How Do I Plan A Trip to China?

China is the size of the U.S. in square miles; so think in those terms when planning a trip to China. Questions to ask yourself: 1. What are my interests? 2. How much time do I have to tour? 3. What budget should I set? All good questions as you can not see everything so you should plan to see what interests you. The average person goes for about 17 to 19 days. If you only go once in your lifetime a good basic introduction to China is Beijing, Xian, Guilin and Shanghai and maybe even a Yangtze River Cruise squeezed in. That gives you a fairly good idea about China. People going a second time might consider LiJiang, Chengdu, Lhasa, and the Silk Road up through the Northwest part of China. For national parks, historical or more remote interesting areas, you should use an experienced tour planner who is more familiar with China and can help you plan to your specific interests and needs. I teach a one session class on Touring China each quarter here in Seattle and many realize how complex China can be as well as being very different from one area to the next. Reading up to date travel books, checking the internet and viewing Forums such as Frommers and the Lonely Planet web sites will be even more beneficial. Just make sure you plan early as China really is not a last minute “Let’s Go” kind of country. With 1.3 billion people travel can be difficult at best without help. Check my web site for more information: We have been doing China and Tibet only for over 25 years. Tours to China is my business but the Culture is my passion.
Click on the photos for a full screen view!

Visiting MInority Peoples in China

China has over 57 different minority peoples in China. Each has their own cultural ways and dress. The Han people consist of the majority or over 85% of the people in China. Above you see the Zhrung women sewing. The women all wear their hair in the same style as reflective of their culture. The Mosuo people seen rowing a dug out boat live around a fairy tale like lake called Lugu Lake about 7 hours drive from LiJiang in Yunnan province. The majority of the minority peoples live in south central China in Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces. Tours can be arranged to visit many of the minority peoples in their villages to see how they live and learn about them. Sadly many of the young people are leaving the villages and going to the large cities shedding their native dress and culture. There are still many remote areas however where you can visit and learn about each one and I continue to visit these areas myself. I will write later about some of the unique customs of individual cultures such as the Hani people who when they marry, the man retires or one culture where the women only cut their hair once in their life time and then wrap it up in a large bun on top of their heads which I wrote about earlier. Click on the photos for a full screen view.

Hotel Reviews on the Internet

As a Tour Operator to China for the past 25 years, I have made over 50 trips myself working with local Chinese associate partners. I review sites, restaurants, hotels, shows, and transportation throughout China. Hotel reviews seem to be the most common interest for most people. What is happening is that some hotels are being given bad reviews which they do not deserve and some are given reviews better than they should be. Competitors often are paying people to give poor reviews on certain popular hotels in hopes of driving them to their hotels by giving very positive reviews on their own hotels. Your best advice comes from a knowledgeable tour operator or travel agency with first hand knowledge. Hotels are rated with stars however China hotels are often not always representative of international standards. Always look for a central location near sites you can walk to. There are often 5 level of prices in each hotel. Prices sometimes include the 15% service charges, breakfast and taxes and sometimes they are not included and there may be a surprise on checking out. Your China Specialist Tour Operator will know your best choices according to your needs and requirements. Do not be fooled by names that sound like familiar hotels such as Sofitel and Sofital. They are not the same. For more information please contact us at