Ian Ford

Member statistics

Member since
17th May 2010

Ian first arrived in China back in mid-2001 as a tour leader for a UK tour operator. At the end of 2002 the manager position became available and the roaming life stopped. Ian settled in Yangshuo, a delightful tourist town in the southern province of Guangxi, at the beginning of 2003 and is still there.
Things have changed a bit. Ian is now married - to Faye - a local lady with her own local travel company YangshuoExpat. They have two boys - Luke 4 and David 1.
Ian left the UK tour operator at the end of 2007. His five years in the position (which covered China, Japan, Mongolia and Central Asia) gave him a thorough grounding in tour operations. It took a while to focus this into a coherent venture - but he has now created China Journeys, a fully-fledged tour operator company with a very special knowledge of China and its tourism opportunities.

China Journeys

Ian Ford's activity

  1. July 2010
  2. Ian Ford commented on Great Wall Historical Film Set in Great Wall of China, China

    "Many tours take you to the End of the Great Wall but few would include time for this site. It would be best to book a driver (it's not far from town) and be free to stay and enjoy for as long as you want. That's how we did it."

  3. June 2010
  4. Ian Ford reviewed Gulangyu (Piano Island) in China

    After the first Opium War, Xiamen became a treaty port with Gulangyu as the site of the foreign enclave. Many of the buildings from that period remain. These, coupled with the ban on motor transport, means that the island has a Victorian-era feel to it, …"

  5. Ian Ford rated Gulangyu (Piano Island)

  6. Ian Ford rated Jiayuguan Fort

  7. Ian Ford reviewed Jiayuguan Fort in Jiayuguan, China

    Jiayuguan Fort was once the most remote outpost of the Chinese Empire; a desperate attempt to stem attacks from the barbarians to the west at the narrowest point between mountains in this desert region. It is an impressive looking building but, as a stat…"

  8. Ian Ford reviewed (Western) End Of The Great Wall in Great Wall of China, China

    The Great Wall of China terminates just beyond the city of Jiayuguan. The wall runs away from the fort on the edge of town and then stops abrubtly at the edge of the deep canyon that is the route of the Talai River. A stone marks this as the western end…"

  9. Ian Ford rated (Western) End Of The Great Wall

  10. Ian Ford rated Great Wall Historical Film Set

  11. Ian Ford reviewed Great Wall Historical Film Set in Great Wall of China, China

    There is a military encampment is used by film and TV crews just beyond the site of the Western End of the Great Wall. It seems to be open for visitors at all other times as we wandered around freely. Charges were only applied if you wanted to dress up…"

  12. Ian Ford commented on Tianjin Museum in Tianjin, China

    "It's a jade burial suit, probably from the Han Dynasty. It was believed that jade could prevent decay. The type of wire used to hold the pieces together would indicate the rank of the deceased. Only an emperor could have gold thread. Only rich aristoc…"

  13. Ian Ford rated Mati Si (Horse's Hoof Temple)

  14. Ian Ford reviewed Mati Si (Horse's Hoof Temple) in Zhangye, China

    The Temple at Mati Si was badly damaged during the Cultural Revolution despite its remote location. It is being lovingly restored, although some of the work is a little odd to say the least. One of the temples near the entrance has murals with AK47s and …"

  15. Ian Ford reviewed Dafo Si (Giant Buddha Temple) in Zhangye, China

    The Giant Buddha Temple in Zhangye has two claims to fame. It houses the world's largest reclining clay Buddha and it is, according to local legend, the birthplace of Kublai Khan. The Buddhist Classics Hall is said to contain some 6000 complete texts. S…"

  16. Ian Ford rated Dafo Si (Giant Buddha Temple)

  17. May 2010
  18. Ian Ford rated Jiaohe

  19. Ian Ford reviewed Jiaohe in Jilin City, China

    The ancient city of Jiaohe was built on high ground between two rivers such that the cliffs on either side formed a natural defence. This gave it a strategic value and it became the second largest city in the Gaochang Kingdom. The ruins of this ancient …"

  20. Ian Ford rated Yulin Grottoes

  21. Ian Ford reviewed Yulin Grottoes in Yulin, China

    The Yulin Grottoes exist on both banks of the Yulin River. Due to flood damage only a few of the grottoes are open to the public. Some of these are only open on payment of an additional fee. The Yulin Grottoes are very much worth the effort, especially …"

  22. Ian Ford reviewed Ling Canal in Guilin, China

    The Ling Canal makes for an interesting visit but since it is located on the wrong side of Guilin so it gets far fewer visitors than it deserves. That is great for those who make the effort. The Ling Canal was built by command of Qin Shi Huang, the firs…"

  23. Ian Ford rated Ling Canal

  24. Ian Ford reviewed Bamboo-rafting On The Yulong River in Guilin, China

    Yangshuo has become very popular for bicycle trips around the countryside. It is now possible to combine cycling with a more relaxing mode of transport - a bamboo raft ride down the Yulong River, a tributary of the Li River. There are several sections o…"

  25. Ian Ford rated Bamboo-rafting On The Yulong River

  26. Ian Ford rated Jinli Street

  27. Ian Ford reviewed Jinli Street in Chengdu, China

    Jinli Street was once one of the busiest commercial streets in south-west China. Famous for its own gorgeous style of brocade, it is now a reconstructed Qing-Dynasty-style tourist attraction full of curio shops and snack places. The above should be enou…"

  28. Ian Ford reviewed Du Fu Thatched Cottage in Chengdu, China

    Du Fu was a prolific poet in the Tang Dynasty. Some 1500 of his poems have been recorded for posterity, many linking historical stories to everyday morality. This is seen as a grand theme in Chinese culture and Du Fu is considered one of two greatest poe…"

  29. Ian Ford rated Du Fu Thatched Cottage

  30. Ian Ford rated Li River Cruise

  31. Ian Ford reviewed Li River Cruise in Guilin, China

    A famous saying in China is that "Guilin has the best scenery in China, and Yangshuo has the best of that." It is no wonder then that the Li River Cruise, which goes from Guilin to Yangshuo, is a hugely popular river trip with both domestic and…"

  32. Ian Ford reviewed Id Kah Mosque in Xinjiang/Northwest, China

    Id Kah Mosque is not only the largest in Kashgar, it is the largest in China. Dating back to the 15th Century it is a wonderfully atmospheric site that is well worth a visit. The entrance gate is very grand and well-maintained. The grounds are not so we…"

  33. Ian Ford rated Id Kah Mosque

  34. Ian Ford reviewed Subashi Ancient City in Kucha, China

    Subashi was once a glorious city spanning both sides of a river flowing down eastwards from the Tian Shan Mountains into the Taklimakan Desert of the Tarim Basin. This region later came under Chinese rule as part of the 'Western Regions', now known as Xi…"

  35. Ian Ford rated Subashi Ancient City

  36. Ian Ford rated Jinsha Ruins Museum

  37. Ian Ford reviewed Jinsha Ruins Museum in Chengdu, China

    The ruins of what is believed to be a sacrificial site from the Shu Kingdom of 3000 years ago were only discovered by chance in 2001. Excavations have revealed much that has intrigued archaeologists and lead them to revise their understanding of this per…"

  38. Ian Ford reviewed The Flaming Mountains in Xinjiang/Northwest, China

    The Flaming Mountains (Huoyan Shan) feature prominently in the story of the Bull Demon King from "Journey To The West" by Wu Cheng'en. Sun Wukong (aka the Monkey King or simply Monkey) attempts to borrow the Demon King's magic plantain fan to e…"

  39. Ian Ford reviewed Impression Third Sister Liu Light Show in Guilin, China

    Yangshuo, near Guilin in Guangxi Province, is a famous tourist town being the end-point for the world-famous Li River Cruise. The days are easily filled with a whole range of soft-adventure activities. Evenings can be spent enjoying local food or shoppi…"

  40. Ian Ford reviewed Dujiangyan Water-releasing Festival in Chengdu, China

    The irrigation project at Dujiangyan is famous across the Chinese speaking world as a marvel of man's use of natural principles to achieve beneficial results; as a truly powerful example of Taoism (the philosophy) in practice. The creation of a small isl…"

  41. Ian Ford reviewed China Central Television (CCTV) Building in Beijing, China

    The CCTV Building in Beijing is an amazing piece of modern architecture with style obviously far more important than function. The structure seems to defy gravity with its very angular and offset archway so it is a great pity that it has never been put t…"

  42. Ian Ford reviewed Dujiangyan Ancient Irrigation Project in Chengdu, China

    Many potential visitors to Chengdu look at the description of Dujiangyan and pass it by. What, they ask, could possibly be interesting about an irrigation ditch? By getting this far into the review you stand some chance of visiting a site that is both in…"

  43. Ian Ford reviewed Longsheng Rice Terraces in Guilin, China

    The rice terraces of Longsheng (the Dragon's Backbone) near Guilin are some of the finest in south China and certainly amongst the most accessible. The journey to Ping'an Village now takes little more than 2 hours from Guilin downtown making a day trip v…"

  44. Ian Ford reviewed Wuqiao Acrobatics World in Hebi, China

    Wuqiao is truly a hidden gem. It is famous throughout China as the home of acrobatics yet very few foreigners outside of the profession have even heard of it let alone been there. Once a place where masters of illusion and feats of great skill gathered t…"

  45. Ian Ford reviewed 2011 World Horticultural Expo in Xi'an in Xi'an, China

    From 28 April to 22 October, 2011, Xi'an in Shaanxi Province will host the World Horticultural Expo with the theme "Eternal Peace & Harmony between Nature & Mankind, Nurturing the Future Earth". This is the third time that a Chinese cit…"

  46. Ian Ford reviewed Tianjin Museum in Tianjin, China

    Tianjin has played an important role in the last couple of hundred years of Chinese history. It was a key target for the foreign powers attacking the Ming Dynasty during the Opium Wars, was subsequently the scene of many attacks against those same foreig…"