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Day trip out of Beijing

Day trip out of Beijing

Old Jul 1, 06, 10:11 pm
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Day trip out of Beijing

My family are I are thinking of going to Beijing next year. It would actually be part of a longer trip to Japan so we won't be able to stay all that long. Right now, we're thinking of four days in Beijing then off to Japan.

Is it better to book those one-day trips to the Great Wall, Ming Tombs, etc., when we get there or do it on-line through one of many vendors? Any suggestions?

Granted, it will be a quick trip but it's either spend this amount of time or kiss it off and just stay in Japan an extra four days. My kids can't get gobs of time off from their jobs; hence, a two week trip is about all they can afford in time.

Thanks.
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Old Jul 2, 06, 2:11 am
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Originally Posted by honmani2

Is it better to book those one-day trips to the Great Wall, Ming Tombs, etc., when we get there or do it on-line through one of many vendors? Any suggestions?
wait till you get here and pm me in advance of your trip if you want me to help arrange a driver.
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Old Jul 2, 06, 4:49 pm
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Thanks, moondog!

You'll be there next year, right?

And when you say hire a driver, does that mean, I'll just tell you how many people and where we want to go and you'll take it from there?
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Old Jul 7, 06, 2:57 pm
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I booked my trip to Si Ma Tai through the hotel (St. Regis) and they actually use GrayLine tours to do it. I would say just wait until you get there and book then, because you will likely end up paying far more ahead of time.

MoonDog is such a good resource to have too!
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Old Jul 16, 06, 5:35 am
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I need a driver who speaks english to take me around Beijing for 2 days in mid August....Any suggestions?
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Old Jul 16, 06, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by damaxer91
I need a driver who speaks english to take me around Beijing for 2 days in mid August....Any suggestions?
hire a driver that doesn't speak english and carry: 1) a map; 2) a cell phone; 3) numbers of people you can call to interpret on the fly

(i've been collecting driver business cards in beijing and shanghai for the past 5 years and have only run into a handful that speak passable english.
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Old Jul 16, 06, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by moondog
hire a driver that doesn't speak english and carry: 1) a map; 2) a cell phone; 3) numbers of people you can call to interpret on the fly

(i've been collecting driver business cards in beijing and shanghai for the past 5 years and have only run into a handful that speak passable english.
The reason that I want an english speaking guide is so he can be a tour guide as well.If I'm gonna be using him for 2 days i'd like him to be able to tell me a little about the places I'm gonna see. He doesnt have to be an expert, but just a local with a little bit of knowledge.Do you have any contact information?
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Old Jul 16, 06, 11:14 am
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Originally Posted by damaxer91
Do you have any contact information?
unfortunately, i don't have any english speaking drivers in my current beijing file. i imagine that such drivers exist, but they get snatched up by places like the st. regis as soon as they come on the market (though i've never met a st. regis driver that spoke english either).

plus, it's worth pointing out that very few drivers will be excited to tackle the wall or the summer palace with you. if you want a tour guide, either buy a book or hang around starbucks for 20 minutes.

in any case, feel free to email me if you'd like to try out a driver that speaks less than 20 words of english (i know of more than 10 right now that are nice guys).
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Old Jul 17, 06, 8:20 am
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Tour Guide

Originally Posted by damaxer91
The reason that I want an english speaking guide is so he can be a tour guide as well.If I'm gonna be using him for 2 days i'd like him to be able to tell me a little about the places I'm gonna see. He doesnt have to be an expert, but just a local with a little bit of knowledge.Do you have any contact information?
Alternative suggestion - if you go to Forbidden City, main entrance, there are many students who are multi-lingual and act as tour guides for that site. Some specialize in chinese speaking tours, others English, spanish, german, blah blah blah.

You can try to see if they are familiar with other sites and see if they will be your tour guide for the 2 days. Probably not going to be cheap as usually they get RMB$250-300 for 3-4 hrs at Forbidden city - which means if you take them, might be 500-600? a day plus driver (which I'm sure they can help find for you).
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Old Jul 17, 06, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by dtsm
Probably not going to be cheap as usually they get RMB$250-300 for 3-4 hrs at Forbidden city - which means if you take them, might be 500-600? a day plus driver (which I'm sure they can help find for you).

The reason I suggested Starbucks was because the rates on offer tend to be considerably lower (often free, in fact). Of course quality comes into play as well, but this is harder to gague and I am not sure there is a correlation between cost and quality. Slightly off-topic, I've never encountered a single tour guide in Beijing that could measure up to a quick read of "In Search of Modern China" or the like; the good western books provide a lot of perspective that is severely lacking in country.
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Old Jul 17, 06, 2:09 pm
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Tour guides, part 2

Originally Posted by moondog
The reason I suggested Starbucks was because the rates on offer tend to be considerably lower (often free, in fact). Of course quality comes into play as well, but this is harder to gague and I am not sure there is a correlation between cost and quality. Slightly off-topic, I've never encountered a single tour guide in Beijing that could measure up to a quick read of "In Search of Modern China" or the like; the good western books provide a lot of perspective that is severely lacking in country.
First, I will also defer to moondog; he is the resident expert

My suggestion was merely an 'alternative' - we used a student at forbidden city (mandarin speaking tour) and my sense is she was quite versed in the history, sights, etc.

Safe journey!
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Old Jul 17, 06, 3:31 pm
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Some recommendation:

Personally I do not think you need a driver fluent in English to show you around.
When you land at the airport, just pickup a map from the tourist info place
(its about 8 rmb)

its easy and cheap to get around using taxi. Just make sure they use the
meter.

for the great wall trip, you can hire someone from the Forbidden city area.

In past (march 2006) I've negotiated the round trip rate (including ming tombs &
the great Wall (at badaling) for about 350rmb (6 people) including tolls.
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Old Jul 17, 06, 3:32 pm
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Originally Posted by dtsm
First, I will also defer to moondog; he is the resident expert

My suggestion was merely an 'alternative' - we used a student at forbidden city (mandarin speaking tour) and my sense is she was quite versed in the history, sights, etc.

Safe journey!

Its always good to talk to these students and get some insight, but
be aware.. there are some scam artists there too.

Just dont go out to shop or eat with them.

Some of the people I've spoken to.. were very nice and gave me a lot
of useful information about Beijing. I never had any issue with them, but there
are some other threads with the scams.
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Old Jul 18, 06, 4:51 pm
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Originally Posted by cpx
Some of the people I've spoken to.. were very nice and gave me a lot
of useful information about Beijing. I never had any issue with them, but there
are some other threads with the scams.
I gather you're referring to the "tea ceremony" thread. I had never heard about that scam until reading that thread, but during course of the past few months, have run into 3 different people that had all been had. And, just like the OP of that thread, all were picked up in the Tiananmen Wangfujing vacinity, taken for tea, and none felt like they had actually been scammed.

I meant to post back because I was amazed at how close their details conformed with those presented in the other thread, but never got around to it. Be careful, guys!
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Old Jul 18, 06, 6:31 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog
I gather you're referring to the "tea ceremony" thread. I had never heard about that scam until reading that thread, but during course of the past few months, have run into 3 different people that had all been had. And, just like the OP of that thread, all were picked up in the Tiananmen Wangfujing vacinity, taken for tea, and none felt like they had actually been scammed.

I meant to post back because I was amazed at how close their details conformed with those presented in the other thread, but never got around to it. Be careful, guys!
Yeap! thats exactly what I was talking about. while I was there, But I never
had any issue.
I had a great time and found people to be very friendly and helpful.
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