As a tour operator to China, I must keep up on all the news and changes going on in China. Besides my annual trips to China for inspections and seeing the changes, I read everything I can and watch web sites that keep me informed. China National Tourist Office is one source you will find interesting and you can order maps, brochures and other information for free. I faithfully read one special magazine called “CHINA TODAY” which is published here in the U.S. in full color. What is happening in China and especially tourist information is all included. You see here one issue on the changing childhood in the cities and how the “one child policy” has fared over the years. Even the education system is changing to reflect the needs of dealing with the modern world. The monthly magazine costs about $34 per year post paid. You can order it from the Cypress Book Company, Subscription Dept. 360 Swift Ave. Suite 48 South San Francisco, CA. 94080-9838. Insights to modern China are written about each month along with many cultural sites in China opening up to tourism now. For more information contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I am known by my friends as “ChinaDave”.
As a China Tour Operator for the past 25 years, I often receive inquiries from people wanting to visit culturally rural China to see areas outside of the large cities and major sites. Usually I recommend south central China with Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces being the favorite places as it has so much to offer in a compact area. There are over 57 minority peoples in China each with their own customs and unique dress. Many of these are located in these three provinces although there are others. Sanjiang pictured here is about 100 kms. north west of Guilin in Guangxi Zhuang region, and very typical of a minority group called the Dong people who settled this area over 1000 years ago.
Other nationalities you can visit in this area are Miao, Yao, Zhuang and Han. This to me is the real China of the past far from the large busy modern cities. Sichuan province to the north is the most populated province with over 100 million people in it; however some of the most remote villages are also located here that have changed little in hundreds of years. I plan personal customized tour itineraries for my clients so that they see and experience their personal interests. Group tours seldom if ever visit these areas and they will never be crowded. You are may have your own personal visit and often be able to visit people in their homes when accompanied by a guide who can translate for you. I hope I can do a personal tour for you…check my web site at www.interlakechinatours.com
As a Tour Operator to China only, I send a Profile sheet to each Inquiry asking them to list some information on their personal interests, way they like to tour, level of hotels, etc. etc. After I receive it back from them, I develop an outline of cities and number of days for them to tour based on their input. Many are looking for the ancient culture of China with such spots as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terra Cotta Warriors etc. Few ever ask about MODERN China. Of course you need to see all the cultural sights but don’t overlook some of the modern sights and experiences of China.
Here you see the modern engine of the Fast Train that runs from Beijing to Shanghai in as little as four hours. In the past it took 12 hours by regular train and only went at night since leaving during the day made arrivals in the middle of the night inconvenient. Part of your tour should include one of the new fast trains that routes are being added every year. Going from Beijing to Xian by train was only available by night trains as it also takes 12 hours so you would see nothing on the way. Now the new fast trains are available for day time trips where you can see the countryside as you go. I took a fast train this past year from Chengdu to Chongqing and it was unbelievably smooth with no clicking of the tracks and only took 2.5 hours. There is no longer air service between some of the closer cities today because the trains are so fast and convenient going from center or each city eliminating airport transfers too. The only negative is that stations are very busy and crowded; however the experience is well worth the time. If you want another train experience going 285 mph. there is the train from Shanghai to the airport. It takes one hour + by taxi or bus…but only 7 minutes by the MagLev train. And top speed is reached for only 2.75 minutes of that trip as it takes time to get up to speed and time to slow down on arrival.