I just arrived back in Singapore this morning. I have actually filled in the form and given it to Tina, the guide at the end of the tour. You might want to ask her for the survey.
I also gave $450 to Tina for the driver and guide fees. It would be good in future if you could provide a receipt.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience. Tina was very good and took very good care of me. It was a bit too early for everyone but we managed to get some sleep in-between journey and Mr Tian the driver also managed to get some sleep when waiting for us on our tour.
Mr Tian was also very good driver as he knew a lot of the back road and avoided a lot of traffic and we had a smooth journey throughout. There was some traffic jam on highway on the return to Beijing from Mutianyu but Mr Tian managed to find alternative routes and we got back by 5.30 pm. Delayed by 30 minutes but it was okay because it could have been worse with the jam. I would use Mr Tian again, his driving was good and he is on time and schedule.
The air quality was not good on the day and so visibility was not good but I still enjoyed myself. We started with the mosque. Unfortunately, the ladies section had no lights and I had to pray in the men’s area. We left soon after 5.30 am and headed for Fragrant Hill. We got to Fragrant Hill by 6.20 am. There was no traffic jam. It was good advice to go to Fragrant Hill first because by the time we finished and drove down, the traffic was bad going up the hill. We climbed up half way to the peak at Fragrant Hill, it was a good exercise and Tina was good in helping me with the climb and we saw the “sunrise”.
We got to Aman Summer Palace early i.e. before 9.00 am and had breakfast together with Mr Tian. I think both Tina and Mr Tian enjoyed the new experience eating at Aman. There was a western waiter who helped to take my breakfast order to ensure that the food is prepared in a halal way. We explored the Amanresort after breakfast to see what the property is like.
We left Aman at about 10.00 am and drove to Yanqihu. Mr Tian drove past the Olympic village and saw the Bird’s Nest stadium. We arrived at Yanqihu around 11.00 am and spend about an hour there. The drive was easy and no traffic. When we got to the Yanqihu Park, we were told that the Kempinski Hotel was off-limits because of the upcoming Apec Summit and it is closed for security reasons. Yanqihu Park has been done up very nicely for the Apec. I took a 3 minute speedboat ride to see a closer look of the hotel from the lake. There were not many tourists there and I would recommend that this be a destination that you offer to your customers in future because it is a very nice lake and after Apec and if the weather is clear, the hotel and the dome looks very impressive from the lake and hopefully visitors can stay and go to the hotel next time. I did my prayers at the park which was very pleasant and nice to pray.
From Yanqihu we decided to find a place nearby for lunch and saw a shop/residential area called Spring Legend Alpine Village…..and stopped there for lunch. There was no halal restaurant and the guide and driver had lunch at a nearby restaurant and I waited in the car. I brought some sandwiches and snack to eat. I also had a heavy breakfast at Aman, so was still quite full for lunch.
By 1.00 pm we headed for Mutianyu. The drive was less than an hour from the Yanqihu area and no traffic. We reached there before 2.00 pm and the timing was perfect because there were not many tourists queuing and we were able to get tickets and take the shuttle without having to wait. We took the cable car up to Great Wall – spend about 30 minutes up there and came down. By the time we finished, it was around 3.00 pm and we head back to Beijing city center.
Everything was on schedule and went according to plan.
I hope to return to China again and maybe do other trips within China. I am particularly interested in visiting Urumqi as I don’t believe many tourists go there. Maybe next autumn when the autumn colors are nice. There was not much autumn colors at Fragrant Hill but Great Wall had more colors.
Thank you for helping to arrange and I would certainly want Tina and Mr Tian if I tour Beijing again. They make my journey very comfortable.