China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

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

Visiting Naxi and Yi People

When taking a tour to China, one needs to get out of the large cities and into the countryside to see the real China. Above you will see examples of Yi and Naxi people in remote villages outside of LiJiang which is in Yunnan province. Having a guide with you allows you to visit with the locals and be able to see how they live and work. It is normal to be able to visit their homes and chat with them over a cup of tea. They are often as interested in you as you are in them. I made a house call with a veterinarian who was passing by on his bicycle and found it very interesting talking to him and the farmer while he was tending to the farmer's Yak and horse

. There are many opportunities learn about China and to visit local people in the countryside with a guide. These opportunities often become the highlight of your tour with good memories. Tours to China is my business but I often never think I am working but enjoying the fruits of my labor as well.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Monastery at LiJiang

If you will be going to LiJiang you do not want to miss seeing the new Monastery that will be finished soon. The old one which is over 200 years old is at the bottom of the hill. The artists and painters were still working on it when I visited it this past November. The artwork inside is fantastic and I watched as the lead artist drew the outline for the painters to fill in. This is about an hour and a half from LiJiang overlooking a beautiful lake. Near by are villages of Naxi and Yi people as they live their daily lives which you can visit without a flood

of tourists. I visited several homes with a local friend of mine that grew up in the Naxi village but lives in LiJiang. I also made a house call with a local doctor who was giving shots to some water buffalo and played with a new born who was only two weeks old. Tours to China is my business but sometimes I think I also have too much fun and experiences to call it work.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Xuankong Si - The Hanging Monastery

Just 50 miles south of Datong is the Hanging Monastery dating back over 1,400 years. It is held up by poles driven into the cliff as well as being supported from below. It can all be toured although no monks have occupied it for several years. I have included it in my packaged tour which I call the Ancient Capitals tour but can be included in any private custom tour too. Between Datong and Taiyuan there are many sites to stop and visit such as the largest Wooden Pagoda in China, caves that people live in yet today, villages built semi-under ground, mansions once lived in by rich land owners and now open to the public as museums and much more. This is an itinerary that starts in Beijing, goes to Datong, Taiyuan, Pingyao, into Xian and over to Luoyang before going back to Beijing or on to Shanghai. Tours to China has been my business and passion for 25 years exploring and visiting the remote corners of this culture rich country.