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Reviewed 6 April 2018 via mobile

After months of planning through China Highlights with the wonderful aid of our personal travel advisor, Vivi Chen, we landed in Beijing for the start of our customized tour. Met at the airport by our guide Lily Liu, we immediately felt safe and secure. Lily took charge and helped me get a China sims card for my phone before even leaving the airport - something I recommend to everyone. The cost was about $10 and covered us throughout our 3 week stay; so much cheaper than our $10 a day Verizon plan would have been!

We had 4 night’s and 3 whirlwind days in Beijing, visiting all the key spots, enhanced by Lily's detailed knowledge of historical facts and lore. Day one was a trip to the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Jingshan Park and a tour of the Hutong via rickshaw. Though we'd asked to go to Tiananmen Square, the government had closed the area to visitors due to a big meeting there over the weekend. But Lily made sure to have us stop and see it all from across the street, the closest we could get.

Second day we made the trek to the Great Wall. Unfortunately for us, Beijing had a freak summer snow storm which made the visit less than expected. Icy and slippery, the Wall was incredibly treacherous, with people falling all around us. Lily actually saved me from a terrible spill, reaching out to grab me as I hit a particular icy passage and started careening down the wall. Bless you, Lily!

On the way back, we visited the 798 Art District which though interesting was not as accessible as I'd expected. In retrospect, I would not ask to do that one again.

That night, aided by our hotel, we got tickets to a Chinese Choral performance with easy access via subway. We were excited to be on our own and actually managed to find our way there and back!

Our last morning before heading to Xi’an, we visited an Aged Baijiu (Chinese Wine) Museum. Again, not as I'd expected - just a quick in-and-out with not a lot of substance to this one. We continued onto the Summer Palace, which was one of my favorite sites.

Having a tour guide makes everything easier in a country where the oral and written language is so difficult. However, some of the best parts of our time there were the early morning and evening walks we took on our own, for it gave us a better sense of the real workings of the city and its people. Staying in a Hutong hotel (Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel) was also key to experiencing the real Beijing, another reason why choosing a customized personal tour with China Highlights was so great, because I was able to request this particular hotel.

Onto Xi’an!

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank wendk2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
joy C, Guest Relations Manager at China Highlights, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2018

Hi there

Thanks for taking the time to write and sharing your experience in our Capital. We're glad that you had a good time with Lily and she was able to assist you along the way, especially when you hit the icy patch along the Great Wall. WE appreciate the tips you offer, as this would be helpful for those visiting. Definitely staying in a Hutong is a bonus as you do get a sense of the real Beijing and we were pleased to accommodate this for you.

Trust you will have an enjoyable time in Xian.

CH Customer-care Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2018

China Highlights was selected for us by our otherwise unimpressive travel agent. Our guide, Cactus, called us at our hotel the night before our day tour and suggested that we get an earlier start the next day because it was still the Chinese New Year and the sights we'd be visiting would be crowded. We agreed, and she arrived right on time. We started our day at Tiananmen Square, where Cactus explained the history of the square and what each of the buildings was. The Square was organized chaos, with barriers for long lines to see Chairman Mao's body, among other sights, including the Great Hall of the People (congress building) and the National Museum of China. Cactus was adept at moving us through the crowds towards the Forbidden City. She was also very helpful as several people wanted to take our picture and/or have their pictures taken with us, and she thoughtfully took a picture of that happening. I was surprised, assuming the people of Beijing must see westerners fairly regularly these days, and Cactus reminded me that the square was full of people from the provinces who were celebrating the New Year of the Dog by traveling to the capital to see the sights. She explained that many of them have never been to Beijing before and may never have seen a westerner in person before. She also pointed out that the Great Hall of the People was on the back of the 100 yuan bill, and took a picture of the bill, us, and the building, which might be what all the guides do, but we thought it was lovely. At each of the sights -- The Forbidden City, a rickshaw ride in the Hutong -- a traditional residential neighborhood -- which included a visit to a private home, and the Temple of Heaven, Cactus explained the history of the place and the purpose of interesting architectural details, as well as what some of the buildings in the distance were and why they were special. Cactus was at all times patient with our many questions, considerate, helpful, and accommodating. She was concerned with our experience and not with marketing, which has become rare and valuable. As with all such tours, there is a short period to acclimatize one's ear to the accent, but, again, Cactus was interested in our questions, including when we didn't catch a word. She delightfully shared her personal history, having moved to Beijing from a rural area. And recommended a restaurant for our unaccompanied dinner that night, at which the food was very good, but, as at most restaurants we went to on our own, the English menu translations were more amusing than informative. Cactus was a marvelous hostess, the provided driver was skillful, and the day was well-planned,

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank Amy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
joy C, Guest Relations Manager at China Highlights, responded to this reviewResponded 3 April 2018

Hi there
Thank you for taking the time to post and sharing your experience visiting Beijing during Chinese New Year period. We're so glad to know you had an amazing time with Cactus and she was able to give you such an insight into the culture and history of each of the places.
We do hope that you can visit with us again and to explore more places with us in China.
All the best.
CH Customer-care Team

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Reviewed 2 April 2018

All very well organized to visit with the family the main historical places of Beijing as the forbidden city. We were able to practice calligraphy. Our guide Laura made things look easy, she was very nice and patient to go at our pace, without having to run to complete the tour. We recommend installing WeChat before traveling to China to facilitate communication with guides since WhatsApp does not work there.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank juan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
joy C, Guest Relations Manager at China Highlights, responded to this reviewResponded 3 April 2018

Hi Juan M
We're so glad that your family had a good time exploring the main sites of the city. Definitely installing WeChat is a great way to go before visiting China, as it makes communication with guides and travel advisors a lot easier.
Thanks for sharing the tip here, as it's a good reminder for those traveling this way.
All the best
CH Customer-care Teaml

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Reviewed 28 March 2018

My husband and I recently spent time in Beijing as part of a China Highlights private tour of China. This included 5 nights in Beijing with visits to the magnificent Great Wall, beautiful Summer Palace and tranquil Garden of Virtue and Harmony and the vast Forbidden City. The lunches provided were excellent including the best Beijing Duck. Our guide Jing was fantastic, speaking very good english and very knowledgeable. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he even escorted us onto our train to Xi'an. We felt very safe with our driver even in crazy Beijing traffic.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank MichaelN2485
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
joy C, Guest Relations Manager at China Highlights, responded to this reviewResponded 30 March 2018

Hi Michael N
Thanks for spending 5 nights with us in our Capital. We're glad that you enjoyed your time with us and even felt safe with the crazy traffic. Hope we can see you again.
All the best
CH Customer-care Team

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Reviewed 28 March 2018 via mobile

My family used China Highlights for our Beijing tour. We were all very happy with the entire experience. Ivy was the very best guide. She went above and beyond to accommodate us. We had to make some last minute changes due to a missed flight. We used the airport transfer service and took the Great Wall day tour to Mutianyu. Ivy was very informative through out the entire tour and our driver was great getting through all that traffic. The lunch on our tour was delicious and when we used the transfer service for the train Ivy took us inside the station and made sure we were in the right waiting room. She even packed some snacks for our trip. Everything was perfect.

Date of experience: October 2017
Thank 366sheritac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
joy C, Guest Relations Manager at China Highlights, responded to this reviewResponded 30 March 2018

Hi there
Thanks for visiting and exploring the city with us. We're glad that you and your family had an enjoyable experience. We're encouraged to have read that you found Ivy to be very accommodating and went over and above the call of duty to assist you along the way.
We do hope that you will have another opportunity to visit with us again.
CH Customer-care Team

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