China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Bit More Humor!

People who read my blog seemed to like my last story on Humor in China so here is a bit more.  I was in the back country of rural China with my guide and driver.  We stopped at an outside cafĂ© for lunch.  No western dishes but had a Chicken Soup that sounded good.  We ordered it and when it came the driver spooned through it and then got up and was yelling at the cook.  I asked my guide what the problem was and he shyly said, "The Driver said the cook left the best parts out and was cheating us".  Knowing China well, I asked what the best parts were that they left out..  He said,
"the feet, head and guts".  The cook left those out because he knew I was a foreigner and would not like those parts in the soup.  You will never get such food on any tour so do not worry about that.  Chinese food in China is the best.  Another time in Western China in a  remote small town there was only one restaurant for foreigners.  I asked to go to a local restaurant just to see what one was like and what they served.  Again with a guide and driver they had one menu in English.  Camel's Paw was the first item on the menu and I knew I was in trouble.  I ordered egg soup which I like and told the guide to ask the driver what he would like not wanting to leave him out.  He wanted Donkey and Noodles!  One taste and I learned quickly that I didn't like Donkey!  :-)   I have a thousand stories that I could tell but thought readers would enjoy these two on food.  You will never get these things on a tour unless of course you ask for them! Below you see a normal lunch.  Second one is a photo of me who likes to eat well with two waitresses in the countryside.  Third is a photo of my wife and I having a deluxe dinner in Chongqing.  Last photo is of friends who are celebrating their birthdays just like us with a birthday cake.  The assortment of food in China is unlimited and extremely good.




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Bit of Humor for You.

I have travelled all over China for the past 26 years.  There is always something to discover in China no matter where you go.  I have many friends in China and one day my friends wanted to take me to a new Temple that had just been built.  It was a large round building with 4 entrances.  Inside as you can see are many Buddhas below.


.  The object is to walk into any door you please and either turn left or right.  You then start counting Buddhas until you come to the one that matches your AGE.  We all had to laugh a bit since the photo above with the chubby Buddha resembles my build very closely.   I love to eat good food.  I have always said that China is not only extremely interesting, it is also very fun as you never know what you will find next.   Another time we were in the mountains and came upon men working and tearing down a 700 year old temple to make room for some construction.  They had a small fire going and had been taking down some of the wooden parts and burning them.  I rescued a wooden carved Monk about 12 inches high that had come from the temple and now have it home in a glass case with a small glass of water to keep it from deteriorating further.  As I said, you never know what you will find in China and I have many stories to tell of my travels too many to ever write them all down.   I hope I will be able to plan a special tour to your specific interests too.  Check out my web site at www.interlakechinatours.com

Monday, April 6, 2015

Ciqikou Old Town Near Chongqing

Many people take the Yangtze River Cruise which starts up stream at Chongqing and cruises down to YiChang.  Most Group Tours arrive in Chongqing in the late afternoon in time for dinner and boarding of the boats.  Chongqing although a very large city has it's special places to visit if you arrive the night before the next day evening sailings or are just passing through Chongqing.  One of the special places I like my clients to visit is Ciqikou Ancient Town which was first built between the years 960 and 1279 only 17 kms. from central Chongqing.  The narrow walking alleys have no cars and you will find so many interesting sights of everyday Chinese living besides older homes such as the Zhong Family Courtyard home. Its owner Zhong Yanting worked for Empress Dowager Cixi who lived between 1835 and 1908.  Zhong was in charge of procuring rare treasures for the Empress which explains the compound being constructed on a very lavish scale.   Baolun Temple, Wenchang Taoist Temple, and the Imperial Academy are just a few of the other sights besides the old shops and traditional homes of the local inhabitants.  If you will be staying overnight in Chongqing, I like the 4 star Hongyadong Hotel which overlooks the river having wonderful roof top gardens to enjoy.  There are many restaurants within the complex nearby along with shops and many snacks and hand made candy being made.  If you are having a private custom tour (that's what I do) be sure that if you are taking a Yangtze River Cruise that you include a day in Chongqing before leaving.   Check out our web site at www.interlakechinatours.com  Our 26th year of doingTours to China and Tibet. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Which International Airline Should I Choose?

There are several airlines to choose from when planning a trip to China.  You should do the research to check and see which airline fits your wants and needs.  Price is a factor but shouldn't always be first on your list.  Comfort and time of departure and arrival need to be considered also.  A Direct flight or flight that has a stop or plane change should be on your list.  A flight from Seattle to Beijing is listed with one airline very cheap.  I checked it out and it goes from Seattle to Chicago and then to Beijing.  Cheap but 22 hours of flying time and changing planes, going through an additional Security check etc. etc.  Is it worth the savings?   Maybe if time and comfort are not on your list.  I have represented Hainan Airlines from China as a wholesale tour operator since they arrived in Seattle several years ago. They fly from Seattle to Beijing in just 11 hours arriving in the late afternoon in time for dinner. They are owned by a corporation in China rather than the government.  Their service is tops with great food and an excellent Business class that rivals other airlines first class.  They fly the latest Boeing 787s. with seats that make into beds in Business class.   I have flown with them often and always appreciate their attention to details and comfort.  Hainan now has direct non-stop flights from Boston, Chicago, Seattle and soon San Jose & Seattle/Shanghai.  There are  connecting flights from many other cities at code share prices too.  For more information and costs please contact us by email:  interlak@eskimo.com   We can do your complete tour from home and back with our 25 years experience in China and Tibet.  Check out our web site at :  www.interlakechinatours.com   Our BBB rating of A+ is the best rating so you can always be sure you are in Good Hands.   My friends call me ChinaDave and I will be glad to help you with any plans or questions on travel to China.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yunnan Province a Must Visit

Yunnan province in south China is one of my favorite places to visit.  Just north of Viet Nam, Laos and Burma, Yunnan has two distinct climates.  In the North are mountains and in the south there are semi-tropical forests.  In the middle is Kunming known as the Spring City because of its altitude and cooler weather during the summer at 5,000 feet. In the north  is LiJiang, Dali, Zhongdian, the Leaping Tiger Gorge and other remote spots like Lugu Lake famous for the beautiful lake surrounded by mountains occupied by the Muoso people who seldom if ever marry.  Most people go to Kunming to see the Stone Forest which is about two hours by car and a wonderful site to see which is one of the most unusual in the world.  In the south the city of Jinghong in the Xishuangbanna area has the only airport or is two days by bus from Kunming.  This area has many minority peoples living here with their own language, dress and culture. You may visit several of these minority villages to see how they live and work.  One group the men retire after marrying and the women do all the work.  Another live in stilted houses with two entrances; one for the women and one for the men.  Learning the customs of each group is interesting and makes for good photography.  This area also has beautiful parks that were once the research areas for tropical plants before the revolution.  There is also the Wild Elephant Preserve in the jungle which you may visit not far from Jinghong.  A walk way above the canopy of the forest/jungle makes it easy to tour with a cable car to bring you back.
Tourists usually spend about 4 days in the southern part of Yunnan and about 4 days in the north.
For more information on touring China contact me at   email:  interlak@eskimo.com   My friends call me ChinaDave and I have travelled all over China for the past 26 years.





Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Visiting Shanghai

Most tours visit Shanghai but usually only for one day as an entrance or exit city to China.  I use to think of Shanghai only as a large big city like Hong Kong or New York.  However my opinion has changed in the last few years.  Yes it is large and very busy but also exciting.  The best museum in the country is located in Shanghai.  The Yu Garden area is #1 in China along with the oldest Tea House on the Crooked bridge leading into the Yu Garden.  The Tall  Pearl of the Orient T.V. tower has the greatest view over Shanghai at the top.  Often overlooked is the fantastic Museum in the base of the tower of the early 1900's designed like walking down an  old street in Shanghai during that period.  The Jade Buddha Temple, the old French Concession area, famous Shanghai Acrobats, Nanjing Road Mall, and a cruise on the river running through Shanghai are just a few of the sights worth seeing.  The MagLev train from Pudong Airport takes only 7 minutes to get to the city and at speeds of up to 285 mph.  The new fast trains also are located in Shanghai and can go to Beijing in less than 5 hours now leaving every half hour or less.   Exciting is one word I use to describe Shanghai but many other places to visit and see are also there besides the excellent food of the city.
For more information on Shanghai please feel free to contact me at  interlak@eskimo.com  My friends call me ChinaDave and I have a wealth of information accumulated over 25 years of travel all over China during my 50+ trips working with my Chinese associate partners.