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November 20th, 2014

Fuchsia Reflects on Her Latest WildChina Food Tour

By: WildChina | Categories: Culture, News You Can Use

 

How do you turn a food tour into a life-changing experience that pushes your boundaries and stretches the way you engage with the world?

You travel with Fuscia Dunlop.

Consistently, Fuscia’s trips have been some of our most popular, and in fact every spot in her 2015 trips are already booked. Get a glimpse into what makes these journeys so amazing with the latest post from Fuchsia’s blog.

 

Fuchsia

 

Discover more of our expert-led journeys

Tea Travels with Jeff Fuchs

 

Inquire about Fuscia’s 2016 journeys

Gastronomic Tour of China

Yunnan Gastronomic Tour

 

 

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November 13th, 2014

WildChina Expands Corporate Services with WCT Events

By: WildChina | Categories: Culture, News You Can Use

November 12, 2014 Press Release:

Award-winning luxury travel company WildChina has taken its MICE and destination management offerings to the next level with the launch of subsidiary company WCT Events. A joint venture with Beijing-based destination management specialist Chin-EASE Corp, WCT Events combines more than 400 events and 20 years of experience to form a powerhouse destination management company specializing in corporate travel, seminars, conferences, and signature events.

Service with a Smile

“Since launching destination management services 10 years ago, WildChina has been enjoying steady growth. We are delighted to find a partner with the same service ethos and commitment to quality to continue growing with together.” says WildChina founder and CEO Mei Zhang.

In line with WildChina’s focus for leisure travel, its destination management services specialized in distinctive and authentic experiences, attracting high profile clients, from top US Business Schools to Fortune 500 Companies. WCT Events integrates WildChina’s rich product portfolio with the experienced event management personnel of Chin-EASE. The company will be headed by Joanna Crain, founder of Chin-EASE and former Director of Advance and Protocol for the United States Secretaries of Commerce and Homeland Security. Chin-EASE Corp will be dissolved and all existing event business will be conducted via WCT Events.

The official launch of WCT Events was announced at the company’s first event, Chifan for Charity, a multi-venue charity event attended by 800 people and a highlight in the Beijing social calendar.

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November 11th, 2014

Listen for WildChina CEO, Mei Zhang on NPR

By: WildChina | Categories: Culture, News You Can Use

We knew that this week’s APEC conference would bring leaders from the world over to Beijing to discuss important policy issues, but we didn’t expect an announcement that would directly affect WildChina!

Last night, just before the official start of APEC, President Obama announced a reciprocal agreement with China to grant 10 year travel and business visas.

Others had made the connection that this was big news for WildChina – and for our outbound travel department, Beshan – and sure enough, at 7am this morning, our CEO and founder, Mei Zhang received a call from NPR’s Morning Edition asking for her take on the new policy.

 

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Founder and CEO, Mei Zhang at the Forbidden City

These new visas, effective tomorrow, mean that Chinese travelers will have an easier time visiting the US. They also mean that, for our US clients, after you come and fall in love with China for the first time, you’ll be able to return time and again to explore all the layers of this fascinating country – all without the hassle of reapplying for a new visa.

Those in the US tuning into NPR on your way to work, listen in for Mei at 6am Eastern Time. And if you miss it, just head on over to the Morning Edition site for the segment.

 

 

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November 10th, 2014

Guizhou’s Minority Festivals – Join the Celebration!

By: Sylvia Liu | Categories: Culture, News You Can Use

Experiencing the authentic culture of the China’s ethnic minority groups is a trip highlight while in the Guizhou countryside. If you plan to visit during the Miao Festivals, you are in for a real treat; a trip around mid-November will land you in the middle of the celebrations. During this time, you will see women in black tunics patterned with bright reds and blues and shimmering silver headdresses rested atop their brows. They will laugh, smile, and dance, and even offer you a sip of their powerful rice wine.

 

The Sister’s Festival gets underway

The Miao New Year is celebrated from November 3rd to the 7th. At this time of the year, the whole village is gathered as one big family, visiting each other and joining feasts of tofu, pork sausages, and wine. Also, its common that young couples get married around this time of the year. These unions are celebrated with 9 days of singing and dancing. Compared to the New Year’s Eve celebration at Time Square, the Miao New Year is less crowded but the enthusiasm and cheering is none less than the New Yorkers’ countdown.

At the end of November another grand celebration takes place in Guizhou, the Grand Dong Minority Singing Festival in Congjiang. Dong minority resides in this remote yet diverse area along with other hidden minorities. Kam Grand Choirs from the Dong minority is very intriguing; its said that for years they passed down their culture without a written language, using singing to communicate. The Dong locals consider singing as a daily routine such as dining, and they cherish it as a passage of knowledge.

 

Last minute prep before the Dong festival begins

Last minute preparation before the Dong festival begins

If you’ve already seen China’s cities or are simply looking for a trip that is on the road less traveled, Guizhou is the perfect answer. WildChina’s rustic journey through Guizhou and Guangxi, recognized as one of National Geographic Traveler’s “Tours of a Lifetime,” will make you feel like you strolled into an old Chinese watercolor. This active trip keeps you moving with dancing and singing while you enjoy the hospitality of various cultures that simply can’t be depicted in documentaries. When your trip is over, you won’t feel like you are exiting a foreign museum, but as if you are leaving a foreign world.

Have we caught your interest? Schedule your next China journey around one of Guizhou’s festivals:

  • The Dong Choral Festival, a time of song and celebration, will take place at the end of November.
  • The beginning of May is when to visit to experience the The Sister’s Festival matchmaking ceremonies.
  • The Lusheng Festival, with performances of the traditional bamboo pipe instrument, is in mid-November.
  • The celebration of the Miao New Year happens in early November.

 

Come celebrate!

 

Editor: Kayla Paramore

 

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October 29th, 2014

The China NCPA Orchestra Comes to America

By: Kayla Paramore | Categories: Culture, News You Can Use

NCA

The National Center for the Performing Arts is bringing the sounds of China’s top musicians on a traveling tour across the US and Canada this November 2 through November 13. WildChina is honored to be the China NCPA’s official travel guide on their journey. We will be showing China’s finest musicians all the best of the US, while making sure their journey is comfortable and enjoyable so they can focus on performing.

This is a wonderful opportunity for our US friends and travel partners to experience a bit of China in their own home cities. Take a look at the NCPA itinerary and see if they will be coming to your area.

See the NCPA website for all the details.

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October 28th, 2014

Rosewood Brings Ultra-Luxury to Beijing

By: Kayla Paramore | Categories: Culture, News You Can Use

rosewood
Photo credit: Hospitalitynet.org

Rosewood Hotel Group, known for their ultra-luxury brand and curated local experiences, has opened their first Asia property in Beijing. The hotel is lavished with curated art pieces making the whole experience like a living gallery. Rosewood focuses on giving guests a ‘sense of place,’ hand-selecting experiences for an authentic taste of the city where they stay. Our very own, Mei Zhang, CEO of WildChina, was chosen as one of the hotel’s two curators for Beijing and offers her own unique Beijing experience suggestions to Rosewood guests. The hotel is located in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, just across from the iconic CCTV tower, and has 283 rooms and suites, beginning at 50 square meters, some of the largest in the city.

Visit the website for more details.

 

 

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October 28th, 2014

New Xi’an Restaurant:Great Option for Terracotta Warriors Visitors

By: Kayla Paramore | Categories: Culture, News You Can Use

xianreseturant

A newly opened restaurant in Xi’an, called Da Qin Xiao Ai (大秦小爱), is already rumored to be one of the top restaurants in the city. Intricately decorated in the ancient Qin dynasty style, the restaurant gives diners an impression of how the Emperor Qin Shi Huang might have enjoyed his meals. With a great location just 15 minutes from the Terracotta Warriors, this restaurant is an excellent choice for travelers. Our recommendations? The Gourd-shaped chicken, the Chinese Yam and Glutinous Rice Wrapped in Dates, and a Beefsteak!

Chinese name: 大秦小爱
Operating hours: 11:00-21:00
Average cost: CNY128-288 per person, set meal.
Location: No.9, Feng Huang Da Dao, Lintong district, Xi’an.

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October 27th, 2014

Silk Road Film Festival Begins in Xi’an

By: Kayla Paramore | Categories: Culture, News You Can Use

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The Xi’an City Wall.Photo Credit:Mariusz Kluzniak via flikr
 

The first Silk Road Film Festival kicked off this week in Xi’an, promoting cultural exchange among countries along the traditional Silk Road route. More than one hundred films will be screened over the course of the week-long festival, with 41 Chinese and foreign films already chosen for the final competition. The festival will also play heavily on the Silk Road theme, showing documentary-style footage from various countries along the Silk Road, and sporting traditional Tang dynasty decor and clothing.

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October 24th, 2014

A Guide to China’s 72-hour Visa Exemption Program

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: Culture, News You Can Use

Before setting off for my first China adventure, I had the option to apply for a visa at a Chinese consulate in person or pay an agent to do it for me. Being a person who enjoys travel whether it be for business or leisure, I choose to make the 3-hour road trip to the nearest Chinese consulate to complete the two day process. Either way, foreigners jetting off to China must apply for a visa regardless of whether their intended stay lasts a few days or a few weeks. Now there is good news – a growing number of Chinese cities have passed 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption Programs. Hangzhou has been the latest to join this program, as recently as October 20th, while Kunming joined on October 1st.

How does the 72-hour visa program work?
This program applies to foreign visitors from 51 countries who have continuing flights to third countries. Travelers must already have tickets for a flight that departs for a third country within 72 hours of their having landed in China and possess valid international travel documents allowing them to enter their final destination.

The visa exemption program can’t be extended beyond 72 hours. If a traveler is unable to depart within 72 hours for unexpected reasons, such as a flight cancellation or sudden illness, they need to apply for a visa from the Municipal Public Security Bureau.

passports

Limitations:
The 72-hour visa free stay only applies to transit via airports. Passengers by train or any other modes of transport are not eligible. Also, this program does not apply to passengers traveling on round trip flights, for example: a US citizen flying from Korea to Beijing for 3 days and then back to Korea would not be eligible.

What cities and airports offer 72-hour visa free transit?
Currently, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an, Guilin, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Dalian, Chongqing, and Shenyang. Visitors can only travel within the precinct they fly into, which means they cannot visit other cities in China or leave the administrative region where they have landed (for example, a traveler taking advantage of this policy in Beijing would not be able to go to Tianjin for a day).

airplane

What can I experience in 72 hours?
With a limited amount of time in China, it’s important to maximize your time and minimize your stress. Our Concierge service does just that: we can pick you up from the airport, provide you with a reliable driver and transport, and / or arrange flexible guided tours and return you the airport in time for your next flight. Take a look at our preexisting itineraries below to get an idea of what you can experience during 3 days. While nearly all of these itineraries are longer than 3 days, you can pick and choose any activities you like. All these itineraries are customizable to your preferences.

Beijing
Explore China’s illustrious history at the Great Wall and Forbidden City or China’s modern side at the Olympic Park and 798 Art District. Check out our Beijing itinerary.

Shanghai
With 72 hours in Shanghai, we recommend going to the Bund, the French Concession, Yu Garden, or the Shanghai Museum. Browse our sample itinerary to discover all the “Paris of the East” has to offer.

Chengdu
Chengdu is famous for its iconic pandas, spicy cuisine, and face-changing opera. Look at our Chengdu itinerary for inspiration on how to spend 72 hours in Sichuan’s laidback capital.

Xi’an
You can get a special VIP view of the Terracotta Warriors or relax with a private taichi lesson on the city’s ancient wall while transiting through Xi’an. Our 3-day adventure is the perfect itinerary for 72 hours in Xi’an.

Guilin
This area of China is so stunning that it’s featured on the 20 yuan bill. 72 hours in Guilin will afford you with enough time to discover this area’s natural beauty and diverse culture.

For more information, contact us at info@wildchina.com

 

Find out more about 72-hour visa-free transit.

 

 

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October 22nd, 2014

Our Shared Experience in Yunnan

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: Culture, News You Can Use

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A group of students hiking in the Abujee mountains

Adventure offer an opportunity for personal growth at any age. When we create a trip, we want it to be a meaningful journey. Here at WildChina, we strive to see people learn and grow from their experiences with us. Recently, we led a brave group of international high school students and teachers on an educational adventure in Yunnan province. Our guides shared the highlights, cultural exchanges and WOW moments of their moving education trip.

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Community service at a Tibetan family farm

Informed that one afternoon of community service at a local family farm would help complete a few days worth of hard work, the students and teachers weren’t hesitant to roll up their sleeves and help out the Tibetan family. They jumped right in and with a few instructions, chopped down barley with sharp sickles, secured their big bundles with barley ties, and put the golden barley on an old tractor to be hulled away
 to the barn.

Most Tibetans speak in Tibetan languages, so our local WildChina guides usually translate, but on this occasion, the quick-witted students took communication into their own hands. They worked side-by-side with the local Tibetan family while using universal hand motions and facial expressions to communicate. They used arm motions to signal strength, smiles to exchanging gratitude and appreciation, and big waves of goodbyes and thank yous. After seeing the huge loads of barley they harvested, the students, teachers, and guides directly saw the true value of their work at the family farm. The students’ feelings of accomplished glowed on their young, tired faces.

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Students working hard in the barley field

Spending an evening at a Tibetan home gave the students another opportunity for a shared cultural experience. After a tasty Tibetan meal, the family preformed a lively traditional dance, and then asked the high school students to join. After dancing around the room with the locals, the students decided it was time the switch things up and teach the kind family some Western dance moves.

The energetic students choose one of the most iconic 1990s dance hits, the Macarena. A student played the song from their iPhone as they taught the family the catchy dance. The Tibetan women and children had a blast! Seeing the huge smiles on the family’s faces, sharing laughs and exchanging dances, taught the high school students that while it’s great to go and experience new culture, it’s also rewarding to share yours along the way.

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Sharing dances at a Tibetan family home

Along their adventure in the Tibetan plateau, the high school students were taking trip notes of their exciting learning experiences for a paper they would create after the Yunnan trip. One student had another idea for the project; instead of writing a conventional paper, he would capture the magic of Yunnan with a video compilation. He video recorded the community service, the strenuous hikes in the Abujee mountains, the tour of a local school and villages, and every smile and struggle in between.

On their last night camping,sitting around a bright,warm fire in the Abujee mountains, the student volunteered his video for viewing. Projected onto the ceiling of the tent, the students, teachers, and guides watched their life-altering journey together. Mixed emotions overcame the group as they watched their trekking voyage unfold in front of them.

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Wildlife visiting the campsite

Outside the tent, local Tibetans who were assisting the trip, caught a view of the video as well; this was the first time some of them saw themselves on video. They were in awe at the technology and thoroughly enjoyed seeing themselves, some even wondering, ‘Do I really look like that?!’
After viewing the touching video, one of the teachers told a WildChina guide that she loved being a teacher because she can guide students to learn, but it’s breathtaking seeing students take their learning into their own hands. On this expedition, the students stepped out of the classroom to learn about Tibetan people and experience the culture hands on, changing themselves and the Tibetans they befriended along the way.

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Students’ campsite

If you would like to Experience China Differently with us, contact info@wildchina.com.

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