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Guide in Xi'an

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New York
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Guide in Xi'an

Does anyone know of a good, private guide in Xi'an. We have limited time and I would prefer not to waste time on a tour. Please let me know of any suggestions. Thanks in advance!

san clemente, CA
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28 posts
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1. Re: Guide in Xi'an

For future reference. Just returned 1 week ago. Had A great guide, I got through this website. Clarence Guo www.taxitour.com. Spoke good English. Also he takes you to the cave people which is amazing.

Los Angeles, CA
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6 posts
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2. Re: Guide in Xi'an

My wife and I had a mixed experience with a guide from the Xi'an China Travel Service (arranged by Chinese friends of ours). I should preface these comments by noting that this was the first time I had ever traveled with a guide, so some of my comments may reflect ignorance.

The guide was very friendly, spoke pretty good English, and was quite knowledgeable. However, it quickly became clear that the main goal of many of our visits was to shepherd us to particular shops where we got the hard sell to buy various goods. For example, she took us to a "Feng Shui lecture" at the South Gate which basically consisted of about a 5 minute description of guardian animals in Feng Shui, followed by a sales pitch to buy a jade dragon-horse. On another occasion, my wife wanted to buy a t-shirt at one gift shop, to which the guide said that she could get the shirt much cheaper elsewhere. Elsewhere turned out to be a shop attached to a restaurant (where many people from this same tour company were having lunch), at which the price was no lower than the other shop. It was clear that the guide knew the shopkeepers and that some kind of kickback scheme had to be in effect.

We were also terribly disappointed with the quality of the restaurants that we were taken to as part of this guided tour package. Having eaten wonderful food with our friends in Beijing, we were somewhat confused about why others we know have returned from China and complained about the food. Well, after our trip to Xian we understood: we were fed some of the blandest crap we have ever eaten, worse even than most American Chinese food. We were also glad that we had bought into the guidebook paranoia and brought our own chopsticks, as at least one restaurant was clearly reusing the cheap wood ones with only a cursory cleaning.

I would recommend that you don't take meals as part of the guide package, so that you can choose freely where you want to eat - or be sure to get a guide who comes recommended by someone you can trust.

Cambridge...
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182 posts
13 reviews
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3. Re: Guide in Xi'an

We had an absolutely fantastic guide when we were there -- hands down the best guide of our trip.

He of course speaks excellent English, but what is more fascinating are his stories about growing up around Xi'an as a farmer, his memories of the communist revolution, how he got picked by the party to go to university and learn English, and his time working for the communist party. He spends time in the US and has a very good sense of what Americans want to see when they are in China, both in terms of tourist sites and culturally. We also had a limited time there and he made sure that while we saw the terracota soldiers, we also got a good sense of the unique culture of the area. For example, he took us to a Mosque when we were there to show us the large Muslim population in the area. It was a beautiful and memorable choice that I wouldn't have known to make on my own. I can���t recommend him enough, he truly made out trip to Xi'an special.

Richard Wang

Richard_wgt@hotmail.com

029 7541181

UK
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358 posts
5 reviews
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4. Re: Guide in Xi'an

bostontraveler2, where did he take you and what did he charge? Has he got a website?

Cambridge...
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182 posts
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5. Re: Guide in Xi'an

This doesn't look to be his official website, but there is more information here (I just found it doing a google search):

www.new-millennium-ride.org/upchina2.html

Unfortunately I don't know the price as I didn't pay for it myself.

Richard was our private guide so the trip was highly customized to what we wanted to do. I may be leaving some things off, but our rough itinerary was this:

- We arrived late in the evening from Beijing as our flight was delayed. Richard met us at the airport and took us to our hotel.

- The next day we went to the following sites: Huaging Hot Springs, Banpo Neolithic Village, the Terracotta Soldiers, and the city wall. It was a long day with a lot of walking, but very enjoyable. Richard took us to a place to get foot massages, which was a much appreciated bit of relaxation before dinner.

- We flew from Xian to Guilin the next day but before our flight we went to the the Great Mosque, the Bell Tower, and the Wild Goose Pagoda. An interesting final stop was that he took us to Xi���an University on the way to the airport. This was a family trip and my sister was still in college at the time, so it was interesting to get a chance to meet some college students. It was a good example of him tailoring the trip to our desires. While others might not have cared, given who was on the trip and our interests, it was a great stop. We didn't even think of it, it was Richard's suggestion after meeting us.

UK
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358 posts
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6. Re: Guide in Xi'an

Thanks for that, bostontraveler2.

Stratford-upon-Avon...
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7. Re: Guide in Xi'an

I can recommend Jessie Zhang who took my family to various sites around Xi'an this month. She was particularly good with the needs of our children (12, 9, 6) for fun as well as culture and also coping with our vegetarianism.

We found her through the friend of a colleague.

She took us to a good mixture of famous and not well known sites.

Surprises were:

The recently opened and excellent tomb of Liu Qi, the 4th Han emperor. The best museum / excavation I have ever seen. Excellent presentation of the artefacts, and a very clever holographic presentation of the life of the Emperor and his women. Just off the AIrport Road.

The Xi'an city water / music performance near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Great at night with the kids, who got joyfully soaked.

The laser and sound show at the Tang Paradise (also childrens' playground and boating) as well as exhibits from Tang dynasty.

Fried rice dinner in the muslim quarter. One of our best meals at RMB28 for 6 of us! (GBP 2)

Also very good value. Her email is jessjuly@163.com

hong kong
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8,880 posts
160 reviews
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8. Re: Guide in Xi'an

I think there are some good posts here about using guides.

On the one hand you can be very unlucky with a guide who is only interested in taking you to shops where they get commission and tourist style restaurants where you are fed rubbish food. You will spend the minimum amount of time at the actual sights, and the guide will just restate whatever the sign boards say. Some guides post here (and other forums) advertising their services so don't always believe a post advertising a 'great guide'.

You can also get an excellent guide, full of local knowledge and experience, who will take you to great local restaurants and leave you with fantastic memories. Unfortunately, there are not many of this type of guide. Also, even though they are like gold dust they won't ask for much money or will even do it for free.

Personaly I think if you hire someone and they turn out to be the first type of guide, stop using them as soon as you can (even if it means paying them off!). In this case you are better off on your own with a guide book.

Good luck whether you decide to use a guide or not.

Sheffield
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39 posts
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9. Re: Guide in Xi'an

I'm travelling on my own from Shanghai in March 2008 and would love to spend a few days in xian. can someone advise as to cost of 'personal' guide - and if I'd be better booking a general tour as I want to take in the usual attractions

Xi;an, China
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267 posts
5 reviews
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10. Re: Guide in Xi'an

i know one guide named jeff zhang ,i'm not usre his email adress, while you can have a try

zyq981125@163.com

yang