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 interlak@eskimo.com

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 interlak@eskimo.com     My friends refer to me as ChinaDave  .

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 interlak@eskimo.com

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. CIBT.com    For more information contact me at interlak@eskimo.com
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 www.interlakechinatours.com 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.)