Lin was supposed to be both. At least that is what we assumed. But, we were a little disappointed that he did not walk with us through the

sites.

Fortunately, that is our only major complaint about Kong Lin. He was:

Prompt in answering all our e-mails

Prompt in the morning

Drove a comfortable large mini van that was air conditioned and had captain chairs in the back

Drove safely

Very accommodating to our itinerary

Spent as much time as we wanted at each sight

Waited for us and did not rush us at our end-of-trip meal

Spoke excellent English

A licensed tour guide (he e-mailed us a scan of his credentials)

Took us to an interesting noodle restaurant and took the time to give us suggestions for other restaurants

As you have probably guessed, overall we were very happy with Kong Lin and would not hesitate to use him as a driver (as opposed to a tour guide). To be

fair, he did know a lot about the Great Wall and gave us a history before we walked The Wall as well as answered most of our questions about the major

tourist sites. So I'd say he's a "Driver+". (Another small miss would be not knowing much about the Frangrant Hills and not knowing we needed to get to the cable cars early there.)

Yes, you may be able to get a taxi driver for cheaper (we asked to compare prices and they said around 500-600RMB) but you probably would NOT get the bigger more comfortable car / great English / knowledge of the sites.

Kong Lin's contact info:

konglin316@hotmail.com

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The Great Wall at Badaling
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A L
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1. Re: Review of our driver: Kong Lin

Thanks for the review. I was just looking around for a driver also for Beijing- no guide needed. Just emailed Kong Lin.

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Beijing, China
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2. Re: Review of our driver: Kong Lin

The guide should climb the Great Wall with the clients.Even a little bit,he or she should climb the Wall with the visitors.But if just hire a driver,the driver has to drop off clients at one entrance and wait at the other end at the Sacred Way.So the clients don`t have to come back.

Visiting The Fragrant Hill at end of October and begainning of Novermber is best time.the cable car close at 5:00pm.

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The Great Wall at Badaling
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Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Review of our driver: Kong Lin

Can someone tell me more about Fragrant Hill? Is this something we should plan into our itinerary? Violet - why is visiting there the end of October the best time?

Thanks

Beijing, China
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4. Re: Review of our driver: Kong Lin

Fragrant Hill was derived from the huge piece of rock at the top of the Western Hills,namely the `Teat Peak Rock`.As it looks very much like a censer,often girdled by wisps of spiraling mist oas if ti were giving out incense-smoke hence it was called the `Censer Hill`,known in Cjomese as `Xiangshan`.

Covers 400 acres,a temple was built in 1186.

Terraces,Pavallians and pagodas were added by the subsequent dynasties.

The area was later turned into a park and renamed the Park of Tramqio;otu & Pleasure.

Thr park is a popular place in late autumn when the maple leaves redden.

Legend has it that a south wind carried the seeds of the red-leaf trees to Beijing.Ten the seeds survived,and years passed they grew into alovely forest.

In November,the frosted leaves of these trees,along with the persimmons and maples,spread over the hills like a thich red blanket.

If you stay in Beijing more than 4 days during that time,you should go to see it.

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Kuala Lumpur
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5. Re: Review of our driver: Kong Lin

violet,

I will be in Beijing from Oct 8th till 11th, will the maple leaves in Fragrant Hill be impressive then ?

Normally how much time is required to visit Fragrant Hill ? Is a lot of walking required beside taking the cable car ? I will be visiting with my elderly parents.

Is it advisable to do it in the same day after Summer palace & Yuanmingyuan ?

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Beijing, China
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6. Re: Review of our driver: Kong Lin

Not a lot of walking but a lot of climbing at Fragrant Hill.Some parts are very stip.

If you want to climb with your parents,I think you will spend about 4 hours there.

It is not bad visit there at that time.There are some maple of leaves ture red.

Toronto
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for Tokyo
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7. Re: Review of our driver: Kong Lin

>> A licensed tour guide (he e-mailed us a scan of his credentials)

How do you know the scanned document is authentic?

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8. Re: Review of our driver: Kong Lin

We had just used Kong Lin for a day trip to the Great Wall at JinShanLing and Simatai. I would recommend him to anyone who needs a driver in beijing, and it is especially comfortable in his Buick as it was very spacious and perfect for those longer journeys where you can go to sleep comfortably. He was punctual and driving was safe. However if you expect someone chatty, then he isnt (which i kinda like as I dont want someone to go on non-stop for hours talking away). English was not a problem.

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The Great Wall at Badaling
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9. Re: Review of our driver: Kong Lin

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10. Re: Review of our driver: Kong Lin

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