In a 45- to 60-minute PowerPoint program, followed by a lively question-and-answer session, I offer an engaging first-hand glimpse, in words and colorful photos, of the people and the life in little-known parts of China. As China has become much more accessible to foreign travelers over the past decade, millions of visitors have marveled at the Great Wall, the Terra-Cotta Soldiers, the Forbidden City and other legendary sights. But there is another China too, one less likely to be seen by Americans and Europeans but one that is popular with tourists from other parts of China.

This is the more remote China where the economic revolution that has brought a capitalist ethos to the country has made less of a dent and where many people still follow the old ways. This is the China peopled by minority nationalities who still pursue ancient customs and still wear colorful traditional dress. In Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in southwestern China you meet the Yi tribespeople selling their handmade crafts; the Bai who live in Dali (known as “the Switzerland of China” because of its snow-capped mountains) and who honor their ancestors by holding onto such old marriage customs as a modern version of “bride stealing”; the Naxi people descended from Tibetan nomads; and the Mosu who still celebrate what they call “walking marriages” which involve a succession of pairings until a couple settle down, with the wife as the dominant member of the couple. The Mosu people’s base area near Lugo Lake has been called “The Kingdom of Women.”

In this China there are many natural wonders, including Guilin’s River Li, the bizarre and ancient formations of the Stone Forest, the deepest river gorge in the world, the largest Buddha in the world (carved into a cliff face and rising over 71 meters), and the sacred Buddhist mountain of Emeishan, a popular pilgrimage destination. There are the magnificent Three Gorges along the Yangtze River; these are being flooded by the erection of the Dam being built to control the devastating flooding of the Yangtze. For years this flooding has periodically taken tens of thousands of lives and wiped out tens of thousands of homes, wreaking havoc in the lives of the 350 million people who live in the Yangtze watershed. There are villages a short bicycle ride from congested cities where roads are quiet and villagers—none of whom speak English—manage to express their friendly feelings toward foreigners. There are performances in traditional dress of dance, song and ancient instruments.

I visited all these areas in 1998, along with the traditional tourist sites of Beijing, Xian and Shanghai, and I have prepared a PowerPoint slide presentation to show some of the many little-known areas of China and to talk about the fascinating customs that few foreigners are aware of.