I don’t like guided tours but when my mom said she wanted to go to Beijing and bring two of her siblings along with her, I decided to get a tour guide along with a private van.
Now, getting a tour guide in China is tricky business. The first question anyone would ask is, ‘Am I going to get conned?’ Being conned in China isn’t anything new. On my parents’ last trip to GuangZhou my mom spent RM5,000 on glass jade.
I’m not saying everyone will get conned but like any place you go outside of your home country, it pays to do research.
First, finding a reliable tour guide
Naturally I went on TripAdvisor to look for ones I could trust. There was a whole bunch of private tour guides and I found Aurora Tang‘s profile.
(Picture from Aurora’s TripAdvisor profile)
What really drew me to her was her 98% approval rating (I mean, who gets a 98% approval?).
66 people gave her a 5/5, only 1 person gave her a 4/5 and 1 more gave her a 1/5.
I was immediately wowed and sent her an email to inquire about her availability and prices. I first sent her an inquiry through her website but didn’t get a reply. I then sent her an direct e-mail, which she responded almost immediately.
I gave her information on the days I would be in Beijing and the days I needed a tour guide. She responded quickly with an itinerary along with the cost of the private van, airport pickup and her tour guide fee.
At RMB500/day, I found her guide fee slightly expensive but I decided to go ahead and confirm with her because she had such awesome ratings on TripAdvisor.
And she didn’t disappoint!
When we arrived at Beijing Airport at 1.05am, our driver was ready to pick us up. We were sent straight to our hotel in a comfortable van after a long, tiring 6 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur.
On our first day and the following two days, Aurora came on time and brought us straight to our places of interest.
I won’t elaborate on the interesting things we did in Beijing in this review but Aurora did a great job of explaining the historical background of each place. I found it educational and very interesting.
Plus points for Aurora
Some plus points for Aurora
– Although I had Aurora speak in Mandarin for most of the tour, Aurora is actually one of the few English speaking tour guides in Beijing.
– She is flexible about where to go. We actually canceled the Acrobat Show and some other planned activities on the itinerary because my aunt and uncles weren’t up for it.
– She also brought us to good local restaurants that were excellent value for money (cheap and really tasty! My dad loved them!).
– Excellent service. My mom is usually very hard to please but she loved Aurora! At the end of the tour my mom asked me if we could have Aurora for our Sydney trip in 2015! (If we are going back to Beijing, we’ll definitely be in touch with Aurora)
– There are no compulsory shopping trips with Aurora though she can recommend excellent places to get high quality silk and pearls on request.
Information on how to contact
You can contact Aurora for her tour guide services at
Email: flyprivateguide [at] yahoo.com
Phone Contact: (+86 )159 0110 0738
Final Notes on Getting a Tour Guide
If you’re looking to join tours or tour guides in China, try your best not to go on the tours being offered on the streets (there are tons of them especially in touristy places like Beijing). Usually they’ll tell you that all you need to pay is 50RMB. But you rarely pay the advertised price. You usually pay at least 10 or 20x more in hidden charges.
If you must book a tour while in Beijing, try to go to a proper tour company. Though that will require you to do some research online first.
Of course, not everyone will need a tour guide around Beijing
For this trip to Beijing I decided to get a tour guide because I wanted my mother and her siblings to feel comfortable about the trip. And Aurora helped me with that.
However, you can still have a great time in Beijing without a tour guide. All you need to do is make sure you do a lot of research.
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