China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Friday, March 29, 2013

And this little Piggy goes to market!

Donkey carts and horse drawn wagons etc. are mostly disappearing from the cities these days except in the rural areas.  This man I found on a motorcycle taking a very large pig to market after he killed it at home as we came into the metro area of Chengdu.  One can still see chickens and ducks being taken to market in small trucks and on occasion beef and sheep; but this was a first for me to see and I had to take a photo.

Now and then I see something that would make a good photo but do not have my camera with me.  So I now take a smaller camera with me at all  times when in China just in case I see something unusual and interesting. A few years ago we were in a small village and a passenger bus came through and on the top of the bus were wooden cages of about 200 white geese all with their long necks sticking out facing front.  Seeing those geese with their
orange beaks riding on top of a bus like they were on tour was extremely funny and I didn't have my camera.   Live and Learn!  China is a photographers paradise.  One client took over 7000 pictures and had a book made with their notes and photos of everything they saw. Photos make good memories so you can relive your adventures many times over.   Click on the photo for a full screen view!  

Thursday, March 21, 2013


 China is known for Peking Opera but unfortunately the Chinese people do not especially like it and do not support it.   The government supports it with payments to the performers who these days perform in hotels and small theaters or restaurants. If you would like samples of it, the government has performances on t.v. and you can see these in your hotel room when you are there.   The Cultural Revolution more than likely was responsible for this.  Even my Chinese friends did not want to take me to the performances so I usually went by myself.  As a Tour Operator to China for the past 25 years I must see everything myself.  For the tourists on a group tour they take you to a hotel where you see a short performance lasting 45 minutes and just a few actors on stage with no scenery but do have a sign board which gives you the translation of the singing.   I have also attended some of the small theaters one of which is pictured  here.  I love the costumes but the music can be wearing to the ears.  For the best performances of Peking Opera you will see those in a touring company in other parts of the world; but unfortunately not in Beijing.  There is a performance in Chengdu of Sichuan Opera which features the Face Changing which can be interesting but you will hear the same kind of traditional music being sung and played.  There are several other very good shows in China such as the Tang Dynasty show in Xian, a wonderful show in Dunhuang, and my favorite, the Impression Sanjie Liu near Guilin on the Li River at the town of Yangshuo with over 900 local people in it each evening during the tourist season.   For more information on entertainment and shows in China contact us at

Click on the photo for a full screen view.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hand Made Carpets From China

Hand Made carpets are one of the many things you will find throughout the Middle and Far East part of the world as a craft.  It takes a bit of education to know which are hand made and which are machine made.   Turning a carpet over and looking at the number of knots per inch is one good way to determine its value although not always.   There are many patterns which sometimes denote the country, area of that country and sometimes even particular peoples.   Patterns are often unique and special to this unique craft.  We have several carpets in our home both on the floor and hanging on the walls.  The one shown here is from Xinjiang province of West China and has a very traditional Muslim design.   Carpets can be made of different kinds of wool as well as silk.   The one shown here is silk and hangs on a stairway wall in our home.  When we walk up the stairs it is shows a dark sheen but when we come down the stairs it shows a much lighter sheen going from light to dark.  This one we purchased in the large market in Kashgar which is known all over the world as the Saturday Sunday Market displaying goods from several nearby countries.  The market is actually open 7 days a week but on week ends adds one or two additional buildings.   Best shopping however is during the week days when it is not as crowded.   For more information on Carpets, contact us at       Click on the photo for a full screen view!  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shenyang Home of the Last Emperor Pu Yi

As a Tour Operator to China for the past 25 years, I am always looking for special places to send people especially around or near by Beijing for those with limited time.  For history buffs, I checked out Shenyang where the Last Emperor Pu Yi went after he left the Forbidden City.  He was considered a puppet for the Japanese who occupied north eastern China.  The photos here are the home where he lived for a time before the revolution had him sent to prison.  If you have seen the movie  "The Last Emperor" you will know more about his banishment to Shenyang.   Besides this historical mansion you will see the Guanju and Qingning Palace, a much smaller version of the Forbidden City in Beijing built in 1637.   Few tourists tour this area not far from North Korea so there are not the large crowds of people.  This area is also more similar to China of the 1980's and '90's which has not changed much.   Click on the photos for a full screen view.