From where to go to what’s in store, Ker & Downey VP and intrepid traveler David Jones scouts the globe and answers burning questions for those who live to go there. Have a question for our destination guru? Email it to us at or ask us on our Facebook page.

We are planning a return trip to China and are looking to see something off the beaten path – we’ve done the Great Wall and the big cities. Where can we go? J. Elliott, Evanston, Ill.

China is one of those destinations that, just by virtue of its size, can be explored on a return visit several times over. Beyond being huge, it’s a country with a history so rich and diverse, there is always plenty to discover aside from the usual big, bucket-list items. Along the Silk Road are the historic grottoes of Yungang (in Datong) and Longmen (in Luoyang)—both places are UNESCO protected and display some stunning Buddhist cave carvings and beautiful frescoes. The statues number in the thousands, carved directly into the limestone rock and towering overhead.

You can also consider the village of Pingyao. This town was the ancient financial capital of China and its grid-style city planning exists now, just as it did in its heyday. The architecture of the buildings and the well-preserved city walls are very unique.

Ancient City of Ping Yao,City Tower and Southern Main Street

Qingdao is a coastal city that was a German colony outpost in the 19th century. This city is home to the famous Chinese beer Tsingtao, which is still brewed in the German style to this day. It’s one of the many little bits of Germany that was left here by the early immigrants. The famous images of the rocks emerging from the waters of Guilin have always captivated visitors of China; and while they are breathtaking, I recommend spending the bulk of your time in this region on a detour to Guiyang in the southern province of Guizhou. The mainstream tourists have not yet discovered this tranquil place, and it’s chock full of lovely scenery and cultural diversity. Visits with the Bouyei people give you the chance to peek into a life lived simply for generations. The art of calligraphy is very important to the Bouyei, and you can take calligraphy lessons here with a local family. Your teacher might be a teenager or a great-grandmother—almost everyone in the Bouyei community is adept at the written art and eager to share it.

The beauty of traveling with Ker & Downey is not only that we can take you to new and exciting places that are left off the radar for the average traveler, but that we know how to weave together the “typical” experiences of a destination in a completely new and exclusive way—making it a unique experience just for you.

For more information about adding China to your next itinerary, contact your Travel Professional. To read the current issue of QUEST magazine online, click here, and be sure to stay up to date on all of QUEST’s online content by following the QUEST Facebook page.