Timeout in Tongli

Time stands still in Tongli Water Town – an ancient village carefully preserved amidst the modern urban sprawl that connects Shanghai and Suzhou. Once inside this living museum, there is little to do but enjoy the feeling of time travel back to a life of cobble streets, canal boats, elegant gardens and food vendors. I spent four days and it took all four to walk … Continue reading Timeout in Tongli

My Love Affair with Georgetown Chinatown

I am enraptured with Chinatown, the heart of Georgetown on Penang Island, Malaysia. I cannot deny my shameless bias for all things Chinese in multicultural Malaysia. Because I spend part of every year in China, I feel right at home in Chinatown everywhere but this one is special. Living in Penang for a month, I was drawn back almost every day to the streets and … Continue reading My Love Affair with Georgetown Chinatown

Chongqing – City of Contrasts

  I expected Chongqing to be pretty dramatic – after all, it is a city where the metro goes right through a building high on a hillside, where buildings like the Hongya Cave complex cascading down the steep incline have lifts that open at ground level floor 1 on one side and ground level floor 17 on the other, where the local super-spicy hot pot … Continue reading Chongqing – City of Contrasts

Doing The Usual and Unusual in Kunming

Planning for Kunming, I made sure to include “the usual” – the things I try to do in every city:  a day trip outside the city to the stone forest, a walking tour of Green Lake and Yuantong Temple inside the city, and a foodie experience.  But in Kunming, there was a BONUS – unusual experiences that were surprising, stunning and shocking – in a good way!  Even more… I found … Continue reading Doing The Usual and Unusual in Kunming

Incredible Edibles in Kunming

When I think of Kunming, the first thing that comes to my mind is the food!  Yes, the fall weather is glorious in Kunming – brilliant blue skies, golden aspen trees, piles of pumpkins, fresh mountain air.  Yes, the people of Kunming are special – more open, calm and welcoming than in many parts of China.  I really enjoyed both the usual and unusual experiences … Continue reading Incredible Edibles in Kunming

10 “Best” Ancient Towns in China 2018

If you’ve read any books by Pearl Buck or Han Suyin – my two favorite authors writing about China – you have imagined what old village life was like in China, but you can also experience it for yourself. Throughout China, I find “ancient villages” or “old river towns” – often preserved or enhanced for tourist and heritage purposes, although people still live in most of … Continue reading 10 “Best” Ancient Towns in China 2018

Hongchun Ancient Village – First and Best

I was dazzled and often speechless.  Working at USTC in 2012, I was included in a bus trip off to see the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Hongchun and Xidi against the backdrop of Huangshan – an iconic mountain resort.  I took some of my favorite China photos there. You’ll see why. Life revolved around this placid pond. Down the side streets were shops selling … Continue reading Hongchun Ancient Village – First and Best

Not Enough Days in Dali

D is for Delicious, Delightful Dali – a premier ancient town in Yunnan.  I spent only 3 days in and around Dali – just enough to see the highlights and not enough to dally in Dali.  This is what greeted me after a day of travel by train from Kunming! And it just got better and better. This Chongsheng Temple, with three iconic pagodas, is … Continue reading Not Enough Days in Dali

Chilling on Ciqikou Chili

Ciqikou (Porcelain Port) is an ancient village inside Chongqing – built on the steep bank of the Jialing River just before it joins with the mighty Yangtze.  It is a maze of old wooden buildings with an amazing food street winding down down down the middle to a ledge high above the river. It’s pronounced “She chee koo” if you’re wondering, and it’s where a tourist … Continue reading Chilling on Ciqikou Chili