China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Monday, March 28, 2011

Taking Photos of Chinese People

In most parts of the world we can take photos of just about anything including people. In China in some museums or sites you will see the international sign of a camera with a line through it. That means No Photos Permitted. If in doubt, ask your guide or someone within the facility. When it comes to people you should ask permission to take their photo. #1 this is only common courtesy. #2 Some Chinese people especially in the countryside are very superstitious and do not want their picture taken. Either point to your camera and then to the person or ask your guide to inquire for you. Often you will get a smile back but a shaking of the head "No". Or a smile and perhaps a bit of posing which means it is o.k. Without this courtesy you might receive a violent reaction from the person so be careful. In many museums and sites it is o.k. to take pictures without flash if there are no signs forbidding the taking of photos. The Shanghai Museum is one of them and I have some wonderful shots of pieces taken from tombs. China is a paradise for photographers so enjoy taking photos but be sure to ask permission. For more information on photography contact us at Tours to China is our business for 25 years and photography is my hobby.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Biking in China

One of the best places for biking in China is near Guilin around the town of Yangshuo. After taking the Li River Cruise to Yangshuo, stay a few extra days and enjoy the beautiful countryside here amongst the karst hills. You can rent a bike for about $3 a day. Above you see I was enjoying visiting the local people with a local guide I know having lunch at her home and enjoying a peaceful day with many bike trails available. My shirt actually reads that "I have No Money". It was a hit amongst the local people as they didn't think I knew what it said. The area is very flat except for the rock hills so it is easy biking. You can even put your bike on a small boat and take the boat down to the next town and ride back too. When touring China it is good to take a day or two off and just rest and enjoy the local culture. Yangshuo is a good place to do that and there is a fantastic River Show here at night to enjoy too. Tours to China is our business so let us plan a tour just for you to some of the wonderful places I have visited for the past 25 years during my travels through out China and Tibet. Check out my web site at:   

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Great Hot Springs

If you are looking for the real remote China and have some great experiences without hoards of western tourists, check out my Mountain Tour on our web site. You will find it at   Go to Packaged Tours and then Click on the 10 Day Mountain China Tour which covers the mountain experience we call the Danba Circle. We do mostly custom private tours in which we plan tours to your interests and needs. The Hot Spring is located in Hailougou National Park outside the small town of Moxi and has 5 levels of pools each with a different temperature. There is a cable car near by that goes to the top of the mountain too. The whole loop takes 10 days of breath taking scenery including visiting villages, homes if you like and the towns of Danba and Kangding where it would be unusual to see a western tourist. The above photo was some Austrian people who had come in from Chengdu for a couple days of R & R before continuing on with their tour. I have been doing tours to China for over 25 years and work with the local people to plan my own tours to include special places of interest that few tourists or tour companies do. Custom Private tours for individuals or groups that come to me with their special interests and needs is my business but photography is my hobby.  Thanks for reading my blog.

The Bamboo Sea National Park

People are always asking me about Nature and National Parks in China. One of them is the Bamboo Sea National Park seldom found or visited by tourists because of its remote location. It is a UNESCO site located in the rural mountain area of Sichuan province. I have a 5 day tour that can be taken as an extension to any other tour or as an addition to one of my tours. Check the itinerary out on my web site at It is listed as a packaged tour under Ecological Tours. The tour visits the National Bamboo Sea Park which you see above with a fantastic 5 star Eden hotel there with a covered dome over the restaurant, bar and garden areas. There is a Spa with five large pools and hot tubs located on a beautiful lake back in the mountains. On this tour segment you will visit the Great Leshan Buddha, largest in the world, Zigong known for the Dinosaur museum and Ancient Salt Mine Museum. You will visit some wonderful rural towns with no tourists and of course the National Bamboo Sea Forests. Before ending in Chongqing you will visit the famous Dazu Buddhist Carvings. Having lunch in the countryside amongst the Bamboo forests is also a wonderful treat too. Tours to China is our business but the Culture is our Passion for the past 25 years.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Guides & Tipping in China

There is little tipping in China. Most service charges are in the cost of food, hotels etc. Guides and drivers however do expect tips as part of their living. I am often called "ChinaDave" because of working in China for the past 22 years with local associate Chinese partners. You see me above in my standard working clothes while in the countryside checking out new areas and sites. Guides are often like friends showing you around their area that they know best. Most often the guides and drivers do not eat with you as that is their break time but in the countryside sometimes they will join you too. Drivers seldom speak English so sharing lunch with the guide is a chance for them to relax and speak their own language. The driver in the center photo and the guide joined me this day for lunch. The driver loved food and made sure that I was taken to many different restaurants to taste a wide variety of local foods. In the bottom photo in the countryside the guide and driver joined my wife and I for lunch outside. This very popular restaurant was full so the guide had them set up a table and chairs out in the garden which was great. Guides and drivers become good friends as they enjoy showing their local area to us.
Tips for guides are between $10 and $15 per day and for the driver about half of that unless he or she drives a long ways during the day. For more information on tipping, contact me at Tours to China has been my business for over 20 years but the Culture is my real passion.