This week, we are very pleased to have been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence as a top rated China tour and activity provider. The award is given to businesses that “consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor” and with 37/38 reviews rated as ‘Excellent’ (and 1 rated as ‘Very Good’), we fall pretty strongly into that category.
As we wandered around the monastery, we heard a deep horn. Whatever plans we had were gone and we were off to find the source of the sound. After turning a few corners, we looked up and there on top of a roof were two monks, blowing into long horns that ran along the ground. Below this, a group of monks hurried into a courtyard and then back into a building. What they did there I don’t know – received a blessing? Swapped out their shoes? In no time, they were all back in the courtyard. One very serious monk came and sat down in the middle of the courtyard at a table. The others began to arrange themselves in seated lines behind him. Older monks sat in the front, younger ones in the back.
In 1910, in the valley of Sichuan’s Min River, a group was on an arduous trek. The leader of this trek, a man named Wilson, was being carried by two others in a bamboo sedan chair. They had been traveling for days in search for a wild flower called The Regal Lily. As they were walking, a rockslide came without warning and the group was unable to avoid the huge rocks falling from the mountain. Once everything had settled, Wilson found that one of his legs was buried under the rocks and smashed completely. He moaned in agony, took out his camera tripod, and bonded it to his leg. Three days later, the group returned to civilization but he was left with a limp. Years later we would mock his limp and obsession with the Regal Lily referring to his walk as the “lily limp.”
It was a grand time introducing our new friends to the wonders of China. For most of this Brazilian team of travel professionals, it was their very first time to the Middle Kingdom and we made sure they saw all the highlights in style. We hiked along the Great Wall, stared back at the stone-faced terracotta warriors, and floated down Guilin’s Li River between the Karst Mountains. For our final few days we explored one of the world’s most international cities, Shanghai, and then took a day trip from Shanghai to Suzhou to wander its famous gardens and canals.
We hope you enjoy reliving some travel memories with us:
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…)