Experience China Differently
Facebook      Pinterest      Twiter      Tripadvisor
+1 888-902-8808| info@wildchina.com

WildChina Blog

RSS

Featured Bloggers

In The News
The absolute latest updates in China travel information.

On the Road
Our tales from the trail and dispatches straight from the source.

Travel Tips
What to bring, where to go, and how to get around China.

Mei Zhang
WildChina founder, entrepreneur, mother.

Chelin Miller
Insider tips on China's finer side

August 15th, 2014

Yunnan’s Ancient Tea&Horse Caravan Road

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

Where in China can you experience a mix of history, culture, and nature?      
You can explore some of China’s most diverse cultures, ecology, and landscapes in Yunnan Province, just south of the Tibetan Plateau. Yunnan features green low-lying valleys, white-capped mountains, and a vast assortment of ethnic communities. This diverse terrain is home to the beginning of The Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road, or “The Silk Road of Southern China”.

The 3,100-mile route of the Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road started in Southern China, passed through Tibet, Burma, Nepal, and ended in India. China’s desire to import horses from Tibet and Tibet’s desire to import tea from China was the main motivation of the trade along the Tea and Horse Caravan Road. Traveling this route was difficult due to its diverse terrain, and one minor misstep could be fatal for both trader and animals.

H&TCRoad

Today, the Tea and Horse Caravan Road attracts people from all over the world with its assorted teas, mixed cultures, stunning landscapes, and ancient centers of trade. By traveling along this route, travelers can experience both ancient and modern China by learning about the culture of local ethnic communities, hiking in the ancient tea tree forests, and exploring the scenic mountain, rivers and valleys.

How can you get there?
WildChina can take you on a 13 day journey along the route of the Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road in Yunnan. The first stop, Xishuangbanna, is the original place of pu’erh tea production. In Xishuangbanna, you can buy premium pu’erh tea at Menghai market, meet the descendants of the first tea cultivators, and stay in an Aini Village homestay. We pass through Dali as we follow the route through sloping valleys, golden barley and canola fields to Shaxi. After Shaxi, we see Lijiang’s Old Town and the legendary Yangtze River on our way to Shangri-La. In Shangri-La, we explore Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan lamasery in Yunnan, the Napahai Lake, and visit a nearby artisan village.


TeaAndHorseMap

Are you a spontaneous planner?
Join us this October in Yunnan! This is our last small group trip of the year, led by Jeff Fuchs, the first Westerner to have ever traveled the whole road. Our journey to China’s  Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road begins October 15 and ends October 24. If you’re interested in retracing the steps of those who traveled this ancient road, contact info@wildchina.com.

Like to make plans in advance?
If you’re interested in tea or Yunnan cuisine, keep your eyes open for our 2015 small group departures which include a tea-based journey of China and Taiwan with Jeff Fuchs and a special gastronomic tour of Yunnan with expert Fuchsia Dunlop.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: ,, .





August 14th, 2014

Sixth year in a row! Travel+Leisure Names Mei Zhang Top Travel Agent for China

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

When booking a trip, the travel company you choose can make the difference between an ordinary or extraordinary travel experience. To guide travelers in the right direction, the editors of Travel + Leisure assess hundreds of travel agents around the world and select the best to make up their annual list of “A-list Top Travel Specialists”. WildChina’s founder, Mei Zhang, is featured on their 2014 list for her standard-setting services in China travel. The elite list features 133 of the world’s top advisors, arranged by location of expertise.

“There’s a reason we use the term advisor to describe the members of our 2014 A-List,” said Travel + Leisure News Editor and “Trip Doctor” columnist Amy Farley. “These destination experts offer much more than booking services. They offer insider insights, unparalleled access, the ability to create a seamless itinerary, and value.”

i-RV4cDcC-L A-List 2014[5][2] (1)

Mei can now add this accolade to her list of awards and recognitions, which include:Travel + Leisure’s   2009-2012 A-Lists of Top Travel Agents, Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist in 2010 and 2011, and The Daily Beast’s 2012 list of Women in the World. Riding on Mei’s 14 years of experience in the luxury travel industry, WildChina provides both insider access to China and personalized service. WildChina’s specialties are China, Tibet and custom luxury itineraries.

According to Mei, she “witnessed the push and pull between economic development and conservation of both nature and culture in Yunnan.” This push and pull inspired her to create WildChina to provide people with a sophisticated version of Chinese culture and nature through first-hand travel.

WildChina has also received acknowledgments for our luxury travel services, which set the bar for tailored, authentic travel experiences. In 2009 National Geographic selected WildChina as one of Adventure Magazine’s Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth, Traveler Magazine’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime, and Harvard Business Reviewed named WildChina “a leader in its field.”

Travel + Leisure’s thirteenth annual A-list will be featured in the September issue of Travel + Leisure and on travelandleisure.com. Congratulations Mei!

Tags: ,,,, .





August 8th, 2014

Discover China’s Treasures

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

old&newsummerpalace

If you’re coming to China for the first time, there are four absolute must-see destinations which represent the best of classic China: Beijing, Xi’an, Yunnan, and Shanghai.

phutong

 Beijing              

Imagine stepping back in time while strolling through a traditional Beijing hutong (alleyway). You can watch (or join) elders participating in a heated game of Chinese chess or mahjong, smell  locals cooking traditional snacks like jianbing (pancakes) and baozi (steamed buns), and hear a local playing a traditional Chinese tune.

Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an. Photo by Kristen Kuan, a WildChina traveler.

Xi’an

The historical city of Xi’an is famous for the remarkable Terracotta Warriors. Most visitors view them from a public viewing gallery. WildChina, however, arranges special access to the museum’s lower deck so that you can take a closer look at these proud sculptures.Who doesn’t like a backstage pass?

   dinnerreduced

Yunnan  

Yunnan is breathtaking: its low valleys, white-capped mountains, and rustic towns will please the eye. Yunnan is one of China’s most diverse provinces, home to a number of ethnic minorities.Imagine going to a colorful festive dinner party in a local Naxi minority courtyard home while listening to the sound of traditional Naxi music

 Only a short drive north, Shangri-La is home to beautiful rivers and mountains. Aside from beautiful scenery,Shangri-La is also filled with beautiful experiences. Take the chance to immerse yourself into Tibetan culture by sharing a cup of tea with a local family and local residents for their daily evening dance around the Old Town Square.

Bund Night-34

Shanghai

Step into the “Paris of the East”. You can experience an evening cruise on the Huangpu River that cuts through the diverse city. The skyline that surrounds both sides of the river provides a glimpse into two different faces of Shanghai. The beautiful European-style buildings in the Bund will make you feel like you are back in 1930’s Shanghai while the futuristic skyscrapers of Pudong will take you to the future.

The bad news is, a trip like this can take months to plan due to the language barrier and the amount of sought-after destinations. The good news is, WildChina has a small group trip scheduled to these destinations September 7-September 18. Chinese Treasures is one of our most popular small group trips which highlights the classic images of China and immerses you in Chinese culture and history. This trip is perfect for people who have a sense of adventure and want to experience the past, present and future of China. Starting with a Peking Duck feast and ending with a Shanghainese farewell dinner, you’ll get to taste the diverse cuisines of China, discover local culture, people and sites in luxury. Let WildChina and our guides help you Experience China Differently. There is still time to join in on this trip! To secure a spot on our journey, email WildChina at info@wildchina.com.

Tags: ,, .





August 7th, 2014

Yangmeizhu Xie Jie: The Best of Transformed Hutongs

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

You know you have to hit the hutongs and get a pedi-cab ride, hear about the royal families and institutes that lived in those gray brick-and-tile mansions. But what about the rest of the hutongs, the real ones that old generations of ordinary citizens who lived there and passed it down to their grandchildren and their grandchildren?

We didn’t forget about them! If you are interested in checking out the daily hutong life of modern China, here is the best representation of all transformed hutongs in Beijing. Away from the tourist sites, we present…

YANGMEIZHU XIE JIE- referred as YMZ alley below (direct translation: Skewed Red Bayberry and Bamboo Street)

Old & New YMZ alley

Old & New YMZ alley

Qianmen, as a must-visit tourist site, should give you an idea of how people lived in old China, described in the books of Lisa See. But honestly, Qianmen area has changed so much from what it used to be. Everything looks so… twenty-first-century! There are H&M, Zara and Starbucks lined up on the street. The surrounding area is also much more modern. If you are there, then ditch the artificial facilities and mingle with the culturally rich local lives at YMZ alley.

What can you find here?
YMZ is named after a legend of Mrs. Yang, a very skilled matchmaker and the happy marriages she brought together. The street was then turned into a bevy of famous publishing bureau during the Republic of China era. The mixture of vintage and avant-garde, that’s the difference between YMZ and the other not-so-cool hutongs. You will find independent designers, such as “casual location” and book cover designer studios that exhibit inspiring notebooks from all around the world. These tiny studios and boutiques deliver a positive yet mellow vibe to their native Beijinger neighbors. The residence on YMZ alley also shares their most welcoming tradition, treating these residence-nouveau as their new family members. Arriving at the doorsteps, we look at the YMZ in a whole new, admiring light.

What can you do there?
1. No set menu, no named cuisines, book a family dinner at Casual Location with local Chef Jiawen, he will surprise you with his healthy and delicious jiachangcai (home cooking.)
Casual Location 米念, reserve for tailored dinner:158 1030 0334 (two days ahead)

Casual Location Dinner Setting

Casual Location Dinner Setting

2. Are you a crafty person? If yes, then check out Old Zhang’s Wood-carving New Year Painting. A picture tells a thousand stories. Here you can learn a thousand traditions, urban legends, and bizarre cultural metaphors from all the carving designs.
Reserve with Old Zhang 老张的木板年画 13522641374

Old Zhang's Shop

Old Zhang’s Shop

Why we think it’s cool?
If a laowai (Chinese for “foreigner”) wrote a book about this little alley, you know it’s pretty cool. Michael Meyer, a professor from Pittsburgh University and Peace Corps volunteer, lived in this alley for many years His book, The Last Days of Old Beijing, talked about stories of his neighbors—the 75-year-old granny moving out of the hutong that she lived in for her whole life, urbanites and Gen-Ys advocating the transformation of this old neighborhood, experts and scholars finding the significance of keeping these timeworn establishments.

Michael's Book

Michael’s Book

With its legendary historical background and all the contemporary creative souls, this hutong is the new up and coming gem of Beijing.

Book a tour with us. Our Classic China series, which range from 11 to 13 days, all include Beijing as a destination. Our next departure is the Chinese Treasure trip that starts from Beijing and ends in Shanghai.

Classic China series:  Palace & Panda | Family Fun | Monuments & Mountains | Soul of Tibet | Chinese Treasure

Our Classic China series fuses our spirit of adventure and sense of luxury with China’s most iconic routes to create distinctive journeys especially designed for first time visitors. Rather than simply catching a glimpse of the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square, we bring you superior access to experts, local experiences, and exclusive venues so you can get beneath the surface and experience China differently. Feed and care for pandas alongside their rangers or practice taichi with locals at the Temple of Heaven. Experience the real China in style with our Classic China journeys.

Photo credits to 时尚廊Trends Lounge

 

 

Tags: ,,, .





August 4th, 2014

An Update on the Yunnan Earthquake and Our Future Trips

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

BBC News Provided the Epicenter Map

BBC News Provided the Epicenter Map away from Tourists Area

Ludian, a remote county in Northeast Yunnan, experienced a 6.1-magnitude earthquake yesterday. No WildChina travelers or future trips are affected.                   

The WSJ Quake Epicenter Map

The WSJ Quake Epicenter Ma

 

On August 3rd, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck a rural part of Northeastern Yunnan. The epicenter was in a mountainous region largely covered by agricultural lands, far from the tourist centers of Dali and Lijiang in the South. No WildChina traveler or future trips will be affected by the earthquake.There have been reports of at least 381 casualties so far. We hope more lives can be saved through the rescue effort.

A total of 7,000 rescuers are working on disaster relief. Among those, 5,000 soldiers belonging to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from Chengdu are searching for more survivors and moving villagers out of the region. Government troops and the Red Cross Society of China also reacted immediately, distributing thousands of relief supplies and equipment. Relief goods were quickly handed out to people in the affected area. The surrounding villages and neighboring provinces have suffered a lesser degree of damage.

If you have an upcoming trip with us to Yunnan, Sichuan, or Guizhou, your WildChina travel consultant will get in touch with you.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: .





July 15th, 2014

China Travel Tips for the First Time Visitor

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

First time to China?
China can appear daunting for the first time traveler. At first glance, the highways, skyscrapers, and streets lined with various shops and restaurants invoke recognizable home comforts, but the cultural and linguistic differences can catch you off guard. WildChina has put together these ‘survival’ tips that will help to prepare you for a smooth-sailing first time experience in China.China can catch travelers by surprise with the mix of east and west in its largest cities.China can catch travelers by surprise with the mix of east and west in its largest cities.

Food & drink
One of the highlights of any China trip will undoubtedly be the food. Though WildChina only takes clients to top restaurants throughout our journeys, if you are seeking a taste of Chinese local life and authenticity, street food vendors and small local restaurants are a popular stop, even if tried only once. Bear in mind: food from these vendors may look, smell and taste delicious, but western stomachs may not be so hasty to agree. We would recommend bringing some medications from home to sooth an upset stomach, just in case.

Some tasty street-side snacks!
Some tasty street-side snacks!

In China, tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water is provided throughout our journeys, both in the hotels and our own vehicles. Water is also widely available from shops, restaurants, and street vendors.

There is a tendency for drinks to be served hot in China. Water, milk and even beer are commonly enjoyed warm! If you like cold drinks,  try adding bing (ice) before the name of your drink when ordering. Helpful words: bing shui (cold water)  bing piju (cold beer).

Restrooms
Outside the comfort of 5-star hotels and restaurants, you are more than likely to encounter a Chinese squat toilet, which, for no prizes, involves a hole in the floor that you squat over. Squat toilets can be found in local bars, restaurants, and at many attractions. At first glance you might not like these toilets, but next to the Western sit-down toilets, they can be seen as a more hygienic experience because you don’t have to touch anything in a squat toilet. Note: Toilet paper and hand soap are not always provided in toilets, so always have some tissues and hand sanitizer handy.

Cash vs. Card
While major shopping malls, restaurants and hotels accept foreign credit/bank cards, smaller establishments and stalls will prefer cash. Actually, China is traditionally a cash society so it is advisable to ensure there is always a comfortable amount of cash on hand for drinks, snacks, and small souvenirs.

 

VPN

Certain websites and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google (including Gmail) are blocked in China. If you need to access any of these during your trip, you will need to set up a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs redirect Internet connection to allow access to blocked sites. They are easy to set up and can be downloaded from the web and app stores for free or for a small price.

 

Have a safe first trip in China! If you have any questions, contact us at info@wildchina.com. 

Tags: ,, .





July 7th, 2014

And the winner of our 2014 WildChina Explorer Grant is…

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

 

Ricky Qi!

 

Ricky Qi Profile

Every year, it is not an easy task to choose a WildChina Explorer. This year we received piles of inspirational applications and fun videos, making the reviewing process a lot of fun! It’s exciting to see up-and-coming China explorers wanting to get their hiking boots dirty. However, with every contest, not everyone can be a winner (though I wish they could be!).

After a long deliberation among our judging panel, they chose Ricky and his continued pursuits in filming a feature-length documentary about the Mosuo people, China’s last matriarchal society. Hovering between the borders of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, his filming adventure will lead him on a month-long trek via horse caravan to some of the most remote and least documented places in the lower Himalayas.

Ricky Qi in Action edit

[Left: Teammate. Right: Ricky]

The son of Chinese immigrants, Ricky spent his childhood in Southern California. His travels have taken him to destinations from the fabled Scottish Highlands to the deep reaches of the Karakoram in Central Asia. He has devoted his life to film, exploring the medium’s ability to transfigure an audience’s perception of culture, place, and time. For the past two years, Ricky has been producing and directing a documentary. We at WildChina are excited to be a part of his journey into northern Yunnan and to follow his documentary’s story from remote villages into the beyond.

Check out his documentary’s teaser here.

Follow his expeditions on Instagram @supplythelight.

 

Congratulations on winning the 2014 WildChina Explorer Grant, Ricky!

 

 

Tags: , .





June 23rd, 2014

China Travel Tips: Top 3 Hotels in Chengdu, Sichuan

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

When you plan your trip to China, you probably don’t have Chengdu, Sichuan in your top destinations list. Why go? It’s a wonderful place to pamper pandas, eat spicy food and walk through scenic UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all while staying comfortably in our Top 3 Hotels.

Chengdu: an international hub

Far from being inhabited by just pandas and peppers, Sichuan’s capital Chengdu is China’s fourth largest city, named by Forbes as one of the next decade’s fastest-growing cities. Designated by UNESCO as Asia’s first City of Gastronomy, the city hosted the 2013 Fortune Global Forum which saw world leaders and CEOs meet.

Where to stay? Our top 3 hotels

The Six Senses Qing Cheng lies at the gateway to the Taoist Qingcheng Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site north of Chengdu. With its 111 suites, Six Senses has a luxury village theme with design and landscaping that reflect the surrounding natural area. This resort is very close to a new panda base and research center where you play with the resident pandas.

The Anantara Emei Resort & Spa is located at the base of the Buddhist Mount Emei, a UNESCO World Heritage Site south of Chengdu. This resort has 90 rooms and 60 suites, an outdoor pool, manmade lake, and international cuisine. Anantara Emei is a tranquil oasis, the perfect place to put your feet up and play mahjong after a hiking excursion. As a day tour, the world’s largest stone-carved Buddha at Leshan is also accessible from the resort.

The Ritz-Carlton Chengdu is located bang in the middle of downtown Chengdu, offering panoramic views of its historic center, Tianfu Square, which used to be the site of the Imperial Palace. Now, the square sprays water from its fountains in time to music twice a day and is watched over by a towering statue of Chairman Mao. This is a super luxurious hotel with 353 rooms, including over 50 suites, all with high-end facilities – including intelligent toilets!

How to get there?

United Airlines just started a nonstop service from San Francisco, putting Chengdu up there with Beijing and Shanghai. Chengdu is also served by a number of airlines including British Airways, Etihad, Air France/KLM, Cathay Pacific, and Lufthansa.

When to visit?

All year round.

If this sounds appealing to you, contact us at info@wildchina.com for more information about our Sichuan tours.


Tags: ,,,,,,, .





June 10th, 2014

China Travel: Discover Mount Emei in Sichuan

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

Check out this on the road experience from WildChina’s travel product design manager, Colleen O’Connor, and discover an unknown trail situated deep in Emei’s sacred mountain range, just waiting to be explored…by you!

We traveled to Sichuan with one main goal in mind: to find more exciting, adventurous routes accessible for you to Experience China Differently! For today, our destination included a little-known hiking trail along Sichuan’s Emei Mountain, one of China’s four sacred Buddhist Mountains. The name “Emei” literally translates to “delicate eyebrows,” deriving from two of the mountain’s peaks—Ten Thousand Buddha Summit and Golden Summit—resembling the curvature of one’s brow. On this hike, we planned to follow along Emei’s brow into mountainous terrain, bamboo groves, and an isolated temple.

The night before, Rebecca, WildChina’s Operations Manager, and I spent the night at the luxurious Anantara Emei Resort & Spa, a recently opened 5-star hotel nestled along the foothills of the Tibetan Plateau. After packing our daypacks, we left the comforts of our spacious double room and scooted along by private cart, passing the resort’s outdoor hot spring and colorful flower gardens to the main lobby.

Standard Double Bedroom in Anantara Emei Resort & Spa

Double Room at Emei Resort & Spa

We met our friendly Sichuan guides at the dining hall for a continental breakfast, boasting a wide array of Western and Chinese breakfast foods. After filling our stomachs, we hopped into an SUV to begin our 2-hour ride through remote villages and twisting mountain roads into the heart of Emei’s mountain range. Our first plan of action was to meet our local guide, who would lead the hike.

As the morning mist hovered over the country road, our driver drove slowly to avoid residents walking along the road’s edge. Through the window, I saw men carrying plows with dirt still hanging of the metal grips from yesterday’s farm work. The women carried empty woven baskets, preparing for a day of vegetable picking…a glimpse of an ordinary morning in rural Sichuan.

After two hours, we ascended one last bend along a cliff face before meeting our guide at a local home. His own home is situated far above in the mountains and inaccessible by road. So, he met us in the middle. He looked into the SUV, with a sweet-smelling pipe in hand, and grinned, “You ge laowai day” “There’s a foreigner!”

Local Emei Guide

Mr. Yue, our friendly Emei Mountain Guide

He put his pipe away and jumped in, while guiding the driver through dirt roads along towering cliffs and tiny hillside villages to our hike’s starting point, a slow moving river. The car slid to a muddy stop and we stepped out into a valley with a river trailing between the surrounding alpine mountains. After a night of light rainfall, the refreshing scent of wet pine was all around.

We said goodbye to our driver and followed our guide as he hopped as light as a feather over the stones placed in the river, beginning our trek into Emei Mountain. The hike started with a gradual incline to a wooden hut, surrounded by tilled land. Our guide explained that this little farm cultivated a type of root used for traditional Chinese medicine. As we took off our warm layers, the traditional medicine farmer came out of the hut to meet us, striking up a conversation with our guide, who was his close friend and neighbor.

We said our farewells and continued our way into a sea of bamboo groves. Being the end of March, late winter’s yellowish green tint took up most of the scenery’s color, except for the refreshing and vibrant green bamboo leaves that encircled the trail. Towering pines, shedding birch trees, and tangles of other tree types added to the mountainous flora.

Emei Local Trail Hike (snow)

Hiking through a tangle of trees and fresh moss (March scenery, we recommend you hike this trail in either spring or fall)

While exploring this unbeaten trail, I felt a sense of adventure and excitement for what would come next. Possibly another a unique bird, animal prints, or a mountainside vista? Thinking about the possibilities led to pondering over the other, more developed side of the mountain. How would it compare? I had heard it is equally beautiful, but also touristy with thousands of tourists visiting each day, hiking up a plethora of stone steps. The back trail, on the other hand, was the opposite, with hillside villages, dirt paths, and an intimate feeling of you with nature.

Ten Thousand Buddha Temple.jpg

Beyond the steps emerged the Ten Thousand Buddha Temple

After six hours of hiking, we finally reached the Ten Thousand Buddha summit, the highest point of Emei at 3,099 meters (10,167 feet). On the peak resides an isolated temple surrounded by clouds and sky, situated in a quiet, hard to access portion of the national park. It was the perfect place to rest and eat lunch. I gazed into the distance, peaking through pockets of mist and seeing the bluest of blue skies hiding beneath. I felt as if I was high in the air, one with the sky. The nearby Golden Pagoda, a larger than life golden statue of Samantabhadra, shimmered in the distance, waiting for us to visit.

After lunch, we set off to finish the rest of the trek, which was primarily flat as we followed an old train line that once led tourists to the temple. The line is now closed after an earthquake years back. We finally made it to the Golden Pagoda, ending our fun-filled day of adventure.

Golden Pagoda

The hike ended at the shimmering Golden Pagoda

This trek is for hiking-lovers, or for those who want to bring out the adventurer within, and witness a very real side of Sichuan’s countryside and will be at the tip of your fingertips by September 2014 after roads are fully accessible.

Experience Emei Mountain Differently with WildChina!

[Photos taken by Colleen O'Connor]

_____

What did you think? If Colleen’s descriptions of hiking Emei Mountain got you excited, check out other fun, new activities available in Sichuan in the Into the Heart of China’s Panda Country itinerary [here]. If you have any questions, shoot us an email at info@wildchina.com

 

Tags: ,,, .





May 30th, 2014

What is Luxury Travel in China?

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

There is significant variations in development among China’s different regions. Because of this, few countries in the world can offer the breadth and variety of luxury experiences that China can. From gilded 5 star services in the bustling world cities of Shanghai and Beijing, to the rustic charm of mountain retreats in rural Yunnan and Guilin, China has much variety to offer the luxury traveler. Understanding the different styles of luxury experiences available will help you get the most out of your visit to China.

Tier 1 cities – world-class 5 star luxury
Tier 1 cities in China: BeijingShanghai, Guangzhou & Shenzhen. These 4 cities are the country’s major economic centers. These cities host millions of visitors every year and have all the luxury offerings that would be expected of any world city.

Sir Elly's Terrace, atop The Peninsula Hotel, Shanghai
SIR ELLY’S TERRACE, ATOP THE PENINSULA HOTEL, SHANGHAI

Shanghai is often touted as the Paris of the East and has 5 star experiences to match. All the major 5 star hotels have set up shop there including 2 Ritz-Carltons, 2 Four Seasons, and 2 Hyatts (Park and Grand). Service levels in the hotels are on par or above their international counterparts but the price is generally lower, so luxury accommodation in China offers great value for money.

China’s tier 1 cities also sit comfortably on the world stage where cuisine is concerned. Shanghai in particular has a superb selection of high-end dining experiences by world-class chefs ranging from top Chinese, to classic French, to modern multi-sensory affairs.

Yunnan, Sichuan and Guilin :rustic rural retreats
Venturing outside of China’s tier 1 cities will bring you a richer cultural experience. The best way to enjoy authentic luxury in these areas is to go boutique.  Although 5 star hotels can still be found in some bigger cities in these regions, they are often lesser specimens of their international counterparts and close to the tired, commercialized areas of town.

Views from the Songstam Meili, Deqin County, YunnanVIEWS FROM THE SONGSTAM MEILI, DEQIN COUNTY, YUNNAN

Everything moves much slower outside of China’s big cities and staying at retreats, resorts and boutique lodges is the best way to enjoy this relaxed atmosphere. Immerse in village life in Yangshuo at the Moondance resort with a cooking lesson using ingredients purchased from the local market. Retreat to Songtsam Meili Lodge in the mountains of Shangri-La to take in its serenity away from the tourist traps. Conventional luxury dining experiences in these areas will be very hard to come by. However, the unique local flavors and fresh produce these regions offer will more than make up for it.

Xinjiang, Tibet, and other frontiers – ultimate adventure
China’s frontier regions offer ultimate adventure experiences, which can be found nowhere else in the world. However, accessing these experiences often requires traveling to remote and undeveloped areas where little to no conventional luxury comforts are available.

The Yushu Horse Festival on the Tibetan PlateauTHE YUSHU HORSE FESTIVAL ON THE TIBETAN PLATEAU

Luxury in these regions is defined more around premium activities. For example, VIP access to restricted sections of Mogao caves in Dunhuang, or expert guided tour of the Xinjiang Museum’s mummy collection. Many of these experiences are not openly advertised so it is important to work with a good China ground operator with the knowledge and networks to find them and make them happen.

If you are searching for ideas to be  impressed, China’s frontier regions is where you will find one-of-a-kind experiences with serious bragging rights. Imagine an exclusive luxury eco camp on the Tibetan Plateau to witness the Yushu Horse Festival, one of the last remaining horse festivals in China. This is something that WildChina dreamed up and arranged for clients in 2007-2009.

 

 

 

Tags: ,, .






 

Private Journeys - Ask Us a Question

Please use the form below, or email us at info@wildchina.com, to tell us more about your travel plans, so that we can craft the itinerary of your dreams.

Trip Info:

Personal mPinFormation

Address

+1-123-456-7890

Other Info:

Please tell us about your dream trip, including your reasons for taking this journey to China (e.g. first time to China, to celebrate an occasion, better understand a specific place or cultural aspect of China, etc.). If you have questions, please browse our Frequetly Asked Questions page or post your question below.