My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our private walking tour of the protected hutong neighbourhoods with Joe of Beijing Walking Tours. Joe's English was excellent and he was very willing to answer all of our questions, including about what life in Beijing is like. He was very informative about what we were seeing without drowning us with too much information.
We thought that the visit to a private residence might be a little hokey, but that turned out to be one of the highlights of the tour. Like many travellers I am more interested in seeing how the local people live than just taking in the sites. Mr. Lin was rather a showman as he ran through his extensive animal, lizard and cricket collection, but it was still very interesting.
The price of $50/person for a 3 1/2 hour private tour was very reasonable and very good value. We highly recommend Beijing Walking Tours and our guide Joe. More