I was fortunate enough to have Catherine’s services during my first trip to Beijing, China. We were a travel-course group from Simmons College in Boston, USA with 19 students and 2 professors. Because we had a large group and a very complex itinerary, it was essential that we were led by someone with Catherine’s expertise. Her command of English, knowledge of China generally and Beijing specifically, and her sophisticated management of travel logistics made our overall experience outstanding. Catherine also has important relationships with top quality bus drivers and knows how to navigate the local environment to assure a positive experience for all. I highly recommend Catherine’s services and will definitely use her again if I return to China.
"Catherine Lu is a great organizer!"
"Great 2 day program in Beijing with private tour guide!"
As there are 4 of us + luggage we used Catherine’s airport pick up service. Non of us know Beijing well and arriving at midnight as well this was a service well worthwhile. On exiting the customs, the guide was there with our name on the board. He was polite and helpful.
We asked Catherine to suggest a full two day for us and we were certainly pleased with the results. First day we went to the Temple of Heaven, then the summer palace. The second day we went to see the wall at Mutainyu which is about 90 minutes away. Once again we had a great time as this place is a bit further away, there were only a few tourist apart from us. All in all you get 8 hours of great service per day to include walking around the hutong areas, and the infamous Pearl Market. Apart from making some great suggestions to eat, we all had a lunch in a very chinese place which only does hot pots – truly fascinating experience!
If you are in Beijing, and as an alternative to be herded around, she really is as good as many of the great reviews she has received!
"We had a wonderful day-Thank you to Catherine Lu!"
The tour was amazing. Your English was excellent and your knowledge of Chinese culture, way of life, and historical information was great. The trip to the Great Wall was one of the highlights of my entire time inBeijing. I wished we could have spent a little more time at theSummerPalace, but I realize the time was running out for our day with you.
I like that you tailored the trip to what we wanted to see. It made the trip much more personal.
Lunch was great! The choice of restaurant and food was a true Chinese experience.
Please thank our driver. He was charming, friendly, and most of all a good driver.
We loved you Catherine!! You made this trip a great one. Best wishes with your future endeavors.
"It was a privilege having Catherine as our guide!"
My family and I just returned from Beijing last week. We utilized Catherine for 4 days along with her arranged car service. We found Catherine to be very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. Her advice in planning our itinerary over the four days we stayed inBeijingwas right on point. It was just the right mix of activities to keep all of us entertained and engaged including my 9 year old son and 12 year old daughter. She was thoughtful and understanding when dealing with our children particularly their multiple bathroom breaks throughout the day:-). Her English was excellent and we appreciated having someone to interpret for us. She avoided the typical tourist traps and provided excellent advise on where to dine – we never had a bad meal. Anyone visiting Beijing would be privileged to have Catherine as their guide
"Catherine Lu deserves the praise she has received in her reviews!"
We visited Beijing15 through 18 March 2012. We have two daughters, 8 and ten and were interested in seeing sights around Beijingand the Great Wall. Catherine responded quickly to all of our e mail questions and offered ideas. She is very knowledgeable and her English is excellent. She paid extra attention to both of our daughters and kept little candies in her purse so the girls paid attention to her conversation and information. We love photos of our vacations and since I am the photographer I rarely appear in many photos but Catherine having visited and photographed all of the sights she has incredible insight into angles and photo setups most people will overlook. She just took my camera and started shooting and posing us and the children at many sights, though at first reluctant I decided to let her do what she felt was best and it is apparent she has a love of photography, a keen eye and an ability to use a variety of equipment with skill. Let go and hand her the camera! Chances are you won’t do better or if you want you can do some photographing after she does it.
We loved the tour of the Forbidden City best. She set up a restaurant after that and it was incredible. We also loved the acrobatic show in the evening but our youngest daughter had fallen ill with strep throat and was in need of Tylenol to control fever. Catherine got us excellent seats for the show and asked me the name of the medicine we needed, typed it into her cellphone, got a translation and said “I will be back in a minute”. Moments before the show started she ran in and handed me the tylenol which quickly transformed my daughter into a happy observer and saved the evening. One cannot pay enough for this type of professionalism. Catherine carries and uses a cellphone while on the tour to arrange whatever you want to do ahead of time. Lines to enter sights are frequently bypassed as she buys tickets for entry then takes you to a much shorter side entry.
To sum up our experience we highly recommend Catherine as a tour guide. Language and confusion can be quite an issue on a vacation in Beijing and since time was short and I was unfamiliar with ticketing, lines and procedures we decided it was best to secure a guide and it was the best decision we could have made. Catherine caters her service to your exact needs, is flexible, warm and professional. There is no fear you are being gouged over ticket prices or she is taking you to tourist sights to return later for a “cut” of the sales, in fact she avoids the cheesy stuff and all ticket prices printed are exactly what she charged.
Book Catherine if possible. Tell her what you want to do and leave the logistics to her. Go enjoy your vacation worry free and get the most possible out of your time there without squabbling over the silly little stresses that can spoil any valuable moment. We HIGHLY recommend her services and recommend you tell her what you want, hand over the camera and sit back and enjoy what is a truly hassle free and enjoyable vacation. You will leave her feeling as you have made a friend in China.
"Stop looking, you’ve found her – Catherine Lu is THE guide for Beijing!"
We found Catherine through several travel forums and then read the reviews on TA. Although we always shop around, all of our research, communication and negotiation kept coming back to Catherine Lu. We could not have been more pleased with our experience with her and are only sorry we didn’t have more time in Beijingwith her!
We spent one day (March 25th) with Catherine visiting the Great Wall at Mutianyu, the Bird’s Nest and Watercube, the Lama Temple, and finally a tour of the Hutongs before returning to our hotel. Her and her driver were professional, punctual, positive and personable. She has a clear enthusiasm for her city and the sites around and within that was infectious and only encouraged us to ask more and more questions, which she was only too eager to answer. Although the driver (who was nicely dressed and professional) did not speak English, it seemed as though he enjoyed his work and his day as well as Catherine would relay information about our conversations back and forth and relay his input back to us. We shared some laughs with him as a result.
What we found most important is that we connected with her on a human level immediately. We are an adventurous family of four, including our two sons aged 10 & 11. She engaged in conversation with each and every single one of us and that continued for the entire day. Her English is so good, that our conversations were very in depth on a wide variety of socio-economic, political and travel related subjects. She spoke not just to the adults, but also at a level our two boys easily understood about life in China and that they could in turn tell her about life in America. Indeed, she asked questions of us – taking an interest in her clients – that fostered further discussions throughout the day. It really was like we were visiting a good friend in Beijing, and not spending a day with a tour guide.
As others have so aptly put it, she is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about all of the sites we visited. No question – even those from our sons – was too little for her. There are things she will tell you about life in China and the sites we visited that cannot be found in any travel website, book, or even on Wikipedia. Seriously.
Finally, we realized we didn’t book enough time with her. As our day was ending, we asked for recommendations of shops, restaurants, etc. and she was only too willing to oblige. Her recommendations were spot on. During our visit to the Great Wall, she selected a restaurant for us for lunch and ordered a fantastic selection of food that we all enjoyed.
The bad news: we didn’t spend enough time with her (and felt we could have spent a week+ with her). The good news: we’ll absolutely use her and get to see and spend more time with her on our return trip to Beijing! If you do not book with Catherine, you will be doing yourself a disservice. Her services are more cost effective and competitive than any tour agency out there and your expectations will be surpassed.
Book her services…now.
"Our family all enjoyed the trip with Catherine Lu!"
We just recently (Friday) got back to theUSfrom our wonderful trip to China. We’ve had so much to do, but now I can finally get to answering emails and downloading our photos from camera to computer.
First, on behalf of Teresa and Abigail, I would like to thank you very sincerely, once again, for being our tour guide and friend inBeijing. You were fabulous; we owe you a debt of gratitude. But more than just a knowledgeable tour guide, you are a most kind and hospitable person. We very much enjoyed our time with you, visiting the sites, taking lunch and moving from place to place. Though we had different types of experiences inGuangzhouand Hong Kong, I feel our time inBeijingwas the most special. This was because you thoroughly assisted in all aspects of our travel, from day-to-day itinerary, dinner reservations, transport and other suggestions. We could not have had such a great time visitingBeijingwithout you, so thank you so very much.
"Catherine Lu became a member of our family!"
Thank you for showing us around Beijing.
The kids missed you when they were in Shanghai. We really enjoyed visiting the sights inBeijing…. We also got to experience local culture like watching the retirees exercise at theTemple of Heaven, flying kite at Olympic Stadium.
Thank you so much for taking care of my kids especially at the Great Wall where I was unable to go up. They really enjoyed the chair-lift and the toboggan ride.
You were really good at bargaining with the sales people too, hence we got a better deal : )
Your English was perfect, good enough for us to understand you. Glad that you spoke to us in Mandarin too…. Singaporeans tend to mix English, Mandarin and Malay when we speak. Glad you understood our Mandarin and helped us to practice our Mandarin too.
Your explanation of the Forbidden City, Summer Palace,Templeof Heaven andLamaTemplewas just right not too lengthy.
Well, at least after visiting those places, I am rather interested to buy a book on the history of China.
The vans were spacious and comfortable. The younger driver was very pleasant … the older driver was rather grumpy… but I can understand that… my dad is like too, he often worries about where to park his car in