Archive for the ‘China Top 10’ Category

Top 10 Tourist Scams and Traps in China

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
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Tourist scams and traps follow travelers wherever they go. China is no exception in this phenomenon. China is generally a very safe place for tourists. However, while travelling in China, there are several tourist scams that visitors should be aware of. Always be careful with what you do and with who you can trust.

If you travel to Beijing in particular, you may read my another article Top 10 Tourist Scams in Beijing for more information.

“Black” Taxis

“Black” taxis don’t mean that the colors of the taxis are black, but refer to the illegal taxis or cars that can be found all over China. You may encounter them almost everywhere you need a taxi, including the airport, the city center, or around attractions.

The drivers will approach you and asking “where are you going”. They will not only overcharge you but there have been reports of tourists taken out into the middle of nowhere where several of the black taxi driver’s friend showed up and took all of the tourists belongings. Don’t even talk to these people.

Free Tour Guide

These people may found in tourist-heavy area of largest cities of China: the Bund of Shanghai, the Tian’anmen Square of Beijing, the City Wall of Xian, etc.

An attractive male or female will approach the tourist and offer to be a free tour guide. They may actually take you to a place or two, all the while learning more about you to find the best way to get your money. Just remember, there is no free lunch in the world, so don’t believe them.

Super-cheap Tours

There are always many cheap tours offer to you when you arriving at some cities of China. They will take you to shopping places and force you to buy a lot of things which you don’t want to buy, and you may spend more time at these places than at the places that you intended to visit.

What’s more, the services are not very good: dirty bus, bad lunch, for example. You should find a standard tour agency to start your tour in China.

Teahouse Scam

While you are touring in China alone, one person may starts to chat with you in fluent English. He/she is friendly to you and teaches you a lot of local customs. He/she shows you around, then brings you to a teahouse.

You order cups of teas. At the end you’re told you should pay a large amount of money for the tea. Don’t talk to them at first, or check the price of the tea you will be drinking beforehand.

Art Student Scam

Also at some big tourist destinations of China, some young people, disguised as “art student”, will approach you. Of course, they will show you the art that they have allegedly produced.

This one is usually more of a waste of your time than anything, and once you have realized that they are only selling the same “art” that you can find everywhere and that they are selling it at much higher prices, you can simply leave.

Pickpockets

Pickpockets always can be found in the major tourist sites of China. Always keep your eyes on your bags, and carry your wallets in a front pocket or a pocket inside your coat, especially in the late evening alone.

Beware of these young men and also of the ladies in whose interests they ply their trade. This is one scam where a true tour guide is very helpful, as thieves will not target tourists with a tour guide that knows how to turn them in to the police.

Vendors and Counterfeit Bills

While you are wandering around some scenic spot, a tout may asks you if you want to buy a souvenir from him/her. You like one of them, then you haggle over price. Then you found that you only have RMB1OO notes.

You give it to the seller and he/she gives you a RMB50 and some change. Later you try to use the RMB50 but others will tell you that it is fake. You should always keep small change on you to pay for little things, or learn to distinguish the real money.

Expensive Souvenirs

There are always many stalls which selling souvenirs in a ridiculous high price inside some scenic spots. These vendors always sell souvenirs to visitors, especially to foreign visitors who don’t speak Chinese.

Just don’t buy them inside these scenic spots. If you want to buy some souvenirs of some city, you can go to the markets of that city.

Child Beggars

Some children will beg for money, sometimes even grabbing onto your legs until you pay them some money in some cities of China.

There are reports that these children may have been kidnapped from other places specifically to be used for begging purposes. If you give money to child beggars, you may have the risk of getting a swarm of them. Just avoid those child beggars.

Ticket Scam

When joining a tour, or being guided at a local sightseeing spot, you may be offered a higher priced ticket, including a performance that you don’t want to watch. Always ask the price of the sight-only ticket.

Hassle-free China Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for China guided tours:

Top China Private Tours
Top China Small Group Tours
Top China Train Tour
Top China Yangtze Cruise Tour
Top China Silk Road Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Places to Visit in China
10 Fascinating Facts about China
How to Pack for your China Trip
Plugs and Sockets in China
China Tour Packages
Learning Useful Chinese Phrases for Travellers 
How to Recognise Chinese Currency

Top 10 Travel Experiences in China
10 Most Scenic Drives in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Mountains in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Grasslands in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Rivers in China
Top 10 most beautiful waterfalls in China
Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Villages in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful old towns in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Museums in China
Top 10 China Tourist Scams
Top 10 Souvenirs in China

Any questions, just drop a  line.

Top 10 Most Beautiful Old Towns in China

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
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China’s urbanization drive has produced a great number of booming towns and super cities. Urbanization has been a necessary condition for achieving sustainable development, but more and more towns and cities look alike in terms of shopping malls, public parks, buildings, etc. After traveling around, you won’t have deep impression of the these towns and cities which closely resemble each other.

To curb the urban assimilation drive, in the past 30 years great efforts have been made by the local governments at different levels to have overall city construction plans and protect traditional elements especially in the tradiional old and small towns, balancing development and protection.

These exotic and charming old towns in China have still kept their own traditions and cultures, which have attracted more and more tourists home and abroad, greatly enhancing their understanding of a real China.

The top 10 most charming old small towns here are carefully hand-picked. If you want to experience a real and genuine China, the top 10 list of the most beautiful small towns in China will offer you some guidance in planning your own China tour.

1. Pingyao Old Town 平遥古城

Location: Pingyao is a small town, about 80km southwest of Taiyuan in central Shanxi Province. Pingyao has plenty of cultural relics. The city wall was first built during the Zhou Dynasty (256 B.C.) and was expanded in 1370, the third year of the reign of Ming Emperor Hongwu. In 1997, it was listed as a World Heritage Site.

Check out the following links for more information:
Pingyao Tour
Pingyao, Bring you 2700 Years Back
Where to Stay in Pingyao
How to Visit Wang Family Courtyard

Shopping at the old town of Pingyao

Sitting on the ancient trade route between Beijing and Xi’an, Pingyao developed into a business center with the use of the nation’s earliest banks. These organizations were the first in China to use checks, and business came up in the 19th Century, when the city was the financial center of the Qing government. Pingyao is the best preserved ancient town in China.

2. Old Town of Lijiang 丽江古城

Location: Lijiang old town sits in the city of Lijiang City of Yunnan Province. Now it is a UNESCO Heritage Site. The old town has more than 800 years and was once a confluence for trade along the old tea horse road.

Check out the links below for more information:
Lijiang Yunnan Tour
Top 10 Attractions in Lijiang
The best time to visit Lijiang

Lijiang at night (Photo Credit: Yang Zongyou/Xinhuanet.com)

The Lijiang old town is famous for its orderly system of waterways and bridges. The old town of Lijiang is quite different from other ancient Chinese towns in architecture, history and the culture of its traditional residents the Naxi people.

3. Old Town of Shanhaiguan 山海关古城

The walled Shanhaiguan town was built in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) to seal off the narrow passage leading to the northeastern Manchu. The garrison town succeeded in safeguarding the country until 1644 the Chinese rebels seized Beijing and the General Wu Shangui opened the town and let the Manchurian troops to enter the country to suppress the uprising. Later the Manchu army seized the whole country and established China’s last dynasty – Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911).

“Old Dragon’s Head” in the Shanhaiguan ancient town is the eastern tip of the Great Wall of China, which was to seal off the narrow passage leading to the northeastern Manchu. Though the present town is much of a reproduction of the old , it is still a pleasant place to walk around and feel the sense of the its past histry.

Check out the following links for more information:
Beijing Beidaihe Qinhuangdao Tour
Shanhaiguan Trip
Top Attractions in Shanhaiguan

My backdrop is the”Old Dragon’s Head” .

Over 10 daily bullet trains go from Beijing ( Beijing Railway Station ) to Shanhaiguan, a 2 and half hours’ train ride. People may make a round trip to Shanhaiguan from Beijing or stay overnight in Shanhaiguan and return to Beijing next day.

4. Yangshuo Old Town 阳朔

Location: Yangshuo is located 65km the south of Guilin city in the northeast of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, south of China. The town has been 1400 years, famous for its picturesque mountains and rivers, a perfect place for holiday vacation where you forget time and experience the happiness of your vacation.

Check out the following links for more information:
Guilin Tour
Top 10 Things to Do in Guilin
Biking through Shili Scenery Gallery in Yangshuo
Impression Liu Sanjie Mega Performance in Yangshuo

Yangshuo at night

The area around Yangshou is dotted with Karst peaks and the Li river meanders its way around them. Yangshuo is the final stop on any of the cruising on Li River. You may spend a few hours here or several days to explore its neighbouring areas.

5. Zhouzhuang Water Town 周庄

Location: Zhouzhuang Water Town is located at the middle between Shanghai and Suzhou. It is an ancient town of Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province. The town abounds with rivers and lakes. Zhouzhuang boasts many cultural and historical relics.Best Travel Time: All seasons, but avoid public holidays.

Check out the following links for more information:
How to Visit Zhouzhuang
Zhouzhuang Pictures – Zhouzhuang Photo Gallery
Suzhou Tour
Shanghai Tour

Tired of the noisy world and get lost in Zhouzhuang

Regarded as “Venice of the East”, this town has the best water town preserved in China. The town has a history of over 900 years and most of houses in the town were constructed in Ming (1368-1644) or Qing Dynasties (1644-1911). The rivers and streams in Zhouzhuang pass the town and are connected by 14 stone-arch bridges constructed in Yuan (1271-1368), Ming, and Qing Dynasties.

6. Tongli Water Town 同里

Location: Tongli Town sits by the Grand Canal and the Taihu Lake, about 18 Kilometer away from Suzhou, 80 kilometer from Shanghai. It has a history of over 1000 years with very convenient transportation.

Check out the following links for more information:
How to visit Tongli Town
Suzhou Tour
Shanghai Tour

Bridges, trees, canals, boats and happy holidaymakers

Tongli is typical of the water county of South China. There are totally 5 lakes circling Tongli from both outside and inside. The town is sectioned into 15 small islands by over 10 rivers. However, the islands are linked by over 40 stone bridges of various style which were constructed in successive dynasties. Tongli is noted for her small bridges, and clear water.

7. Huizhou Old Town of She County 歙县徽州古城

Huizhou Old Town, also known as She County Old Town since Huizhou Old Town is located in the old area of She County ( Shexian County ). Under the jurisdiction of Huangshan, She County is about 27km in the northeast of Huangshan City. The ancient town is famous for its rich culture and long history and listed as one of four best preserved ancient towns in China, along with Pingyao Old Town in Shanxi, Lijiang Old Town in Yunan and Longzhong Old Town in Sichuan.

Check out the following links for more information:
She County Photography Tour
Huangshan Tour

The charming old world of the white-washed walls and black tiles

She County is representative of Hui Culture, the cradle of Peiking Opera. Shexian County (She County) is the original area of Hui merchants. She County is the main production area for the Ink and ink stone, the two treasures of the four treasures of the study. She County is also nicknamed “the county of Paifang”. Paifang is also called “pailou’, a traditional Chinese architectural archway.

8. Langzhong Old Town in Sichuan 四川阆中古城

Langzhong old town is located in the northeast of Sichuan basin, about 268 km northeast of Chengdu. Situated on the middle reach of Jialingjiang River, Langzhong old town is one of the four well preserved ancient towns in China.

Langzhou has a history of over 2300 years with well preserved flagstone streets,  black tiled roofs, temples and pavilions, and cliff carvings, constituting a unique tourist resources and culture in Langzhong.

Check out the following links for more information:
Sichuan Tour
Top 10 Places to Visit in Sichuan

Langzhong old town ( Photo: internet)

Visiting Time: suggested 1-2 day
Location:  268 km northeast of Chengdu
How to Get There
Take buses or trains from Chengdu

9. Fenghuang Old Town in Hunan 凤凰古城

Location: Fenghuang literally means “Phoenix” in Chinese, a small and old city, 145 km south to Zhangjiajie City and 50 km south to Jishou City in Hunan Province, China. Fenghuang covers an area of 1700 km with a population of 370,000.

There are the minority ethnic group, such as Miaos, Tujias. Fenghuang was described as“the most beautiful ancient city in China” by the famous writer Louis from New Zealand.

Check out the following links for more information:
Top 10 Attractions in Hunan
Hunan Tour

Fenghuang Old Town (from Internet)

Fenghuang has lots of relics and the sightseeing, the ancient city’s mountains and Tuo river, residents and establishment, temples and pavilions and so on. How to get to Fenghuang? You may first go to Zhangjiajie and connect buses to Fenghuang or you first go to Jishou and connect the buses to Fenghuang. Beijing West Station K267 12:58 / 14:53 next day.

10. Chikan Old Town in Guangdon 赤坎古镇

Location: Chikan old town is 12km away from the city center of Kaiping City, 160km southwest of Guangzhou City in Gongdong Province. The old town was first built in Qing Dynasty with a history of over 350 years. It still retains much of her charm as a flourished market town.

Check out the following links for more information:
How to Visit Kaiping Diaolou from Guangzhou
Top 10 Attractions in Guangdong
Guangdong Tour

Chikan Old Town

The Tanjiang river passes by the town with fishing boats and the western style buildings made up picturesque view for this ancient town.


Hassle-free China Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for China guided tours:

Top China Private Tours
Top China Small Group Tours
Top China Train Tour
Top China Yangtze Cruise Tour
Top China Silk Road Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Places to Visit in China
10 Fascinating Facts about China
How to Pack for your China Trip
Plugs and Sockets in China
China Tour Packages
Learning Useful Chinese Phrases for Travellers 
How to Recognise Chinese Currency

Top 10 Travel Experiences in China
10 Most Scenic Drives in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Mountains in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Grasslands in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Rivers in China
Top 10 most beautiful waterfalls in China
Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Villages in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful old towns in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Museums in China
Top 10 China Tourist Scams
Top 10 Souvenirs in China

Any questions, just drop a  line.

Top 10 Most Beautiful Villages in China

Monday, July 19th, 2021
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In the modern society, people find themselves isolated, human and nature isolated, modern and traditional isolated. But people are born with the inherent pursuit of their lost heaven in the distance by returning to the past, to the distant human society and nature – mountains, villages, fields, blue sky…

The Top 10 Most Beautiful Villages in China listed here will extend your heart and soul traveling along your dreams.

1. Hongcun Village 安徽宏村

Hongcun Village and Xidi Village are located at the foot of the southwest side of Mt. Huangshan. Wandering along these two ancient village, you will find traditional Hui-style houses, ancestral temples, academies of classical learning, stone archways, white walls and grey tiles, beautifully paned windows, projecting horse-head walls, and stone slab bridge.

Check out the following links for more information:
Hongcun Village
Best Time to Visit Huangshan
Top 10 Attractions in Huangshan
3 Day Huangshan & Hongcun Village Tour 
Huangshang Tour

Like a black and white Chinese painting scroll rolling before you.

Besides, the carving on stones, bricks and wood is the most renowned. Tourists can appreciate these exquisite carvings on door frames, lattice walls, columns and beams in the halls.

2. Cuandixia Village 北京爨底下村

Cuandixia Village is located between Shuangshitou Village and Baiyu Village under the jurisdiction of Zhaitang Town in Mentougou District in Beijing. Lying about 90km west of Beijing, Cuandinxia Village is an ancient village of over 400 years built in Ming and Qing Dynsties with an area of 5.3 square km.

Check out the following links for more information:
Cuandixia Village Photos
Cuandixia Village, Cuandixia Cun Mentougou Beijing
Beijing Cuandixia Ancient Village Day Tour

Zoom in the stone village of Cuandixia

There are about 74 courtyards with 689 rooms, most of which were built in late Qing Dynasties. Many of the local villagers, especially the young people have left the village for the development in the big cities. But there are still approxi. 29 households with 93 people living in the village. Most of the people in the village now live on the rural tourism offering accommodation and dining for the visitors.

3. Jiaju Tibetan Village in Sichuan 四川丹巴甲居藏寨

Jiaju Tibetan Village, a typical Jiarong Tibetan village, about 10 km north of the downtown Danba. There are a slew of Jiarong Tibetan villages in the surrounding mountainous areas. Jiaju Tibetan Village (甲居藏寨) with 270 Tibetan houses is oft-lauded as the most grandeur and beautiful.

Check out the following links for more information:
Jiarong Tibetan Blockhouses
Top 10 Arreactions in Sichuan
Sichuan Tour

The stone houses clinging to the forested mountain slopes, tier above tier

Jiarong Tibetans ( Gyarong Tibetans 嘉绒藏族) are one of the branches of the ethnic Tibetans in Kham. Today most of the Jiarong Tibetans live in Danba (Rongtrak), Jinchuan, Xiaojin (Tsenlha), Heshui (Trochu), Ma’erkang (Barkham), Wenchuan (Lunggu) and Kangding (Dartsedo). Except for a small number of Jiarong Tibetans living nomadic lifestyle on the high plateau ( over 2500m ), most Jiarong Tibetans are farmers doing barley farming between 1800m and 2500m with fertile land and much more temperate climate.

4. Tulou Clusters 福建土楼建筑群及村落

Fujian Tulou are largely composed of the clay buildings in the valleges in Yongding County and Nanjing County in the southwest Fujian Province.

Check out the following links for more information:
Jiqinglou, Chuxi Tulou Cluster
Chengqilou, Gaobei Tulou Cluster
Zhengchenglou, Hongkeng Tulou Cluster
Fujian Tour

Have a close look at the cluster of Tulou buildings, circular or rectangular


The Nanjing Tulou Cluster boast of three parts – Tianluocheng Tulou Cluster, Yuchanglou and Taxia Village. Roughly Nanjing Tulou Cluster are about 160km west of Xiamen and take one and 2 and half hours’ drive from Xiamen.

Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster are composed of 5 clay buildings, with a square tulou at the center and circled by 4 circular tulous, forming a pretty pattern of so called “four dishes with one soup”.

5. Xijiang Qianhu Miao Villag 贵州西江千户苗寨

Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village is situated  southeast of Kaili City, 26km away from Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou Province. There are about 1,000 households in the village, hence the name of Qianhu Miao Village (Qianhu means one thousand”, the lareget Miao village in China as well as in the world. Now the village has 1288 households with a population of over 6,000.

Check out the following links for more information:
Xijiang 1000-Household Miao Village
Guizhou Tour

A panoramic view of the old wooden houses

The village is perched on the slope in the valley with Baishui River running through. Over the past one thousand years, the local Miao farmers have cultivated large amount of terrced fields on the mountains, forming the most idyllic farmland. Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village is also famous for the stilt house (Diaojiao House), built on the stilts of different heights, mostly by the river or on slopes or mountain areas.

6. Wuyuan Villages in Jiangxi 江西婺源村落

Wuyuan is located in the northeast of Jiangxi Province, abutting the borders of Anhui Province and Zhejiang Province. Wuyuan is reputed as the most beautiful village in China for its natural sights and ancient Hui-sttle buildings.

Check out the following links for more information:
Top 10 Attractions in Jiangxi
Jiangxi Tour

Huizhou Style Villages in bloom around Wuyuan

The best time to visit Wuyuan is spring, especially April, when the mountains flames with azaleas, the slopes dotted with green tea trees and the fields full of yellow rapeseed flower.

7. Tuwa Village in Xinjiang 新疆喀纳斯图瓦村落

Kanas Lake is located 855km northeast of Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang. Tuwa Village is located in Kanas Lake Burjin County in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Tuwa Village is lauded as the Most Beautiful Village in China. It is hidden in the nature, and often forgotten by the world.

Check out the following links for more informatiopn:
Burjin – Kanas Lake – Jiadengyu
Top 10 Places to Visit in Xinjiang
Xinjiang Tour

Tuwa Village in the early morning ( Photo Credit: www.news.cn )

Tuwa people are said be a branch of the Mongolians. Experts are divided with regard to the history of the Tuwa people. But the way the Tuwa people say, they are descendants of those of Genghis Khan’s troops that got left behind on the Mongolian western expedition.

The best time to visit Tuwa Village is Spring and Autumn. Especially the antumn of Tuwa Village is like a fairyland.

8. Qingkou Hani Village 元阳箐口哈尼民俗村

Qingkou Hani Folk Village is located 6 km to the south of Xinjie Town, the old county seat of Yuanyang, in Yunnan Province. It is perched halfway up the mountain and covers an area of about 5 hectares. There are 150 households with more than 800 people in the village.

Check out the links below for more information:
Top 10 Places in Yunnan
Yuanyang Travel Guide
Lijiang Yunnan Tour

Qingkou Hani Village (Photo Credit: www.news.cn)

The village has a dense forest with chirping birds, full of strong flavor of the original countryside. The village features the Hani terraced field culture, namely the four combination of forest, village, terraced field and river.

The magnificent rice Terraces are a masterpiece of the brilliant Hani minorities, who has lived in this remarkable landscape for over 1300 years.

9. Zhuge Bagua Village in Zhejiang 浙江诸葛八卦村

About 170 km southwest of Hangzhou there is an over-700-year-old village laid out in the form of Yin and Yang, and Eight Trigrams. The village is known as “Zhuge Bagua Village”. Bagua literally means “Eight Trirgams” while Zhuge here refers to Zhuge Liang.

Check out the following links for more information:
How to Get to Zhuge Bagua Village from Hangzhou
Zhejiang Tour

Zhong Pond, the typical formation of Yin and Yang.

Zhuge Liang (181 – 234) was a chancellor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220–280). He is regarded as the most accomplished strategist of his era, often compared to Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War. He has become synonymous with intelligence and strategy in Chinese culture.

10. Peitian Ancient Village 福建培田古村

The Peitian Village is located in Liancheng County of Longyan City in the west of Fujian. It is about 100km northeast of Longyan and 300km northeast of Xiamen. The Ming and Qing building complex has been well preserved with a history of over 800 years.

Check out my another article Peitian Village, Ancient Peitian Village in Fujian for more information.

Little sign of commercialization, the local villager are simple, friendly.

The ancient building cluster includes 30 magnificent houses, 21 ancestral halls, 6 academies of classical learning, 2 memorial archways, and a 1000- meter long ancient street paved with cobblestones.

Hassle-free China Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for China guided tours:

Top China Private Tours
Top China Small Group Tours
Top China Train Tour
Top China Yangtze Cruise Tour
Top China Silk Road Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Places to Visit in China
10 Fascinating Facts about China
How to Pack for your China Trip
Plugs and Sockets in China
China Tour Packages
Learning Useful Chinese Phrases for Travellers 
How to Recognise Chinese Currency

Top 10 Travel Experiences in China
10 Most Scenic Drives in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Mountains in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Grasslands in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Rivers in China
Top 10 most beautiful waterfalls in China
Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Villages in China
Top 10 Old Towns in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Museums in China
Top 10 China Tourist Scams
Top 10 Souvenirs in China

Any questions, just drop a  line.