Beijing Tour in One Day: Ok, I grant you most will find it crazy to fly up to Beijing to spend just one full day. But we packed a good bit in, had a nice time, so why not?
At the suggestion of Flyertalk.com member AZ Travels the World we booked a lovely and knowledgable tour guide named Alice. He had warned me that she wasn’t especially responsive to e-mail, but actually if I waited a couple of days she’d get back to me. I really do prefer to work by email rather than phone.
She called us at the hotel the night we arrived, and confirmed the time we’d be meeting in the hotel lobby. She did ask something we hadn’t discussed earlier – whether I’d have a car. I rather assumed she would! No problem, she assured, she would take care of it.
So in the morning after breakfast in the lounge we met her downstairs, she found us without difficulty.
She had brought a car and driver. That made the day more expensive, I suppose, but really quite reasonable. She said that the car would be RMB600 if we stayed in town, or RMB1000 if we also went up to the Great Wall. She charged RMB80/hr with a four hour minimum, so our 8 hour tour cost 640… and while this is China, she was a wonderful guide and I did tip her.
We started off at Tienanmen Square, then walked over to the Forbidden City.
From there we drove to Badaling to walk along the Great Wall. Then back to Beijing, driving by the Olympic stadium, for a street food market.
A very full day, I naturally bought a Mao watch (RMB40) and we ate some truly interesting street food, much of which our guide wouldn’t go near (like the grilled snake). We tried 10 different things, but didn’t go in for the scorpion…