Scarlett Mao Private tour guide in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou - China

Scarlett Mao

Guide profile:

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Nǐ hǎo (Hello there)! My name is Scarlett Mao; I’m an experienced certified Chinese tour guide, specialising in the Shanghai metropolitan area, and surrounding cities like Hangzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing.

When you visit a new city, have you ever wondered if you should spend your time visiting the so-called “Top 10” local attractions or if there is a better way to experience this new environment? What highlights are really worth visiting, and which ones are suitable for you? How to make most of your time and money? Where can you find local food and restaurants that appeal to your tastes? To address these natural questions, I prefer to share with you my personal opinion and provide you genuine, detailed information about attractions, rather than follow pre-defined itineraries.

Most people have heard of Shanghai’s famous attractions, like The Bund, People’s Square and Yu Garden, and I am well acquainted with all of them. However, what many tourists miss out on is the city’s vibrant local culture, which in modern times is often pushed away from view, into side roads, small parks and squares. It is here where you can get a true feel for the city; marvel at locals gathering to play Majiang and practicing Tai Chi in a springtime park, enjoy a pleasant cycle through historic tree-lined streets, or savour the city’s incredible cuisine: in small street stalls, side streets and small markets, hidden from view. On my tour, I hope to combine these neglected, traditional elements of Shanghai with the bustling, modern metropolis and world-class attractions that entice many travellers.

To add some personal experience, when I visit other counties, I expect my guides to be honest, provide me with genuine information, care about me, and make me feel comfortable. And that is what I offer to my guests. I regard myself not only as a professional tour guide, but also as a host with whom you can trust and feel comfortable.

Please visit my website and YouTube channel for more information. I am looking forward to hearing from you. Xiè Xiè (Thank you)!

Recent reviews of this tour guide:

5 stars Juan B.

Scarlett is a great guide, knowledgeable, pleasant and easy to understand. She also tailored our tour to our will. And most important, she cares about her clients. When our tour was over, my flight got cancelled without warning at the last minute. Scarlett that was just dropping us in the airport stayed for over an hour and helped us solve our problem. I strongly recommend her as a tour guide.

Tour guide services/sample itinerary:

Most tourists have heard of Shanghai’s famous attractions (The Bund, Yu Garden), but many miss out on the city’s vibrant local culture, which in modern times is pushed away from view. My tours combine these neglected elements with the more familiar modern attractions. And if you also want to visit some cities around Shanghai, I would be happy to do that for you. As a tour guide, I hope my guests will like me and I can bring them good memories. That is the main reason I want to be a private tour guide. So no cheating, no shopping (I WON'T make money from it, but I can help you to buy what you really want), no lies.

Transportation by tour guide:

metro, taxi, private car, van, foot

Private sightseeing & group tours offered by this guide:

A Foodie's Tasting Tour of Shanghai Price Per Person 120.00 USD
Choose a right water town for yourself! Price Per Person 120.00 USD
Cultural and Historical Tour of Suzhou Price Per Person 120.00 USD
Insider's Eye to Shanghai Tour Price Per Person 120.00 USD
Make a special itinerary just for you! Price Per Person 120.00 USD
Secrets of Hangzhou Tour Price Per Person 120.00 USD
Walking tour of Shanghai - the past to modernity Price Per Person 120.00 USD

Tour guide interests:

I like various films, such as The Bridges of Maddison County, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hotel Rwanda, The Shining, The Legend of 1900, The Shawshank Redemption, Life is Beautiful, Dead Poets Society, Das Leben der Anderen and many more.

Some of my favourite Chinese films are Farewell My Concubine (霸王别姬), Yi Yi (一 一)and Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

My musical tastes include Oasis, the Beatles, Beyond (Hong Kong band), Neil Young, Chopin and 许巍, 张国荣 (two great Chinese singers). If you are interested in Chinese film or music, I can make some recommendations for you.

I love to read. My favourites include: Ordinary World (平凡的世界), Don Quijote de la Mancha, the works of Franz Kafka, Hemmingway, Jack London, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, San Mao (三毛).

My favourite poets are Shizhi(食指),GuCheng(顾城),仓央嘉措,Robert Browning, Kahlil Gibran, Pablo Neruda, William Butler Yeats.

I love food from all over the world, travelling, hiking, writing poetry...

You can contact me for advice. Here are MY EMAIL ADDRESSES : or

Reviews of this tour – by clients who booked!

5 stars Juan B. 26 Jun 2019

Scarlett is a great guide, knowledgeable, pleasant and easy to understand. She also tailored our tour to our will. And most important, she cares about her clients. When our tour was over, my flight got cancelled without warning at the last minute. Scarlett that was just dropping us in the airport stayed for over an hour and helped us solve our problem. I strongly recommend her as a tour guide.

5 stars Patrick F. 17 May 2019

Punctual, Creative, Flexible.. I could go on.

This was an enjoyable walk around Shanghai neighborhoods to learn about life in this huge city.

You would be lucky to get Scarlet as your guide.

5 stars Robert B. 22 Mar 2019

My wife and I had a wonderful full day with Ms. Zaraf Zhao (Scarlett Mao Tours) We were amazed as to how much we were able to see in just one day. Highly recommend

5 stars Walt B. 22 Mar 2019

Scarlett gave us a wonderful day in Suzhou. She is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, warm, and takes good care of her guests. She is flexible and always looking to accommodate the itinerary and pace to what the clients would like. Some of us had been to Suzhou before, so she was able to choose places we hadn't seen before, and introduce us to some local specialties at lunch. It was a treat to spend the day with her.

5 stars craig B. 05 Nov 2018

We spent two days with Scarlett in and around Shanghai. She's very friendly and knowledgeable and will certainly make your visit to Shanghai more memorable. We felt she took excellent care of us and showed us things most people never get a chance to see. Thank you for the great experiences Scarlett!!

5 stars John A. 29 Oct 2018

Just returned from China and Shanghai. We were fortunate to have Scarlett as our guide for two days while there. Scarlett was terrific, taking us all over Shanghai, explaining the interesting sites and culture, adopting our needs while we were on tour. We spent a day in Tongli, one of the beautiful water towns, less touristy, and it was just such a great day. Scarlett and her driver were brilliant, theres no way would have seen it all without her, don't hesitate, just book Scarlett !!

5 stars Bahareh J. 25 Oct 2018

Scarlett was our tour guide for 2 days in Shanghai and we had a wonderful experience with her. She really cares about customizing the tour to fit each client's interests. That can be challenging when you have a group of 6 people as we did, but she did a great job and had a lot of patience with us. Her sweet and heartwarming personality touched all of us and we highly recommend her!

5 stars Yael G. 17 Oct 2018

Scarlett is simply fantastic. She responded to emails in a timely manner and devised an itinerary according to my requests, not a cut and paste one. She confirmed the evening before and arrived for pick up early. She may not be a native but she knew all the history, was able to answer all my questions, was able to suggest where to visit. Best of all she was in tune with my needs. She could tell when something wasn’t of interested and very quickly changed the plan. Very energetic, highly recommen

5 stars Erez H. 12 Oct 2018

Scarlett is a great person and a great guide. Amazing Scarlett, who has vast knowledge about shanghai and china, took us not only to the major tourist sites, but also to hidden gems, alleys, markets and we saw and learn about Shanghai locals’ life. Scarlett knows the best local places to eat and always helped us to choose the right courses. Above all this, Scarlett is very friendly, funny and energetic, we felt like we are traveling with an old friend.

In 3 words…… FUN… FUN… FUN

5 stars amos G. 26 Sep 2018

Excellent , a lot of knowledge , very good

English , a lot of patience , kind and fare .

5 stars Kiel E. M. 07 Sep 2018

5 Stars just isnt enough to rate Scarlett's service. Would recommend her to anyone visiting China! Very articulate and gives great insights into the everyday life in China.

But more importantly, was able to gain a friend for life! Thank you so much, Scarlett!

Will definitely see you again soon :)

5 stars Stephen R. 09 Aug 2018

Scarlett provided an excellent service to my wife and I during our 10 day trip. She bespoke the whole trip to what we wanted, came up with great places to go, and organised everything we needed for lots of trips etc. I can not recommend Scarlett highly enough, an essential part of our holiday and a delight to work with.

5 stars Joe B. 09 Aug 2018

Scarlett customized our tour exactly for what we wanted to see and do and the experience was excellent. My wife spent a day with her in Shanghai and she took her to places in the old town we would not have found on our own. She was very knowledgeable and explained the history and symbolism of each place with many interesting anecdotes. On day 2 she hired a car and accompanied my wife and me to a charming water town and to Hangzhou. She took great care of us and dropped us at our next hotel.

5 stars Nathan S. 06 Aug 2018

I would highly recommend using Scarlett Mao Tours. Scarlett and partner Zaraf are very nice and friendly people and are very well versed in Chinese history. Everywhere you go is explained in good detail. I will use again.

5 stars Patrick P. 25 Jun 2018

Scarlett is an great tour guide. She delivered a personalized tour for an excellent price. She is knowledgeable and provided excellent narration that put the sites of Hangzou into historical context. I highly recommend her.

5 stars Steven J. 13 Jun 2018

We travelled in shanghai with 9 people.. 4 seniors, 3 adults and 2 young children... we booked 3 full days tour with Scarlett ( hang zhou, su zhou dan shnghai city tour)...

I seriously don’t think we will survive without Scarlett’s help... scarlet is a full package, 5rated star tour guide, she helped us from booking the airport to hotel transfer, transports, booking restaurant, even help us with the kids! And surely my kids love her very much and even call her aunty...

We sure do will co

5 stars David A. 09 Jun 2018

I wholeheartedly recommend Scarlett as an extraordinary tour guide if traveling in China. Her communication skills are excellent as are her enthusiasm and local knowledge. She can help any group or traveler navigate in and around China and is a delight to be with. Her fees are nothing when you consider she will help you maximize your time and experience in China. We will definitely use her again as this was the second year in a row and we look forward to a third.

5 stars Haigriv V. 01 Jun 2018

Simply amazing! I recently had the pleasure of working with Scarlet on a Mt Haungshan climbing tour and was simply blown away. From the 1st email to the last goodbye, she was accommodating, knowledgeable, engaging, & a genuine fun to be around. Her charming, friendly and bubbly personality is intoxicating & energizing and made the difficult climb a breeze. Ok fine it was a breeze for her while I struggled haha. She is unquestionably the best tour guide I've ever had the pleasure of working with.

5 stars Wayne D. 19 May 2018

Wow, where do I start! Scarlett and partner Zaraf are the 2 most friendly and customer-focused guides I have ever met. They cater to all your needs and their tours are genuinely insightful, fun and challenging if you have the energy. Not only are they experienced but they can take you to places only insiders would know and they also have excellent food and shopping recommendations. I normally don't connect directly with guides but they make me feel like a friend and I will always be grateful =D

5 stars Albert L. 11 Apr 2018

Overall, a great tour from beginning to end. Scarlett was prompt in responding to my emails, and very accommodating in suiting a tour to what I was looking for. Since I had visited many of the popular tourist destinations in the past, I wanted to see the more local side of Shanghai, along with eat some great food (if you like to try new and adventurous cuisine, she knows many places). In addition to planning a great tour, Scarlett is a fun person to be around, so I would highly recommend!

5 stars muhamad U. 26 Mar 2018

I went on a 13 days business trip to Shanghai and I was fortunate enough to book scarlett.. She's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet, exceptionally helpful and most of the time she knows what you need without telling her anything .. She's very professional and very friendly in the same time and she has very good English .. I strongly recommend her and I will definitely book her again on my next trip.

5 stars Brian B. 10 Feb 2018

Had a great time being guided by Scarlett. Scarlett is a very helpful and informative guide on and off duty. From they day I booked Scarlett to the day I flew back home Scarlett was attentive to provide great service. Me and my partner felt so comfortable on tour with Scarlett that it felt like hanging out with a long time friend, yet very professional in demeanor. I highly recommend Scarlett for anyone looking into a tour in Shanghai.

5 stars C G. 09 Feb 2018

Scarlett transformed my mundane business trip to Shanghai into something truly unforgettable! We enjoyed a wonderful day exploring the city's big sites and as well as some places off the beaten track that she enthusiastically recommended.

The tour was excellently organised and catered to my needs. Scarlett was fantastic company: energetic, funny, knowledgeable and caring. I would've booked a week with her if time permitted and I now can't wait for my next trip to Shanghai! Thank you Scarlett!

5 stars Rainer K. 20 Oct 2017

With Scarlett you feel like a friend show you his city. She show me interesting things i don´t know before and explan to me. We had also some nice talk about our work and some private things, really like friends.

See you soon for another tour or just hangout as friends. And i also not forget that i will cook some nice food for you :)

5 stars eugene V. D. W. 26 Sep 2017

I have had 2 wonderful days with Scarlett showing me around Shanghai. She is a knowledgeable and resourceful guide, is energetic and open minded, and has a great personality. She will make your time in Shanghai memorable. In just 2 days she has shown me both the hyper modern face of Shanghai as well as the more common one, from trendy spots at the Bund to cozy neighborhood dinners. I highly recommend her if you are looking for a great time while discovering Shanghai.

5 stars Sebastien P. 21 May 2017

150% satisfaction, professional, open minded. I recommend Scarlett to anybody visiting Shanghai. I did appreciated her approach that let you be guided and at the same time, open your mind to any aspect of the city, listening to your own intuition and your willingness. I would rate a 10 stars if I could.

Tour Guide Comment: Dear Sebastien, thank you for your lovely review. I hope to see you again!

5 stars Paula V. 05 May 2017

We cannot recommend a more personal experience than to spend a day with Scarlett. Our relationship began through several emails, prior to even leaving home. We always received a prompt response to all of our questions, and Scarlett always arranged our tour around what would be most interesting to us. It is clear that she genuinely cares about the guest receiving the best care possible and was always offering her help even after our tour ended. We began as customers but left as friends.

Tour Guide Comment: Dear Paula, thank you for all your compliments and looking forward to being a guide for your son!

5 stars Mika R. 05 Mar 2017

I had a business trip to Shanghai. My work is related to food & restaurants, so I needed good guide for 2 days. I send message for 5 different guide who could help me with my job. Scarlett was the only who responded quickly. She speaks good english and is very sunny and open character. She found me very good selection of local food & restaurant specialities, just what I needed to do my job. I had very goof time with Scarlett just talking about life. Scarlett has very good sense of humor also.

Tour Guide Comment: Mika, the most interesting food writer I have ever met until so far. Thank you for sharing and heip. Waitting for you and your wife to visit Shanghai.

5 stars ben J. 23 Jan 2017

Scarlett is a hidden gem in Shanghai. We have used Scarlett as our guide in Shanghai before, but each time we see her, she uncovers and leads us to see and experience things that we never would have known about without her. She is a wealth of knowledge- great personality- very vibrant, full of educational information, great company, and very competent. She has great attention to detail. If you have hungry stomach, she will take you to a tasting adventure that connects you with Shanghai !

Tour Guide Comment: Hello, Kevin. i appreciate all your words annd those beautiful moments you brought to me too. Thank you so much.

5 stars Christophe B. 30 Oct 2016

Scarlett is one of the most amazing tour guides I've ever encountered in my numerous trips. Nice and kind, she has always a smile on her face - at the same time, she is very reliable and a true expert guide not only from a logistics perspective (she organises whatever you want in a couple of minutes), but also when it comes to explain the context, history or hidden secret of a place. It is a pity that my trip was so short - I would have loved staying longer and hope that I can catch up soon.

Tour Guide Comment: Hey,Christophe. It was a great experience to be your tour guide in Shanghai,Suzhou,Hangzhou and Tongli .I am happy to share beautiful memories with you. Thank you for your compliments and review.

2 stars Stephen C. 14 Sep 2018

REAL Review! Request Scarlett do group of 15 senior citizens tour Shanghai. Had to explain the tour itinerary 3 times and again before the tour group left.I requested her to make reservations at Michelin Star restaurant but she booked the location far away from the tour.She said would rebook the location closer she did not. Paid $8 advance but did not get the credit.I requested $8 back w/no reply. I've lived in Shanghai over 25 years but she didn't know Shanghai well b/c she is not from Shanghai

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