A Quick Guide to Myanmar’s Traditional Food

Myanmar was sealed off for the last 50 years, but, as the country opens up, travelers finally get to have a taste of one of Southeast Asia’s most colorful culinary palettes.

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Burmese food is a collision between Chinese, Indian, and other Southeast Asian cooking traditions. This rich culinary palate combines a hodgepodge of unique flavors from Myanmar’s ethnic and regional cuisines.

Throughout the streets of the Golden Land, as the country is known, the savory fragrance of rich, bright curries simmer from street vendors’ vats and penetrate passerby’s nostrils in an enticing assault on the senses.

Motley arrays of boiled vegetables, fresh local herbs, and sour and salty sauces decorate tables low to the ground where local patrons eagerly dig into their feasts.

If you’re a vegetarian this is also the place for you – you can discover many kinds of salads and tossed greens on these streets. Ginger, cucumber, tomato, tea leaves, kaffir lime, long bean – if it grows in Myanmar’s fertile soil, then it’s probably in a salad.

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6 Chinese Artists Who Aren’t Ai Weiwei

You’ve probably heard of Ai Weiwei, but there’s much more to China’s contemporary art scene than its most famous representative

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Perhaps the most acclaimed living Chinese artist/activist known to Western audiences, Ai Weiwei’s influence on the Chinese and global arts scene resonates through his extensive body of work. Yet he is just one of many contemporary artists whose work has helped in shaping a post-Cultural Revolution art scene since China opened her doors to the world in 1976.

Many tackle the larger themes of governmental policies (such as the one-child policy), economic growth in the ‘90s, and more recently, rapid Westernization, while others draw inspiration from the prosaic – personal memory and urban life. By no means an exhaustive list, here are 6 contemporary artists – ranging from old to young and representing fields in visual arts, performing arts and architecture – that you need to know.
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Discover Yunnan’s Wild Side in the Gaoligong Mountains

The Gaoligong Mountains are an untouched Eden of richly preserved nature. The mountains are one of the world’s most important regions for biodiversity outside of the tropics and contain half China’s wildlife. 

小熊猫(蔺汝涛)

Spanning five hundred kilometers along the Yunnan-Myanmar border, the Gaoligong Mountains rest near the tropical edge of the Himalayas. This creature-studded mountain range is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.

In this geologically rich area, there are volcanoes, hot springs, and some of the largest remaining untouched tracts of evergreen, deciduous, and bamboo forests.

A few years ago WildChina’s founder Mei Zhang trekked through the Gaoligong Mountains to scope out the next big thing in Chinese tourism. Here’s our guide to the Gaoligong Mountains where you can have a special view of these natural wonders of Yunnan:

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Mei Zhang’s Done it Again – 7 Time Award Winner A-List Travel Advisor

She’s done it again!

WildChina Founder, Mei Zhang received her seventh a-list travel advisor award from Travel and Leisure Magazine this week. We’d love to thank Travel and Leisure and Nathan Lump for putting Mei on the Travel Agent a-list again!

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 Advisors”. Mei Zhang has yet again joined the elite list which features 133 of the world’s top advisors, arranged by location of expertise. (more…)

Only Have 24 Hours in Guiyang? Here’s What To Do…

Sometimes overlooked by tourists on their way to more famous destinations, Guiyang has a lot to offer the discerning traveller.

Nicknamed the ‘Forest City’ and the ‘Summer Capital of China,’ Guiyang’s history dates back to the 13th century, and it is surrounded by beautiful Guizhou scenery.

Whether you’re interested in traditional Chinese villages, a picturesque hike in a stream filled valley, or discovering China’s biggest waterfall, you’ll find that Guiyang and its surroundings has more than enough to keep you enthralled for 24 hours. Here are a few suggestions…

Yunshantun Old Han Village

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Source: Zhangzhugang

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The Unexpected, Natural Wonders of Guizhou

A hidden gem of China’s Southwest, Guizhou is an ideal destination for those who want to venture off the beaten path. Although many travelers visit Guizhou for its diverse minority cultures and vibrant music festivals, Guizhou is also rich in natural beauty.

Among the colorful ethnic minority villages, Guizhou‘s also spotted with rustic lakeside farms and terraced rice fields. Home to one of the most beautiful karst caves in China and many precious animals, Guizhou will not disappoint you whether you’re interested in seeing wildlife or bizarre sites of nature.

Here’s a list of what to do in Guizhou (other than dancing and sipping rice wine at minority festivals):

 Gilles Vogt via Flickr

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7 Things to Do in Guilin

Guilin has much to offer the tourist who wants to see the real, wild heart of China. We’ve compiled the best selections from our tours in Guilin to inspire you to visit this pristine, exotic region.

Xingping - Carlos Adampol Galindo - Flickr

Carlos Adampol Galindo via Flickr

Guilin is home to China’s most archetypal scenery. The green karst peaks reflect on tranquil rivers and waves of water-filled rice paddies ripple across slopes of verdant mountains. This lush scenery is the embodiment of Chinese natural aesthetic principle, “lǜshuǐ qīngshān.” (Green hills and blue waters)

Step into the landscape you see reflected in Chinese ink paintings, the vivid inspiration for centuries of poems, songs, and legends. The summer season until October is the best time to visit.

But before we show you the best of Guilin, let’s get something straight. When people say Guilin, they’re really talking about two different places: Longsheng and Yangshuo. These two towns embody Guilin’s beauty and atmosphere. We recommend a day trip to Longsheng to see the stunning rice terraces, then return to Guilin for the night and head to Yangshuo for 2-3 days the next day.

Here are our top recommendations to make the most of your trip to Guilin in both Longsheng and Yangshuo:

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The 4 Most Romantic Places in China

Looking for a little romance in the Middle Kingdom? We’ve compiled a list of the four best places to take your sweetheart on Chinese Valentine’s Day (Qixi Festival) 

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via China Daily

Chinese mythology tells of how a humble cowherd fell in a love with a beautiful weaver girl. Despite their difference in status they lived happily together until the mother of heaven discovered their romance. Furious, she forbade their love, and banished them to opposite sides of the Milky Way.

Most of the time they lived apart, but once a year the magpies of the world took pity on the couple. Forming a bridge across the galaxy they united the pair for one evening each year, on the 7th day of the 7th month in the traditional Chinese calendar.

Today China marks the occasion by celebrating the Qixi festival (七夕節). It’s often referred to by foreigners as the Chinese Valentine’s Day, and it’s a great excuse to discover some of the most beautiful and romantic places in the Middle Kingdom.

Here are our four best choices…

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What to Do on a Day Trip to Suzhou

Suzhou’s stunning canals and decorated gardens make this little city the perfect getaway from the bustling metropolis of Shanghai. If you only have one day to indulge in a break from it all, you’ll need to look no further than Suzhou for rest and relaxation mixed with authentic cultural experiences.

picture1Photo by _chrisUk via Flickr

With frequent high-speed trains running in and out of the city (Shanghai is approximately 20 minutes away), Suzhou is the perfect day trip for anyone looking for a respite from the big cities. Whether it’s your first time in town, or you’re back for more, we’ve put together a list of places that combine the classic spots with alternative choices that will bring out a different side of Suzhou you wouldn’t see on the usual tourist itinerary.

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