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Special-Interest Tours

Bespoke Beijing offers personalized tours, and WildChina leads distinctive, ecologically sensitive journeys all over China. Stretch-a-Leg Travel specializes in small group tours of Beijing's side streets and off-the-beaten-track sights by expert guides.

Contacts

Bespoke Beijing (B510, 107 Dongsi Bei Dajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing, 100007. 010/6400–0133. . www.bespoke-beijing.com. Daily 9–5.)

Stretch-A-Leg Travel (2 Qian'gulouyuan, Jiaodaokou, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing, 100009. 010/6401–8933. . www.stretchalegtravel.com. Weekdays 10–6.)

WildChina (Oriental Place, 9 East Dongfang Lu, Room 803, Chaoyang, Beijing, Beijing, 100027. 010/6465–6602; 888/902–8808 in the U.S. . www.wildchina.com. Weekdays 9–6.)

Biking

Cycle China offers plenty of cycling trips in and around Beijing and beyond, such as the Great Wall. You can hire bikes from them, or take your own. Bike China Adventures organizes trips of varying length and difficulty all over China.

Contacts

Adventure Center (800/228–8747. www.adventurecenter.com.)

Bike China Adventures (800/818–1778. www.bikechina.com.)

Cycle China (12 Jingshan Dong Jie, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing, 100009. 139/1188–6524. www.cyclechina.com. Daily 9–6.)

Culture

Local guides are often creative when it comes to showing you history and culture, so having an expert with you can make a big difference. Learning is the focus of Smithsonian Journeys' small-group tours, which are led by university professors. China experts also lead National Geographic Expeditions trips, but all that knowledge doesn't come cheap. The China Culture Center is a wonderful resource for tours, classes, lectures, and other events in Beijing. The China Guide is a Beijing-based, American-managed travel agency offering tours that do not make shopping detours.

Contacts

China Culture Center (21 Liangmaqiao Rd., inside the Drive-in Movie Theater Park, Chaoyang, Beijing, Beijing, 100016. 010/6432–9341; 010/8420-0671 weekends. www.chinaculturecenter.org.)

The China Guide (Building 7-1, Jianguomenwai Waijiaogongyu Diplomatic Compound, 8th Floor, Room 81, Beijing, Beijing. 010/8532–1860. . www.thechinaguide.com. Weekdays 10–6.)

National Geographic Expeditions (888/966-8687. www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com.)

Smithsonian Journeys (855/330–1542 in the U.S. www.smithsonianjourneys.org.)

Culinary

Intrepid Travel is an Australian company offering foodie tours with market visits, cooking demonstrations, and plenty of good eats. Imperial Tours combines sightseeing with lectures, cooking demonstrations, and lots of five-star dining.

Contacts

Imperial Tours (2-2004 Wanguocheng, 1 Xiangheyuan Lu, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing, 100028. 888/888–1970 in the U.S.; 010/8440–7162 in China. www.imperialtours.net.)

Intrepid Travel (800/970–7299 in the U.S. www.intrepidtravel.com.)

Hiking

Beijing Hikers offer multiple hikes and camping stays on and around the Great Wall, They always make sure to leave no rubbish behind, unlike many other companies.

Contacts

Beijing Hikers (10 Jiuxianqiao Zhong Lu, Building A, Suite 4012, Chaoyang, Beijing, Beijing, 100015. 010/6432–2786. www.beijinghikers.com. Weekdays 9–6.)