China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Friday, August 21, 2015

Blogs Transferred to New Site

I have now added my Blog to my web site.  www.interlakechinatours.com   All 360+ blogs here have been transferred to my site so you can check that information too that has been all updated to current information.  If you have questions, contact me at  interlak@eskimo.com   My Name is Dave and I enjoy sharing my 26 Years of Travel in China and Tibet.  You will not be added to any spam list or be pushed to buy a tour from me.  Happy Travels....   Dave from Seattle

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Shipping Purchases Home

In my 26 years of travel in China I have found many wonderful things to buy.  Most of them I have brought home on the plane with me including a 2.5 foot tall hand painted vase.  I have shipped a rug and a special embroidery home but that is all.  My experience with clients shipping purchases home as been good and some poor.  If the item gets broke in shipping you have a claim on it however you do not have the item that you purchased either.  Chinese are experts at packing purchases for travel.  I have brought home silk comforters, pottery, and antiques of many kinds without any breakage either in special packages or in my suitcase.  Rugs and artwork they usually have you sign the item some place on it so that when you receive it you know it is what you purchased.  If not sent by air, ship can often take up to 2 months so one needs to be patient.  I often have bought a second suitcase just for purchases that I have bought for family and friends for the Holidays.  They may be purchased at Bargain shopping booths for little money.  Ask your guide for help. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Kung Fu at the Shaolin Temple

Many people are interested in Kung Fu and I have had to go to the Shaolin Temple and see for myself if it is worth sending my clients to that location.  The Shaolin Temple home of KungFu is located between the cities of Luoyang and Zhengzhou in the countryside.  The photo here was taken with the #1 Shaolin monk.  I was the only foreigner watching the demonstrations.  The Monk needed a volunteer and of course all the Chinese tourists pushed me into it.  The Monk had a small bowl which they use for eating lunch or dinner.  He put it on his stomach muscle and challenged me to remove it.(only once had anyone ever been able to do it)  I saw his skin was moist from all the activity so I thought perhaps if I twist it rather than try to pull it off, it might work.  It did and I was able to remove it.  I thought the audience would cheer but the Monk Lost FACE and the audience remained quiet.  This is a culture thing of course.  After the demonstrations were over, the Monk came out and requested me to come up on the stage.  He then bowed to me and presented me with the bowl.  An act of humility.  I still have the bowl of course and it makes great memories for me.  The Temple is original but has become quite a tourist attraction for mostly Chinese people some Kung Fu followers from around the world. One can take lessons there if you like but the facilities are not deluxe.  In Beijing there is a Kung Fu Show which is more like an Opera if you do not have the time to go to the Shaolin Temple itself.  I send many people to Xian, then to Luoyang where the famous Longmen
Buddhist Caves are located along with the White Horse Temple built in the 1st century as the First
Buddhist Temple in China.  Called that because two months came from India on white horses with their religious books to establish the temple.  From there by car to the Shaolin Temple and then to Zhengzhou to catch a plane either to Beijing or other destination.  The old Jewish Settlement at Kaifeng is not far away too but little is left of the Jewish settlement other than a large Metal Pagoda and a more modern area to remember the Jewish settlement. 



Friday, July 31, 2015

Guides in China

If you are on a group or private guided tour you see China at its best.   Professional



 Guides add so much to a tour and often point out things that you wouldn't see just passing by.  An English speaking guide although they may speak excellent English must still deal with the many accents of English as well as tourists that English is a second language.  Be patient and speak slowly using common words and NO SLANG which is most common to us in the U.S.  It is impolite to ask a tourist to repeat a question that is difficult to understand.  The coastal major cities it is not much of a problem but once you go into the interior parts of China it can be a bit more difficult.  English is being taught in all the schools these days so it is becoming less of a problem.   Culture dictates that it is impolite to ask for something that is not possible.  A guide normally either tries to avoid answering it or gives you an indefinite answer.  That usually means NO.  A Guide needs to give a positive response to questions so if what you ask is not possible, you will often get a vague answer.  One couple wanted to visit Beijing University since it was on the way to the Summer Palace.  It requires a permit to visit which must be obtained in advance.  The guide not wanting to give a negative answer, said she would see if it is possible on the way back to the city.  The guide knows that the time is too short so that she wouldn't have had to say No to them that it couldn't be done.  This is Chinese Cultures differences from ours as one example.  I have a book available called  "Encountering the Chinese"   A Modern Country; An Ancient Culture.   It is required reading for college students who will be visiting China and need to know more about interacting with the Chinese.  It is difficult to find so I have copies available at $24.95 post paid.  If you would like a copy, please send a check made out to Interlake China Tours  and send it to  Interlake China Tours, P.O. Box 33652  Seattle, WA. 98133 along with your request.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Travel Sickness and What To Do!

I have been to China 55 times over 26 years and only got sick one time.  I ate with some Farmers in the countryside but they were so nice and the husband had just retired that day from teaching.  I keep antibiotics with me at all times and was fine in 3 days.  Two things are common in most countries with the change of diet.  One is diarrhea and the other is constipation.  Chinese use MSG in most sauces and this can cause constipation so beware of eating too many foods with sauces in them.  The rule for not getting diarrhea is DO NOT DRINK TAP WATER...even in 5 star hotels.  Drink bottled water and it is available everywhere.  Do not buy bottled water at major sites from sellers.  Do Not eat at booths on the streets.  9 out of 10 times you will be o.k. but it is the 10th one that could land you in the hospital.  Travel adjustments are not only Time Change but also Diet Change which can take a few days too.   Take remedies with you but also ask your guide in an emergency to visit a local pharmacy.  Local remedies are often very good and natural.  For more information on illness and what to do about it contact me at  interlak@eskimo.com    My name is Dave and I am always glad to be able to help you whether you are a customer or not.  Below is my good friend Dr. Ho of Chinese Traditional Medicine Fame.  He is now retired in a small village and almost 90 years old.  He has researched natural medicine for many years with his father and now his son and daughter in law are taking over.  There is a wonderful museum that they built to visit in the village near the city of LiJiang.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Blog on my Web site Also Now

I  have been writing my blog now for 8 years and have now integrated it into my web site at
www.interlakechinatours.com   On the pull down menus you can see my blog there and has all my blogs from the past 8 years.  I go back and update the information on a regular basis as China changes from year to year.  For more specific information please feel free to contact me directly at my email address:   email:   interlak@eskimo.com   My name is Dave or better known as ChinaDave.  I will not press you to book a tour with me or put you on any spam list.  As I am now in my twilight years of life I enjoy sharing my 26 years experience in China during my month long 55 trips.  I do not take people on group tours to China but work with reliable partners in China.  I rather spend my time researching hotels, new sights and keeping informed on all the changes going on in China.  I try to do everything at least once so I have first hand reliable information.  My over 2,500 past customers have also given me their insights so the information I have is not just my own personal thoughts.  I look forward to hearing from you here in Seattle.