China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Choosing A Tour Company

With so many tour companies and travel agencies; how does one choose a tour operator to do my tour to China or Tibet? That is a question many people might ask. Is Bigger; Better? Bigger means more overhead with many employees doing many countries. You might take a look at the smaller operators like Interlake China Tours of Seattle who SPECIALIZES in one country and has all the latest information. We work with local Chinese associate partners in China who have contracts with hotels at their best local prices. Working with a network of associate partners all over China we have control of the tour quality and communications with them. Our clients have a 24/7 emergency phone number so they are always in good hands 24 hours a day. Each tour is individually planned to the clients interests and needs so you see and experience what you are interested in rather than a cookie cutter tour of general interest. Dave goes to China each year working with our associate partners inspecting hotels, viewing new sites and noting all the changes that occur each year. With 25 years experience and over 50+ trips, Dave travels all over China to work first hand with the local operators seeing to it that the quality of our tours meets a high standard. Check our web site at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

River Cruise in China?

When planning a tour to China few people think about river cruises but usually know about the Yangtze River because of the famous Dam site there. Actually one should consider a river cruise perhaps in the middle of their tour to take a short rest during a 17 to 21 day tour. Touring in China can be tiring and a few days of relaxation is helpful. Most people know of the Yangtze River Cruise from Chongqing to YiChang or reverse for 4 or 5 days. Or there is a longer cruise all the way from Chongqing to Shanghai or reverse for 7 to 9 days. Another Cruise which few people know about is the Li River Day cruise from Guilin down to the small town of Yangshuo on smaller river boats shown above but one of the most beautiful cruises in the world. Yangshuo is also known for the fantastic Night show, Impression Liu Sanje, on the river with over 900 local people taking part in it. In Guilin there is an evening cruise on the 4 city lakes lined with many beautiful lighted sites and a close up view of fishermen fishing with their birds. All cruises are an excellent way to enjoy China and relax a bit during your tour and travels in China. For more information contact us at Tour Operators for China and Tibet only for over 25+ years working with local Chinese Associate Partners.

Using an ATM in China

Just a few years ago there were next to no ATMs available except at the major airports. Today there are more but still difficult to find sometimes especially in the rural areas or small cities. Make sure your card is acceptable by checking the instructions which are in English on the ATM. You then insert your card and use your password asking for funds in U.S. dollars or your local currency. Out comes Yuan at the bank rate. Be aware there are charges in China as well as your home bank that will be deducted from your account. Keep the receipts as they will be needed to exchange your yuan back into U.S. dollars or your local currency at the airports when you leave. Actually China still accepts American Express travelers checks which get the best rate of exchange as well as a very low charge at most hotels in the major cities that you will be staying. It is more of a convenience service by the hotels for their guests. You will need to show your passport to make an exchange at the hotel or any major department store too for large purchases. For more information contact me at

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weddings In China

Weddings in China are much different than we experience in the U.S. Couples apply for a license from the State first. Few have a religious ceremony. They then set a date for a banquet and photo session. The photo session is in a studio and perhaps at a church grounds, local park or some specific site. They will dress up in casual clothes as well as their traditional wedding clothes to make a large album. That is usually done in the mornings or early afternoons. The banquet is usually in the late afternoon or evening and by invitation which is all paid for by the couple. The traditional gift however is money. The closer the relationship the more money is given. In some cases a whole months salary of a close relative or friend. In the past the bride wore a red gown but most today wear a white gown as you see above. The banquet signifies the community recognizing the couple as being married but not before then. So most couples must save a lot of money before they are married to be able to pay for it first. Note my wife and I were working one day, stopped to view a wedding and the decorated car which the couple will parade through the streets before and after the banquet. When visiting the minority cultures in China you will find many different traditional cultural weddings too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Planning A Trip to China

As a China and Tibet Tour Operator for over 25 years, my long suit is knowing China very well. I have taught a class on Touring in China each quarter at local colleges and Universities for Adult Education here in Seattle. As most people think in terms of only going to China once in their lifetime; they want to see just about everything. China is a large country, the same size as the United States in square miles. You may only have 2 or 3 weeks time but think in terms of trying to see the whole United States in that same time. You would of course be spending your time in airports and flying rather than sightseeing. China only has about 10% of the flights that we enjoy in the U.S. and with their huge population and prosperity these days, all flights will be full at all times. Plan on booking your tour at least 3 months in advance or more. If your tour includes a Yangtze River Cruise, plan on booking at least 4 to 6 months in advance. A good tour operator will make the best use of your time and money so that you see what you are interested in rather than a cookie cutter general tour. Tours to China has been my business for 25 years and 50+ trips working with my Chinese Associate partners directly taking advantage of their contract local pricing. Don't try to see it all; but see the sites that you are most interested in with a well planned tour.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Best Months to Tour China

As a tour operator to China and Tibet for over 20 years, I am asked many times which are the best months to travel in China. The summer months of course are very hot and humid but if you have to go then, there are places to visit that are cool. North Yunnan province cities of Kunming, Dali, LiJiang and the mountain areas are cool plus the mountains of Sichuan province and Tibet. In the spring late March through April is the best but the rainy season starts in May and it becomes more humid and hot. The two best months of the year are September and October. September is generally the #1 best month for weather and October for the fall leaves but it can get cold in the mountains with snow towards the end of October. Prices are highest during September and October with the lowest prices being during the winter months. Summer months the prices are less and early spring the prices are still low through March. You should plan on booking your tour about 4 to 6 months in advance and if you want to take a Yangtze River cruise be sure to book that about 6 months in advance as the cruises book up early having only about 150 cabins per boat.
Doing private custom tours to China has been my business for over 20 years. I hope I have the opportunity to do a tour just for you to your special interests.