China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Don't Overlook Factory Workshops

When guides mention Workshops, it doesn't really sound that interesting at first; but don't overlook the opportunities to see crafts and local products being made by hand. You do not have to buy them of course. Above you will see a rug workshop where they are all made by hand. I think it is amazing that they can make these rugs using just a photo or drawing to make each rug individually. I have several in my home and they wear like iron. The other photo is a small workshop that makes leather products. I sketched out a shoulder bag that I wanted made for a day bag to carry my cameras, water and snacks in during the day. The young man made some suggested additions and I picked out the leather and color that I wanted. I came back in three hours and it was all finished. The quality and workmanship is excellent and only cost me $22 U.S. There are many large workshops as well as local small ones that craft many different products including pottery, rugs, clothing, cloisonne, furniture, jewelry, jade and the list goes on. Ask your guide to give you some suggestions and I am sure they will be able to give you ideas. One of my favorite places for seeing and buying hand made crafts is LiJiang Old Town north of Kunming. As a tour operator I go to China often and will be spending four days in LiJiang and I am sure to find some special gifts to bring home for Christmas too. For more ideas contact us at

Biking in China

There are many places to go biking in China; however Yangshuo area outside of Guilin is my favorite because of the scenery and the town. You can take the Li River Day Cruise from Guilin to the small town of Yangshuo set amongst the haystack like hills surrounding it and along the Li River. There are flat roads and trails to ride and you really will get the feeling of being out in rural China amongst the locals. It does help to have a guide with you and there are many local guides who speak excellent English and can translate and show you the places to visit. Bikes rent for about $2 to $3 U.S. per day. You can also hike in this area as well as go on a motorized rickshaw ride if you do not want to go biking. Guide costs vary depending on the length of day. The shirt I have on I picked out because the Chinese characters seemed actually says, "I have No Money". Great to ward off the sellers and got many chuckles from the locals who thought I didn't know what it said. As a Tour Operator to China for over 25+ years, I still like to take time out to enjoy myself with a day of fun now and then. For more information and details on Travel in China and specialty customized tours to your interests, contact us at Our web site is at