Why 2017 is the Year to Explore China Differently

Get to know why we chose “Explore China Differently” as our theme for the WildChina Explorer Grant 2017, and find out more about the grant on the WildChina Explorer Grant website.

Since WildChina was founded on the slopes of Mount Kailash, nearly 17 years ago, we have made it our mission to pioneer China travel. We punch through the tourist bubble and empower curious travelers to discover the vast wonders of the Middle Kingdom.

dongruiresWildChina Explorer 2016 Dongrui Yu on his quest to capture Yunnan’s lost stars

In 2016, WildChina Founder Mei Zhang embarked on a personal new challenge, to return to her hometown of Dali in search of a beloved regional delicacy. The stunning collection of photographs and recipes she collected along her journey were chronicled in the Penguin published Travels Through Dali: with a leg of ham and thanks to her dedication to travel, others can now step into her story on her WildChina journey of the same name.

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The WildChina Explorer Grant Returns for 2017!

We’ve opened applications for our annual USD$5000 travel grant, and this year, there’s a twist.

Is your dream job to be paid to travel and share what you love about China with others? With this year’s WildChina Explorer Grant those dreams might just come true. We are offering the winner not only a USD$5000 travel grant but the chance to utilize WildChina’s vast network and expert knowledge of the Middle Kingdom to create a WildChina Journey – one that will be marked in the pages of WildChina history and available for the world to choose and enjoy.

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WildChina Explorer 2014 Rick Qi filming his documentary
about the Mosuo People, China’s last matriarchal society

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If You Were Given USD$5000, Where in China Would You Explore?

We’re excited to announce that our search for the WildChina Explorer 2017 will begin on February 23, 2017! Get to know the history and past winners of the WildChina Explorer Grant and whet your appetite for this year’s search.

The WildChina Explorer Grant was established in 2011 to enable dreamers and explorers to pursue the life-changing experiences that will make them pioneers in their fields – promoting the importance of sustainable travel and highlighting culturally significant issues along the way.  Through the grant we hope to find adventurers who aspire to make an impact through exploration. Explorers who will join us in breaking new frontiers, and who dare to challenge the unknown.

Since its creation, the WildChina Explorer Grant has helped fund some extraordinary projects and we are excited to announce that the search for the WildChina Explorer 2017 is about to begin. To help get your wanderlust juices flowing, here’s a look at the expeditions taken by our previous grantees.

2016 Winner: Dongrui Yu

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How to Choose Authentic Jingdezhen Ceramics

In the heart of Jiangxi province, the city of Jingdezhen represents the gilded age of Chinese porcelain making, where for centuries emperors sought the creations of craftsmen from its lands.You’ve probably heard of ‘fine china’ and here is where it got it’s name! We recently visited Jingdezhen, doing research for a brand new WildChina journey, and have created a guide to help you choose real, handmade, and authentic Jingdezhen ceramics.

Located in northeastern Jiangxi, the city of Jingdezhen has reigned as the “porcelain capital” of China for close to two millennia. Surrounded by ample natural reserves of pure kaolin, the main ingredient used in pottery clay, the city began producing ceramics as early as the Han Dynasty (221–206 BC). By the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Jingdezhen had turned into a hotbed of workshops and kilns that specially created porcelain ware for the emperor and the imperial court.

Jingdezhen-painting-ceramics

 

Although the imperial court tried to keep their find a secret, the porcelain trade flourished along the Silk Road through the dynastic ages till the Cultural Revolution put a pause on things. It is only throughout the past decade that artisans have begun to re-learn the trade.

Unfortunately (as with all great things), the city regaining its status as the country’s porcelain capital has meant that some vendors try to pass off low quality, fake ceramics as auction-worthy pieces. Here are our tips for distinguishing the authentic items.

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Meet Wai Wai, Our New Art Expert

At WildChina, we love to offer our clients the chance to travel with visionaries who are experts in their fields. Recently, we’ve brought on board a new Beijing art expert, Wai Wai. 

Wai Wai is an expert in Chinese contemporary art from the 1970’s to the present. She started her career with Swire Properties as a promotion manager for their upscale shopping venue Tai Koo Li and since then has worked with artists, musicians and designers on exhibitions and live shows across China. We sat down with Wai Wai to discuss why the Middle Kingdom is a destination for art lovers.

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Six Romantic Places in China for a Honeymoon – WildChina Style

The Middle Kingdom makes the perfect destination for adventurous newlyweds. Not your typical honeymoon destination, this mythical and mysterious land provides a romantic backdrop for a sumptuous getaway. These are our top six most romantic places in China for a WILD honeymoon.

Paris, Venice, the Maldives and Hawaii…all romantic destinations that the world has come to love, but what about China? For those who want a truly unique and life-changing experience, the Middle Kingdom provides idyllic scenery for starry-eyed couples and newlyweds.

Hangzhou Waterway

We’ve found six wild honeymoon destinations that may make having eyes only for your special someone, very difficult.

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What Travel Experts Do Over Chinese New Year

What better way to ring in the Year of the Rooster than with our annual WildChina party!

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Once a year, our whole team gathers to celebrate our successes as a company, acknowledge employee accomplishments, and kick off the Spring Festival National Holiday in style.

This year, our Beijing Office closed early and the party theme of “Old Beijing” gave us the inspiration for a team-building activity that took place in the afternoon: a scavenger hunt to find people, places, and things related to Old Beijing. From learning the process of making Beijing’s infamous erguotou alcohol to tracking down a train that traveled all the way from Taiwan, we competed to see which team could accomplish the most tasks.

Our wonderful evening meal and annual meeting was hosted by Waldorf Astoria, Beijing who provided us with delicious food, sparkling drinks, and traditional Old Beijing entertainment, right in the heart of the capital. Then, as the night drew to a close, we all set off to do what WildChina does best: Travel!

We thought you might like to see what we got up to, so we’ve picked out some of our favorite Spring Festival stories.

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Make These “Houses” Your Home in China

Today’s discerning traveler demands accommodation that offers more than just a pillow to rest under your weary head. We are looking for a place of comfort, convenience, and style. For us, here at WildChina, the House Collective properties in Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong offer everything you need.

The House Collective is an award-winning group of luxury boutique hotels defined by understated elegance, immense attention to detail and brilliantly attentive staff.

temple-houseSource: The Temple House

Through work with renowned architects and designers, each hotel in the collection possesses a recognizable character and flair, promising warm and unforgettable experiences.

Let’s take a look at what you’ll find inside.

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WildChina Becomes a Member of the Mandarin Oriental Fan Club!

The award-winning Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group represents the peak of luxury accommodation worldwide. They are famous for their legendary service, celebrity fans and a philosophy for luxury that is steeped in the values of the Orient. So it’s safe to say that when it comes to their properties in Mainland China and Hong Kong – they deliver excellence.

Recently, we had the honor of becoming part of the Mandarin Oriental Fan Club, a select group of Mandarin Orientals preferred partners worldwide. This is great news for you because there is now a whole slew of guest benefits that WildChina clients are eligible for.

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4 Reasons to Visit Hangzhou and Suzhou in Spring

Hangzhou and Suzhou are well known in China for being slices of paradise on Earth. Spring is the perfect time to visit these two cities and here are our top four reasons why.

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There’s a famous Chinese saying that translates to, “There is heaven above and there is Suzhou and Hangzhou below.” These two cities are a short, 1-2-hour train ride from Shanghai, making them the perfect respite from big city life. We’d suggest visiting these two cities during the spring and here’s why:

suzhou-master-nets-garden

Photo by PS Liu via Flickr

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