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Why Us 2017-06-23T11:45:26+00:00

Shanghai and Beyond

Founded in 2011, Shanghai and Beyond was pioneered so that we could share our passion for and love of Chinese tea and culture with our clients residing both locally and from afar by professionally and knowledgeably delivering affordable, high quality custom-crafted tour packages and experiences.

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to provide a combination of hands-on invaluable tea and cultural experiences mixed with real interaction with the native culture of our tea producing and consuming regions throughout Shanghai through flawlessly planned and guided tours.

MEET THE TEAM

Our specialists are at the heart of Shanghai & Beyond Destinations. They have all traveled extensively and documented it perfectly so you can enjoy your adventures.

Michael Wang

Partner

Michael was born in a small water village in southern China and developed an interest in calligraphy, painting, and history. His passion for traditional Chinese culture encouraged him to pursue studies in tourism, and he received accreditation at the highest possible level.  He worked for over ten years in the tourism industry, beginning as a tour guide, and moving into corporate positions as a human resources director and eventually as a marketing manager.

Michael and Tracy met in 2011 and discovered a shared enthusiasm for Chinese culture. Within two months they formed a partnership and began hosting cultural events together. Shanghai and Beyond was born from this partnership and continues to offer small group travelers insight and knowledge of the people, culture, tea experience and all that is Shanghai and Beyond.

Tracy Lesh

Director of Tour Operations

Tracy is an American who has been living in China since 2007. Initially, she lived in a small city in southern Guangdong province where it was rare to find another foreigner. Fluent in English and Mandarin, Tracy worked diligently to pursue her interest in Chinese tea culture and after several years of studying under a tea master she was eager to share her knowledge, and began offering classes to the Shanghai expat community. That’s when she truly discovered what is now known as her dream job; a Chinese tea and cultural tour specialist that shares her passion for tea and Chinese culture to those who are interested in experiencing the wanderlust of Shanghai and beyond.

Tracy holds a tea specialist designation that demonstrates her extensive knowledge of tea and Chinese culture.

TESTIMONIALS

Thanks again for providing us with such a wonderful Traditional Cultural experience. We value all the information that you provided, your professionalism and your outgoing personalities. It is evident that you have thoroughly researched the materials and your willingness to answer all our questions.

Barb K, Calgary, Canada

Tracy, the all American girl next door and Michael, her pragmatic Chinese partner are a winning combination as tour guides. Join them for a refreshing experience as they show you the China that they love. You won’t be disappointed!

Laurie B, USA

You were absolutely fantastic today. I had a feeling you would be great, but you and Michael knocked everyone’s socks off. Truly, you are a consummate professional. This was a “10” in terms of difficulty and you pulled it off with a perfect score plus bonus points.

Jennifer H., USA

Our kids are SOOOO excited to see you again-after all of our incredible sights in Hong Kong and Thailand, you STILL have been rated the kids’ favorite tour guide of all time!!! My son Spencer ADORES you, we just had the most amazing day with you Tracy!

Ann S., USA

Tracy and her team offer extremely engaging and entertaining field trips for our students and school community. Her deep knowledge of Chinese history and local culture offers incredible context to our learners, no matter what their age. I heartily recommend Tracy and her team at Shanghai and Beyond.

David N., Teacher, Shanghai American School

Dear Tracy and Michael, just wanted to let you know that I thought you did an amazing job on our trip. It is very obvious that you love what you do. Going together with the two of you makes it so much more relaxing, enjoyable and interesting! You just add such lovely details to the experience ( Chinese snack, poem, and gave us a poem) also it is very powerful that you come from US with your perspective and Michael from China with his perspective Everybody praises you who has been on your tours. Well done! Looking forward to the next trip!

Henriette M., Sweden

Shanghai and Beyond has built its reputation by exclusively offering small group travel and now the full Tea Experience. We’re passionate about engaging locals and introducing out-of-the-way destinations during our excursions, and strive to create a boutique tea experience that fully immerses our guests in Chinese culture… in Shanghai and beyond.

BOOK A TOUR

No request is too big or small for our team.
If it matters to you, it matters to us.
Let us make your Tea Experience perfect.

FAQ

We’ve compiled a list of our frequently asked questions for your information. Have additional questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask us! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about booking one of our tours.

It is suggested to book your tour as early as possible so that everything can be confirmed and arranged in advance for you. Especially, in tourist peak season (April to June and September to November), when there is an increased number of visitors.

Yes. We accept late reservations, but we cannot guarantee that we can book all of the itineraries you request. If some reservations for tours you wish to take are not available, we may suggest an alternate itinerary. To avoid such inconveniences, it is highly recommended to confirm your tour as early as possible.

We accept payment through PayPal, a secure way to use your VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. You can also pay for your security deposit by wire transfer or Western Union. Your remaining balance will be due in cash the day of the tour, or by PayPal two days before the tour.

Absolutely! We strive to provide clients with different, tailor-made options; unique tours and immersion opportunities. Our experienced travel specialist will gladly work with you to customize tours as soon as we receive your requests, and we are also happy to provide recommendations based on your interests.

It depends on your preference. We are a boutique tour operator and specialize in private tours or small group tours. Schedule a private tour or let us know you’re interested in being included in a small group tour.

Once everything is confirmed, we will send a confirmation email to you.

For tours or classes booked directly through our website a deposit of USD$50.00 for classes or USD$100.00 for tours will be due at the time of booking. If the tour is cancelled before 7 business days prior to the scheduled date a full refund will be processed. If a tour is cancelled within 7 business days of the scheduled date, the deposit will be forfeited. Tours occur rain or shine.

Please make the final payment by cash (USD or RMB) on the day of the tour, or by PayPal two days prior to the tour date.

Your tour specialist will check in with you before your departure to China. On the scheduled date of your tour, they will meet you in the lobby of your Shanghai City-Center hotel or the tour pick-up location referenced on the tour itinerary, with a pick-up board with your name. Details will be confirmed.

Our specialists are fluent in both English and Mandarin and personally escort all tours. You will not be handed off to a guide whom you’ve never spoken with before

Generally, you can tip your tour specialists and drivers if you feel satisfied with their worked and service, but it is not a common practice to tip restaurant waiters/waitresses or taxi drivers.

Comfortable passenger vehicles with air-conditioner are selected to serve our clients. Generally, we will arrange vehicles according to the number of people in the tour group to ensure plenty of space.

Yes, please provide your special requests when booking your tour. We will carefully arrange meals for you per your request.

Our meals are custom designed with your group in mind, and we select seasonal produce and meals that reflect the local cuisine based on the location of your tour. All dishes are served round table style as is the custom in China, and are MSG free and organic when possible.

Generally, the US dollar is not widely accepted and while major international credit cards are commonly used in some hotels, restaurants and department stores in large cities of China, the areas we visit while on tour are not major retail centers. Chinese currency can be easily withdrawn from any ATM, -check with your bank on service charges before leaving.

Foreign currency can be easily exchanged for Chinese currency at the airports and banks in China. Some hotels also provide their guests with this service.

ATMs are readily available in China especially in the cities but it’s not easy to find one in remote areas, we suggest you prepare enough cash to take along before the day of your tour.

How should I greet Chinese people? A simple smile is the universal language that could quickly elicit friendly ambiance among strangers and needs no translation. At the formal occasions, handshakes are the standard for meeting strangers. As probably well-known across the world now, “Ni hao!” (你好), meaning “Hello”, is the greeting that can never go wrong in the country.

Yes, but outside the major cities, China is still a conservative country. Women rarely show cleavage and miniskirts are generally frowned upon. It’s is suggested to dress conservatively while on tour, but in hot weather tank tops and shorts to mid-thigh are acceptable.

Sorry, we are unable to offer this service. Please refer to your Embassy for details on how to obtain the required documents for entry into China.

Shanghai climate is generally mild and moist, with four distinct seasons – a pleasant warm spring, a hot rainy summer, a comfortable cool autumn and an overcast cold winter.

From June to August, Shanghai is very hot (24-40°C / 75-100°F). It’s a humid city and rainfall is most frequent in June – ‘known as the Plum Rain’ season.

From December to February, temperatures in Shanghai range from 5-14°C  /40-55°F, and can be overcast and chilly. For walking tours, plan to wear woolen socks, gloves, and winter coats and dress in layers. Public areas are rarely heated like in western countries.

Yes, please bring your passport with you on the tour for identification purposes while traveling to and from the tour locations.

As a boutique tour company, we specialize in customizing your experience, and are happy to discuss additional options. Would you like to spend more time in exploring Shanghai’s lanes and alleyways? Or visit a local family?  Please feel free to drop us note. We’re glad to work with you any way we can to customize your experience.

We recommend that you purchase travel insurance prior to arrival in China. Make sure your insurance covers medical emergencies and carry your insurance documents with you at all times. We cannot be held responsible for any accidents that occur during your trip, but our vehicles are fully licensed and insured and our travels specialists will attend to your needs in the event of an accident or emergency. We won’t leave you until the crisis is over.