FAQs

Here are some questions that are frequently asked for the tour in Beijing and other cities. If you have more further problems or questions, please email us for details, thanks

 

Common questions

Do we need a Chinese visa ?

If you’ll stay in China more than 72 hours, you should apply a visa to enter China, we also can provide invitation letter for your visa application if you need, please kindly let us know everyone’s passport information ,travel dates then.

If you’re going to stay in China less 72 hours and meet with the following conditions then you don’t need apply for Chinese visa .

please check more details as below  :

http://www.thechinaguide.com/index.php?action=preparation/visas

Beijing and Shanghai 72-hour visa

From January 1st, 2013 citizens of the following countries will be granted 72-hour visa-free entry to the cities Beijing and Shanghai:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia,the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar

If you are in possession of a valid third country visa and confirmed onward plane ticket, you may apply for a transit without visa permit (TWOV) at Beijing Capital International airport (PEK), Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA).

This will allow you to enter China without a visa for up to 72 hours. Your 72 hours will begin to be counted from the moment you receive your TWOV permit at the Exit and Entry Administration desk at each of the above mentioned airports.

This 72-hour permit will allow you to remain in the city you entered through only (for example, if you fly into Shanghai Pudong or Shanghai Hongqiao International Aiport, you are not allowed to leave the city of Shanghai).

For more details, please check with your local Chinese Consulate or Embassy.

How to meet the driver at the railway station in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai?

How to pick up at the Beijing South Railway station?

While as there are two exits (each train will come out two different gates one is in odd number and one is in even number) at the railway station and the driver can’t get to the platform to pick your guys up and I suggest our driver can wait for you at the fixed gate at Gate 6 and whatever gates you get out then go to the gate 6 to find the driver and he will hold a sign with your name on it so you can easily recognize him then.

If you couldn’t find the driver when you are there pls wait there and don’t move and our driver will find you or give us a call at 8618612452188.

How to pick up at the Beijing West Railway station?

While the Beijing West Railway station is a big railway station and there are 4 exits in the railway station. So mostly for the high speedy train will get out of South 1 or South 2 exits and for the normal overnight Z train will get out of North 1 or North 2 exits.

So if you take the high speedy train pls go to the exit South 2 to find the driver.

If you take the Z train pls go to the exit North 2 to find the driver.

If you couldn’t find the driver when you get out of the exit pls wait there and don’t move and our driver will find you or give us a call at 8618612452188.

How to pick up at the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway station?

If you take the high speedy train from Beijing to Shanghai and suppose to arrive at the Shanghai Hongqiao railway station pls get out of the South exit as there are two exits (the other one is in north exit). Our driver will hold a sign with your name on it so you can easily recognize him then.

How to pick up at the Shanghai Railway station?

If you take the Z or D overnight train from either Beijing or Xi’an then you will arrive at the Shanghai Railway station and there are 4 exits in this railway station. We will pick you up Southwest exit.  

How to pick up at the Xi’an North Railway station: (High speedy train )

The driver will hold a welcome sign with your name on it to meet you at the Information Desk under the Big Screen, which is  at the end of arrival hall. If you couldn’t find the driver pls don’t move and give a call to the local Xi’an tour guide then.

Do you have the English speaking driver for the airport pick up service ?

Catherine Lu Tours doesn’t have English speaking driver in our company and the driver only can speak Mandarin with very limited English like “hello” “goodbye”. We will forward the detailed information to the driver in advance then according to your flight information, the driver will track the flight in advance and pick you up in the airport on time and transfer to the right hotel then.

Upon your arrival the driver can meet you at the airport holding a piece of paper with your name on it so you can easily recognize him. It’s right inside the airport after you reclaim your luggage and clear the customs and many people are waiting to pick up their clients. It normally takes one hour to get out of the customers.

If you have any problems finding us go to the information desk opposite the terminal exit (staff there speak English and are always ready to help), and ask the staff to make a phone and call us at 86-18612452188 for emergency.

Do you have group tours ?

Catherine Lu Tours conducts only private tours for individuals, families, friends and organization but not group tours. If you’re alone then it will be just yourself and we won’t mix you with others!

Is it safe to take taxi in Beijing or other cities ?

It’s safe to take the legal taxis in these cities, but we do have some illegal taxis ( black car ) which will charge you more money. They won’t charge you in meters and ask high price with certain distance. Sometimes they even change the fake 100 yuan with you under the excuse of that your money is not good. Pls prepare small money for taking a taxi on your own. Pls also ask the receipt from the taxi driver. Most of the illegal taxis always around the airport ; tourist sights area ,please be attention about it!

Hotels recommendation in Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai and Guilin / Yangshuo

Just kindly let you know that we only have a few contacts with the hotels in Beijing Xi’an and Shanghai mostly 4-5 star hotels. For your own convenience you can book the hotels on line on your own.

About the accommodation in Beijing, I suggest that you should stay the area near the Wangfujing Street such as:

5-Star Hotel

Hilton hotel at the Wangfujing Street
The Regent Hotel
Peninsular Hotel

Marriott at the Wangfujing Street

Crown Plaza Hotel at the Wangfujing Street

4-Star Hotel:

Novetal Peace at the Wangfujing street

Park Plaza

Novetal Xinqiao at the Chongwenmen

Kapok Hotel

3- Star Hotel:

Days Inn Forbidden City

Service Apartment:

The Imperial Mansion, Beijing Marriott Executive Apartments

Lee Garden Apartment

Hotel nearby the airport for layover tour

Beijing Hilton Airport ( 5 star )

Beijing Langham Place Beijing Capital Airport

Crowne Plaza Beijing International Airport

CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport

Xi’an Hotels: (the best location should be at the area near the south gate of the city wall)

Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square (5 star)

Grand Mercure Xian on Renmin Square (5 star)

Hilton Hotel   (5 star)

Mercure Xian on Renmin Square (4 star)

Citadines Central Xi’an   (4 star)

Shanghai Hotels: (the best location is at the People’s Square, or Nanjing Pedestrain road or near the Bund)

Les Suite Orienta Hotel

Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai

Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel

Marriott Hotel City Centre

Guilin hotels as below :
Shangri-La hotel ( 5 star )
Guilin hotel ( 4 star )
Ron Inn ( 3 star )

Yangshuo hotels in the city area as below :
Green Lotus Hotel ( 5 star )
New century hotel ( 4 star ) ( nearby the local park )
Bamboo House Resort ( 4 star )
Rosewood Hotel ( 4 star )

Yangshuo hotels in the countryside area as below :
Banyan Tree Hotel ( 5 star )
Yangshuo Mountain Retreat ( 4 star )
Phoenix Pagoda Fonglou Retreat ( 3 star )

We work with the hotels below and can book the hotels for you if you choose the following ones:

Beijing: The Regent Hotel; Park Plaza hotel; Beijing Hilton Wangfujing hotel

Xi’an: Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square; Hilton Hotel; Grand Mercure Xian on Renmin Square

Shanghai: Les Suite Orienta Hotel

Guilin: Shangri-La hotel

How much should we gratitude to the driver and guide ?

For tipping, its not compulsory but a kind of encouragement for providing good service for both the drivers and guides.

If you are a group for 1-4  and are happy with our service you can tip the driver (for tours) 80CNY to 100CNY per day and the guide could be twice as much as the driver; if you are a group of 5- 8 people and you can tip the driver for 100CNY-180CNY per day and the guide can be twice as much as the driver;  If you are over 10 people and are happy with our service you can tip the driver ( for tours ) 200CNY to 250CNY per-day and the guide could be twice as much as the driver .

It’s quite flexible and you can tip more or less and it’s up to you.

 

 

Can we exchange money in the airport? 

Yes, there’s a Bank of China in the airport, you can exchange the money there. Please note, there are pickpockets in the airport, please be careful if you exchange the money in the airport then! The exchange rate at the airport will be slight lower than that in the bank.

If you won’t exchange a big money, you may also can exchange the money in the hotel, the exchange rate is not big different with bank !

Do we have the same guide and driver for the whole trip ?

Normally, I will arrange the same tour guide for your stay in one city but if you book the tour at the last minutes or during the tourist season ,maybe we’ll arrange 2 different tour guide for you according to your request .

The driver mostly will be almost the same, but as the traffic is very bad in Beijing, the government controls the number of the license plate by limiting once a week driving on the street. If that happens we will arrange another transportation for you.

Does Catherine Lu guide us personally ?

I am so sorry to say that Catherine Lu won’t be able to take any tours personally as she needs to stay in the office and reply all the emails and deal with all the emergency and make things in order! All the tour guides recruited by Catherine Lu Tours are strictly based on service attitude ,language skill ,knowledge and personality ,when you assigning a tour guide to a tour group ,besides the tour guide’s competency we also look into the match of the characteristics between the tour guide and members of the group .

How much time do we need to be the airport for the international flight or domestic flight ?

Normally we’ll suggest 2 – 3 hours earlier to be the airport for the international flight and 1.5 – 2 hours earlier to be the airport for the domestic flight .


 

Booking

How can I contact you ?

Email Address: book@catherinelutours.com

Catherine Lu’s MB/Wechat/Whatsapp: 86-18612452188

Our assistant: Jenna’s contact number: 86-18551151099.

We’ll reply you within 24 hours by e-mail .

How can I book and cancel the tour ?

If you like the sample itinerary shown exactly on our website then you can click book and fill the necessary booking information and pay for the deposit respectively. The deposit can be paid via paypal or credit card.  If you book the tours only then the deposit will be either 100US dollar or 200 US dollar. If we need to book the domestic flight or train tickets for your guys the deposit will be more.

If some emergency happens, then you have to cancel the trip with us and if it’s one week before the trip then we return the payment to you only charge 4% out of the deposit as this is the service fee charged by paypal for receiving money.

If you cancel the trip within one week then you will loose the deposit.


 

Beijing travel tips

Do you offer car seat and booster seat for the kids during the tour in Beijing? 

Yes, we can offer the car seat and booster seat for the kids. The rental fee is 50CNY per-day for either Car Seat or Booster Seat. Pls inform us if you need it so we  can prepare in advance!

How far from the Beijing city to the Great Wall ?

City Center to Mutianyu Wall: 82 kilometers  1 hour 45mins

City Center to Huanghuacheng Wall: 70 kilometers 1 hour 45mins

City Center to Jiankou section wall: 110 kilometers 2.5 hours

City Center to Jingshanling Wall: 150 kilometers 3 hours

 

What’s kind of restaurant do you provide for lunch during the tour in Beijing and Xi’an?

For the lunch, we will take you to the authentic Chinese local restaurant catering for the locals. the guide will help you to order the dishes according to your own taste and If you prefer to take a lunch in a fancy restaurant or order the dishes above our budget then you can just cover the cost difference above our budget!

The budget is 100CNY per-person based on the group of 1 ,it’s 80CNY per-person based on the group of 2 and 60CNY per-person based on the group more than 3 persons ( included 3 persons )

Does the wheelchair available on the Great Wall ?

Most section of the Great Wall are not available for wheelchair. If you are not good at walking, our suggestion is that you can visit Juyongguan Section Great Wall, the driver will just drop you off at the parking lot of the bottom of the Wall ,you could see the Great Wall without climb the steps ,it’s more convenience for you!

Which section of the Great Wall do you recommend in Beijing ? 

There are many different sections of the wall that you can visit in Beijing depending on your physical level.

If you are not adventurous tourists and just want to visit easy less touristy section then we suggest you can do the Mutianyu section Wall http://staging.catherinelutours.com/itinerary/great-wall-at-the-mutianyu-section/ which is only less than 2 hours ride from the city center. You can either take the cable car up and cable car down the wall or chairlift up and toboggan down the wall.

If you want to do the more adventurous sections and you are physical in good condition then you can choosing following routs:

Hiking from Jiankou to Mutianyu section: http://staging.catherinelutours.com/itinerary/hiking-from-jiankou-to-mutianyu-great-wall/

Hiking from Jingshanling West to Jingshanling East: http://staging.catherinelutours.com/itinerary/hiking-from-jingshanling-to-simatai-great-wall/

Hiking from Huanghuacheng to Xishuiyu Wall section: http://staging.catherinelutours.com/itinerary/huanghuacheng-xishuiyu-hiking-1-day-tour-8km5miles/

You can read at our website and choose the sections that you are mostly interested. We can also customize the tours for your guys.

What do we need for the layover tour in Beijing ? 

If you fly from one country to another country and stop over Beijing for less than 72 hours. As soon as you get out off the plane, please running to the 72-hour free visa counter  as there’re only 2 counters in the 72-hour free visa counter center and the queue is always very long. If you can get there 5 minutes earlier then you can get the passport stamped 1 hour earlier, otherwise you will waste long time there. Quickest that you can get out for 1 hour but sometimes you might need to take 2-3 hours.

If you take the tour with us then we will meet you at the starbucks at the arrival terminal either at the terminal 2 or terminal 3.  When you get out of customers just turn left then you will see there is only one starbucks at the terminal 3.

Why the transportation is expensive from Tianjin Port to Beijing ?

It’s very far from Tianjin Port to Beijing ,it’s takes around 180 kilometers ( around 112 miles ) for one way transfer and the driver needs overnight at Tianjin city and pick you up at the Tianjin Port next morning . hope you can understand !

Can you help with dinner recommendations in Beijing?

There are may restaurants in Beijing that you can choose:

Perking Duck is famous in Beijing: Recommended restaurant ” Dadong “(大董) duck restaurant

If you would like to have Peking duck dinner then you can eat at ” Dadong “(大董) duck restaurant;

Branch 1: in NanXinCang  Ad:1-2 Nanxincang Guoji Dasha, 22A Dongsishitiao +86 10 5169 032

Branch 2: Jinbao Place, No.88 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng District 

+86 10 8522 1111
Hot Pot Restaurants:

” Beijing Haidilao ” ( 海底捞)in 8/F, In 88 Shopping Mall, No.88 Wangfujing Main Street Tel: +86 10 5762 0153

Dim Sum restaurant:

Ding Tai Feng ( 鼎泰丰)dim sum restaurant

6/F, Beijing APM Shopping Mall, No.138 Wangfujing M

Tel: +86 10 6512 8019

Mr. Shi’s Dumplings

74 Baochao Hutong | Gulou East StreetBeijing

Tel: +86 10 8405 0399

 

Where can I get the Chinese SIM card in Beijing?

Now the policy is becoming more and more strict ,it’s very hard to buy the SIM card in the local shops ,you only can get the SIM card in the Mobile Corporation shops with your passport information ,so for my suggestion ,you can just buy the SIM card in the airport ,it will be more convince for you !

I heard that there’re 2 places that you can buy the SIM card in the airport in the terminal 3 ,there is a Self-service machine nearby the place where you’re waiting for the luggage and another Self-service machine is next to the exit B ( the exit for the international flight ) , If you have any problems please go to the information desk opposite the terminal exit (staff there speak English and are always ready to help), the airport stuff will show you how to find it ! thanks !

How is the pollution in Beijing ? Do we need bring the masks during the tour ? 

It’s hard to tell the air quality in Beijing city and you’d better check it 2-3 days before the tour , if the air quality is very bad then you can purchase the masks in the convenience store once you’re in Beijing will be okay ,thanks !