Down Beijing’s KuanJie street, just past the Chinese Medicine hospital, you’ll come to what was once an old printing factory. Today the factory has been converted into a series of shops and private art spaces. It’s the kind of place that you’d likely walk right past if you didn’t know what to look for. Step through the nondescript door of room #101 and you’ll find a simple space, not large, filled with 120 beautifully displayed baskets.
Now that you’ve been hearing a bit about this beautiful country hidden away just west of China, let us answer some of the most common Bhutan travel questions:
Dali, in southwest China’s Yunnan province, has always been an idyllic getaway, but in recent years it can feel overcrowded by tourists. How can travelers to Dali rediscover and immerse themselves in the relaxing, slow-paced lifestyle that this town is known for? As a Dali native, let me give you some tips.
After years of travel between the US and Beijing and beyond, I still come back to Dali whenever I can to find the treasures hidden in between the alleyways and backstreets. Here are my personal favorite finds:
After visits to Beijing and Xi’an, our friends from Brazil reached the third stop on their tour, Guilin. The mists, clouds and distinct karst mountains that you may have seen in Chinese watercolors, make this an essential stop on a first trip to China.
The beautiful, iconic landscapes of Guilin’s karst mountains. So quintessentially China, and yet it’s a whole other thing to experience them in person.
After a few days in Beijing, the group from Brazil traveled to China’s ancient capital in Xi’an. Check out everything they managed to pack into their two days there.
Taking a leisurely bike ride along Xi’an’s ancient city wall.
Xi Zhinong is one of China’s pioneering wildlife photographers. He has been photographing and filming China’s wildlife for over 30 years. His latest work that will be playing on April 29th on PBS, is about Yunnan’s snub-nosed monkeys, a unique breed of monkey found only in Yunnan’s high mountain forests. For those in New York, you can catch a special pre-screening at the Asia Society on April 22nd.
We gave Mr. Xi a call to discuss what it’s like being a wildlife photographer in China and how his work has influenced China’s environmental consciousness. (more…)
South of the Himalayas, a tranquil and mystical Buddhist kingdom of 700,000 stands happily and detached from the outside world. This is the picture of Bhutan that we see portrayed online. Snow-covered peaks, simple farm houses flanked by rice paddies and shrines, sunlight filtering through the eaves of low-lying clouds. This idyllic realm is not dominated by its GDP or economic growth, happiness of the people is their priority. Yet how is it possible to remain happy without wealth? We had to see for ourselves.
On a recent trip to Bhutan I stayed at Amankora, Aman’s ultra-luxury resort series nestled in Bhutan’s six major valleys. John Reed, Amankora GM, built these properties when no other luxury hotels existed in Bhutan. He shared with me stories from his fascinating journey:
How It All Began
MZ: I know the Amankora brought you to Bhutan, but why did you decide to take this project?
JR: I was so intrigued with Bhutan during my first visit in September 2001, the trip I made with my wife to decide if we wanted to give up our idyllic life in Bali (I was at that time the GM of Amandari) to move to Bhutan. I was taken with the warm, benevolent people, their kindness and confidence, the natural, pristine richness of the landscape, the religion and history.
By chance, we were on that trip over 9/11. On the day of the 11th we were traveling between Bumthang and Thimphu, and by the time we reached Thimphu late in the evening, the rest of the world was falling apart. We did not have a TV where we were staying and were being updated by phone by one of our local partners.
The following morning we made it to a local hotel and stayed glued to CNN, until I received a call from an American woman whom I had met on my flight into Bhutan. She told us the King was hosting a special ceremony for any Americans who were in country that day. My wife and I made our way to the dzong in our best travel clothes and joined a small group of 12 Americans. (more…)
This week, we’re introducing China to a group of travel professionals from Brazil. It’s the very first time to the Middle Kingdom for most of the group so we’ll be showing them the highlights of this fascinating country, the WildChina way.
Their first three days were spent exploring Beijing. Take a look at all they’ve discovered around the city and check back soon for photos from their next stops: Xi’an, Guilin and Shanghai.
Here is the whole group, ready for a day of exploring Beijing with their WildChina guide. (more…)
This Chinese New Year, the staff at WildChina dispersed to every corner of the country to go see relatives and explore new places! We’re hard at work again now and Beijing is back to its everyday high-energy buzz. But before we move on too quickly, we wanted to share some memories with you. Have a look at all our celebrations and travels across China, from Yunnan to Sichuan and everywhere in between. What do you think? Do these photos bring to mind any of your own holiday memories?