May 2nd, 2013
WildChina | Categories: WildChina Travel Tips
Abujee camping in China Guge Kingdom Khunu Mount Kailash Tibet travel travel in wild China WildChina yak wool .
Tibet is located in the heart of the Himalayas, and is one of the world’s most hidden and valuable treasures. Traveling to Tibet can take you back in time to the Guge Kingdom’s ancient civilization, give you the chance to hike up the remote, arduous, and scenic black peaks of sacred Mt. Kailash and amble along the towering, fortress-like crisp white walls of the Potala Palace. Northern Yunnan is also home to many Tibetans–some of whom have made the spectacular panoramas of Abujee, their home.
Khunu, a yak wool clothing company that sources its material from Tibet, was founded on the combination of an audacious spirit, the appreciation for far off cultures, and the desire to develop functional and fashionable products of the highest quality while facilitating direct and equitable market access for isolated Tibetan villages. The word “Khunu” represents the name given to the first true Mongolian dynasty a thousand years prior to the rise of the legendary Ghengis Khan in the 13th century. Vast, majestic scenery populated by a hardy people who respect and live in harmony with their environment embodies what this brand is about.
For us at WildChina, Tibet is a must-see for any adventurous spirit. Here are some of our favorite ways to get off the beaten path and delve into the spirit of Tibet:
1) Guge Kingdom – For the history-loving explorer with the desire to go above and beyond the typical itinerary, WildChina recommends an expedition to the remarkable Lost Kingdom of Tibet. This is an opportunity to see unforgettable sights that are as far away from coastal eastern China as you can get. Immerse yourself in the far western area’s mysticism and beauty to unearth the hidden sites and artifacts of Tibet’s ancient civilization. Walk in the shade of the pyramid-shaped Tholing Monastery and breathe in the crisp fresh air in front of an uninterrupted view of the Himalayan border stretching between India, Tibet, and Nepal. Head past Lake Mansarovar to the Ruins of the Guge Kingdom for a historic site steeped in mystery.
2) Abujee – Meaning “delight” and “wonder”, the name Abujee perfectly embodies the beautifully serene, uncluttered landscape of this mountainous Tibetan region of northwestern Yunnan. Known to few, the picturesque scenery of Abujee offers snow-capped mountains, lush forests, and deep, clear lakes. An area sacred to the nomadic Yi and Naxi ethnic minorities in the area, travelers to this remote region are treated to a private experience away from the prying eyes and jostling crowds of coastal China. Make your way past sacred temples, mountainous terrain, nomadic settlements, and above the tree line towards breathtaking views.
3) Mt. Kailash – Situated in a far western corner of one of the most remote plateaus in Asia, Mt. Kailash (at a height of at 6,638 meters/21,778 feet) is a striking peak in the Himalayan mountains of western Tibet. It has long been a sacred pilgrimage destination for no fewer than four major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Bön. The peak has a recognizable deep black tint and symmetrical diamond-like shape. With a surrounding landscape that is rugged and dry, Mt. Kailash overlaps the crystalline streams of several lakes, including the vast Lake Manasarovar. Stop by isolated monasteries and take the time to savor the endless horizon and staggering snow-capped peaks. Camp out each night under the stars in the company of annual pious pilgrims who walk around the mountain for good fortune.
Is your interest piqued? Send us an email at email@example.com for more information on traveling to Tibet!
April 15th, 2013
WildChina | Categories: WildChina Travel Tips
Beijing China travel Great Wall Great wall of China Mutianyu toboggan down the great wall travel in China trips to the great wall WildChina WildChina travel .
Step out into the crisp fresh-aired haven of ancient China’s Ming Dynasty. With just a two-an-a-half hour long car ride, you can travel back in time from modern Beijing to the days when emperors ruled China. Walk up the Wall, making your way past lines of street vendors shouting out prices, all of them salesmen in the making. Just one more step to the top. Breathe in, breathe out. Look up at the immense overlapping mountains and touch the vast clear sky with your fingertips as you imagine yourself standing on the top of the world.
The Great Wall at Mutianyu, a fully restored section of the Wall, is a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Besides its characteristic watchtowers, lush beautiful scenery, and rugged brick stone, this distinct section of the Wall is filled with fresh air and rich history. The air is colder on the Wall due to high altitudes and exposure to the wind so remember to pack some extra layers. Once you have explored all of the Wall’s picturesque views, embrace your inner adrenaline junkie and ride the toboggan down the mountain. Now that’s a roller-coaster ride!
To explore the Great Wall at it’s restored and unrestored sections, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
April 5th, 2013
WildChina | Categories: Holidays and Festivals
Chinese national holiday Festivals in China jiaozi kites in China lanterns in china Qingming Festival Tomb Sweeping Day travel in China WildChina .
WildChina Beijing offices are closed on Friday, April 5th for Qingming Festival! Read on to learn more about this unusual Chinese holiday…
Iridescent-hued kites shaped like characters from popular Chinese Opera plays adorn the clear skies. Willow branches hang from the windows of your favorite local jiaozi eatery. With origins dating back more than 2,500 years to the Tang Dynasty, Tomb Sweeping Day, also known as the Qingming Festival, is China’s version of Mexico’s Day of the Dead. A traditional Chinese festival held on the 104th day after the winter solstice, this national holiday is dedicated to taking time off from one’s busy schedules to remember and honor the dead. Families clean the graves of fallen loves ones, pray, and offer flowers, food, and light incense.
Not only is the Qingming Festival a day to honor the dead, but it is also one to celebrate life. Take the day to indulge in life itself – perhaps a serene and picturesque walk along the clear Houhai Lake. The green is greener, the blue bluer, and the aromatic scent of newly blossoming flowers fill the air. Keep your ears open for the music created by the cool breeze that flows through the willow trees. Reward your stomach with endless amounts of delectable “momo”, or steamed bread as multicolored kites and magical lanterns light up the dark night sky.
We’ll be back in the office as usual on Monday, April 8th. In the meantime, if you have questions about China’s festivals or traveling in China, send us an email at email@example.com!
March 29th, 2013
WildChina | Categories: Educational Travel in China, WildChina Causes & Partnerships
David Li day in the life English teacher in China Licang Yunnan Teach for China Teach for China fellow travel in China WildChina WildChina Philanthropy .
In December of last year, not so long ago, WildChina announced a new philanthropic partnership with Teach for China. We took on the sponsorship of second-year Teach for China fellow, David Li, who had spent the summer of 2012 working as an intern at the WildChina offices. Now a year and a half into his tenure at Xiben Elementary School in Yunnan province, David has figured out the teaching methods that work best for him and his young students. When we got in touch with David recently to see how he was doing, he sent us an enlightening breakdown of his day to give us a better idea of what he does out there. Check out the first installment–a typical morning for David…
A Typical Tuesday Morning at Xiben Elementary School: Part One
7:00 AM- Wake up
As I wake up to the school bell, students are already in the hallways of the two teachers’ dormitories, sweeping and dusting. I live on the 3rd floor of a yellow building. To my left is Ben, an American fellow, and to my left is Minglong, a Chinese fellow. The three of us 2nd-year Fellows complete the Teach For China team here at Xiben Elementary. As I walk to the school building, I see students carrying large bowls of eggs and cases of carton milk from the cafeteria to their respective classrooms–breakfast. The whole campus is noisy as those students lucky enough to not be on cleaning duty sit in their classrooms reciting their Chinese lessons.
7:30 AM- Teach First Class (3rd grade)
After getting all my teaching materials from the office I share with Ben, I walk down to the 3rd grade classroom. As I enter, there is a flurry of activity. Some students are cleaning, some are eating their breakfast, some are reciting Chinese lessons or doing homework, and others still are playing. A number of students gather around as I fire up the newly installed whiteboard projectors, which many local teachers are still learning to use. Students are eagerly asking about what I’m doing and what we’re going to do during class.
When the bell rings to start class, I wait for everyone to be seated with all their materials out on their desks. We’ve practiced this routine so many times that the students are remarkably fast! A volunteer comes up to the front to introduce himself in English, and the class responds.
Class is conducted at a brisk pace as we review material we learned last week. When we move onto new material, students are flipping back and forth between their textbook and their English notebook, copying notes, but also simultaneously repeating words aloud. We first work with new sentences frames together as a class, then move onto partner work.
My forty-one 3rd graders are divided into eight groups so that I can award points to groups whose members raise their hands to participate and answer questions. The winning group from last week gets to pass out the plastic folders and whiteboard pens we use to answer questions. As I ask each question, students collaborate with their desk mates to come up with answer to write on their mini-whiteboard, raising it up when they have an answer. I can be rather dramatic as I reveal the correct answer, and students cheer when they get the answer right. Having worked with the material as a class, then partners, I finally have everyone prepare their desks for a short quiz, just to see what how well the students learned today’s material. Students are silent and concentrated as the quiz is administered. I dismiss class after the quiz. If the class got fewer than 4 warnings in that period, I let them watch a short video during their break on the whiteboard, often of extreme sports highlights.
Xiben Elementary School by boarding student, Grace (罗朋梅)
9:00 AM- Breakfast
While other teachers go to the cafeteria at 7:30am for rice noodles and eggs, I choose to wait until after my first period to have breakfast; I usually have oatmeal with a banana and a couple hard-boiled eggs.
9:30 AM- Morning Exercises
The bell rings and the whole school assembles out on the basketball court, where we do our morning exercise routine to music. Unlike other schools, teachers here also perform the routine along with students, so I’ve learned it as well. Afterwards, students form lines as announcements are made by the principal and the local teacher on “duty” for this week.
10:00 AM- Nap
I usually like to take a nap before lunch to recharge for the afternoon…
10AM sounds like the perfect time for a nap! Check back in April for the second half of a typical day in David’s life as a Teach for China fellow.
If you are also interested in supporting this great organization, take a look at our WildChina Philanthropy page to make your own donation!
March 25th, 2013
WildChina | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, Exclusive Access China, WildChina Announcements
Ansel Adams Gallagher Jiuzhaigou Jiuzhaigou National Park Michael Yamashita Sean Gallagher Shangri-la UNESCO wild China WildChina WildChina travel World Biosphere Reserve World Heritage Site China .
Jiuzhaigou National Park isn’t as likely to be visited by people traveling to China as the Great Wall is–but it should be. This region represents an oasis of natural beauty striking enough to rival Yosemite National Park and the Galapagos. Indeed, this breath taking landscape is the very reason WildChina has teamed up with National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita to offer a photography trip to this “picture perfect” destination. For those of you on the road to becoming the next Ansel Adams, this adventure provides an exciting opportunity to hone your skills.
Jiuzhaigou–a UNESCO World Heritage Site and World Biosphere Reserve–is a national park worthy of the international recognition it has received. Home to exotic birds and the giant panda, Jiuzhaigou is a China wildlife safari all unto itself. But honestly, can you blame these creatures for making their homes in the area? Book now to reserve yourself a spot in the neighborhood from April 2-8.
Throughout your adventure in this utopia Michael Yamashita will be at your side ensuring you get the most out of both your shots and the experience. If you are interested in this journey be sure to reach out to us sooner than later as April is around the corner and spots on this adventure are getting snapped up faster than the shutter on your camera.
If you are curious about participating in this journey, or have other questions about travel in China, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to assist you.
For those of you looking for a fantastic photography adventure to another region of China, WildChina also offers an expedition along the Silk Road with Sean Gallagher. Sean’s work has appeared in publications including TIME Magazine, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Der Spiegel and National Geographic China. In 2010, he was the official photographer for the visit of British Prime Minister, David Cameron, to China. If you’re up for a focused look at this ancient highway look no further.
March 21st, 2013
WildChina | Categories: Sustainable Travel
bees in china China travel eco-friendly eco-friendly china honey in china Li Zhi's Community Project local Sichuanese Minshan Mountain Sichuan WildChina .
Imagine starting off your day with the ultimate breakfast: a cup of freshly brewed coffee paired with a spoonful (or two) of some fragrant all-natural honey generously spread onto a few impeccably browned morning rolls. For the avid honey aficionado, WildChina’s founder Mei recommends one of her recent favorites – Lu Zhi’s Community Project, an eco-friendly honey farm started in 2009 by Sichuan locals. Dedicated to supplying its customers with the richest natural sweetener, this company travels to the great altitudes of the Minshan Mountains in search of the highest quality honey. Although the environmentally friendly and community-driven company might not be able to help you master the art of toasting bread, it can help you spice up your day-to-day breakfast with some of the world’s purest and delectable honey.
Minshan Mountain in Sichuan province
So what differentiates Lu Zhi’s Community Project’s honey from that jar already sitting on your kitchen counter? The Tumi Bee. Native to the region since the ancient dynasties ruled China, this endangered bee is unique in its extreme sensitivity to the surrounding environment, allowing for it to find the freshest flowers and therefore, make the finest honey.
Natural honey from the Tumi Bee
Both Lu Zhi’s Community Project and WildChina have a passion for preserving the environment, providing our customers and clients with a transformative experience, and the chance to understand the real China, whether it is through honey or travel. Now, please excuse us as we go and make ourselves a cup of some soothing honey lemon tea.
If this post has your tastebuds tingling, send us an email at email@example.com for some great foodie trips we have coming up!
March 20th, 2013
WildChina | Categories: In the News
Beijing cold weather in Beijing hutong snow in Beijing snowfall WildChina winter in Beijing .
This morning when Beijing residents opened their windows, we were in for a real surprise. After days of 50 and 60 degree-weather (F), snow blanketed the city overnight. To celebrate the end of winter, here are some shots that the WildChina team took while making our way into the office.
Nellie, WildChina's Marketing director leaving her house to head to the gym before work.
Originally from sunny Mexico, WildChina travel consultant Claudia snapped this shot. Brrr....
Emerging from a hutong (old alleyway) this morning, WildChina’s Anna captured this shot.
If you’re interested in traveling to Beijing–even in the winter!–send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.
March 13th, 2013
WildChina | Categories: Environment, WildChina Announcements, WildChina Travel Tips
air pollution in China China air pollution Forbidden City Guangxi Guizhou wild China WildChina WildChina travel Yunnan .
Stories of pollution in China are all over the news. In the midst of this flurry of information, you probably have a lot of questions about what exactly it all means. To start with, what is the cause of all the pollution?
(Beijing on a clearer day and on a more polluted day)
Although car exhaust does contribute, the majority of the pollution arises from China’s heavy industry–in particular its steel production. Although the tools exist in these plants to limit their emissions, the issue is complicated by the conflict of private and public industry. While it is difficult to say what steps China will be taking the future, it is definitely not an issue that has escaped the notice, or the ire, of the country’s population which is putting more pressure on the government to figure it all out.
For now though, you are probably wondering–what does this mean for me and my family when traveling to China? Right off the bat, the best person to give you answers is your doctor. Not only do they know your individual medical history, but they are also trained health professionals who know the ins and outs of the possible effects of air pollution–the rest of us decided long ago that 5+ years of graduate school wasn’t in the cards.
(Bamboo forests in Anhui province)
From us at WildChina however, we can share what it’s like traveling and living in China–as well as some facts from our on-the-ground intelligence that will put your mind at ease. To begin with, all of China isn’t polluted all of the time. If you are on a WildChina adventure, chances are you won’t be spending your time where the pollution is at its worst: in China’s 2nd and 3rd-tiered cities (these are cities smaller than Beijing and Shanghai but larger than Shangri-La). The rural provinces such as Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guizhou all boast air clean enough to rival that of the Rockies. In the main cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, it’s true that we’ve had those rare, “crazy bad” days that attracted so much attention, but those are few and far between. Both Beijing and Shanghai have large communities of expats from all over the world who have yet to be turned away by bad air. In fact, most days, Beijing has the capacity to look like the picture below–which is #nofilter and completely unedited.
(Blue skies over the Forbidden City in Beijing)
If you’re planning a trip to China, feel free to contact us for the latest updates on the current environmental situation. We monitor both the current and projected pollution levels and can advise you accordingly. For clients who are interested, we can also provide face masks that cover the nose and mouth in case you hit a bad day during your time here–just let us know in advance so we can have them ready for you when you arrive. Traveling to new places always means new conditions we are not familiar with. We feel the most important thing on any journey is to be informed on your destination before you set out. Our hope is that this post has provided you with useful information.
If you have any other questions about pollution or travel in China, feel free to send us an email at email@example.com and we will be happy to assist you.
pollution comparison photo by BBC News, Forbidden City photo by Minnie Kim
March 8th, 2013
WildChina | Categories: Chinese Culture, Exclusive Access China, Zhang Mei
Chinese Treasures Condé Nast Traveler Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist Great Wall Mei Zhang Terracotta Warriors The Great Wall Top Travel Specialist wild China WildChina WildChina travel Zhang Mei .
*BOOK CHINESE TREASURES BEFORE THE END OF MARCH TO RECEIVE $200 OFF THE PRICE. EMAIL US AT INFO@WILDCHINA.COM TO ENQUIRE)*
Back in 2000, when Mei Zhang first started WildChina, her clients were personal friends, family, and acquaintances. Because she knew these first customers well, Mei took special care to create a journey that she knew wasn’t available anywhere else–she created Chinese Treasures. Mei wanted to take her friends to the famous Chinese sites that they had heard about all their lives–the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, Shanghai’s colonial Bund–but also provide them with experiences that would take them off the beaten track, to see a very real side of China few travelers ever learned about.
The trip was a huge hit. Chinese Treasures is book-ended by China’s two most famous cities, allowing travelers an up close look at the imperial architecture of the past, the development of the future, and all the delicious dishes Beijing and Shanghai have to offer in between. Mei decided that after visiting China’s bustling metropolises, she would show her friends the place she knew best in the world–her home province of Yunnan.
In this southwestern, rural Chinese province, Mei’s friends would have the chance to break bread–or in this case noodles–with local people and take part in traditional banquets, songs, and dances. They would even get a little taste of nirvana with a trip to the heights of Shangri-La.
Upon their return Mei’s friends were euphoric. Mei’s initial success would inspire her to lay out the ethos of personal interaction and firsthand knowledge that would shape every journey created at WildChina since. Testament to her travel know-how and thoughtfulness for her travelers, Mei has been honored to be selected as a Condé Nast Top Travel Specialist for China an incredible three times since WildChina was founded. While Mei’s fingerprints are visible on every WildChina journey, Chinese Treasures is where it all started. If you are considering a trip to China, we can think of no better introduction than this; a journey of epic proportions planned and perfected by our founder.
If you have questions about travel in China, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to assist you.
March 8th, 2013
WildChina | Categories: Chinese Culture, Dining Experiences in China
Charles Haynes Fuchsia Fuchsia Dunlop Gastronomic tour of China wild China WildChina WildChina travel Xi'an dumplings .
Who doesn’t love dumplings? Tiny edible parcels bursting with delicious juice and flavor; each little morsel is a delightful surprise for your pallet. This past fall, WildChina traveler Charles Haynes partook in our Gastronomic Tour of China with chef and food critic Fuchsia Dunlop. Fuchsia took the group to Xi’an, home to the famous Chinese dumpling, and they just couldn’t get enough. Check out some of the dumplings they tasted below–photo credit for these amazing photos goes to Charles Haynes. Beware, looking at this blog could lead to you trying to eat your computer!
Little gold bag dumplings
Shrimp in a rice wrapping
Vegetable fin dumplings
Four leaf clover dumplings
If you have questions about travel in China, send us an email at email@example.com and we will be happy to assist you.
All photos taken and provided courtesy of Charles Haynes