Independent-travel tip

This item appears on page 20 of the February 2009 issue.

My wife, Barbara, and I returned from a 10-day trip to Beijing in October ’08. Our first trip to China was on a tour in 1985, and we wanted to visit highlights that we had not seen 23 years before. A very effective and inexpensive method to accomplish this presented itself at our accommodation, Traders Hotel.

We listed all of the places of interest that we’d found in ITN and other sources; there were at least 20 locations. We took this list to Mr. Jack Wang, the concierge, and asked him to write descriptions for them in Mandarin on his business cards, one for each card. Mr. Wang did this, then he prioritized the locations for us and labeled them on a compact map of the city.

This made for a simple and inexpensive system of sightseeing. We would hand a card to a taxi driver, who would drop us off at the chosen site. After the visit, we had the option of moving on to the next site on the list or returning to our hotel. It usually cost less than $3 per taxi trip to each site.

It was easy to cover two or three of these places per day. . . at our own leisurely pace. We were extremely comfortable with this method, as each driver always knew where we wanted to go and the hotel at which we were staying.


Danville, CA