China-2023: eats, sleeps.

I’ve shown you how awesome China‘s lesser-known (to non-Chinese) natural-beauty-tourisms can be. But what about the places to stay and dining options for tourists there? How do they stack up?

Quick answer: it all depends on how much you want to spend, for there’s everything in China from bargain-basement lodgings and street/fast/junk food, through to 5* hotels and gourmet cuisine at fine restaurants. As for us, we mostly went for somewhere in the middle for both accommodation and dining – sometimes opting for somewhere nearer the upscale-end of the spectrum; for example, in Enshi (canyon, cliffs) we stayed at a small private hotel that was really very nice indeed. The views: wonderful ->

In the cities we tended to stay in larger hotels – often franchises of international chains, and overall they were decent and comfortable. The views to be had from the rooms in some of them were pretty decent too, for example in the hotel in Xinning County near Langshan where we stayed after our decompression-river-cruise on the Fuyi River. In one direction:

In the other:

Yes, the comfort level was more than adequate everywhere – even in the smaller towns. While in the cities things got rather stylish, swanky and swish. Here’s our hotel in Zhangjiajie (near Tianmen Mountain), for example:

In the same hotel, here’s DZ getting acquainted with R2-D3. It’s not quite a droid, but still a rather cool robot: it calls up the lift itself, maneuvers around obstacles, and mutters something in Chinese ) ->

Here’s the lobby of the country-hotel we stayed at not far from Mount Fanjing:

The walkway to one of the living quarters:

Cars with green license plates are electric. No – that’s not an electric VW Beetle; it’s an Ora Ballet Cat!)

Ok, that’s enough about hotels. Next up: food!…

All was well great on that front too. But of course it was – genuine-article Chinese cuisine, made by Chinese, only with Chinese ingredients, in 100%-Chinese kitchens: what’s not to like?!

Now, did you know that there’s no such thing as abstract “Chinese cuisine”? It’s true! For in different provinces across the country they serve you very different food. There’s northeastern cuisine, there’s the devilishly spicy Sichuan, there’s my fave – the southern Xianggang/Hong-Kong/Siangan seafood, and many more. All very different, like I say, but there are four things they do all have in common: lots of rice, use of chopsticks, a great variety of dishes (even in cheap eateries), and deliciousness!

Oh my gourmet!

Even the snack bars along the touristy routes we walked each day sold reeeaaally tasty food (already mentioned) ->

The corn-on-the-cob is always, everywhere, delicious, and so was a hit among our group – taken daily. But there are always lots of exotic (to a foreigner) dishes too for the more adventurous…

Example: what on earth are those things floating in that there soup? I shudder to think! (I opted for the known-quantity to the right instead: the simple sausage!) ->

This (cabbage-based?) dish still in the pan looks interesting and tasty – but is it? You really need a specialist to advise you: what’s must-try, and what’s must-avoid…

And the great thing about Chinese cuisine is that – if you make your choices wisely – it’s also healthy! You can’t say that about many other national cuisines ). But you do need a Chinese advisor. // I’m lucky to have one – but even she can be unsure about some of the more unusual, exotic fare (like on Mount Hua one time where she refused to eat the… dried lizard!).

Looks tasty but… what’s inside?! ->

Check out the extent of the selection – and this was at the peak of a mountain! ->

Always the safe – and healthy – option: fruit (even though you might not know what it is) ->

There are hot pot restaurants too. They bring everything raw (meat, veggies…) to your table – which has a heat source in the middle – and leave you to it to cook it all:

In the center: mini-stove and boiling water – into which everything goes to be cooked ->

You can even do hot-pot if you’re on your own! ->

Food – fantastic. Booze – yikes. Chinese vodka is just awful; and the curious thing is that the more awful it is – the more expensive it is! Alas, I had to go… inverse-native and sup the vodka, since I couldn’t find decent whisky in mountainous inner China anywhere )…

In closing, a few fun on-the-road pics… ->

Ooh – Pipi Bear. Could he be a distant cousin of Midori Kuma? ->

Btw – in the past, entrance tickets to the various tourist spots in China doubled tripled up as also maps and postcards! ->

These days, tickets are just tickets ( ->

A big thanks to all the China-2023-trip group members – and special spasibos to DZ (left), Petrovich (right), and DK (back) for all their pics (which have supplemented mine in places) ->

And thanks too to SS for the pics!

And that, finally (really!), is it for my tales from the inner-China side. Hope you enjoyed them!

The rest of the pics from China-2023 are here.

Meanwhile, let’s get back on with 2024! Back soon…

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