China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chengdu - a Relaxing City

Chengdu in Sichuan province which is in the central part of the country is not always included in many group tours.  I like to send people there on private custom tours as Chengdu has so much to offer in the surrounding areas.  Home of the Panda, you can visit the Experiment Station which has Pandas only including new born ones in the nursery.  You can also have your photo taken holding a Panda too. Chengdu has many relaxing parks and tea houses where the local people gather to play Mahjong and other games during the warm afternoons. Dufu's Cottage park is one of my favorites.  You can often see an orchestra practicing, choir groups and children playing games.  They have a fantastic Bonsai collection also.  The Wen Shu Temple park is another with vegetarian lunches and tea with snacks in the park.  There are also several areas of the city that have preserved the old buildings and left as they were 100 years ago.  Here you see Jinlin Street as one example.  Another is the beautiful Kuan Xhai Xiang Zi Alley with its beautiful courtyard restaurants and tea houses.  I often stay at the Buddha Zen Hotel which is a traditional hotel built around a courtyard and the area around the hotel has been preserved in the old style too. There are many small towns and villages surrounding Chengdu like Huanglongxi town which is very scenic as one example.  If you want to visit remote mountain areas with small villages and Tibetan people you may want to visit my web site at       Look under packaged tours:  10 Day Mountain Tour.

You may even stay in a Tibetan family hotel in one of the small villages if you like.  For more information check my web site or email me for details at    email:

Friday, April 4, 2014

China is Pandas!

You see here me with a pair of two year old Pandas. They are like lively children always willing to play.  Chengdu in Sichuan province is the home of the Pandas in China.  Located in south central China, the Experiment station just outside Chengdu is like a wonderful zoo devoted to only Pandas.  There is a nursery with a very large picture window where you may see the New Born Pandas close up.   If you desire to have your photo taken holding a Panda or sitting with one, that is possible although a bit pricey to raise money for the new Panda Preserve soon to be opened.  The old Panda Preserve was destroyed by a large earthquake a few years ago.  Fortunately they had just remodeled the Experiment Station so tourists can see the Pandas in their natural habitat close up.  If you go to see Pandas be sure to visit them during the morning hours as afternoons they usually sleep which is part of their habit even in the wild.   I had  my photo taken with a large Male Panda a few years ago and couldn't believe how friendly he was since he was born and raised at the Panda Preserve.   Sichuan province is one of the most interesting provinces in China with many nature sights and cultural places to visit.  A kind of sleepy large city with many parks and tea houses, a visit here will be well rewarded with fond memories of old and new China.   Let my 25 years of Travel in China help you plan a special tour customized just for you and your special interests.  You can see my web site at www.interlakechinatours.   Click on the photo for a full screen view!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Little Visited Guizhou Province

Guizhou province usually gets passed over by most tourists as one can not see everything in China in just a few weeks.  A client wanted to go there to see a specific village years ago so I went to check out the province to see if it was ready for tourism with good hotels and sites worth visiting.  I found very few tourists which was nice and many wonderful small villages one that you see here nestled in a hillside and valley.  Zeniel Village has both Shui and Miao ethic nationalities living there near DuJiang Town.   The largest waterfall in China is also located at Huang Guo Shu on the way to Anshun is a wonderful visit and there is one of the most beautiful Bonsai parks I have seen in all China of which there are many.  In Anshun you can visit Dragon Palace Cave park and take a boat ride on the near by lake.  There is 700 year old Tunpa Han Village nearby where 22 generations of people live who had been warriors.  The Stone Fort or Temple still stands and can be visited at Stone Temple Village.  Eastern Guizhou province is still developing but if you would like to see what past

generations lived like, it is a good place to visit although good hotels are yet to develop fully.   For more information on Guizhou province touring contact us at
Let my 25 Years of travel throughout China be of help to you in seeing China up close and personal.

Monday, March 24, 2014

"Encountering the Chinese" Book on China

If you are doing research on China, one of the best books I have found is "Encountering the Chinese" a Guide for Americans.  It is difficult to find so I went right to the publisher and ordered 100 books to have on hand for my customers.   It is just $24.95 post paid if you would like a copy.  It gives an over all picture of meeting and interacting with the Chinese people besides giving you valuable insights into their culture.    It is a must read for anyone who will be interacting directly with the Chinese people whether it is in Business, cultural exchange delegations or as a Tourist who is interested  in understanding and dealing with the culture more in depth.  You can send your check or money order for $24.95 post paid to  Interlake China Tours, Inc.  P.O. Box 33652  Seattle, WA.  98133

Researching Your China Travel

China is a very large and diverse country with many cultures within a culture.  Most people have 2 to 3 weeks  to see such a large country.  In order to see the most important sites that you may be interested in you need to do a lot of research.  Start with a travel book just on China.  You will find them in your favorite travel or book store.  Next look up some of the sites and areas of China that you are interested in on the internet.  Reading Blogs on China such as mine here are very helpful and there are many.   Next determine the time of year you want to travel and your budget.  This all takes a great deal of time but a well planned tour is valuable for your  enjoyment.   As a Tour Operator just to China who does mostly Private Customized tours to the customers interests, I send inquiries a Profile Sheet to fill out with their specific interests and needs.    I then outline these areas for you to do further research on the internet or travel books.  If those areas meet your needs, I then fill out the details of sites to visit based on your Profile Sheet interests.  After 25 years of travel in China and sending over 2,500 people there, I am able to give each and every client their specific interests.  You can't possibly see it all in one trip so you should see what you are most interested in rather than see some sights that you have little interest.  Some people love museums and others do not as an example.  Many group tours have many museums in their tours which are usually 1/2 day visits.   For more information contact us at:   or email:  
People call me ChinaDave.   You can also find me on Frommer's Forum answering questions of travel.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Ever Changing Lhasa, Tibet

I have traveled China and Tibet for over 25 years watching the changes and the growth.  It has been like watching the U.S. from 1900 to 2014 in the span of just those 25 years.  It is what keeps me going back time and time again to see and watch the changes going on in China.  As a tour operator I work all over China so I see all those changes first hand from year to year.  My first visit to Lhasa was in 1994 when the population was only 250,000 people.  Few hotels on the par of the west but there was an old Holiday Inn at the time which is now under another name.  The others were two and three star hotels and a variety of hostels.  Mostly Chinese and Tibetan food with something similar to western food.  Buildings were only two stories tall and many dirt or gravel streets and roads.  Chinese lived on one side of the town and Tibetans on the other side.  That was 1994 but today when I have been there I can see the difference in these  photos with the population now over 450,000 people.  Motorcycles, cars and the new Tibet train from Beijing have brought many more modern conveniences to Lhasa along with western food in quaint restaurants.  I toured the St. Regis Lhasa Resort Hotel where rooms start at $550 per night to $2,500 per night.  The swimming pool is lined with 24 ct. gold which shimmers with the underwater lights.  There are now 4 star hotels such as the Lhasa Hotel and the Sheraton.  The Monasteries and the Potala Palace are the main sights to visit but the markets and local people contribute to a very cultural tour.  For more information on touring Tibet check my web site with new Join in Tours or private tours at
Click on the photos for a full screen view!