On our way to Thailand we had a layover in Beijing so decided to stay a few days in the city to experience the Chinese culture before finishing our journey to Thailand. Our family (2 kids, 8 and 11 yrs old) wanted to have a custom tour to make sure that both the parents and kids had a great time. Qing’s driver picked us up at 3:30 am from the airport. It was a nice surprise that he was there when we arrived since our plane wasn’t scheduled to land until 6:00. We headed to the hotel to freshen up for a few hours. Qing then met us at the hotel at 8:30 to begin the tour.
The van was large, new and very comfortable. Qing’s English is excellent and she did a great job getting to know us and creating a custom itinerary. We visited Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace, Lama Temple, Zoo (pandas!), Hutong District and many other places. Qing handled everything and we literally didn’t have to lift a finger. Her price included all entrance fees and lunches so we didn’t need to worry about having our dollars exchanged to Chinese money every day, and we didn’t have to wait in any lines for tickets, etc. With the June heat in Beijing that was very nice. At the lunches we ordered whatever we wanted and it was all taken care of by Qing.
Qing was great with the kids. There were a lot of little history lessons at each stop and she was good to break them up with fun facts. Her “story times” were well presented and she regularly gave the kids “quizzes” with prizes (popsicles, little trinkets) that they loved and made them more interested in learning about each stop. She even arranged for us to have lunch with a local family in their home and it was the highlight of our trip!
If you have kids don’t miss the pandas at the zoo, and Qing took us to a special section of the Great Wall where the kids (and parents!) could toboggan ride down the mountain. Awesome!
We almost decided to go out on our own, but given our limited time in Beijing I convinced him that a tour would make best use of our time. Boy was I glad we had a guide-no one spoke English, the transportation systems were incomprehensible, and I can’t imagine how we would have managed without Qing’s expert guidance. It was also very nice not to be stuck on a large, hot bus with a bunch of strangers.
From beginning to end, everything was on time, perfectly organized and tailored to meet our needs. I’m so happy we stayed in Beijing and that we booked with Qing for our tours. We couldn’t have had a better time.