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Great Wall - Guide or Hire a Cab on the day of

Great Wall - Guide or Hire a Cab on the day of

Mar 15th, 2009, 08:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 95
Great Wall - Guide or Hire a Cab on the day of

I am a bit torn, should we hire a guide/driver to take us to the Great Wall Mutianyu and Summer Palace for a day in advance, or just find one the day we want to go. We do not speak Mandarin.
jayc is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 10:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Hi Jay,

Now that I'm a seasoned veteran of Beijing (see "Beijing for Beginners" thread), I can tell you with authority that you definitely don't need a guide to see the Great Wall and you almost certainly don't need one for the Summer Palace, unless you have a particular interest in having things explained to you.

I'll bow to the real Beijing experts out there, but my feeling is you could waste a lot of valuable wall viewing time if you leave it to the actual day to try to find a driver. We were lucky and got one without too much effort but I'm not sure how representative our sample of one is. I don't know whether all drivers are willing to drive out to the Wall or not. If it was me (and it was me a couple of weeks ago) I'd line up the driver the day before.

Cheers, P'chook
Pumblechook2 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 03:57 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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We went by bus it was a great experience.
Clark55 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 08:39 AM
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For the Summer Palace you can just stop a cab any time you like (or take a bus or boat or metro).

For longer out of town trips where you want to charger the cab for a half or whole day, you need to be flagging down drivers the day before at least. Starting to look a couple of days before is best.
PeterN_H is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 10:47 PM
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Thanks guys appreciate your input, I have contacted Jade Leo who was recommended on this site. He has quoted us 800 Yuan for the whole day, Wall and Summer palace and acrobatic show at night if we have time. Does that sound about right for price. We don't really need the guide per say once we are at the sites, but a driver that speak some english would be a bonus.
jayc is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 11:14 PM
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If you go to the people who spam this site (and Jade Leo has a long history of this) you'll pay the padded foreigner price. Jade Leo is also based in Guilin, so presumably he's sub-contracting this and taking a cut (and a commission from the acrobat tickets).
PeterN_H is offline  
Mar 17th, 2009, 09:56 AM
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We just asked our hotel to get us a car and driver for the day and it worked out fine. We paid about $60 for a minivan for 4 of us. The driver's wife spoke some English, but it was fine. You do not need a guide at the Wall. We just arranged a meeting spot and time for the return trip.
Andy717 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 03:11 PM
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We used Konglin and he actually sent someone else named john instead. You don't need to hire one but I thought It was worth the money. Here is his contact info:

[email protected]
www.Beijing-driver .com

[email protected]
jayc is offline  
Apr 14th, 2009, 07:23 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Not sure if this is the best place to post, but we are planning on doing a guided, overnight, hike from Jinshanling to Simatai (www.thechinaguide.com/sleeponthewall). I have read that it is difficult, but still doable. We also hike a lot. Simply visiting the wall will be an excellent trip, but I am very interested in the overnight hike.

We are using a different company for the day trips (start in Shanghai, train to Xian, overnight on Hua, train to Beijing, wall day trip) so maybe they only want us to stick with their complete itinerary...? Any insight is greatly appreciated.
AaronD is offline  
Nov 17th, 2009, 01:11 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 30

Your idea for the Great Wall sounds ideal for us as we are also a party of four - a mini-van would be perfect. Can you tell me which hotel you stayed at and what price you paid for the driver and mini van to go to the Great Wall?
dreamweaver is offline  
Nov 17th, 2009, 01:13 AM
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Sorry Andy717 - didnt read what you said properly and see that you paid about $60 for four people? Thanks
dreamweaver is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 05:27 AM
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I have been told by 2 tour companies now that the Simetai wall is closed and the Jinshanling hike is not possible. Any insights from anyone on this?
Thrasher is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 11:36 AM
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A few weeks ago the Si Ma Tai section of the Wall did indeed close down without any prior warning (which is typical of how things happen in China). Tour buses carried on going there, to the puzzlement of their passengers, and the restaurateurs and souvenir sellers were up in arms over sudden loss of revenue. Some had perhaps little to complain about since they had increased business by showing their customers how to get to the wall avoiding the pay booths. They are no said to be showing customers how to mount the wall away from the reconstruction.

As to what's being done there no one's exactly clear, but there's talk of two to three years (a very long time in China for building anything), and of a spa resort being constructed in addition to a rebuild of the Wall itself. The results (almost certainly taking place without consultation with or permission from UNESCO) will probably be awful.

You can, of course, still to to Jin Shan Ling and walk as far as you like towards Si Ma Tai then turn back (or probably cut across--but there'll be less transport to take you back, I expect). Or, of course, you can walk in the other direction towards the Panlong Shan section at Gu Bei Kou, although this involves a complicated deviation through farmland to avoid a military base which has the Wall as its outer border.

There are, however, many other possible sections of Wall to visit.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 04:58 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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That's distressing news, Peter...next step will be to replace the suspension bridge with an alpine-style tram, I suppose! (And charge way more than 5 Y)
sylvia3 is online now  
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