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“Great Wall Peter, minivan tours”

Beijing Local Tours - Private One-day Tour
Ranked #191 of 413 Tours in Beijing
Attraction details
Reviewed 25 June 2013

As a teacher in Beijing, I have been fortunate to find local tour guide Peter Zhao who was recommended by colleagues at the school. When my daughter, her husband and their two teenagers came to visit, Peter took me to pick them up at the airport in his mini-van and over the next five days, he took us to see all the magnificent sites of Beijing, the Great Wall, The Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs, The Forbidden City and The Temple of Heaven. Peter’s local knowledge, leisurely pace and good humour ensured we were able to relax and enjoy the time together. I subsequently booked him again when friends came to Beijing and this time we saw the local clothing markets at Beijing Zoo, and the Five Gold Star Markets where the prices are a fraction of the main tourist markets and its possible to find a real bargain. For the sheer convenience, and at the very reasonable rate 600RMB Peter is hard to beat, actually better value than joining an organized tour. You can contact him iampeter518@foxmail.com. He responds same day, and is totally reliable and always careful about confirming arrangements.

4  Thank Sally F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 June 2013

We went on a private tour to the Great Wall and Summer Palace with Beijing Local Tours. We had a very friendly guide, Sophia, who spoke good English; she was also very informative and open to all our questions and made sure that we were comfortable throughout the day.
The driver took us through the city smoothly and safely in his shiny black VW Passat sedan.
We did visit a Jade factory and also a tea house - these stops are included to keep the price of the tours down and it is never mandatory to buy anything. The Jade factory was actually quite nice and provided a Chinese lunch as well.
As we booked a private tour we discussed with the office beforehand that we didn't want to spend much time on "souvenirs" and shopping and they were quite accomodating - if you do shop never foget to bargain!

Thank Bine_Be
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2013

China trip report
16 May 2013, 11:29
27/04/2013. Brisbane to Shanghai flying Qantas

My husband, my sister and her husband and your's truly's trip to Shanghai and Beijing. Arrival in Shanghai 27/04/2013 to a balmy evening temperature of 24 degrees. Flight was long but meals on Qantas were enjoyable. This is my husband and my fifth trip to Shanghai and looking forward to our second trip to Beijing.

Arrived Shanghai and checked into the Majesty Hotel ( old Ramada Hotel) on Nanjing Road. We had the hotel arrange our pick up which went so smoothly. Other trips we have caught taxi's but using the hotel transport was seamless. Wonderful feeling to be back in Shanghai. After checkin we went for a walk to the Bund which was thronging with people both tourists and locals. We could see the TV tower and the Pudong area. We passed the famous Peace Hotel on our walk and had dinner at our favourite Japanese restaurant tucked into one of the sides streets just down from the hotel. The food did not disappoint us. We returned to the hotel for a nights sleep as we had been on the go for at least 20 hours since Brisbane. We are making ready for tomorrow. Full steam ahead to the Fabric Market to have clothes made.

28/04/2013. Sunday

Made our way to the Shanghai Fabric Markets via the underground metro train from the People' Park station on Nanjing Road. Half way along we did have to change lines to the fabric market. Underground system is very user friendly. On our last trip I had some clothes made by this tailor and she did a great job as I am not a size 10 so for them to sew to the larger size is great. Many tourists from all over the world go to this fabric market to have clothes made. The only time I have been disappointed is when I had some lady's long pants made-they could not get them right so I just threw them away. Everything else was beautifully made and hence my return for the fifth time. My sister and I did take clothes a long to have copied or even a good clear picture. After the choosing of materials and measurements we left the markets over 3 hours later and for myself about A$500.00 lighter. Included in this is a cashmere three quarter length coat for about $120.00 . We will go back on Thursday afternoon to collect our garments after we return from Beijing. As we are not leaving until Saturday this will give us time for any alterations to be made before we leave Saturday night.

We returned to the hotel for a refresher and then caught a taxi to the copy markets. As soon as you walk through the doors the bargaining begins. You need to haggle fiercely and walk away if you are not happy with the price-they more often than not then come after you and settle on you price. Try and not buy at the first stall as there are at least 4 floors of stalls ranging from handbags to toys. Take your time. Plenty to see and buy. After dinner we walked through Nanjing road which our Hotel is on as this is a pedestrian road and you see all sorts of sights. One thing we loved to stop and watch was groups of people dancing - women, men, young and old. This pedestrian street has shops, restaurants including MacDonalds and Subway and of course Chinese restaurants. Do look down the side roads that go of Nanjing pedestrian walkway as there are little restaurants there as well.

29/04/2013. Monday.

To Beijing via G-Train

My husband decided to break up the trip to Shanghai by taking the G-Train to Beijing for a couple of days. The train trip is only 5 hours and the train travels at about 310km. We purchased our train tickets through the concierge at the hotel and paid an extra 40 rub each way for the concierge to go and purchase them for us due to communication. We just wanted to make sure we would be booked on the right train and also the train with the least stops to Beijing. If you look up the website it will give you all the times for the departure to Beijing and return. As we were taking the 8.00am train we had to plough through breakfast within 15 minutes before we were picked up to be taken to the train station. Once there we had to go through a security check and then find where our train departure gate was. Everything is very clearly marked in the station and we were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. Of course there were a few of the locals that pushed in but you just let it pass as this tends to be part of the way they do things in China. We paid for first class seats which is two seats together (red colour) at a cost of 933rmb one way. The hostess gave us a free drink once we started and a pack of nibbles. The hostess comes around selling a hot Chinese meal very is passable. We purchased on between the two of us as we also brought some food with us.The ride just glides and is comfortable. It is a good down time to get ready for the buying and sightseeing frenzy ahead in Beijing.

Beijing.

My husband hired a tour guide for the four of us for the two and a half days in Beijing as still English is very limited. We arranged through our guide Jack to be picked up from the train station to be taken to the hotel to check in at the Park Plaza which is a lovely Hotel. As it was fairly quiet they offered us an upgarade for about $100.00 to a club room and the room was lovely and very big. The bed was very comfortable. For the rest of the afternoon we visited first the Pearl Market (don't be deceived, everything is for sale here not just pearls) and then on to the Silk Markets. We preferred the quality of goods at the silk markets and it was more orderly. The handbag section on the basement floor is just wonderful and the variety of bags and colours are unbelievable. In the end you really do not know what to buy as you are so spoiled for choice. Once again at these markets you must bargain hard. At the pearl markets I bought some clothes for the granddaughter and my husband bought some t-shirts. At the silk markets I bought handbags, money purse, clothes again for the granddaughter, toys for the grandsons and my husband bought more t-shirts. I could have spent a good half a day there if I had more time. I feel the markets are better in Beijing than Shanghai.

30/04/2013. Tuesday

Off to the Great Wall. 9.00am

Using Jack out tour guide and his driver we embarked on our journey to the Great Wall. My husband and I have been before but this was a first for my sister and her husband. As it was a public holiday the trip took double the amount of time but once we were there we realised the agonising 3-4 hours in the car was well worth it. One can only marvel at this great testament to China's heritage and also feel sorry for the thousands of Chinese people who died building this wall over a two hundred year period and through three Dynasty's. The four of us travelled up to wall on the cable cars and the men went for a short walk along the wall. After we had taken in our fill my sister and I went back down in the cable car but the men tobogganed down and thoroughly enjoyed it like two young kids. On the return trip to the hotel we stopped at a Jade factory and purchased a few items. Our tour guide organised for us to have an in room massage at 8.00pm which eleviated all the strain of the day. A wonderful nights sleep.

01/05/3013. Wednesday

Off to the Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, Hutongs and back to the silk market. The Forbidden City is massive and absolutely extraordinary. Once you have seen this go home and hire out The Last Emperor and you will recognise the buildings you saw on your tour. We didn't quite see it all due to the time frame and the old legs but it is a must see. Next stop was the Houtong. This is the old style living that has been preserved in a few area's of Beijing. Within the Houtong you find the houses of yesteryear and the bathrooms are communal. You have a home visit to see how they live and your trip through the Houtong is done via a rickshaw ride which is very relaxing. This is a well worth tour to take as the homes are very old. A lot of the Houtongs no longer exist but I do believe that the few remaining will stay. Our visit to Tianamen Square was quick and we did not get out of the van - just did a drive by sightsee as the square was filled to capacity with tourists. If you want to see Mao lying in state be prepared to stand in line for a minimum of one and a half hours or more for a 15 second view of Mao as you are not allowed to stop moving and no bags, cameras or phones allowed. After our tours were headed back to the silk market for a few hours of frantic shopping. Once again bags, t-shirts, children's clothes and other bits and pieces were purchased. Beijing market shopping is fantastic and I personally feel it is better than Shanghai. A greater variety of bags and a better quality. T-shirts and other clothing is much the same in both Shanghai and Beijing. The markets in Beijing seem to have a better lay out and especially the Silk market. Once again - halve the initial asking price for the item you are purchasing and stand your ground. If the vendor will not come down to your price after much bartering, walkaway and if they really want your business they will come after you. After the first couple of times you will get the hang of it. We said our goodbyes to Jack the tour guide and thanked him for a wonderful two and a half days of tours. He was always on time and nothing was too much trouble for him. Having Jack and his driver at our disposal made the whirlwind trip run so smoothly as many things are still lost in translation. Jack was very jovial and had a great command of English and very knowledgeable when it came to the history of China.

02/05/2013 Thursday. Beijing to Shanghai. G -train

As arranged with Jack, the driver picked us up at 7.00am to take us to the South Beijing train station to catch the G-train back to Shanghai. Once again this all ran smoothly and due to our frantic pace in Beijing we slept for a large part of the return journey. After checking back into the hotel we caught the metro train back to the tailors to pick up our clothes. All went well with sizing and thanks to my husbands smart thinking to take a small wheelie bag, we were able to put all our made clothes into this for the return journey back to the hotel as between my sister, her husband and I we had quite a pile of clothes. By the time we got back to the hotel it was well and truly time for dinner and we had a lovely Japanese meal just a few doors down from the hotel. We found this Japanese restaurant last trip and the food is great and so cheap. Sometimes you just need a break from Chinese food. We all trundled back to the hotel, stopping to purchase some beautiful cakes across the way from our hotel. As it was getting close to closing time they gave us two extra free cakes and of course we accepted as by this time we were starving for a European style cake. We had eaten enough custard tarts by this time.

03/05/2013. Friday. Shanghai

We had a leisurely breakfast today and made our way to the Science and Technology Museum underground markets on the metro train. The train pulls up under the Museum and as you alight from the train the markets are there to your left hand side. These markets are more quiet than the markets we visited on Sunday and once again more damage was done to the wallet. There are a number of restaurants here and the toilets are well kept. There are also ATM's available if you should run out of yuan. No matter how much I budget my spending money for China, I always seem to go over my budget so be prepared. Once again we returned to the hotel laden down with our purchases. The concierge organised a one hour foot massage for us at the Howard Johnson Hotel a few minutes walk from our hotel and it was wonderful. We booked for tomorrow a facial for the girls and a body massage for the boys. Certainly a foot massage is well worth the money when you are coming to the end of your trip. We then had McDonalds for the first time on this trip and on our return to the hotel we visited our favourite cake shop and once again received two complimentary cakes. Off to bed early to rise in the morning to our last day in Shanghai. Of course I couldn't help thinking, have I bought everything I need. Could the suitcases take a few more things. In the end I had to switch off so I could sleep.

04/05/2013. Saturday. Last day in Shanghai.

Woke to a fresh morning in Shanghai - cooler than the other mornings. The sky was clear and as we only had until 4.30pm before we went to the airport, we decided to have a leisurely morning. My sister and I set off for a facial at the Howard Johnson Hotel while the boys had a full body massage also at the same Hotel. Not the best facial in the world for the price but it was very relaxing as a few hours later we would be boarding the aeroplane for home. We sauntered back to the Hotel after the facial and body massage and my husband and I had our last Japanese meal. We all showered and made our way to the airport using the Hotel transport. It was very clam checking in and as the flight was a night flight we slept most of the flight home..

Asia has always been my first choice of destination when travelling. There is an intrigue, such a different way of life and the work ethic and the hours worked just to have a small part of the comforts we take for granted always remind me of how lucky we are to live in Australia. Thank you China for your hospitality and we will return again for about our eighth visit.

3  Thank azalea888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2013

be weary when u take on the tour!! the tour guide will bring u to the so-called souvenirs shops like jade and silk factories, tea house but the prices are a ripped off and they will show u a black face if u do not get anything. i was at Dr Tea house on 2 occassions coz of the different day tours. the staff will locked u inside a room on the pretext of sampling tea and we were being pressurised to purchase coz they wont let u out unless u purchase things! i was also being chided for helping an old couple to ask for freebies as i could speak mandarin. the tour guide for my 2nd day tour even argue with me that it is impossible for me to visit the same tea house in a row. He shut his mouth after i showed him the itinerary. the same lady staff whom i saw on the 2nd day and happened to be the same lady do the tea sampling was black face when she saw me coz she knew i didnt buy anything. she also gossip with her colleagues about what happen. we spent more time at these so call souvenirs shops than at the scenic locations:-(
Although it was stated in the itinerary that we would be given X mins at each location, it was never true. we were often being rushed so that the tour can end early and the tour guide can knock off early or bring those interested to catch the peking opera or acrobatic shows.

i will not recommend to take the day tours from beijing local tour (www.beijinglocaltour.com). i reckon all day tours from other day tour companies to be the same. just exercise your own judgement if u intend to buy things from them afterall willing parties from both side..

3  Thank merlion_SG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2015
Google Translation

Thank Dayana M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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