China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

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.