China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Xian's Terra Cotta Warriors Site

One of the must see sights for many people is the Terra Cotta Warriors site in Xian.  The Warriors seen here were unearthed in 1974 when three farmers digging a well found them.  The site is large and now has four pits unearthed and open to the public.   The Warriors were arranged at one time as an army to protect the Emperor Qin Shi Huang in front of his tomb.  The site took 38 years to build with over 700,000 workers.  The artisans who constructed his burial room were buried alive in the tomb to keep the location of the room secret.  The Tomb itself has never been opened as it has been considered too dangerous having very loose soil contaminated with arsenic to protect the tomb from grave robbers.  In a separate building there is a museum of artifacts found in the pits and near the tomb in excellent condition.  Well worth the small extra fee to visit it.  Located near the airport is a little known site called the Yangling Mausoleum over 2,500 years old.  This tomb of Emperor Jingdi of the Western Han Dynasty is actually open and you can enter it to see the inside burial place along with many artifacts well preserved and on display.  Because the Terra Cotta Warrior site is so famous, the Yangling Mausoleum often is overlooked and not included in most

tours.  As a tour operator I often suggest this site to clients who are interested in history and it is convenient to see it on arrival or departure from the airport.    Click on the photo for a full screen view.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wild Elephants in China?

Yes, there are wild elephants in China along with many other animals, birds and wild life including Tigers.  Here you see some of the wild elephants in Xishuangbanna are of south Yunnan province.  They are located in the Sanchahe Nature Reserve not far from the city of Jinghong.   Jinghong which is in the middle of one of the most diverse areas of China has the only airport in southern Yunnan province.  The home of many minority peoples each with their own customs and dress is one of the most beautiful areas of China and is seldom visited by western tourists.   There are many faces of China with countless Nature Reserves with birds of every species, wild monkeys including the rare Golden Monkeys which I have seen myself in upper Yunnan province.  I have toured many different countries around the world but China still remains one that continues to fascinate me with now over 50 visits to all corners of the country.  The variety of sites, 57 different nationalities each with their own customs and dress, festivals, food and very friendly people makes it much to look forward to during each of my visits.   Variety is the Spice of Life and China fits into that description from one end of the country to the other.  Check my web site for just a few of the tour packages to give you some ideas on where to tour but we specialize in doing Custom Private or Group Tours to your interests and needs.  For more information contact us at  
 email:   My friends call me "ChinaDave"

Monday, August 4, 2014

Yangtze River Cruises with New Low Prices PLUS 50% OFF UNTIL April 15th

 Sail the 5 Star Luxury Century Line Cruise on the Yangtze River in 2015.  When you book a minimum 10 Day Private Customized Tour to your specific interests by April 15th you will receive 50% OFF on the cruise.*  New Low Prices start at $398 to $448. pp. dbl. occ. for the Century Star, Century Sun and Century Sky.   Regular Season price is $795 to $895. pp. dbl. occ for the Deluxe Cabins after April 15th.  Junior Suites and Deluxe Suites are available at special 50% off prices too.  The Century Legend and Century Paragon  Platinum Series Ships are also 50% off starting at $598. to $698. pp. dbl. occ. with regular season prices of  $1195. to $1295. pp. dbl. occ. after April 15th bookings.      *Tours and cruise need to be completed by Oct. 31st.

                        Click on the photos for a full Screen View!

                            Century Cruises can be seen on line at:

  Watch for our 2015 web site starting Nov. 1st at: 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chinese Magazines

As a tour operator to China, I must keep up on all the news and changes going on in China.  Besides my annual trips to China for inspections and seeing the changes, I read everything I can and watch web sites that keep me informed.   China National Tourist Office is one source you will find interesting and you can order maps, brochures and other information for free.  I faithfully read one special magazine called   "CHINA TODAY" which is published here in the U.S. in full color.  What is happening in China and especially tourist information is all included.  You see here one issue on the changing childhood in the cities and how the "one child policy" has fared over the years.  Even the education system is changing to reflect the needs of dealing with the modern world.  The  monthly magazine costs about $34 per year post paid.  You can order it from the Cypress Book Company, Subscription Dept.  360 Swift Ave.  Suite 48   South San Francisco, CA. 94080-9838.   Insights to modern China are written about each month along with many cultural sites in China opening up to tourism now.   For more information contact me at:   I am known by my friends as "ChinaDave".

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sanjiang - Home of the Dong People

As a China Tour Operator for the past  25 years, I often receive inquiries from people wanting to visit culturally rural China to see areas outside of the large cities and major sites.  Usually I recommend south central China with Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces being the favorite places as it has so much to offer in a compact area.  There are over 57 minority peoples in China each with their own customs and unique dress.  Many of these are located in these three provinces although there are others.  Sanjiang pictured here is about 100 kms. north west of Guilin in Guangxi Zhuang region, and very typical of a minority group called the Dong people who settled this area over 1000 years ago. 
Other nationalities you can visit in this area are Miao, Yao, Zhuang and Han.  This to me is the real China of the past far from the large busy modern cities.  Sichuan province to the north is the most populated province with over 100 million people in it; however some of the most remote villages are also located here that have changed little in hundreds of years.  I plan personal customized tour itineraries for my clients so that they see and experience their personal interests.  Group tours seldom if ever visit these areas and they will never be crowded. You are may have your own personal visit and often be able to visit people in their homes when accompanied by a guide who can translate for you.  I hope I can do a personal tour for you...check my web site at

Modern China

As a Tour Operator to China only, I send a Profile sheet to each Inquiry asking them to list some information on their personal interests, way they like to tour, level of hotels, etc. etc.  After I receive it back from them, I develop an outline of cities and number of days for them to tour based on their input.  Many are  looking for the ancient culture of China with such spots as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terra Cotta Warriors etc.  Few ever ask about MODERN China.  Of course you need to see all the cultural sights but don't overlook some of the modern sights and experiences of China.
Here you see the modern engine of the Fast Train that runs from Beijing to Shanghai in as little as four hours.  In the past it took 12 hours by regular train and only went at night since leaving during the day made arrivals in the middle of the night inconvenient.  Part of your tour should include one of the new fast trains that routes are being added every year.  Going from Beijing to Xian by train was only available by night trains as it also takes 12 hours so you would see nothing on the way.  Now the new fast trains are available for day time trips where you can see the countryside as you go.  I took a fast train this past year from Chengdu to Chongqing and it was unbelievably smooth with no clicking of the tracks and only took 2.5 hours. There is no longer air service between some of the closer cities today because the trains are so fast and convenient going from center or each city eliminating airport transfers too.  The only negative is that stations are very busy and crowded; however the experience is well worth the time.  If you want another train experience going 285 mph. there is the train from Shanghai to the airport.  It takes one hour + by taxi or bus...but only 7 minutes by the MagLev train.  And top speed is reached for only 2.75 minutes of that trip as it takes time to get up to speed and time to slow down on arrival.

For more modern sights of China contact me at   My friends call me
"ChinaDave"   My web site is