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“Overall Excellent Travel Company”
Review of China Highlights

China Highlights
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Private Airport Transfer: Beijing International...
Ranked #47 of 448 Tours in Beijing
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Since 1959 we've guided everyone ranging from US presidents and Australian Geographic.Our goal is to create unique trips that take you off-the-beaten path,helping you discover China in a more authentic way.Our motto:"Discovery Your Way!"
Reviewed November 8, 2015

The entire trip was wonderful and despite some very challenging weather, we all had a great time in this beautiful country.
This was certainly facilitated by the great planning that Susan Chen helped us with.
China Highlights employs some very excellent staff. Right from the start of our emails to the care that we received from most of the guides and all of the drivers, we felt that we made the right choice in China Highlights.
Our itinerary was customized to our wants and they were always attentive to our needs.
A few special things happened along the way. One of these was having the opportunity to meet Susan Chen, our tour advisor. I want to say a special “Thank you” for her coming to meet me in Guilin. It is always special to finally meet someone who you only email with. We celebrated with a toast to her with a delicious sparkling wine. “Thank you”, Susan! Dealing with you made the trip planning easy.
We did have very attentive guides. In Guilin and Yangshuo, Jason was extremely capable and able to change the itinerary with whatever the weather demanded. His English was clear and very understanable.
As a suggestion for the next visitor, you might find a boutique hotel in Guilin to suggest for the 1 night stay. The Waterfall hotel is very tired and the beds are very hard. Though it has a very good location, there are probably many hotels that are around the lake and would be suitable to allow the visitor to easily access an evening walk around the lake (which is incredible beautiful and well maintained) and to the night market and shopping (very loud and bright) and restaurants. As we were only in Guilin for a short time, we did not have so much time to explore the city but we did squeeze in a peek of the waterfall at the hotel (a novelty at best), a great dinner that Jason helped us to order before leaving us for the evening (Thanks Jason!!!) and an extensive walk of the lake area (beautiful in the evening with the lights, towers, boats, people exercising).
We loved the cooking class with Chef Bin Bin at Cloud 9 Restaurant in Yangshuo. We had a meal at a restaurant on West Street in Yangshuo where Jason helped us to pick the carp that we would eat as a Beer Fish dish (delicious). Jason was very friendly and comfortable with spending time with us and shared his own personal story with us. Though we had extremely heavy rain while traveling in this beautiful area, we were never disappointed with what we were doing. Your suggestion of hotel (Moondance) suited our sensibilities perfectly. The staff and location were outstanding. With the fast flowing river, we were witness to the river flooding, which overflows the access road. Both our very capable guide and our driver still managed to get us safely, everywhere that we needed to go. When the weather forced us to change the itinerary, Jason was able to accommodate our needs and we still had a great visit to this very beautiful area.
The next location, Xi’an, proved to have an equally excellent, but very different hotel experience. Again, we were guided to an outstanding location and facility. This new hotel, Wyndham Grand Xi’an South, proved to be of incredible standard and we were welcomed and pampered by the hotel staff. Thanks again to Susan Chen for guiding us to book this hotel. We were disappointed with our guide, Mark. Upon landing, we were met at the airport by a driver with our name on a sign (but not a China Highlights sign) and we were handed his cell phone. We initially thought that he was our guide, and that the phone call was from someone in Guilin from China Highlights with some news of forgotten items from that part of the trip. But as it turned out, it was our next guide, Mark, letting us know that he would meet us at the hotel.
We then were taken on the long ride to the hotel. The driver did not speak any English, so we had no introduction to the city of Xi’an or what our itinerary would be. This was not what we expected and were very disappointed with this beginning to this incredible city.
Upon arrival at the hotel, we were greeted by the hotel staff (outstanding) and we did meet Mark. We are very capable travelers and I could have made the airport pickup arrangements with the hotel, in order to get there. The start of Mark’s abilities proved what was to come for our time in the city. Though Mark was very knowledgeable about Xi’an and the itinerary highlights, he did not go that “extra mile” that all of the other guides did. He suggested an evening trip for the show in Xi’an and we felt that he was more interested in adding value for himself rather than for us. He did not accompany us nor suggest dinner choices. We were very able to ask direction from the concierge at the hotel. The hotel staff actually walked us over to the mall for a great choice for dinner. This young man went above and beyond the call of duty. The Concierge gave us direction to 2 other wonderful choices as well. We were staying in a part of town that had great evening things to do, right outside our hotel, but Mark did not direct us to anything. When we were leaving the hotel, I asked if we could walk through the Great Wall Xi’an Mall. He was okay with this and he did have information to share, but we needed to prod all information from him. The time when Mark actually fell asleep while we were driving summed up the disappointment that we had with him. We did not have the same “China Highlights” experience that we did get everywhere else.
We did have a special guide, Patrick, when we went to visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Patrick was personable and very interesting. We ended at the gift shop and we welcomed Patrick’s talent with watercolor as well as showing us the beautiful works of the monks. We all happily bought art to take home and remember this place as well as feeling that we were able to make a donation to the monks. Mark did not impress upon us to come back to this location in the evening to see the light and water show. This was very unfortunate, as this was an easy walk from our hotel and I understood that it is spectacular to see.
The cycle around the wall in Xi’an was not well explained to us. We had 1.5 hours to do this and we felt that we were rushed to complete the cycle. It was a workout and it was an incredible opportunity. But if we had received any information on highlights and what we were seeing, we would have had some grounding for the historical details. The opportunity of being in the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an could have been enhanced had Mark taken us through and explained to us what the foods were and what the people were selling, the ethnic rather than the souvenirs. A description of the Muslim mosque would have added to this time in this area. Instead, we wandered aimlessly in a bazaar.
At our final destination, Beijing, we were warmly greeted by Frank, another excellent guide and Mr. Wong, an exceptional driver. They were at both ends of the exit of the train station to assure that we would be met. The CH sign with our name on it assured us that we were back in the hands of a caring guide. They assisted us with our bags and started us off on the right foot. Frank had a special treat for us. A bag full of fresh baked Beijing cookies and cakes. His thoughtfulness was so much appreciated! We arrived at our hotel with a good feeling about what this huge city would unveil to us in the coming days. Frank was able to show us a great tour of Beijing, despite the weather challenges. We had unseasonably cold and snowy days. He was very capable of altering our itinerary with what suited our needs. We felt well cared for and had excellent explanations of everything. A huge thank you to Frank!
We did have an ex-pat guide, Colin, for our second day at The Great Wall. The weather did not co-operate fully with our itinerary, but Mr. Wong was able to safely and professionally get us there and back. We did get to hike and see this remote part of the wall. Colin was excellent at altering the tour as the weather permitted and our lack of winter hiking equipment permitted. It was a great opportunity to be able to get a foreigner’s perspective about not only the hike at The Great Wall, but a Western perspective from inside and out. Colin is a gem and we had a spectacular day with him.
We wanted to drive past the “Olympic Bird’s Nest”. Mr. Wong and Frank allowed for the time to not only drive past, but to hop out of the van and to get a perspective from a bridge with great explanation. All of these small pieces were appreciated by us all.
Upon our departure, Frank shared some of his mother’s beautiful watercolour paintings. These will be cherished. Not only was it a spectacular personal touch, but she is very talented. These will be framed and enjoyed for our lifetimes.
As you can see, China Highlights did an outstanding job and the people who you work with at China Highlights are very special. The CH team, for the most part, are exceptional. There is a reason why CH has been in business since 1959. I am so very happy to have been suggested to use this tour company for this China Adventure.

2  Thank MC0959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,150 - 2,154 of 2,812 reviews

Reviewed November 7, 2015

We used China Highlights for a couple of tours whilst on our five day Beijing sojourn, as well as train tickets to Shanghai. We found China Highlights very good to deal with and very prompt in responding to emails and, in one case, a phone call to sort out our different requirements.
This tour was run by Susie (with her excellent driver) and encompassed myself, my daughter and another couple. It was a happy little group venturing up to the Great Wall - although on a grey, gloomy afternoon. Despite the weather, it was still a great trip with the Wall being an amazing place to visit. We spent sufficient time at Mutianyu to take in the ambience and plenty of memories. Downside for my 9yo was the toboggan was out of action (light drizzle forces its cancellation) - but that's not what we were there for!!
Susie from China Highlights was a great host - engaging and enlightening throughout the trip... even with the inevitable traffic jams coming back into Beijing, she kept everyone informed with progress (and incidents). Susie also made use of that time to help everyone with the next day's sightseeing - writing out in Chinese characters the intended destination, as well as how you can get there via the Subway. Photos, questions, follow-ups, nothing was too much trouble for Susie.
Highly recommend China Highlights (and Susie).

Thank EuroTour2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2015

We are a middle-aged Canadian couple who had an “8-day” tour (which of course means 6 actual sightseeing days) in Beijing using China Highlights. Highly recommended.

We were very impressed with our guide Sherry, and with our driver whose name we shamefully never learned properly. We had them pick us up and drop us off in a private car at Beijing Airport on Days 0 and 7 respectively. On Days 1 and 4 we also had the car and driver along with Sherry. On Days 2, 3, and 5 we went around with Sherry on public transport. On Day 6 we were on our own and took one short cab ride from the hotel and also walked a lot. Worked out great!

I arranged our itinerary months ahead with Doris at China Highlights (based in Guilin) who was very receptive and attentive to my requests. I told her all the sights we wanted to see and she arranged them into five full days which averaged out to eight very full hours every day. Then, Sherry modified the schedule even a little further to make the most efficient use of our time. And it was no problem when on the second day, we decided that for one of the future days we wanted to spend a couple hours at a museum instead of a couple hours of shopping.

By all means, do at least one day of your itinerary on public transit. Yes, it’ll save you a bit of pocket money, but that’s not really the reason. When you’re on a trolley bus you get a much different view of the street and of Chinese society. And the subway is very impressive. Don’t worry about how complicated it is to pay the transit fare......your guide will do all that for you. Another benefit……..transit is much less terrifying than being in a car on those crazy Beijing streets.

Here is my brief opinion about what we saw……..and keep in mind that I told China Highlights exactly what I wanted us to see, so it’s not like they were picking for us:

If you have only one day in Beijing, see the Summer Palace and the Lama Temple. Take plenty of time at both.

If you have a second day, get the earliest start possible and see the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Try to stop at the Sacred Path on the way back.

If you have a third day, go at opening time to see the special collections in the Forbidden City----the Hall of Clocks, the Treasure Gallery, and the new greatest-hits gallery inside the main gate. Then go to the Beijing Capital Museum.

If you have a fourth day, see Houhai, Beihai Park, the Drum Tower and wander the hutongs (all close together). Also see the famous Chinese acrobats.

Only if you have time and are so inclined, visit the basement of the National Museum of China; the Temple of Heaven; and Prince Kung’s Mansion.

Don’t bother with Tiananmen Square or lunch at a revolving highrise restaurant.

1  Thank kalamalkared
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2015 via mobile

Having Louise as our China
Highlights tour guide in Beijjng was like visiting with an old friend....she was ready and waiting for us at the airport even though we arrived in the wee hours of the morning...she helped with our bags and the driver took us to our hotel where she took care of checking us in...on the way she shared lots of information about Beijing and its history.

The next day we toured the Temple of Heaven, Tianemen Square, the Hutong, and the Forbidden City. We rode in a rickshaw and saw how locals live. She navigated us through all the entries and gave us lots of information about China. She also answered our many questions. She asked that we liked to eat and searched for a place that she thought we would like. Instead of a tourist Restaurant we are at a local Cantonese Restaurant...Louise listened to what we wanted then ordered for us and made sure it all came out right. Every step of the way she was there sharing history and present day info and answering
all the questions we had of which there were many....

The next day we saw The Great Wall at Mutianyu which was one of those life events! We took the cable car up to the wall. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. We walked from tower 6 to tower 13 and had amazing views! Then we rode the toboggan down. It was an amazing day. After we got back to the city, we had lunch at another locals spot and visited the beautiful summer palace. We were very sore after all the walking and said we were hoping to find a place to get our feet massaged. Louise to the rescue! She called the Chinese pharmacy and arranged to have two ladies come to our hotel room to give us foot and shoulder massage! She arranged the price and services so even if they didn't speak English we would be okay! It was wonderful, they detoxed our feet find then gave us shoulder and feet massage.

The next day it was time for us to leave Beijing. Louise and the driver picked us up at the hotel and drove us to the airport. There she checked us and our bags in before we had to say farewell to our friend. She really did feel like a friend not just s tour guide! We feel so blessed that our paths crossed. It was great to go at our own pace, learn what we wanted to learn and eat what we wanted to eat. She even bought us chestnuts so we could try them...I would highly recommend China Highlights, ask for Louise....then you can leave China feeling like you've seen the city with your friend not just a hired guide.


was was ready and waitingwas ready and waiting for us when wewe arrived

Thank montanadj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 7, 2015

I signed up for the 2-day tour because it was my first time visiting Beijing, and I wanted to learn about the history of the various sites as opposed to just passing through them.

My tour guide Dillon was very kind and knowledgeable, and he shared a lot of interesting stories. He switched the order of the tour to avoid bad traffic (Beijing has really bad congestions so be prepared to spend a lot of time in the car), but this modification was not a problem for me. On Day 1, we visited the Mutianyu Great Wall, followed by the Forbidden City and lastly Tiananmen Square. On Day 2, we started with the Summer Palace, then Jingshan Park, and ended with the Temple of Heaven. Dillon was also very flexible with the options (ask him for the toboggan ride down from the Great Wall, it was so much better than the cable car!) and accommodated my dietary restrictions.

Overall, Dillon's services were top notch and he was an excellent tour guide (5 stars!). I also corresponded with David from China Highlights, and he was also very responsive and accommodating. However, there were a few glitches, so here are my tips:
- The tour company said they would call me before the tour, but I never received this call. If you didn't get a call by the evening, I would suggest you call them up just to confirm.
- The itinerary stated "hotel pick up around 7 - 7:30", but I ended up waiting in the lobby for almost an hour before returning to my room and then receiving a phone call from the lobby. I would suggest you wait in the room until they call you from the lobby.
- You don't get to spend the exact amount of time as stated in the itinerary because the guide had to take into account the traffic congestions around Beijing. However, I didn't feel rushed and was still able to appreciate each site.
- If you feel like exploring Beijing some more after each day, ask the guide to drop you off at a Metro station (Beijing Metro is so easy to navigate and it sure beats being stuck in traffic!)

I would certainly recommend the tour package if it's your first time visiting Beijing and didn't have a lot of time to research each site beforehand. You will learn a lot about the history and rich culture!

1  Thank Ravall0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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