Don't Overlook Factory Workshops

When guides mention Workshops, it doesn't really sound that interesting at first; but don't overlook the opportunities to see crafts and local products being made by hand. You do not have to buy them of course. Above you will see a rug workshop where they are all made by hand. I think it is amazing that they can make these rugs using just a photo or drawing to make each rug individually. I have several in my home and they wear like iron. The other photo is a small workshop that makes leather products. I sketched out a shoulder bag that I wanted made for a day bag to carry my cameras, water and snacks in during the day. The young man made some suggested additions and I picked out the leather and color that I wanted. I came back in three hours and it was all finished. The quality and workmanship is excellent and only cost me $22 U.S. There are many large workshops as well as local small ones that craft many different products including pottery, rugs, clothing, cloisonne, furniture, jewelry, jade and the list goes on. Ask your guide to give you some suggestions and I am sure they will be able to give you ideas. One of my favorite places for seeing and buying hand made crafts is LiJiang Old Town north of Kunming. As a tour operator I go to China often and will be spending four days in LiJiang and I am sure to find some special gifts to bring home for Christmas too. For more ideas contact us at interlak@eskimo.com

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