In Conversation with Snub-nosed Monkeys Photographer, Xi Zhinong

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.

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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…)

Bhutan, Is Your Gross National Happiness A Myth?

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.

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Building authenticity – a conversation with John Reed, GM of Amankora Bhutan

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:

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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…)

First time to China – Part 1: Beijing

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.

 brazil flag in hutongHere is the whole group, ready for a day of exploring Beijing with their WildChina guide. (more…)

Dumplings To Eat And Mountains To Climb! – How We Spent Our Chinese New Year

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?

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Sledding Outing with the Kids from Bethel

Last Friday, was a delightful office outing. A few of us from WildChina met up with kids from Bethel, an outreach centre for blind orphans, and had a grand time sledding together!

Each of us adults was paired with a kid for the day and altogether there were nearly fifty of us. During the day it was so fun to get to know the kids. They were all so different, some were more cautious and others that dashed halfway up the hill before any of us could catch up. But they all had three things in common: all the Bethel kids have some level of vision impairment – from completely unable to see to being able to make out vague outlines and colors; second, these kids don’t have parents, so all of them live and learn at Bethel; and third, every kid LOVED sledding!

If you’d like to find out more about Bethel – the kids and the amazing team that supports them – you can visit their website: bethelchina.org

Below are some photos from our outing! (more…)

Out West in China’s Rugged Xinjiang Province

Even for the seasoned China traveler, the ancient Silk Road regions are a place of mystery and surprise. Past civilizations and modern countries have left layer upon layer of cultural influences in this crossroads of global trade. It’s a world that’s hard to define and hard to place. (more…)

Happy Year of the Sheep!

China’s biggest holiday has arrived and the whole country is stopping to enjoy quality family time over long cups of tea and hot juicy dumplings.

To help you and your family plan quality time on your China holiday, our customer services team will continue to be on call 24/7 to answer inquiries and tailor trips throughout this festive season. We wish you and your family a wild and fortuitous year of the sheep! Xin nian kuai le!

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