China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Friday, March 28, 2008

Little Known "Guizhou Province"

If you only have gone to China one time, you probably overlooked Guizhou province in the south of China just east of Yunnan, west of Hunan and south of Sichuan provinces. I spent a week going through the countryside from the provincial capital and modern city of Guiyang. During a week traveling there I only saw one small group of French people traveling through by bus. The rest of the week no western tourists at all. I discovered Huanguoshu Falls which is the largest falls in China but hardly known by western toursts. It is a great place to hike and enjoy as the falls cascade down the river for several miles. My two lady friends above I met in an old stone village over 600 years old called Tumpa Han Village and fort. They were giving out samples of their local tea and had a great sence of humor. You could also taste their local wine which is very strong. The people living there are decendents of warriors and the fort still remains and is open to the public. All this in an area called Anshan including the beautiful Dragon Palace Cave. The stone houses are in my estimation, works of art with the stones held together by the ancient method of sticky rice mixed with sand before concrete was invented. If you are looking for a Tour to China with remote and interesting out of the way places, let me help you plan your next Tour To China as a China Tour Operator and China Travel Agency. See my web site at

Can You Guess What IT Is?

One thing I especially admire is the Chinese abilitiy to make something from what they have often just have available. Maybe you guessed it. Yes it is a Cotton Candy Machine. She spins the machine with her bike pedals for power and the gas heat comes from the copper canister mounted in the center. Raw sugar is in the while plastic pail. If business is not good, she just gets on the bike and goes to another location. I once saw a oil truck with signs on it advertising Gas for sale. He had a hose coming out of the back of the truck and parked it near a high way. When business was slow, he simply got in his truck and drove to another better location. Stores on wheels. As you go through China you will find many other such ideas. That is what is so much fun in China. When you think you have seen it all; just wait and you will come upon other great ideas from the inventive minds of the Chinese people. That is what keeps me going back time after time. I will be leaving on my 49th Tour to China in October checking out new places to send my clients for their Tours to China. As a China Travel Agent and China Tour Operator, I know I have not seen it all yet and will be glad to share my experiences with you too. Check out my web site at

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Hani" woman from Xishuangbanna

There are over 57 minority nationalities in China each with their own customs and traditional clothes. I visited this Hani woman and her family at their village in Xiashuangbanna in south Yunnan province. To get to their village we had to cross a rope bridge which was guarded by a Tiki like carved figure. Although a primitive like village the people were very friendly. This family invited us into their home and the daughter shown above danced and sang her traditonal songs. It sounded much like the American Indians chanting. They carry their valuables in the purse around their necks as they have no locks on their doors and no safe place to keep them. This woman gave me her purse as a gift as she was getting married the next month and would have a new one to add to her wardrobe when she moved to her husband's home. They make their own wine and we sampled it several times before leaving the village. Tours to China can be exciting and you can have special China Tours designed especially for your interests and budget by a China Travel Service like mine. Travel to China with a China Tour planned by Interlake China Tours, Inc. of Seattle with over 20 years experience in planning China Tours.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Naxi Minority "Dongba"

There are many good shows in China and some poor ones too. I have had to see them all as a Tour Operator who plans tours for individuals and private groups. One show that I like very much is the "Dongba Palace" show in LiJiang. A Dongba is a special person in the Naxi religion who has reached a high degree of knowledge and demonstration of the Naxi Arts of music, dance and Naxi culture. The Dongba in the photo is over 75 years old and dances and performs each night at the Dongba Palace. At last count there were only 33 Dongbas left amongst the Naxi people. The degree of difficulty is very high and to become a Dongba is a rare occurance. They also perform their music and all from memory as it is not written down but passed from generation to genertaion. Unfortunately as with many ancient ways, it may become lost in future years if the young people do not follow in their foot steps. There is an excellent museum in LiJiang at Black Dragon Pool Park for the Naxi people and there is often a Dongba there doing some kind of art form. For more information on the Naxi people, send me an email.

Meet Wendy Li of Yangshuo

This is Ms. Li Yun Zhao or Wendy as I know her by her western name. Wendy lives on the out skirts of Yangshuo the destination of the Li River Cruise. I met Wendy several years ago while looking for a good local guide to take me out biking in the countryside. Wendy is a minority person from the hills. She and her husband had a farm and then moved to Yangshuo to make a better living. Wendy learned English by herself although she can not read or write it. She has a cell phone and her daughter helps her with a computer and email. Wendy carries around a small diary in which she asks her customers to write in it to show people as references. Wendy takes my clients biking in the countryside and if you wish to her home where her husband, a great cook, will cook lunch for you. A fantastic experience for those who want something more out of a tour than just seeing sites. If you like hiking, Wendy is a hiker and has many places for you to visit and learn about her beautiful area. I refer my clients to Wendy and I am sure you will enjoy her enthusiastic outlook on life and want Wendy to show you the surrounding area of beautiful Yangshuo village along the Li River. Check my web site at

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lunch in the Countryside One Day

I was in the extreme back country of Sichuan province in the mountains with few towns. It was lunch time and we couldn't find a restaurant except a very small local restaurant near a river. The scenery was fantastic and they had just caught some fresh fish in the river to serve for a lunch special. They had a wok fit inside the barrel drum to fast fry the fish. As I do not like "spicy" food especially hot peppers, I asked that they do not use peppers when they cooked the fish. The local cook had a "fit" and said she had never cooked fish without peppers before in her life and wasn't going to start now. My guide in the picture, Ms. Wang, didn't know what to do so she grabbed the wok and cooked them herself. The regular cook went into the kitchen and refused to come out. It all was very funny but the fish and everything else was fantastic!! Some of the best meals I have had in China have been out in the countryside as long as it is well cooked. Same situation years ago with Chicken Stew and our driver got angry with the cook because they left out the chicken guts and head which he considered the best parts. Of course they left them out because of me knowing I wouldn't be used to them. That is the fun of China and wonderful experiences that one has in the back country.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My friend Mao Ting in China

This is a photo of Ms. Mao Ting....who likes to be called Sherry now. I first saw her on the street of a small village as a shy 3 year old and took this photo. The other picture is of Sherry at age 15 with her mother. Sherry's parents were both physically handicapped. Her father died that past year; so her mother and grandmother now raise Sherry still in the small village. I have gone back to the village about 10 times to visit the family to follow their lives. Sherry was always at the top of her class in school and just entered high school this past year but must go to a boarding school away from her village. She is doing well and after just one year speaks very good English. She wants to be a singer and a teacher and we want to see her go to the University so we keep up the contact and help out a little bit with tuition should she need it. I have a few other people that we follow also but Sherry has been the youngest. One is now married to a French man and lives in Paris with their new baby. Another is working on his Master's degree in France but is from Beijing and I have known him and his parents since he was 8 years old. Getting to know families and individuals in China has been very rewarding and I come away learning so much about Chinese culture and people. For more personal experiences watch the Blog from week to week.  Update 2015.  Sherry had graduated from the university and now is a teacher in Chengdu.  Sherry has a boy friend also and plan to get married later. 

Saturday, March 8, 2008

ChinaDave from Seattle

I have been asked to write more personal observations about China and what is more personal than "People". This is me as I have travelled through China for the past 19 years and almost 50 trips. Following Blogs will have individual Chinese friends that I have met and continue to keep lasting friendships with over the years. I carry my camera wherever I go so have thousands of photos too. You can view my photo album at The photo above is me biking through the countryside near Yangshuo down river from Guilin. You can get there on the beautiful LI River Cruise and spend some wonderful days there just seeing the countryside and great biking on flat roads and paths. It is in south China and this was a warm day. The night before I had a local lady make me a pair of shorts with elastic since my size wasn't available XXXXXL I needed a t-shirt and picked this one out not knowing what it said and everyone laughed. It says "I have No Money" I liked it so the "sellers' would leave me alone. They asked why I picked it in black letters since it comes in black or red letters. Red letters means I lost my money in my business and am a poor business man. Black means you lost your money gambling, drinking and chasing the ladies..... I kept the Black! :-)

New "Harmony" Fast Trains

Train travel in China has been changing "Fast" with the new Bullet Trains dubbed the "Harmony" trains which travel 30% faster than the normal trains in China. These new sleek train's tickets do cost a bit more but well worth the money for several reasons. First they are faster competing with airlines on some routes and are very comfortable with extra leg room and are smoke free. For tourists thinking they would like to see the countryside by train, they were often disappointed as trains from Beijing to Shanghai or reverse all run at night taking 12 hours from 6:00 p.m. and arriving the next morning at 6:00 a.m. There are six trains running each way but at night. If they had a day train, it would arrive in the middle of the night which is not practical. Now there is just one day train so far in each direction leaving at mid morning and arriving just after 6:00 p.m. taking just 8.5 hours. Not all routes such as Beijing to Xian are available yet but where there is presently no air service like from Shanghai to Nanjing or Shanghai to Hangzhou, there are fast trains that make air service not necessary anyway. For more train information or ideas on travel in China contact me at or view my web site at for more tour information. I love riding the trains myself and do it for the fun of meeting Chinese people and great experiences.