What makes Stretch-a-leg different?
Founded by Beijing native Tony Chen in 2006, Stretch-a-leg is a small independent adventure travel company. Stretch-a-leg specializes in historical walking tours in Beijing, hiking at the wild Great Wall and original villages around Beijing, and trips to unique destinations around China.
We combine Chinese history, knowledge, and the culture expertise of locals with a commitment to international levels of professionalism and customer service.
Many of our clients become lifelong friends because our staff feel more like friends and gracious hosts than simply tour guides.
We looked to our former clients to discover from them why they chose Stretch-a-leg over the myriad of other tour and travel operators in Beijing and China. Here is what they told us:
Expert tour guides
“Jonathan gave us a history lesson, created an atmosphere, included us in the experience and gave us a lasting impression. I saw many tour groups to the Forbidden City whose members looked bored and uninterested; tour leaders were giving lack luster recitations of the same thing over and over. Jonathan in comparison was phenomenal, because of him we witnessed things we would not have because it is such an overwhelming location.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR TOUR GUIDES
“I learned more in the time we were actually with him, then reading about it.”
Our guides have a combined 40 plus years of guiding experience. They are fantastic communicators, who understand how foreign China can be to visitors, and know how to act as cultural teachers and interpreters. Clients universally remark on our guides’ fluent English abilities.
Stretch-a-leg tour guides are constantly updating their knowledge base on historical, cultural, architectural, and artistic topics related to Beijing and China so that we can offer our clients the most depth and range of information. Often other tour operators contact Stretch-a-leg when they have specialized requests from visitors.
Our guides do not simply recite the same script of standard information and canned jokes they learned at tour guide certification school. Our guides joined Stretch-a-leg out of their passion to share Chinese history and culture.
“…a fantastic guide, one of the best we’ve encountered in our many travels. Like a good teacher, we’ve learned quite a few historical tidbits from her that we shall not forget anytime soon.”
“While we both loved China and it’s people, your enthusiasm and insights helped both my sister and I appreciate them even more!”
Off the beaten path sites
“The qualifier for me—the more offbeat, the better. Having said that, Stretch-a-leg was an amazing tour company… I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to see Beijing with a sense of adventure.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT DISCOVERING OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Isolated parts of the Great Wall accessed through someone’s private yard, not an amusement park style cement path lined with souvenir stalls; entry into courtyard houses off Beijing’s famed hutongs; bicycle rides through Yunnan into Vietnam; even, a lesser used entrance at the Forbidden City—Stretch-a-leg follows the road less traveled.
“…the fact that he somehow managed to avoid the crowds was greatly appreciated!”
“We wanted something ‘different’ … away from being with a group of tourists and that is exactly what was provided to us.”
Begin forging your own path. Read about our most popular excursions.
Private tours: customizable, adjustable, and flexible just for you
“Katrina put a lot of effort into making this special and enjoyable based on our interests and uniquely for us. You don’t have second chances on trips like this so when the tour is successful like ours was, it is just very much appreciated.”
“We particularly appreciated his practical knowledge for finding us delicious inexpensive vegetarian lunches every day, and his flexibility to adjust our schedule as we learned more about Beijing and decided on new priorities.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT CUSTOM, PRIVATE TOURS
With Stretch-a-leg you do not join a pre-packaged tour. We only offer private tours. You do not compete with others for your guide’s attention.
You decide the pace, how you will get there, when you will start, what you want to see. We want to get to know you as a traveler and work together to craft an itinerary suited just for you.
Our guides tailor your travel with us to your specific preferences. They continuously modify and adjust as necessary throughout the day of the tour, ensuring that you experience exactly what you hope to during your precious vacation time.
- Only two days in Beijing and want to maximize your time? We will make sure you get a full sense of the city based on your individual interests.
- Read an article about a neighborhood you didn’t know existed when you booked with us? No problem. We can adjust your itinerary to take you there, even once you’ve arrived in China.
- Have small children that need engagement? We can suggest sites perfect for them.
- Haven’t hit the gym in months, but still want to experience the Wild Great Wall? Your guide can go at whatever pace you need, because it is just you.
“…Sensitive to the varied interests and abilities of his clients, and flexible in the face of changeable circumstances.”
“When the hurricane came, we switched our plans over-night and Tony rebooked everything without a single problem.”
Extraordinary customer service: professional and efficient
“The attention to detail and response to our specific needs made it such an enjoyable few days and your responsiveness and flexibility to adjust things as each day passed made it a most memorable trip.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR SERVICE STANDARD
From your first contact with us, Stretch-a-leg strives to be as thorough, informative, and accommodating as possible. Our staff has extensive experience working for elite, high-end hospitality and travel brands. We infuse this experience with the personality and warmth of a boutique, locally owned company.
At Stretch-a-leg, we adopt an international standard for exemplary customer service. When we do make a mistake, we take care of it, without you even having to ask. Our attention to detail has earned us accolades and repeat-business from numerous corporate clients with complex requirements. Check out what JP Morgan and others have to say about Stretch-a-leg. We bring the same level of detail and attention to all our clients, whether 200 or 2.
Our guides do not depend on sales commissions from your purchases for their salary.
“I think it should be clear on the website why there is a price differential between your tour company and others. I nearly didn't use your company because of this price difference, but on an impulse decided to go ahead and am glad that I did. These are exclusive tours in order to gain experiences that no other groups provide. Also explain that these are the "real" cost of the tours, and there is no commission gained from shopping or hidden gimmicks. The tour is personal, interactive, interesting and has attention to detail.
A good tour guide can make or break a tour. I would highly recommend this company.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR POLICY ON SALES COMMISSIONS
We are honest and frank. We recently wrote an email to a client explaining that we strongly recommended against a trip to a cloisonné factory—a well-known tourist trap. We questioned them further to find out what they really wanted, and together were able to create a trip to the oldest calligraphy brush factory in Beijing so they could see a workshop in action.
We recommend sites based on your interests and our knowledge. Many guide companies in China, even those offering private tours, do not pay their guides. Instead, guides and drivers earn their livelihood almost exclusively from kickback commissions from the souvenir sales.
For guides with these companies, the most essential part of the day for them is the trip to the souvenir and handicraft stores. If you do not buy anything, these guides will literally receive no income for the entire day. You and your guide with these companies are at cross-purposes: your focus is to learn more about China, but the focus of your guide is, understandably, on how they will earn money that day.
Stretch-a-leg guides earn a salary for their time. Our compensation system is unique and accounts for our higher prices. We have absolutely no arrangements for commissions. Of course, if you desire, we are happy to suggest shopping itineraries and help you bargain for souvenirs, but shopping time is not standard for travel with Stretch-a-leg.
Your goal and that of your Stretch-a-leg guide are one in the same. Your guide is there exclusively to help you have the richest experience possible in the way you want to have it.
Contact us to experience the Beijing and China you have always wanted to see and hope to uncover.