Tuesday, 4 August 2015

8D7N Guided Tour of Beijing for 2 People with Stay in Local 5-Star hotel (RM58.00) - How True...

It all started... when my colleague came to me for some queries on Air Asia Fares. He triggered me that it's a one week break during Raya Public Holidays. While helping him with his Air Asia flight search, I did my own search as well.

After comparing few Airlines Fares vs Schedule, we finally decided we are going to Beijing.

On March 18, 2015 we purchased MAS Flight to Beijing, departure from Penang on July 11, 2015 (Saturday) 3:15pm and return on July 19, 2015 (Sunday) 1:30am.

Raya Public Holidays was on July 17 & 18 (Friday & Saturday) with replacement Holiday on July 16 (Thursday) and Penang Governor's Birthday was on July 11 (Saturday) with a replacement Holiday on July 13 (Monday), therefore by taking personal leave on Tuesday & Wednesday I got a whole week off. So we planned our Bejing Trip from Saturday to Sunday - July 11 to Jul 19, 2015.

**Unfortunately, company decided to moved the replacement Holiday on July 13 (Monday) to July 20 (the following Monday), ended up I have to take 3 days leave.

MAS Fare :
Adult price is RM 1,348.00, with a total 30kg Checked-in Baggage allowance 2pcs.
Child price is RM 1,048.00, with a total 30kg Checked-in Baggage allowance 2pcs.

My Mum was diagnosed with Dengue Fever during the last week before departure, after few days of monitoring with her platelet count still not improving, we decided what's best for her is to stay back.

On July 17 (Friday), 2 days before the departure, we notify the travel agent about this misfortune. We were worry about the penalty of SGD 200 for No-Show. (PS : **In Case of No Show traveler, subject to penalty charges SGD200 per person by China land agent, any cancellation must be inform Cs Travel at least one week before departure)

We were glad when the travel agent said only the voucher will be forfeited and no refund. We were not penalized for SGD 200.

The MAS Ticket as we booked under Economy Promo & MH Basic were no refund but we managed to walk into MAS office in Penang International Airport on the departure day and have the ticket cancelled with the ticket changed to open status till March 2016. In order to utilized the ticket a processing fee of RM 200 will be charged including the Fare difference on the selected date of flight. Sounds reasonable to me.

Note that this is the same en-route Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that disappeared on 8 March 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport.

Flight Plan done. Now the interesting part.

Asking friends and relatives about their Beijing Trip and do some research on our own over the internet, we found some rather cheap place to stay through AIRBNB. For as low as RM 1,216 we get to stay for 7 nights (inclusive service fee). Checked Beijing Subway lines, all attractions we wanted to go are accessible by Subway except for The Great Wall. We need to get a tour - Half Day Badaling Great Wall Tour for USD 36 per person for >10pax that is RM 137. We did not pursue after some hesitation and stop for few days.

April 6, 2015 the surprise came to us...

It came right on time even the 8D7N matches our itinerary but we wonder does the tour departs daily? as we have no buffer. What a heart breaking sight to see as we go through the Fine Print. The tour only departs every Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday. For ours, it will make sense to take the tour that departs on Sunday and end on the following Sunday. The problem we faced was our return flight is one day ahead on Saturday Midnight, so our timing is not right for the tour. The fine-print also stated that there should not be a detour.

Sad right, but with the thought in mind - 'every cloud has a silver lining even if they don't appear in plain sight.' We went through the deal again and found the link to the detail itinerary. It has the day to day itinerary. Luck is on our side. The last day is free and easy. They will transfer you to the Airport according to your Flight Schedule, the group overall schedule to be more accurate. If there is a person's flight departure is at 1:00pm and the other person's flight departure is at 5:00pm, they will send both to the airport to catch the 1:00pm departure while the later will have to wait in the Airport.

With this I quickly send an email with the proposal we join the tour that departs on Sunday and we will leave the tour on Saturday night and arranged our own transfer to the Airport as the last day on Sunday is free and easy. Why email? because it is Saturday and no one pickup the phone.

Waiting anxiously for the reply, knowing there will be no reply. Come Monday, I check the mailbox and saw a reply from the tour agent agreeing on our proposal and advise us to go ahead to purchase the voucher and redeem immediately.

We purchased the voucher and redeem it on the same day.

Price shown are in RM.
So how much we paid for this trip? Let's do the math.

Voucher per pax - RM 29
Compulsory tour guide tipping CNY 25 * 8Days - RM 122.45
** On the day of arrival, my wife negotiated with the tour guide that the last day we are not joining so can we not pay the tipping for the 8th day. After checking with the company the tour guide agreed with our proposal, so we ended up paying only CNY 25 * 7Days = RM 107.15
Compulsory tour CNY 500 = RM 306.14

Total : RM 442.49 per pax.

The tipping and compulsory tour of CNY 675 is paid in CNY on the day of arrival when 1st meeting with the Tour guide.

So Flight & Tour arranged. What's NEXT?

Happily counting our days to the tour? Nay... We were in a dilemma instead. Having shared the best deal with family and friends, we received tons of negative feedback. Is nothing to cheer about anymore. Some shockingly asked sure or not? Did you read the fine print's fine print? Like Cantonese saying "where got such a big frog jumping around on the streets?"

We found a similar tour package offered by other tour operator in Malaysia and compare the itinerary which have 98% similarity and the price as below :

So we said to ourselves, we are paying RM 442.49 compare to the published rates of local tour agent of RM 1,368, ok lar... we are not paying nothing at all.

So we proceed to purchase our Travel Insurance from AXA and get our Chinese Visa done.

RM 97.50 - Family (Father, Mother & Son)
RM 39.00 - My Mum
** Online Purchase get discount of 25%.

As my mum did not get to go, it was very kind of AXA to allow my mum to transfer the payment to another travel dates. Indeed we have another travel coming up in November 2015, same area and duration.

Chinese Visa Application : I went to my company travel desk hopping they would do me a favor by letting me piggy back the usual passports they send down to Chinese Embassy in KL for Chinese Visa application so I do not need to pay a hefty service fee usually the travel agent charge. To my disappointment they charge me RM150 per passport for single entry. If I go by myself I would pay only RM 88.30.

Lucky for us we have close relatives residing in KL and they come back to Penang quite often so we pass our passports to her (my wife's sister). We get ready the forms and picture.

I even bought a Lonely Planet Guide Book on Beijing (PDF version) for USD 8.99 on April 2, 2015, which I did not read. If anyone interested let me know, I can share to you. It's only 31.5MB file size.

 All set!. Waiting for the moment...

The day have arrived, July 11, 2015 - 12:30PM, we went to the Airport. Thanks to our Daddy for driving us there.

Reached Airport at 12:56PM. Checked in Luggage. Total 33KG (Allowance 90KG). 48HRS before, we checked in online and printed our boarding pass.

Asking about my mum's ticket. The check-in officer refer me to the MAS Ticket Office just right opposite the check-in counter. The officer was very nice.

Very smooth process. After this we have some snacks at Mcdonalds before going through the immigration check point.

Flight departing from Penang to KL is on time, same for KL to Beijing and arrivals on time too. Flight is pleasant, thanks to MAS.

We arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport - Terminal 3. After going through the immigration and collect our baggage it was 1:17AM. Close to the luggage carousel there is a Hotel booth where we ask for Hotel room to stay overnight as our Tour Pick up is at 10:00AM - Terminal 2. The lady told us that many flights have been cancelled at Shanghai Pudong International Airport and redirected to Bejing due to the super Typhoon Chan-Hom that hit the city, so all hotels are fully booked that day. Left only one Hotel which cost CNY 480 per night. (RM 294.47). Definitely is a NO NO for us. We say no to the lady and left. She keep saying we have a small children with us, better find decent place to rest for the small children. We ignore her and walk away towards the exit to the Arrival Hall.

We were asked to screen our baggage. No harm as we bring nothing illegal.

At the arrival hall, we asked again on the Hotel, for the same Hotel, it is now CNY 680 (RM 417.17) Absurd! We say no and walked away. The same thing said the young man.

It was 1:17AM already, we find our Free Shuttle to Terminal 3. To our surprise it was 8KM apart. We reached Terminal 2 at 1:43AM. We knew there were Hourly lounge @ T2 Domestic Arrival for sleep over. We were approached by a lady who is promoting hotel rooms. We told her we are looking for the hourly rate hotel room. She brought us there but it was full. She then propose few hotels for us which comes with free Hotel-Airport transfer. The lowest rate is CNY 200 (RM 122.69). I think she mentioned it was a Hostel type.

Comparing the rate for the Hourly lounge below, the hostel type was definitely cheaper but thinking of the hassle of going out from Terminal 2 to the Hotel, wonder how far the Hotel is away from the Airport. The rate of CNY 200, do not know if there are any hidden cost. We were already conditioned to be skeptical towards any offer in China.

Guess what? We choose to overnight at the Airport couch instead. Saved CNY 160. We bought Bread from Family Mart - CNY 8.60 (RM 5.27). It was 2:22AM when we start to rest and sleep till 7:00AM when a lot of people start walking. About 5HRS rest and sleep.

Airport Facilities is complete with Drinking Water, Hot Water is available too.

We took our sweet time to freshen ourselves up as we have ample time to kill until the tour pick us up. Our pick up point is in Terminal 2 in front of KFC. We go there and find a nearest place to sit while waiting.

 Our Tour Starts Here...

We saw few tour groups carrying their own flags to greet their fellow tour members, we expect the same thing. By the way, did I mentioned this is our 2nd travel joining a tour agent? The 1st was back in year 2000 when we join a tour to Phuket (5D4N). 9:50AM, we were the only people "look like it waiting for a tour guide to pick us up". We called the tour guide through the contact number given by our booking agent a week ago. Many things runs in our mind, could it be a hoax? The number manage to get through after few attempts. I introduced myself and he politely replied,  "aren't our appointment is at 10:00AM? Wait for a while, our driver is on the way to pick you up".

While waiting we saw a couple "whose looks are the same like us", we quickly approach them and ask them if they are also waiting for the tour guide. Yes, they are travelling in a group of 4. They arrived in Beijing yesterday via HongKong - Beijing overnight train. Best part is they are also Malaysians and they also bought the same coupon as us. We are not alone!

Few minutes past 10:00AM, a man came to us and ask if we were the 7 people that joining the tour. Then we realized it was only 7 of us. The man is the company driver and he did not even show us any identification of himself. We just followed him, 7 of us.

He put us into a 11 seater van which is very spacious for the 7 of us including our luggage. While in the Van, the tour guide called the driver and asked him to pass the phone to us. The tour guide brief our day itinerary and the next day plan. He recommend us to visit the Beijing Worldpark in our Hotel vicinity.

Day 1 Itinerary : Pick up from Airport and to Hotel. Free & Easy. Meals on our own. We arrived at Hotel Lobby at 11:18AM. The Hotel is about 51km away from the airport. (Taxi fare would have been CNY 178.60 ~ RM 109.57)

1st Hotel - The MAYA Island. Area 3, No. 188, West Road, South 4th Ring Road, Beijing, China P.C. 100070. Stayed here for 3 nights. GPS : 39.824952, 116.278413

The published room rates are CNY 708 per night which is equivalent to RM 434.35 per night.

Taxi Fare in Beijing

Advised by the tour agent not to consume the water from the hotel tap, so we bough drinking water for daily consumption. The drinking water can be bought at 7/11 or Wine & Liquor Store just a stone throw away from the Hotel.

As the 1st Day meals is on our own, we ate the instant noodles we brought from home. The rest of the time we spent in the Hotel. The nearest Subway Station is 1.5KM away. Walking will take you 20MINS but we were lazy.

At 7/11, bought some drinks, a loaf of bread and a nail clipper (did not bring) - CNY 59.40 ~ RM 36.44.  We wanted to go for a swim in the hotel, but only found out it's chargeable at CNY 30 per pax when we reached the entrance. We returned to our room and enjoyed the TV programs for the rest of the day.

Day 2 Itinerary : Tianjin 天津 Day Trip

6:30AM Breakfast at Hotel, oriental buffet-style.  To our surprised, they allowed us to bring our child in without additional charges (Groupon voucher fine print mentioned breakfast for 2 per room. This is our bonus!)

7:30AM Tour Bus pick us up and we meet with our Tour Guide for the first time. His name is Xiao Gao 小高.

On the bus before reaching Tianjin, the tour guide collected from us the Compulsory Tour Fee and Tipping Fee. This is the time when my wife negotiated with him on the last day tipping as we are leaving Beijing 1 day before the tour ends.

Tipping is CNY 25 x 7 days (RM 107.36) and Compulsory tour is CNY 500 (RM 306.74) per person.

The compulsory tour covers :

1. Kung Fu Panda Show - Shichahai kungfu show (worth CNY 260 ~ RM 159.50)
2. Night Tour of Chang’an Avenue 夜游长安街 in coach. (literally free, CNY 0), It's on our way back to our Hotel.
3. Pedicab Ride 三轮车 through the Hutongs and Courtyard. (literally free, CNY 0), the tour guide asked us to tip the man, CNY 5 ~ RM 3.06 per person. We tipped CNY 15 ~ RM 9.20 because it's 3 of us on the ride. I guess the tipping already enough to cover for the fare.
4. Nanluoguxiang 南锣鼓巷, (literally free, CNY 0), just a fast walk through.
5. Tianjin Italian Style Street 意大利风情街, (literally free, CNY 0), as we are already there at the Tianjin Ancient Cultural Street which is adjacent to Tianjin Italian Style Street.

Watch the trailer in youtube.

Back to the Tianjin Day Tour.

127KM away from Maya Island Hotel and it is heading South East direction.

10:00AM - Arrived at [01] Tianjin Ancient Cultural Street 天津老街, Opposite across the river is the [02] Italy Style Street 意大利风情街. Public toilet is very clean here. We were given 2HRS on our own.

Bought a Chinese Yo-Yo (扯鈴) for CNY 23.00 - RM 14.11 & a Bodhi Seed for CNY 10.00 - RM 6.13.

12:00PM - Back to bus and drove a very short distance to [03] Tianjin Food Street. We had our lunch here and continue to browse the street until 2:00PM.

2:00PM - Start returning journey to Maya Hotel. On the way stopped at Public Toilet. Toilet is clean.

5:00PM - Stop for Dinner at a Restaurant in Beijing.

6:30PM - Reached Maya Hotel.

End of Day 2 Tour.
Went to the Wine & Liquor store purchased a 4.5L drinking water at CNY 12 (RM 7.36)

Day 3 Itinerary : Chengde 承德 Day Trip

6:00AM - Bus pickup. Breakfast pack by the Hotel taken on the bus. Simple bread and an apple with a pack of yogurt.

Chengde is 245KM away from Maya Hotel. Took more than 4HRS journey.

[04] Small Potala Temple 小布达拉宫. Just stopped over at the road side for us to take picture. Below picture shows the Small Potala Temple view from the road side.

11:00AM - Lunch at a local restaurant. Almost every meal the same dishes, except for some when we were served with Beijing's local specialty, Beijing Roast Duck, Tianjin Goubuli Steamed Stuffed Buns & Mutton Hotpot.

12:00PM - Visit [05] Imperial Summer Mountain Resort 避暑山庄 (Bishushanzhuang). The Imperial Summer Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples is located in Hebei, 3 hours' drive from Beijing. The size of Chengde Summer resort is as big as the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace combined. It is surrounded by a 10 kilometres long wall and covers 590 hectares. It also absorbs the style, arts and culture of many other cultural groups, especially the Tibetans. "Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples, Chengde" was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1994.

Another tour guide host us for this tour while we are in Chengde. According to the 小高tour guide it is best to engage a local guide when we are in Chengde. We picked her up at a place very near to the place we had our lunch and also the Small Potala Temple.

Right at the entrance of the Imperial Summer Mountain Resort, we were asked to have a group picture taken. As expected later at the end of the tour they ask us to buy. We spend 3HRS here.

Admission fee is CNY 120 (RM 73.61) included in the tour. While we were inside there, the local tour guide advise us to take the Bus-ride inside which cost CNY 60 (RM 36.80) per person (additional self paid) that bring us to 3 stops. 1. Some Ruins, 2. The Misty Rain Tower & 3. The Hot Spring.

At the end of the tour, we bought the group photo and a picture souvenir book that cost CNY 60 (RM 36.80). Initially she asked for CNY 80 (RM 49.07) but we managed to negotiate to CNY 60. The CD that came with the souvenir book has only mpeg file of the guard changing ceremony, suppose to have pictures of places inside the Imperial Summer Mountain Resort.

3:00PM - Head back to Beijing.

6:30PM - Had our Dinner.

8:00PM - Arrived at Hotel.

Day 4 Itinerary : Beijing Day Trip

Today early morning we have to check-out Hotel, the tour guide will arrange our luggage transfer to another Hotel which we are moving in tonight and it's even further away from the Beijing city center.

7:51AM - Depart from Hotel.

9:00AM - Arrived at first stop,  [06] National Centre for the Performing Arts. Titanium-encased, egg-shaped performance hall hosting a range of concerts, ballets, operas & shows. We just stand from far for quick photo sessions only. No entering into the Centre. Next we walk to [07] Tiananmen Square 天安门广场, where we have to walk pass security scanners. Historic, massive city square (one of the world's largest) & meeting place, featuring a 37m obelisk. The flag raising ceremony is at the dawn of the day which is 4:00AM in the morning, not included in our tour. 20MINS allowance in Tiananmen Square then we move on to  [08] The Forbidden City 故宫, was the Chinese Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty—the years 1420 to 1912. It is located in the centre of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. Admission fee is CNY 60 (RM 36.80) included in the tour. The tour guide walked us through the key highlights area from the front entrance to the back entrance. We need to walked quite a distance before we were picked up by our Tour Van in the waiting area.

1:00PM - Lunch at a local restaurant in Beijing.

2:00PM - [09] Temple of Heaven 天坛, built between 1409 and 1420, the Temple of Heaven is one of Beijing"s most impressive parks in terms of architecture, color and significance. The Temple is basically a huge communications terminal which the Emperor used to communicate directly with Heaven. Admission fee is CNY 35 (RM 21.47) included in the tour. We spend 2HRS here.

4:00PM - The thing we have been anticipating for, the shopping stops. This is the 1st of the 6 compulsory shopping stops we have to go to for our tour as stated in the fine print. The tour guide said that these shops sponsored our trips so we are obligated to visit them but no need to buy. He encouraged us to spend money in these shops as a show of gratitude in return for their sponsorship. I learned that even a full paid tour will bring it's tourists to these shops as well.

[10] Tea House, we learnt this is Souvenir Selling Tourist Traps, they are the large souvenir retail outlets that are usually included as a compulsory and wearily tolerated part of standard Chinese group tours, and from which the guide will get a commission. Products sold often include tea leaves and tea sets, pearls, jade, Chinese paintings and calligraphy, traditional calligraphy sets, silk, rugs, and other more localized specialties.

When we arrived the Tea House 金茎贡茶院, we were bought in via a back door to a very nice exhibition hall with the most expensive Pu-er tea on display. After that they usher us into a so call VIP room. Our tour group consist of 15 people.

Inside the room, there are 3 people where 2 demonstrated how to make tea and served us while another person do the talking. We were introduced 3 types of tea and 1 flower tea. The 3 types of Tea are Snow Tea, Oo-Long Tea amd of course Pu-er Tea. Explained to us how the tea will help our health and cure our sickness. This session make us feel very well taken care off.

Then comes the exciting part we have been waiting for, the selling part. With the 3 already in the room, came in another 2. Total 5 people pushing for sales. Small tin cost CNY 200 (RM 122.69) bigger tin which is 3x the small tin cost CNY 400 (RM 245.38) the flower tea cost CNY 600 (RM 368.09) and big tin as usual 3x more than the small tin cost CNY 1,200 (RM 736.19). The Pu-er tea is the most expensive ones where one block in the size of your palm selling for CNY 400 (RM 245.38), while a higher grade ones selling for CNY 800 (RM 490.79) and it comes with a nice packaging of 2 / 4 / 8 /12 blocks pack. The higher grades ones even comes with owners certificate and an authenticated seal. As for Pu-er the longer you keep the better it will be and will become more expensive. They even comes with an offer for the 12 blocks you buy and you cannot finish before 5yrs, bring back and they will give you 12 new blocks. As the price will increase after you keep for 5yrs. This sincerity to show you that the Pu-er actually will increase in price. The sales girl said they will not reduce the price but will give free gifts. So with this they come with explaining the free gifts. Buy big get 2 small set lar and so on......

At a point my wife said one of the sales girl approached us even showed me half her breast while persuading us to buy. Hahaha... But I did not see that (ouch miss that part!) because I was avoiding her all the time. She kept saying our tour is almost free and we are getting all good stuffs like 5 star hotel and good food so that we can use the extra money we have to buy some souvenirs back home. She said if I helped her this time, next time I will get help from other people. She used lots of structured scripts. She even say she never met a tour group that like us, closing such poor sales.

Before we entered, we already decided in the bus we will not to buy. They really don't let us go out from the room until someone bought something. After hard selling to us for about 1.5hrs, they finally reduced the price to half. We still did not buy. Finally 2 ladies from our tour group gave in and one bought CNY 400 and the other teruk bought CNY 2K plus... Then only they opened the door and let us go out literary. We thanked the 2 ladies. The 2 ladies jokingly said the next shopping will be our turn to 'contribute'.

Still got 5 shopping places to go. At few point of time I did want to give in after they reducde the price to half CNY 100 for small tin but have to buy 2 tins. I stayed on to my decision not to buy anything. Your will power need to be really strong in places like this.

6:15PM - Dinner in local restaurant.

7:00PM - Head towards our new Hotel NanGong Spring Season Hotel Beijing. #39, Fugong Road, Wangzuo Town, Fengtai District, Beijing. It's located 24KM away from our earlier Hotel, Maya Island Hotel.

The Hotel per room per night is RM 431.02 from Agoda Booking. We stayed here for another 3 nights.

We end the day without spending any money.  Good achievement!

Day 5 Itinerary : GreatWall of China万里长城

6:30AM - Breakfast in the Hotel.

7:30AM - Suppose to depart to [11] Juyongguan Great Wall of China 居庸官长城, but tour guide was late for 1HR. We only get to depart at 8:30AM. It was raining heavily. On the way, the tour guide offered us to visit Beijing Shisanling Ming Dynasty Waxworks Palace 北京十三凌明皇蜡像宫, as it is nearby at CNY 120 (RM 73.61) per pax (not included in tour). Out of curiosity, we searched in the internet the entrance fee is only CNY 40 per pax (price of a non tour group), and he wanting to charge us CNY120! He can easily earned 200% if we were to go there! But we wanted to visit that place as we felt that it was worth than buying unused things in the shops.  Unfortunately, majority of the group do not show interest so we carried on to the next stop - the shopping stop.

11:08AM - We arrived at the 2nd shopping stop, the [12] Jade Factory, There is no VIP room here (phew), just a large area where all the displays are and the sales person followed you around and recommend stuffs to you. We did not buy anything. After about 40MINS of zombie walk, we were asked to gathered for lunch in a Chinese restaurant inside the Jade Factory.

1:00PM - Arrived at Juyongguan Great Wall 居庸官长城 and it was still raining! We were given 1HR 20MINS to climb the Wall, carrying an umbrella! What an experience! We bought a Bamboo Scroll Certificate with 3 of our names engraved on it with CNY 160 (RM 98.15).

2:30PM - Back to the bus and move on to 3rd shopping stop, [13] Bao Shu Tang 宝树堂, We were brought to a VIP room and the worker explained their products to us. My mother in-law said the Bao Fu Ling burnt cream is effective and worth buying, she asked us to get one for her. So we bought 1 bottle of Bao Fu Ling / Compound Camphor Cream 100g cost CNY 300 (RM 184.04). Online selling for USD 50 (RM 192.51).

5:30PM - [14] Kung Fu Panda Show at Shichahai kungfu show.

7:30PM - Dinner stop over next to [13] WangFuJing Street 王俯井大街. After dinner we were given sometime to stroll along WangFuJing Street.

9:00PM - Back to bus and tour guide showed us [14] Night Tour of Chang’an Avenue in coach 夜游长安街 . A very long street, the tour guide just pointed out and explained a few interesting buildings. Super boring! Can't even take a nice night view of Beijing!

10:00PM - Arrived at Hotel.

Day 6 Itinerary : Summer Palace

6:30AM - Breakfast in Hotel.

7:30AM - Bus pick up and head to 4th shopping stop, the [15] Silk Shop. Bad traffic jam again.  The journey was an unpleasant one for us, as the tour guide kept pestering us to buy from the silk shop to show gratitude of their sponsorship of our "cheap" trip!

10:00AM - Arrived at Silk Shop. We spent almost 2HRS here.  The silk are sold at very expensive price. One of our group participant bought CNY 11,800 of bedding set just because want to help out the tour guide hitting his target (such a nice lady). The rest of us ended up buying the cheapest product in the shop which is the travel pillow cum blanket at CNY 340 (RM 208.58) after 50% discount.

12:00PM - Lunch - Peking Duck.

2:00PM - We went to [16] Bei Hai Park 北海公园. This is an additional tour we op @ CNY 20 (RM12.26) per pax. We spend 45MINS here in Bei Hai Park.  The main attraction in this park is the double sided 9-dragons in each side of the wall 九龙壁.

2:45PM - We were taken to 5th shopping stop, the [17] Invigorant Store (with free foot massage). This is the stop where they hard sell Chinese medicine! We paid CNY 10 each (RM 6.13) for the foot masseur. None of the group bought anything here. Tour Guide had a very unpleasant look when we entered the bus.

4:30PM - Arrived at [18] Summer Palace 颐和园, We spent 1HR 30MINS here on our own. Tour Guide explained the history in the van then we walked on our own entering the Palace.

6:17PM - Dinner in local restaurant.

8:00PM - Arrived at Hotel.

Day 7 Itinerary : Bird's Nest

6:30AM - Breakfast, we check-out our Hotel Room as tonight we will be leaving Beijing @ 1:00AM flight.

8:30AM - Bus pick up (As today is a Saturday, so we depart later).

9:30AM - Stops at [19] Beijing National Stadium国家体育场 guójiā tǐyùchǎng or Bird's Nest 鸟巢 niǎocháo. Alongside is the [20] Water Cube, where the sports competitions was held here during the Olympic games. We were given 45MINS on our own for photo session.

11:20AM - Tour guide bring us to the last shopping stop, the [21] Pu Yu Hun Jin Jewelry Club, to shop. It was a world class act put up by the sales team of the pearl shop. It started with explaining to us on how to differentiate genuine and fake pearls. When it comes to jades, the sales girl says she will ask a master (sifu) to come in and explain to us. After a while wait, came a lady, depicting as the shop manager. She put herself in our shoes, trying to understand our obligations to stop by at this shop. She claims it's ok we don't buy anything but since she already here why not she show us some expensive jades. After a while she suddenly point to my son and ask him what is his Chinese Zodiac. She then bring out a jade with his zodiac sign and say give it to my son for the price of CNY 800 (RM 490.79) after a huge discount from CNY 7,800 (RM 4,785). She said she can sell this to us for this special price because we are her friends, and provided we promised her we will not resell it. Wow! The crowd went crazy after she voiced out this huge bargain.  But, after struggling and calming our thoughts quickly, our rational mind concluded that we should stay firm and not to buy!

Finally my wife bought the cheapest item in the shop, a small pearl pendant at CNY 100 (RM 61.34), normal price CNY480, as an appreciation of the their sponsorship to our trip.  Almost all participants also bought the pearl pendant, but none bought the Chinese Zodiac Jade at special price, even after the great show they put up!

1:06PM - Lunch Stop.

2:18PM - We went for the [22] Pedicab Ride 三轮车, through the Hutongs and Courtyard. the tour guide asked us to tip the man, CNY 5 ~ RM 3.06 per person. We tipped CNY 15 ~ RM 9.20 because it's 3 of us on the ride.

2:40PM - Tour guide bought us to [23] Nanluoguxiang 南锣鼓巷, a speedy fast walk through the busy street.  No fun at all as we do not get to stop and look around, not to mention no photo sessions!

4:00PM - Next we went to [24] Xiushui Jie 绣水街, Silk Street, We were given 2HRS to shop over here. The tour guide will get commission for bringing us here and let us stay-in for 2HRS. We observed someone in the front door was counting number of heads right after we get down from the tour van.  We bought 2 sets of Catch-and-Snap ping pong like bat toy for our son and his cousins at CNY 100 (RM 61.34).

6:00PM - Back to Bus heading for dinner.

6:20PM - Dinner at local restaurant

7:20PM - After dinner, we took a Taxi to Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 3. The tour guide called a taxi for us using his mobile phone apps. Taxi cost CNY 119 (RM 73.00) for approximately 33KM journey, by meter.

Flight from Beijing to KUL @ 1:00AM.

Day 8 Itinerary : Flight KUL to PEN

Flight delayed for more than 2HRS. Departing Beijing only @ 3:30AM. As we purchased connecting flight so MAS arranged the next available flight for us from KUL to PEN. We arrived PEN @ 12:30PM.

Took Airport Taxi back to Ayer Itam house - RM 44.70.

That's all regarding our 8D7N Beijing Trip!! To us it is a trip worth going with such price.

Overall Trip expenses for 3 person is RM 6,532.76

Hope you all find this information useful for your upcoming Beijing Trip Plan. Paying RM 442.49 per pax for a 8D7N Beijing Trip ground arrangements is definitely worth it.

Summary of Expenses per pax - RM 1,917.59
1. Groupon Voucher - RM 29.00
2. Compulsory Tipping 7*Days CNY 175 - RM 107.15
3. Compulsory Tour CNY 500 - RM 306.14
4. AXA Insurance - RM 39.00
5. Chinese Visa - RM 88.30
6. Flight Ticket - RM 1,348.00 (Adult) & RM 1,113 (Child)

Additional Expenses for 2 Adults & 1 Child - RM 1,002.72
1. Mcdonalds @ Penang Airport - RM 9.05
2. Bread @ Beijing Airport, CNY 8.60 - RM 5.27
3. Drinks, Bread & Nail Clipper @ 7/11 Day 1, CNY 59.40 - RM 36.44
4. Drinks @ Wine & Liquor Store Day 2, CNY 12 - RM 7.36
5. Chinese Yo-Yo & Bodhi Seed Day 2, CNY 33.00 - RM 20.24
6. The Bus-ride in Imperial Summer Mountain Resort Day 3, CNY 180 - RM 110.42
7. The Group Picture & few pages photo book Day 3, CNY 60 - RM 36.80
8. Bamboo Scroll Certificate in Great Wall Day 5, CNY 160 - RM 98.15.
9. Bao Fu Ling Cream Day 5, CNY 300 - RM 184.04.
10. Silk Pillow cum Blanket Day 6, CNY 340 - RM 208.58.
11. Bei Hai Park Admission Day 6, CNY 40 - RM 24.54 for 2 Adults. We did not buy for Child.
12. Massage Tipping Day 6, CNY 20 - RM 12.26 for 2 person.
13. Pearl Day 7, CNY 100 - RM 61.34
14. Pedicab Ride Tipping Day 7, CNY 15 - RM 9.20 for 3 person.
15. Snap-and-Catch Bat Day 7, CNY 100 - RM 61.34 for 2 pairs.
16. Taxi to Airport Day 7, CNY 119 - RM 73.00.
17. Taxi back to House Day 8, RM 44.70

No comments:

Post a Comment