Bespoke Beijing offers personalized tours, and WildChina leads distinctive, ecologically sensitive journeys all over China. Stretch-a-Leg Travel specializes in small group tours of Beijing's side streets and off-the-beaten-track sights by expert guides.
Bespoke Beijing. 07A110, 7th fl., 10 Jintong Xi Lu, Chaoyang, Beijing, Beijing, 100020. 151/0167–9082; www.bespoke-beijing.com. Daily 9–5.
Stretch-A-Leg Travel. 2 Qian'gulouyuan, Jiaodaokou, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing, 100009. beijing.stretchalegtravel.com. Weekdays 10–6.
WildChina. Oriental Place, 9 East Dongfang Lu, Room 803, Chaoyang, Beijing, Beijing, 100027. 010/6465–6602; 888/902–8808; www.wildchina.com. Weekdays 9–6.
Cycle China offers plenty of cycling trips in and around Beijing and beyond, such as the Great Wall. You can hire bikes from them, or take your own. Bike China Adventures organizes trips of varying length and difficulty all over China.
Bike China Adventures. www.bikechina.com.
Cycle China. 12–1 Jingshan Dong Jie, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing, 100009. 139/1188–6524; www.cyclechina.com. Daily 9–6.
Local guides are often creative when it comes to showing you history and culture, so having an expert with you can make a big difference. Learning is the focus of Smithsonian Journeys' small-group tours, which are led by university professors. China experts also lead National Geographic Expeditions trips, but all that knowledge doesn't come cheap. The China Culture Center is a wonderful resource for tours, classes, lectures, and other events in Beijing. The China Guide is a Beijing-based, American-managed travel agency offering tours that do not make shopping detours.
China Culture Center. The Victoria Gardens D4, Chaoyang Park West Rd., Chaoyang, Beijing, Beijing, 100125. 010/6432–9341; 010/8420–0671; www.chinaculturecenter.org.
The China Guide. Bldg. 7–1, Jianguomenwai Waijiaogongyu Diplomatic Compound, 8th fl., Room 81, Chaoyang, Beijing, Beijing. 010/8532–1860; www.thechinaguide.com. Weekdays 10–6.
National Geographic Expeditions. 888/966–8687; www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com.
Smithsonian Journeys. 855/330–1542; www.smithsonianjourneys.org.
Intrepid Travel is an Australian company offering foodie tours with market visits, cooking demonstrations, and plenty of good eats. Imperial Tours combines sightseeing with lectures, cooking demonstrations, and lots of five-star dining.
Imperial Tours. Dangdai Moma 10--906 Bei Qu, 1 Xiangheyuan Lu, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing, 100028. 10/8440–7162; 010/8440–7162; www.imperialtours.net.
Intrepid Travel. 707/296–7011; www.intrepidtravel.com.
Beijing Hikers offer multiple hikes and camping stays on and around the Great Wall, They always make sure to leave no rubbish behind, unlike many other companies.
Beijing Hikers. Potevio Industrial Innovation Park, 5 Jiangtai Lu, Bldg. B1, 2nd fl., Room 221, Chaoyang, Beijing, Beijing, 100015. 010/6432–2786; www.beijinghikers.com. Weekdays 9–6.