Mahjong, a Popular Game in China

We just came across an online version of mahjong, a favorite pastime in China, Japan and other Buddhist communities throughout Asia. Learn how to play online, then impress new found friends while traveling in China with your skills. We’ve found learning traditional pastimes is a wonderful way to make connections with people while traveling, so we encourage you to try your hand at mahjong. Warning: it’s slightly addictive once you get the hang of it!

Exhibition Review | ‘Traveling the Silk Road’

The New York Times featured an exhibition review on the Silk Road at the American Museum of Natural History, as reported by Edward Rothstein.

“You are about to make an unusual journey,” a wall label proclaims at the beginning of an exhibition that opens on Saturday at the American Museum of Natural History. Normally that promise would provide reason enough to be wary. But this is something different.

You are welcomed by life-size camels laden with worn canvas sacks, their bodies framed by sand dunes stretching into the distance. A while later, near a 17-foot-long wooden Chinese loom, you find bowls filled with mulberry leaves on which scores of white worms are gnawing. You see, too, what kind of cocoons they soon will weave, and how these sacs might then be boiled and unwound into silk threads. And later still, you seem to arrive in an outdoor market in evening as the sounds of footfalls and animal cries mix with the murmur of voices; stalls are piled with produce, furs and spices, including a leopard skin, a yak tail, pheasant feathers, lapis lazuli and barrels whose smell suggests that they are filled with rose petals, jasmine oil and patchouli.

To read the entire article and view a slideshow, visit

To learn more about travel to China, including following the Silk Road route, see a full itinerary on our site of ‘Silk Road: History’s Great Thoroughfare’ China Trip.

New UNESCO World Heritage Site Named in China

It’s not on everyone’s must see list yet—but it will be. Spectacular, remote Sanqingshan National Park in China was recently designated a natural heritage site of exceptional significance by UNESCO on July 8, 2008. This area hosts dozens of peaks and 90 fantastically shaped granite pillars, many of which resemble human or animal silhouettes. There is also a 1,600-year-old Taoist temple complex, containing hundreds of priceless cultural relics.

• Sanqingshan National Park is located in China’s Jiangxi Province, within driving distance of Nanchang city.
• Domestic air routing is through Shanghai, with daily flights to Nanchang.
• Accommodations range from local style, very basic hostels to 3 and 4 star properties in Jindezhen and Nanchang.

We can arrange a visit to Sanqingshan National Park on a custom, private basis, as well as include other classic sites and hidden jewels known to the few that seem destined for fame.