China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Thursday, December 18, 2014

50% OFF on a Deluxe Yangtze River Cruise

The Century River Cruise 50% OFF promotion is going very well with bookings for the high season of April/May and Sept/Oct. ahead of expectations.  Century Cruises is entering the U.S. market and we can offer 50% Off on the cruise with bookings through April 15th.  Cruise must be taken by  October 31st.   I am offering this to all clients who book a minimum 10 day tour of  China. This makes a 14 day tour complete with your cruise on the luxury boats of Century Cruises.  You can view their web site at  www.centuryrivercruises.com   Click on the British flag for English.   The cruise includes the up close inspection and tour of the largest dam in the world as well as the fantastic scenery of cruising through the 3 Gorges.  Off boat excursions are included each day with all meals.  There is entertainment each evening along with various presentations of interest.  All cabins face the outside of the ship and you have your own private balcony.  Cabins are large with large screen t.v.s and luxury bathrooms.  Prices start as low as $398. a person dbl.occ.  Contact us by email for more details at: interlak@eskimo.com    
                Click on the photo for a full screen view!

  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My China Photo Album of 25 Years

After 25 years of travel in China and posting photos on varies web sights, my photo album has become quite large.  Google picks up these photos that I use and adds them to my photo web site.  You can find it at  www.picasaweb.google.com/ChinaDave1    It shows several albums but one has over 800 photos in it.  Some are duplicates.  I have always enjoyed photography and China is a fantastic country with so much variety that it is difficult not to take good photos.  I always refer to it as a photographers paradise.  I always carry a camera with me but one time I missed a shot that I still kick myself about.  I had left my camera in the car when we went to an outdoor cafĂ© in the countryside.  A bus came by with cages of geese on top of the whole bus.  The geese all had their necks sticking out of the cages facing forward as if on tour.  All 200 of them.  Over the years I have missed other opportunities but also have gotten some great shots too.  I have had a few clients who are professional photographers and they have said that China is a great area for photography especially of rice terraces and their national parks for scenery.  Please enjoy looking at my albums.
        CLICK ON THE PHOTOS FOR A FULL SCREEN VIEW!





Friday, December 12, 2014

China Visa Is Needed

It has just been announced that a visa to China which formally was only for one year for a multiple entry visa, a 10 year visa will now be available.   You will be able to enter China multiple times in a 10 year period without needing to apply each time.  Details are still spotty as well as the cost.  Please check back to our web site for more information as it becomes available.  If you would like a visa kit emailed to you, just advise me and I will have it sent to you.  I just need to know which state you are located in. The new forms will be available shortly reflecting the 10 year visa.  Visas either need to be applied for in person at one of the Chinese Consulates or sent to a visa service which will do it for you.   It is suggested that you  apply at least 4 to 6 weeks in advance of your departure.  More later.   For details you can email me at  interlak@eskimo.com  

Monday, December 8, 2014

One Expense We Forget

One expense most people forget about is laundry.  Most hotels in the cities have laundry service.  Leave it in the morning and it is back by night. On my recent trip I collected laundry lists from several hotels.  I chose a 4 star hotel in Shanghai as the best example.  3 star hotels are a bit less and 5 star hotels a bit more.  Laundry does not include Pressing in many hotels.  That is extra.   Here is an average cost:   Man's Shirt  $6  pressing $4.    Pair of Men's Jeans.  $7.00 and $4 for pressing.    For women as example, a blouse is $6 and $4 for pressing if needed.  A dress is $9 and $6 for pressing.  Ladies slacks are $6 and $5 for pressing.  This is in the larger cities of course and less costly in the smaller or remote areas.  In the remote mountain areas however it may take more than one day as most hotels do not have dryers and clothes are hung out to dry. As you can see during a two or three week's trip that cost can add up.  My wife and I have polyester/nylon shirts and pants when we travel.  These can be washed by hand in your hotel room.  You flatten them out on a bath towel and then roll it up.  You then squeeze the tube to get some of the water out.  Then leave it for about 2 hours to let the water soak into the towel.  You then hang them on the string across the bathtub and they usually dry over night.  Cotton clothing dries very slowly and usually takes a couple of days.  For more tips on travel in China, email us at   interlak@eskimo.com     My Name is Dave and I am always glad to answer your questions without expecting your tour business.   (am retired and enjoy helping people with my 26 years of travel knowledge in China)  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Prices in China - Fall of 2014

Many people think that the Orient and China in particular is inexpensive.  As a Tour Operator, my clients receive a questionnaire when they return home asking about their tour.  One of the questions is:  Did you find China   More Expensive   Less Expensive  or   About what you thought.   3/4th of them this past year ticked  More Expensive.   I just returned in late Nov. 2014 from my 55th trip to China.  I have seen all the fantastic growth that must be seen and not read about.  Prices have increased as their economy has flourished.  Some tour operators have cheapened their tours by cutting out some services, using less expensive hotels in not so convenient locations and putting in Buffets rather than sit down and be served meals.  As a custom private tour operator I
know how to save money and at the same time offer great tours with my Chinese partners.  We never cut the quality of our tours and still put our clients in well located hotels where it is easy and safe to be able to walk around in the evenings or day time on free days without worry.  I was on the Nanjing Mall this past week in Shanghai and saw a line of over 1000  people lined up in front of a store around the corner.  I went there and saw it was a Nike store.  It had two security guards who were letting four people in when four people came out.  I slipped in another door to find the store almost empty other than the 4  employees behind four computers.  The Manager told me they were taking orders for the new Michael Jordan 6 basketball shoes.  They cost $150 a pair but they didn't have them in stock yet and were taking orders.  Customers had to pay cash and received a payment slip to bring in when the shoes arrived.  I commented to the Manager that with four people at a time those people in back would be waiting most of the day.  He said,  "Yes, and it has been this way for 10 days".   I had a very interesting time doing my Christmas shopping this year as I do every year.  Bargain shopping is still available in some areas but one needs to be aware of the quality too.  For more information contact me at  interlak@eskimo.com  View my web sites at  www.interlakechinatours.com and Photo Album at  www.picasaweb.google.com/ChinaDave1

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Yangtze River Cruise Prices Compared

If you have been reading my blog for the past month or so you will note I have been writing about our 50% OFF on the Yangtze River cruise with the 5 Star Line Century Cruise Line.   I have invited inquiries for the prices and details of the cruise.  A few inquiries after quoting them the new low prices have come back and said they could book the cruise for $250 to $295 on another line.  There are many Lines on the Yangtze and of course there is a difference in quality of boats and service as well.  Below you see a typical $250 to $295 per person cruise boat.  Cabins are four bunk beds to a cabin and with bathrooms down the hall.   I won't go into the meals or cleanliness of these boats.  Although the scenery is the same; the conditions like hotels makes a great deal of difference.  The Century Cruise Line is a top Quality Luxury Line and with our 50% Off promotion is really a bargain.  Prices start at $795 with a 50% off brings it down to $395 pp dbl.occ for the Star, Sun and the Sky.   The ultra Luxury boats, the Legend and the Paragon start at $1,195 and with 50% off is only $598.   These are for Deluxe Cabins all facing outside and with personal balconies with each cabin.  Bookings must be combined with a 10 day or more private custom tour and be booked by April 15th and tour completed by Oct. 31st.  For tours and sailings during the high season of September and October you should  consider booking early.  For more information contact us at
interlak@eskimo.com   For itineraries see  www.centruyrivercruises.com 

                     Click on the photos for a Full Screen View