China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ruins in Beijing

For those interested in Ruins, few people realize that there are some fantastic ruins right in Beijing. Many people go out to see the Summer Palace and do not realize that there was an older Summer Palace known as the Yuanming Yuan laid out in the 12th Century. It is not far from the new Summer Palace built in the 18th century by the Emperor Qianlong. After the Opium War of 1860 it was rebuilt and enlarged by Empress Dowager Cixi. The Old Summer Palace was destroyed by the French and British troops who vandalized it taking many of the artifacts and shipping them home to museums. The Palace was laid out to look like a European-style palace and gardens. Above you see the elaborate fountains and baroque statuary amongst the broken columns and marble pieces. Near by is an artful reproduction of a former labyrinth called the Garden of Yellow Flowers. The whole complex covers 2 sq. miles and remains as it was after being destroyed. I am presently working on a tour itinerary that will include Sculpture Parks and classical ruins of China and will be ready for the 2012 tourist season. Tours of China has been our business since 1992 and we have researched on site personally all through China since 1989 with over 50 working trips. We do private Custom Tours for individuals and groups who come to us with their personal interests and needs. Let us plan a tour just for you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tipping in China

I have had many clients ask me about Tipping in China. It use to be that in China, tipping was forbidden and was considered western bribery. With the Opening of China during the early 1990's that has changed "a little". Tipping of guides and drivers of tour companies is now done as well as Bell Hops in hotels who take your luggage to your room. In the hotels there is a charge of 10 to 15% already in the hotel cost so indeed there is no tipping in the hotels. Small gifts or spare change left in the room for maids who may have been especially kind or did some extra small service for you is appropriate however. A taxi driver is very well paid so you only need to round off the yuan from the Jiaro or cents. Several years ago taxi costs were reduced because taxi drivers were making too much money. In restaurants the situation is the same. A service charge is already in the cost of the food. Any tip left on the table must be given to the restaurant owner. So basically there is very little tipping in China other than with a tour for the guides who are professionals and go to Guide schools. Bus and private car drivers also get tipped but about half per day as a guide depending on the amount of driving required. For more information on Tipping contact me at Tours to China for over 23 years is our business and our only business. We specialize in Private Custom Tours for individuals and organizations. Our web site will give you more details at

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Using Guides in China

I firmly believe that if you fail to use a guide you miss much of what China is all about. It is thought that guides are expensive which they are not. Some people say they do not like to be led around by guides and like to explore on their own. You will miss a lot and guides can point out so much as well as explain things to you as China is so different from Europe or our own countries. Frank Liu pictured above with my wife and I is more than a guide and has become a wonderful friend and manager of his company. Wendy pictured above is a local guide in a small town who can take you on a bike ride into the countryside and show you sights that you would never find on your own to get a real first hand experience. So many people have told me after going with her what she meant to their trip and she loves children too. In China guides are licensed by the State and pay no entrance fees to sights. The majority of guides have gone to Guide Schools at which I have lectured many times in order to give them information on working with Western people and to listen to their concerns too. They are schooled in local history of their area and a wealth of information on every day Chinese culture. Guides are trained in handling any emergencies so you are always in good hands. Guides are really like having a friend who is proud to show you their city or area. Tours to China is my business and I want you to not only see China but to experience China. Guides are the key to that experience.