Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jade, Silk, Pearl, Enamelware & Tea House Tourist Traps - Beijing

As with any day tours in China, you are likely to be brought to various tourist traps along the way. These are basically fillers for the tours, the tour company gets paid a commission for each person they bring into these factories. Some of the things we had seen were interesting, such as making silk from a silk worm (video below) and the jade, but we could have done without and spent more time on the Great Wall.

If you're planning a trip to China and are able to spend at least 10 days or more there, we highly recommend planning your own excursions. You can spend more time at the nicer areas such as the Great Wall and the Summer Palace all without the hassle of the extra tourist traps. If you've seen enough, you can move on rather than having to wait for the slow ones in the tour group. It's also a GREAT idea to pick up a Lonely Planet Guide at least a few weeks before you go, ours was the Holy Grail to us.

Now, on to some pictures and very brief descriptions, enjoy!

Beijing Jade Factory intro

Cutting large pieces of jade

Finished products

Mmmmm cabbage.. The cabbage is a popular motif even today, used to bring wealth or prosperity into the home.

Jade bangles - these are given instead of a wedding ring. Because of the durability of the jade, they are never taken off.

Pearl Factory intro

Small fresh water pearls


Don't want to lug your expensive souvenirs home? No problem! You can still drop a small fortune and have DHL ship them for you!

Tea House

Silk Factory Video - How silk is made from a silk worm.