China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Huangshan Mountain

There are many places in China that are interesting to spend a few days in remote areas.  One of the best ones I know is Huangshan mountain in southeast China.  A cable car is needed to get up on the mountain although avid hikers do climb it.  There are many hiking paths across the top of the mountain and wonderful small hotels scattered here and there.  One of the favorite things people enjoy doing is getting up early in the morning to watch the sun come up as well as a setting sun in the evening.  For those cool nights or mornings many hotels furnish warm jackets for you to wear.  It is a favorite honeymoon spot too.  Note the many locks attached to the chain barrier.  It is the custom for young couples to bring a lock and two keys on their honeymoon.  They make a pact to stay together the rest of their lives, putting the lock onto the chain and then each throws a key over the edge.  A wonderful custom and you will see thousands of locks just like this.

It should be noted however that hotels on the mountain are very expensive as it is a National Park and hotels are owned by the government.  For more interesting places to visit contact us at   Our 25 years travel experience can help you find those special places like Huashan mountain near Xian too.  Check our web site at   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shaoling Temple Monks

For those interested in Kung Fu, the best place to visit is the Shaoling Temple in the countryside between

Luoyang and Zhengzhou.  This is the home of the famous Shaoling Monks known for the ancient art of KungFu.   It has become a bit touristy in the later years since it is so popular and well known, but still it is the Mecca of KungFu.  Besides seeing the Monks at prayer chanting you will be able to visit the several temples there and the building where they have a demonstration of their Kungfu abilities.  Here you see one of the leading monks with a bowl being held by the Monk's stomach muscle.   He challenges anyone present to try and remove it from him.  As I was the only foreigner that day, everyone wanted me to try and do it.  I observed that he was perspiring a bit so knew that his skin would be moist and that perhaps rather than try to pull it off, I could twist it until his skin actually released it.  That indeed is what happened to the astonishment of the people and the other monks as it had never been done before.  I still have the bowl as he presented it to me in humility and bowing.  Click on the photos for full screen viewing.  

Monday, December 17, 2012


Would you believe a Red Panda?  Yes, there is a very rare Red Panda shown here along with a black and white Panda that we are all familiar with for years.  The Red Panda looks like a raccoon but acts just like the Panda it is with their Panda walk toes pointed inward a bit.  You can see these at the Chengdu Panda Experiment Station just outside of Chengdu in a modern up to date facility.  After the earthquake a few years ago the Panda Preserve was destroyed; however it is being rebuilt and should be ready for visitors in 2013 or early 2014.   Pandas are China and I have many requests from clients to visit the home of Chinese Pandas each year.   I try to coordinate a trip to Chengdu as there are many other interesting sites in Sichuan province too like the Leshan Buddha, Juizhaigou National Park, and what I like to call the Real China with so many interesting villages, towns and mountains with Tibetan people living there.  

Weifang Kite Festival

Many people ask me to try and put one Festival into their itineraries when I help plan their tours.  This isn't always easy to coordinate dates with a Festival as they sometimes change dates each year.  One of those that doesn't and I like very much is the International  Weifang Kite Festival held the same days every year at the end of April.  Weifang is south of Beijing and has one flight a day but excellent train service.  Here is a photo of the International Kite Museum in which one of my kites is on display.  I flew my kite on the Flying Field during the Festival and they have it on display at the Museum.   Weifang is where Chinese kites were first flown several hundred years ago.  They still make kites there by hand which you may buy not far from the original Flying Field where kites were first flown.  The Opening to the Festival is held in a stadium with a performance lasting two hours and a closing Fireworks Show like you have never seen before.  The next day Kite enthusiasts from all over the world fly kites on the Flying Field usually hand made by clubs with some as big as a bus and of course a long Dragon Kite as long as a football field.   Among the many festivals in China this is one of my favorites.  You might Google it for more details or contact me at

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tea Houses of China

I love to visit Chinese Tea Houses especially if they are unique and different than the modern ones.  Here is the 270 year old Tea House on the Crooked Bridge leading into the Yu Garden in Shanghai.   Be sure to stop in and check it out.  Tea is not inexpensive but worth the time to absorb the atmosphere of a traditional old tea house.  For something different you might try the special "Tea Balls" in different flavors.  About the size of a large marble they are dropped into hot water and slowly open up to become a beautiful flower in your glass cup.  The tea is good too.  Another tea house I like is the QianTang Cha Ren in Suzhou outside of Shanghai.   It is very traditional with many antiques and you may sit on the floor in your own private room if you like also.  Many snacks are served with tea that you order yourselves.  The atmosphere is very special as well and you feel like you are in old China.  China is famous for tea and Suzhou is the Tea capital besides Hangzhou.  The say a gift of tea is a "Gift of Life".   I hope you find a special tea house too when you visit China.  Click on the photo for a full screen size view.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pandas in China

Wolong Panda Preserve was destroyed by a a very large earthquake 7 years ago.  They are rebuilding it but the latest information has it that it will not be completed until late 2014.  Meanwhile it is fortunate that the Panda Experiment Station was updated just shortly before that and is located just outside of Chengdu in Sichuan province.  The photo here is of me at Wolong just before the earthquake playing with 2 year old Pandas.  At the Experiment Station you can have your photo taken with a young Panda with a donation of about $100. for a few minutes to handle if you are able and to have photos taken with them.  They do have large claws however they are like playing with young children who squirm and have a bounty of Energy.  It is best to visit the Pandas in the mornings as they usually sleep all afternoon and are less active.

For more information on visiting the Pandas, contact me at    I own Interlake China Tours Inc. of Seattle and have worked in China for the past 25 years in the tour business doing private personal or private group tours to your specific interests. Our web site is
Click on the photo for a full screen view.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tibet Permit Rules

Tibet Permit requirements presently are that only groups of 5 people or more will be issued permits to enter Tibet.  They must all be from the same country.  This new rule while put in place this past year of 2012 may change in the future but for now that is what is required.   You must supply a copy of your passport, along with your occupation, birth date and itinerary.  Your travel service or tour operator will help you with this.

During the month of March in the past Tibet has been closed to all foreigners and we expect that to be the same again this year.  If this changes I will post any new regulation or requirements on my blog as soon as they become available.  Check my web site for tours of Tibet.   

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Visiting Minority Peoples in China

The majority of Chinese people are Han Chinese comprising over 90%+ of all Chinese people. The rest belong to 57 different minority groups and many sub groups. The most diverse groups live in South China and especially Yunnan province where it is easy to visit many different groups in one province. Here you see Mosuo women dancing at Lugu Lake near LiJiang. They live around a beautiful lake high in the mountains and do not marry. The Zhrung and Yeo people, with some shown here with their long hair that they cut only once in their lifetime, can be visited outside of Guilin near the rice terraces of Longsheng. The Tibetan man singing is from the area of Shangrila high up in the mountains in northwest Yunnan a half day's drive from LiJiang or a short flight from Kunming. Each minority group has their own dress and customs some of which are very unusual to us. The Hani men retire when they get married and the women do all the work and earn the family income. If there is a divorce later however the women gets everything and the man gets the clothes on his back. I am sure he treats her well! An extra week of travel in China for this area will be very interesting or as a second or third trip to China you may spend more time in this unique area. Xishuangbanna in the very south of Yunnan province is semi-tropical and has the only airport in southern Yunnan. Botanical Gardens and 13 minority peoples live in this area which is also a good place to visit during the late Fall, winter or early spring. For more information on the Minority peoples of China let us hear from you. Email us at

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Visiting Villages in China

When visiting China it is often difficult to decide what you want to see in the few weeks you may have to tour the country. China is as large as the U.S. A private tour put together by a specialist in China is the best method and can often be less expensive than a group standard tour. Of course most want to see the popular sights such as the Forbidden City, Great Wall, Terra Cotta Warriors and others. These are located in the large cities but many people want to also see the traditional sights of China but do not know where to go. Small villages are the best places to see the real China such as the photos here taken by a young person on her recent trip to China with her mother. She visited this village where she was adopted from. I like to select villages to visit based on three types. 1. Villages that cater to tourists with shops. 2. Villages that have shops but with products for local people's needs    3. Villages with no shops but interesting to see as they go about during their daily lives. I have such places that I have visited over the past 25 years and send my clients to these according to their interests. Even short visits perhaps only to Beijing, Xian and Shanghai; there are interesting villages not far from Shanghai that you can visit in one day. For more information on visiting China continue to read my blog as I try to write often keeping readers informed of the latest travel information on ever changing  China.

  I am always glad to answer questions or help and you may contact me at     My friends refer to me as ChinaDave  .

Friday, August 17, 2012

Buying A Train Ticket in China

For tourists it can be confusing to buy a train ticket while in China as the policies have changed with the addition of the new FAST trains. Prior to this year one could only buy a train ticket 4 days in advance of the departure and then only from the city you were in to your next destination. You could not buy tickets for your entire trip from one location. This has all changed now but still not uniform in all cities. Here is a direct quote from my Chinese Associate Partners when asked about purchasing train tickets in China. "Most train tickets can be purchased 10 to 12 days in advance EXCEPT during the Chinese New Year season when the tickets are sold only 5 to 7 days in advance. Each city may have a different policy. One can buy tickets for most cities ONLY on the internet or by telephone but not at the ticket offices or agents. For the new FAST trains one must show their ID card or passport to get the tickets since the railway launched a REAL-NAME SYSTEM. For some very popular destinations, train tickets can be difficult to purchase through the normal channels." Confusing? Yes, even the Chinese public is often confused. One of the real reasons is to help stop the "Scalping" of tickets which has been the case often with popular routes especially the Fast trains in which Chinese businessmen will pay to get those tickets at the last minute. For tours we are able to buy tickets for tours without any problems in advance as tourists are important to their economy. For more up to date information contact us at

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Visa Regulations for China

The Visa requirements for entering China changed as of August 1st of 2012. New documents must be obtained from your tour operator either in your country or in China as well as your international air carrier. You can down load a visa application and instructions from many sources. I use CIBT Visa Service for my clients.    For more information contact me at
My friends call me "ChinaDave" I am always glad to share information on travel in China having traveled all through China for the past 25 years and 50+ trips and been in the tour business for 20+ years. My web site is My specialty is doing Private Custom Tours for individuals as well as Custom Tours for Groups with Special Interests.   A special permit is needed to enter Tibert and a good tour company obtains this for you in advance.  For more details contact me also. Policies change from time to time and need to be checked before you apply for your visa. I can send you the visa kit with the forms and instructions via email at no cost if you contact me giving me your email address and state in which you live. (applications go to 5 different places in the U.S.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chinese Embroidery

China is full of beautiful art and so much to choose from including traditional Embroidery which slowly is becoming a lost art. Many embroideries are now made by computerized machines still beautiful in many cases but seldom original or handmade. In the countryside as well as some large cities you can still find women making embroidery pieces by hand without patterns to follow. Pictured here is a hand made silk embroidery that I purchased in a remote village of China outside of LiJiang.  It is a family venture for a few of the women in their home. One piece I saw was 10 feet wide and 5 feet high commissioned by a hotel. It took 6 people 3 years to make it. The piece shown here took the woman almost three months to make this piece so you can see why the art is becoming rare. She had hundreds of silk threads that they dyed themselves with a fantastic array of colors. When a light is shined on it the colors jump out at you as if they were alive. There is also the two sided embroidery that can be seen at the Embroidery Institute in Suzhou outside of Shanghai. They embroider both sides at one time making the same pattern on both sides at the same time. It takes six years of learning to do this type of embroidery and of course is very expensive. For more traditional Chinese art continue to read my blog as well as earlier stories that I have written. I continue to visit China year after year having made over 50 trips in 25 years and never fail to find new art to bring home.  Click on the photo for a full screen view!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Taking Gifts to China

Clients are always asking me about what gifts to take with them to China. It all depends on the circumstances. Gifts for hosts are different from gifts for guides or for children. A gift for a host family or friends should be useful and fairly inexpensive as your host or friend may be obligated to return the favor with like value. Perhaps something that represents your area and should be something useful rather than decorative. Be careful that it may read somewhere on it that it is 'Made in China" like so many products these days. For children wrapped candy is good but should be something from your country and not available in China like from the U.S. Tootsie Rolls and fruit Life Savors are well received. For guides or service people, I like to use the new U.S. $1.00 gold colored coins. Gold is symbol of wealth and many Chinese are avid collectors of coins. Otherwise pens, caps with your local baseball or football team emblem on it and other small items are good too. DO NOT give anything that cuts like knives, scissors, razor blades etc. That is a symbol of wanting to cut the relationship off. Do not give any watches or anything that keeps it is a symbol for a short life. When wrapping it in paper, make sure it is either red or gold paper. Red is the symbol of Good Luck and gold is the symbol of Wealth. Never wrap anything in white paper as it is the symbol for death. Many Chinese are superstitious so it is wise to think of this when purchasing gifts. For more information on travel in China read other blog stories or contact us at

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Laundry in China

As a Tour Operator to China going into my 25th year, I am asked many questions before clients leave on their tour. Although I have a very large tour packet of information I am also glad to answer specific questions. Laundry is covered in the packet but I still get many questions about it. In the cities with most hotels, there is a laundry list in your hotel. Laundry generally left in the morning is returned by evening. Special fast service is available at a 50% additional charge. Laundromats as we know them are almost non-existent. Prices can be expensive and are generally more in 4 and 5 star hotels. A pair of jeans can be as much as $5. Socks, underwear and other small items can often be washed in your room and hung up to dry. Synthetic materials dry much faster than cotton. Synthetic shirts, pants and skirts can be washed, rung out and rolled up in a towel to absorb water and later hung up and are often dry by morning. For more money saving tips, contact us for your specific interests.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Where Have All the Bicycles Gone?

These photos are from a by gone past just 15 years ago.   Today, the millions of bicycles that we use to see are now mostly replaced by cars as well as millions of motor scooters and motorized bikes that we refer to as Mopeds. Someone riding a bicycle in Beijing is now rare. I walked 5 blocks down a main street in Beijing and only counted 5 pedal bicycles this past year, where one just 15 years ago could have counted hundreds. Gone are the bike parking areas like you see here replaced by scooter parking lots. More Pollution? Probably but most of them are run by battery.  When the battery starts to wear down they just pull into a station and swap it out for a charged one.  One can lease a battery rather than needing to buy one and there is no charging time.  Pictured here is an old bike from the 1980's which could have been bought for just $12 U.S. back then as one of the standard means of transportation. Be Warned however, the battery operated scooters and Mopeds run silent and one needs to watch out when crossing streets.   For more information on Travel in China contact me via email at   This year will be my 25th year of travel in China and over 50+ trips through out the country as a Tour Operator to China and Tibet.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Which One is Your Buddha?

In China you will always find something interesting including some Temples.  The Temple here was a new one I discovered in the countryside one day.  The Temple is round and contains statues of over 100 Buddhas.  There are four entrances to the Temple.  The idea is that you may go in any entrance that you wish.  You then turn to the right and then start counting  Buddhas until you get to your age and that is your Buddha.  Being a bit heavy at 230 lbs, the Buddha at my age is pictured here and was quite realistic and my Chinese friends had a good laugh about it with me.  A well planned tour can give you many experiences and wonderful memories of a visit to China.   We have been doing tours to China for almost 25 years and I personally work with my local Chinese associate partners developing great tours and checking sights and hotels to insure excellent tours to my customers needs and wants.   Check out our web site at    Private customized tours to your interests are our specialty.  You may only go to China once in your life so you might as well see what you are interested in since you can't see everything in just one trip.  Over 25% of our customers go back again and we hope you will be one of them.  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

China Tour Prices

I teach a class here in Seattle on Saturdays one day a quarter on Travel in China.  As a tour operator I understand how difficult it is to compare tours and find out which one is the best value as well as a good tour.  Travel is expensive today so most people want to compare tours but many people really do not understand the difference in costs.  Hotels in the central area are best for tourists so they can freely walk around and see sights during their free time.  Some tour companies put people either in the suburbs or neighborhoods outside the central area which are cheaper but very inconvenient as you must take a taxi every time you want to leave.  The cost difference and time spent is not worth the savings but it makes the tour company look good with the lower cost. The best way to compare tours is contacting the tour company and asking for a reference list of former customers so you can get an independent assessment of their tours.  You get what you pay for in China.  There are deluxe tours and budget tours and your budget needs to be met as well.  5 star hotels have a wide range in China in costs.  The best values are 4 star hotels.  Within the hotels there are rooms usually at 4 or 5 different levels in cost.  Tour operators generally book the cheapest of course unless you are on a private tour and request a Superior or Deluxe room.  For more information contact us with your questions.  We are always glad to give you advice whether you are a customer or not.  Email me at     Our web site is   Our 25th Year of China only.

Monday, May 28, 2012

China Today Magazine

The Visa requirements for entering China just changed August 1st of 2012. New documents must be obtained from your tour operator either in your country or in China as well as your international air carrier. You can down load a visa application and instructions from many sources. I use CIBT Visa Service for my clients. For more information contact me at
My friends call me "ChinaDave" I am always glad to share information on travel in China having traveled all through China for the past 24 years and 50+ trips and been in the tour business for
20+ years. My web site is My specialty is doing Private Custom Tours for individuals as well as Custom Tours for Groups with Special Interests. There are new requirements for entering Tibet now too. You must be in a group of 5 or more people from the same country   For more details contact me also. Policies change from time to time so these may not stick and need to be checked before you apply for your visa. I can send you the visa kit with the forms and instructions via email at no cost if you contact me giving me your email address and state in which you live. (applications go to 5 different places in the U.S.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Boutique Hotels in China

Hotels seem to be the main concern of clients going to China. Some people ask for quaint Chinese traditional Boutique Hotels. Expectations can vary. Although there are few, more and more of these boutique hotels are becoming available depending on the area. Prices vary widely from inexpensive to over $500 per night. The one here is one I stayed at in a quiet area of LiJiang. Called the Bloosom Hotel (they have two)One has been built new and the other one shown here that I stayed in was remodeled from an old traditional guest house. Cost during November was $125 per night.  One thing you need to know is that many do not have heat for the colder seasons. They supply an electric heating pad under the mattress pad.

I requested an electric space heater and I think because I am a tour operator they filled my request. Modern bath facilities are normal however do not always expect them in remote areas.  Great facilities with a common t.v. lounge, library and open air court yard, and email available. Breakfasts were basic but very good. For more information on hotels, contact me anytime.   Click on the photos for full screen viewing

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mosuo Weaving in LiJiang

When in China you can find many unique products to bring home. One of them shown here are the wrap around scarves made by the Mosuo women of Lugu Lake.
These special patterns are woven as you see by the woman and either made in many shops or brought into the tourist town of LiJiang which is north of Kunming. LiJiang at 6000 feet above sea level is one of my favorite Old Towns to spend a few days of relaxing and shopping especially during the hot summer months. The Old Town area of LiJiang has many local shops where you can see products being made by hand such as leather ware, art, jewelry, hand made paper, clothing and many other products. If your tour does not include LiJiang we would be glad to do an extension  tour for you to include this area and others of interest to you. Our 25 years of experience and travel in China to the far corners of the country is our long suit in doing specialty tours to your interests and needs. Click on the photos for full screen views.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Visiting the Countryside in China

Probably one of the most interesting times I have had in China have been visiting with the locals in remote areas. I call those areas the Real China.
Rural life in China is very quiet, restful and at the same time a great learning experience not only of Life in China but the people of China. With over 57 different nationalities, each has their own language, customs and dress. Outside of LiJiang in the Naxi and Yi villages one can see not only how they live but their way of making a living from day to day. It is common to ask to visit a home or chat with the locals at a local cafe at lunch time or just over a cup of tea. Having a good local guide like Ms. Li that I have used in LiJiang and who is a Naxi lady, makes it much easier to converse and to experience the culture of the local people. When taking a tour to China be sure to spend at least one day at leisure relaxing in the countryside. Each trip I plan for myself, I spend at least 3 days with the local people in whatever area I am working.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Encountering the Chinese - A Must Read!

Before going to China your reading materials should include this book brought up to date in 2010. "Encountering the Chinese" is the best book I have found in helping to understand the differences in our cultures and how to deal with those differences in social, business, political and educational atmospheres. As a tour operator I try to keep copies on hand for clients who desire more information on this ever changing culture. For anyone going to China to teach, this is a Must Read Book. For anyone who will be working with Chinese people directly or part of a delegation, again this is a must read. For those who are just interested in the social aspects of Chinese culture it is an eye opener of what you can expect. Large coastal cities in the past 15 years have been exposed to western people much more than inland cities and countryside people. If you can not find a copy, I try to keep 50 copies on hand and will send them out at $25 post paid as long as I have stock. Tours to China is my business but the Chinese culture continues to intrigue me for the past 25 years that I have been traveling throughout China with over 50 trips.
Interlake China Tours, Inc. P.O. Box 33652 Seattle, WA. 98133

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Where to Visit the Great Wall

There are several places in which to visit the Great Wall near Beijing. Badaling section is where the large group tours go to because there is a freeway out to it and is the closest section to Beijing. It is also the most crowded with usually 60 to 70 buses in the parking lot. Simatai section is where the avid hikers go to hike from Jinshanling to Simatai sections but is a bit difficult and not for strolling on the wall. Going from Huanghua to Zhuangdaokou Guar is a 3 hour loop is quite wild with lots of unrepaired sections. My choice for a nice hike or walk on the Wall is the Mutianyu section shown here. Usually no buses and has a cable car to take you up onto the Wall. The view here is to the left once you are on the Wall and if you go about 100 yards out, you will probably be alone since few people hike out that far. It is fairly level until you get to a section that is quite steep

where the Wall has been left as it was found. Tours to China is my business and the Great Wall is one of those MUST SEE sights to be included in all tours.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Temples and Churches in China

Like churches in Europe there are many temples of all kinds in China. One of the best ones I like is the Lama Temple in Beijing. It is close to the central part of the city and extremely interesting with a 5 story tall Buddha carved from one Tree Trunk and the temple built over it. It is an active temple with many monks and prayer time is interesting usually in the late afternoon. It was so important that Chou EnLi had it protected during the Cultural Revolution so it is kept in tact. Yes, there are churches in China as well and worth a visit too. On Wangfujing street there is a church with services in the early morning and many other churches and Cathedrals throughout the country with interesting history behind each one. The Jewish section of Shanghai and Ohel Moishe Synagogue are often visited and tours can be conducdted in English or Hebrew. For more information contact us at Tours to China for over 20 years.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ms. Li, A Naxi Guide in Beautiful LiJiang

Now and then I find a special local guide that I like to use not only for myself but for my clients who really want to get into the culture. Ms. Li is such a guide in LiJiang city north of Kunming in the mountains. Her and I went out to the remote Naxi and Yi people's villages this past November. Li is a Naxi minority person who was born in one of the villages that we visited. No western tourists were there and all was around a beautiful lake some distance from LiJiang. Li speaks very good English, chinese and of course the Naxi and Yi languages. We visited several homes, a farm where a vet was giving the animals their shots, and a wonderful new Monastery where we saw the artists painting fantastic scenes on the walls. For lunch we ate at a local restaurant where Li cooked a nice hot pot lunch herself on a Naxi traditional Hot Pot stove. I like clients to be able to have experiences like this and Li has been a great provider of same. For great Tours To China, I plan customized tours to your interests

and needs and have all over China and Tibet for the past 25 years.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Shortest Air Flights to China from the U.S.

Many people think that they have to fly across the ocean to China from the U.S. Would you believe the shortest route is actually over land? Look at the maps or a globe and you will note that it is a straight line from Seattle to Beijing. Up the coast of Canada, Alaska, over Siberia and into Beijing. Hainan Airlines flies that route in just 11 hours flat from Seattle to Beijing. There are low priced international connection rates also from most U.S. cities to Seattle that connect with the international flight. You can return from Shanghai or Hong Kong also going through Beijing that can be included in your international ticket back to your city. Start your tour to China with a total China Experience with Great Service and Great Food on Hainan Airlines...and Interlake China Tours with 25 years experience in travel to China with great tours. Let us do a customized tour to your interests and needs.  Click on the map for full size screen!.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Art Work in China

As I travel through China I am always looking for the unique and interesting things to bring home. Chinese people do fantastic detailed art in many medias. One of them is Embroidery. You can

find many pieces of hand embroidery in China but there is a difference. Some are done my machine and programed. Others are done in workshops and more production oriented. Others such as the one here are done by real artists in their homes. The difference is in the details. There is an Embroidery institute in Suzhou outside of Shanghai where it is specialized in doing two sided pieces with the same design. The one here was done in a small village outside of LiJiang north of Kunming. The woman took several months to do this one using silk threads that are extemely fine and are dyed with local natural colors. The shading of the flower is fantastic and it all pops out and shines with lighting on it too. I love finding special art pieces in China for our home and I hope I can do a tour for you as well that includes finding special pieces for your home. Tours to China is my business and this ancient culture has become my passion for over 25 years.
 Click on the photo for full screen!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eating at a Local People's Restaurant

When clients come to me to do their China tours, I often hear "I don't want to eat in restaurants for the tourists. I want to eat where the local people eat and not have to be looking across the room at so many westerners". I know what they are thinking about with those quaint little places; but the reality is the photos here are typical local restaurants these days. There are still some of the old restaurants around but one needs to be careful about cleanliness and your health. My last trip when I was working I only wanted to eat in typical local restaurants and the photos are just that. In the countryside or rural areas of course there are some very simple restaurants too which may or may not be very clean, smoky and noisy. However in the larger cities these photos are examples of some normal local restaurants but still very noisy which is normal in China. I was always the only western person and yes the food was excellent. Lunches and dinners are quite large in China but of course you can order less food if you like too. I usually like a bowl of noodles with chicken or beef and perhaps some dumplings but still cost will be about $8 to $10 on average. They now charge for tea also which was always free before. You get what you pay for in China. You pay a lot of money to get there so to insure a good tour a good plan needs to be made. I will be glad to plan a tour to your interests, needs and budget. Tours to China has been my business for 25 years.

for over 20+ years.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Water Towns of China Near Shanghai

People who are only able to spend a short time in China and do the usual Beijing, Xian and Shanghai tour are missing the rural areas of what I call the Real China. If that is all the time you have, then perhaps you might take one more day or even two and go out to the water towns a short distance from Shanghai. These small towns or villages were the summer homes of the Shanghai Officials the Qing Dynasty and the hot months of summer . Pictured here is just one town with canals, small restaurants with local food, local shops, arched bridges and boats being polled down the canals. Pearl jewelry is very inexpensive made by the local fisherman and their families. It is a nice stop on the way to Suzhou for lunch and to enjoy the peaceful countryside

away from the large crowded cities. Durinig my 25 years of travel and over 50+ trips throughout China I still find these villages very relaxing for a couple of days before I head home to Seattle. Check out our web site at