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The absolute latest updates in China travel information.

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Mei Zhang
WildChina founder, entrepreneur, mother.

Andrew Stein
Fulbright scholar exploring environment, agriculture, and tea.

December 19th, 2014

Travelers in China, We got Apps for you: From Survival to Pro

By: Sylvia Liu | Categories: China Tips, China Travel Tips, Uncategorized, WildChina Travel Tips

“I’ll Survive” —Newbie

Hey, first day landed in China and still getting your bearings. Besides your flight attendants who took your dinner and drink orders and your flight captain who saluted in English after a perfect landing, it doesn’t seem like people can understand you more than a simple “Hi.” No worries, we got you, here is your survival kit.



Yes, there is the worldwide miracle—Google translate, but in between picking up your luggage and ordering a taxi, or trying to walk out of the gigantic T-3 (Beijing International Airport), it’s hard to figure out how to connect to a WiFi with VPN then use Google services. Pleco is one of the best Chinese-English dictionaries to use WITHOUT VPN. Life saver. It offers an excess of features including handwriting recognition so you can draw characters (extra fun) you don’t know and voice recognition for those pronunciations that you don’t understand. Pleco saves your recent searches, which means you can always remember that at the awkward moment trying to remember “Thank you” in Chinese.

Onavo Protect: (more…)


Comments on "Travelers in China, We got Apps for you: From Survival to Pro"

Sep 06 2012 Posted By: Mary Barnes
What a beautiful moment. Excellent blog. The description sent early morning chills down my spine. Thousands of silent soldiers marching the wall came to mind in the dawn light. I have been there and was amazed at the formidable snake crawling over the hills. Mary
Aug 24 2012 Posted By: Gabrielle
Well done especially from such an elite group as the Harvard Business School.
Aug 24 2012 Posted By: Gabrielle
Absolutely splendid story. Bravo to Xiao.
Aug 23 2012 Posted By: PL
Smart and kind of you, good luck to you with Teach for China.
Aug 17 2012 Posted By: Cathryn Noyes
Wow Devin, just beautiful. What a trip. The photos and words make me (almost) feel like I am there!
Aug 08 2012 Posted By: Linda Winn
Wonderful story and video! Xiao is not only a fantastic guide, but he is kind,thoughtful,enthusiastic,fun-loving and generous. How great to bring such happiness to the Miao people by building them something the whole village can enjoy and sharing his love for basketball with all of them. Congratulations to him and the village basketball champions!
Jul 24 2012 Posted By: Bobby
Good article, Iv always wanted to visit China and after reading this I want to go even more!
Jul 12 2012 Posted By: may
Fun & fabulous WildChina crew! -Your Taiwan fans
Jul 12 2012 Posted By: ellen
You guys look amazing!
Jul 09 2012 Posted By: Tibetan Jewelry
Very interesting! Tibet's ancient "silk road" was influential before recorded history. Your history on that influence and its connection to Tibet's cultural artifacts is very interesting! How else would they have gotten that coral and those conch shells! The tea and horse road in Yunnan is great.
Jun 15 2012 Posted By: Nancy
Hi Mark, Great to hear from you. We believe that you should be set to go and will be able to get the permit. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch at Info@wildchina.com. We can learn more specifics about your group and where you want to travel in Tibet. -WildChina
Jun 14 2012 Posted By: Mark
Is it true that permits are now being issued? We are a group of 7 Australians looking to travel to Lhasa at the end of June. Is this possible? Mark
Jun 11 2012 Posted By: Guo Yanjiang
Hope to travel in West China
Mar 06 2012 Posted By: Mei
One of my favorite stores in Beijing.
Mar 01 2012 Posted By: Chaiton W.
I am a sixth-grade student at Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN. I’m working on a documentary film on the topic of Chinese food, do you think you might be able to help me with information. Could you answer some questions for my research? What is the most famous cooking stile? Why is it the most famous? What made you go into chinese food? Thank you for your time and if you can email me back. Sincerely, Chaiton W Greetings, In the interest of authentic, performance-based learning, my middle-school students are reaching out to experts about China as they prepare a documentary film about a topic of their choice. If you can, I appreciate very much your willingness to answer a few questions they have, taking just a few minutes of your time, I hope. I’ve tried to make sure they’re asking “expert” questions, after having done basic research already. Thanks for your assistance, and feel free to contact me if you have questions. Alan Wong Middle School Humanities Teacher Baylor School, Chattanooga, TN awong@baylorschool.org 423-267-8506 ext. 371
Feb 13 2012 Posted By: Fin
As a tour operator in Bhutan, we are also grappling with a similar challenge. When we started out a few years back, we wanted to be as eco-conscious as possible. Used water bottles have now become a part of our burgeoning waste problem in the country, a country that doesn't even have a recycling plant. The irony is we do not generate enough trash to sustain one. All along we knew using bottled water was not the way to go, but we desperately needed a viable substitute to do away with it. We have been encouraging our clients to bring their own re-usable bottles and Steripen. While some get the idea, many decide to stick to bottled water. We are also planning on having our vehicles fitted with water filter canisters (holding 15-20 litres of water), which are capable of trapping sediments. To rid of any micro-organisms, water will be boiled and cooled overnight at hotels, ready to be transferred to the canisters. Given that water in Bhutan is free of heavy metals, this process should be adequate. However, we do know there will still be some people who might be uncomfortable and would want to stick to manufactured water. What's comforting though, is some people do take their own initiative to bring water bottles with purifiers, which is practical and works great. Any suggestion would be great. Thanks!
Feb 10 2012 Posted By: Jenny
Find the very best portable water purification systems and invest in some to have along on your journeys or at strategic points of destination. Use your own bottles and refill so that guests have a supply of one bottle per day. They can drink other beverages for the rest of their needs.
Feb 10 2012 Posted By: Jacqueline Fitz
For years I traveled with a simple water filter.... a cup with a built-in charcoal filter that took care of almost everything including giardia. Since I travelled in many remote areas, potable water was rarely available. I even filtered bottled water when I could getit since I was unsure of its quality. This technique was very successful through the years. Unfortunately that particular water filter is no longer available but something similar would address your problem. (I used mine in remote areas of China and also in Hong Kong)
Jan 18 2012 Posted By: Mei
I can testify that this is one of the best dishes at one of my favorite restaurants in Beijing. Mei
Nov 29 2011 Posted By: Joan morris
Where can I get Sichuan ingredients in the U S?
Nov 24 2011 Posted By: Ron Denham
My wife and I recently went on a WC tour led by Fred and he made it a marvelous and informative time for us. He sets the bar very high for any other tour guid I might everuse. I hope to go on another "Fred He" WC tour one of these days. Best wises to your parents, Fred. Ron & Gail Denham
Aug 31 2010 Posted By: Wang
Unfortunately, the only sustainable thing that the Schoolhouse has brought to their local community is a rising cost of living. They have basically taken over the village and surrounding communities and have forced local residents (who are mainly farmers) to find more affordable accommodation elsewhere. I support Slow Food and I am sure your overseas guests like the novelty of staying at the Schoolhouse in Mutianyu, but please don't portray them as a bunch of do-gooders. They are in it for the money, regardless of the consequences their uncontrolled and unchecked development might have on the local community.
Aug 17 2010 Posted By: Fayegirl
was in this area in May, even then was affected by landslides and flooding, how much more do these people have to suffer, my thoughts and prayers are with them
Jul 27 2010 Posted By: Brennan
Even though I won't be able to apply it seems like this is a wonderful area of China to visit. I know people who have visited the major cities and then complained about how dirty it was or how it was too congested but they didn't realize the best parts of the country aren't located in the most populated places but many times in the least populated. Should be a great trip for those involved.
Jul 25 2010 Posted By: Molly
You're writing about my home. It makes me feel like crying because I'm not there now. You've written the story beautifully. My father-in-law rode the tea and horse caravan train, made and lost fortunes, and now resides quietly in Dali with my brother-in-law. The traces that those adventures left in his heart are still there. Talking with him is another adventure that always leaves me wanting to cry. Now I'm in Zhangjiagang, running an eco-resort staffed with Yi from Xiao Liang Shan. The Yi too had their place on the trail, one of the main branches of which ran through their territory and via Lugu Lake. My father-in-law spend his formative years in Muli, just the other side of Lugu Lake, raised by another family of traders after his own parents were killed during clan scirmishes in Chamdo. Keep up the good work, and keep letting people know that it's not about visiting an alian culture, it's about visiting people like you or my, for whom the most spectacular scenery in the world is just called "home."
Jul 21 2010 Posted By: Alex G
Hi Jamie, Sure. Send me an email at alex.grieves@wildchina.com and I'll get you in touch. Best, Alex
Jul 21 2010 Posted By: Jamie
Hi! Wonderful article! Is there any way you could put me in touch with Tea Master Zehng? I would like to purchase some of her tea in bulk. Thank you!
Jul 16 2010 Posted By: yunnangirl
Well said. Lijiang is so beautiful regardless of the crowds. The key is to find ways to appreciate its beautify and connect with people there.
Jul 16 2010 Posted By: Jason
Mie. Thank you for your insight and perspective on a "different" China not often found by us common folk (even with a lot of research). Keep up the good work.
Jul 10 2010 Posted By: WildChina Blog · Travel Tip: Planning Luxury Family Travel in China | Vacation In China
[...] is the original post: WildChina Blog · Travel Tip: Planning Luxury Family Travel in China Share and [...]
Jun 29 2010 Posted By: David Tanenui
I think you are right it sounds like everything is focussed on the top end of tourism, its a pity because the lower end tourists are the ones that are more inclined on caring for the environment and for the country contributing to sustainable practices. Money talks these days and the GDP is the aim of all countries, here in New Zealand we have beautiful sights but we have to fight to keep it beautiful, our government are only interested in making money of land that doesn't even belong to them but don't worry as soon as they have finished mining and destroying it they will say sorry and give it back to us the people of the land and give us $$$ for the damage they have created, WOW,you need to be more Vocal, the more voices creating opinions will create understanding Kia Ora
Jun 28 2010 Posted By: David
Hi, Earlier this month I posted my experiences using an iPad in China for research. I deal with the connection issues and VPNs to get around the Great Firewall. I found using WiFi very easy: http://museumfatigue.org/using-the-ipad-in-china
Jun 24 2010 Posted By: Bill
Nice post. I was thinking about picking up an iPad with China trips in mind. I think I've already found a solution for wired internet and that is to bring an airport express unit with me. It's proved invaluable on previous trips and is relatively easy to carry around. The other reason I'm considering the iPad is the ability to suck up RAW photos from a digital camera. My hope (although I've not tested it) is that this would free up the memory card to allow me to carry on shooting. Have you any experience of using it this way?
Jun 18 2010 Posted By: Michelle
Hello there, I'm producing a documentary about climate change and I wondered if you or anyone you know might be interested in being a "fixer" - our person on the ground in China to help set up the shoot and be with the director. Any help you might be able to give would be much appreciated. Kind Regards, Michelle
Jun 05 2010 Posted By: Ma Hao
Wow, Zhang Mei, my old schoolmate! Ages no see! Proud of you by reading every bit about you in this article.
May 04 2010 Posted By: johno
Ah, its good to have some clarity on the issue. Sometimes definitions get a bit muddy in such a cross-cultural translations. I'd be curious to learn about the fuding tea processor and wild tea from there.
Apr 29 2010 Posted By: Houses Philippines
And I know you might have good intentions, but now a days, it is common for people to come yup with scams. There are actually organizations who asks for donation but do not use the donation money for good. How can you assure us that your organization is genuine?
Apr 28 2010 Posted By: HM
I am totally agree with you on the first 4 places but the last one. I would rather say Shanghai is the last city for people to know China from my personal experience:) There is nothing fun in Shanghai besides shopping(expensive) and skyscrapers. I agree that Beijing is the best place to stay and Xi'an remains the second. Anyway, doesnt matter this blog is very helpful for who is planning a trip to China.
Apr 21 2010 Posted By: Klaus
Thank you so much for your support! On our Blog we provide a Paypal donation option. Our Teams in the region mostly need donations to buy tents, food, medication and, later on, construction materiel for the people that have lost everything. Thank you!
Apr 21 2010 Posted By: Klaus
Thank you so much for your support! On our Blog we provide a Paypal donation option. Our Teams in the region mostly need donations to buy tents, food, medication and, later on, construction materiel for the people that have lost everything. Thank you!
Apr 20 2010 Posted By: Trevor
Do you need volunteers on the ground, just financial donations, or both?
Apr 16 2010 Posted By: Jason
I am happy to hear of your kind display of corporate responsibility and general kindness. The tragedies in the news today need all of our attentions and efforts to help those involved cope. Keep up the good work!
Apr 14 2010 Posted By: Ian Sanchez
Congratulations Mei Zhang! It will be good for the adventure travel industry to have your perspective.
Apr 08 2010 Posted By: lyni
very interesting. I'm fond of chinese tea. Do you plan any trip in zijing mountain for tea picking ?? It could be great.
Feb 12 2010 Posted By: Spencer
Hello Mei: I stumbled upon your site and will look into it on a regular basis. I am from Canada and have been to China on assignment to shoot several time. I am planning a three-person trip this fall for three months. We are journalists from Canada (me), and two Chinese journalists who live in the United States. Our trip back to China is unique. We will be test driving three different Chinese vehicles and be blogging, filming and writing articles for our respective newspapers and web sites. This trip is about 11,750 kilometres in length. In addition to reviewiing these vehicles under challenging conditions, I will be writing about the culture, history and daily life on the road. Our blog is not up yet, but closer to the time, I will give you the link. The think that grabbed my attention about your site was the line, 'Experience China Differently'. I have fallen in love with China and have been to many parts of the country. I prefer the rural settings and the people are always warm, hospitable and welcoming wherever I go. I long to return and bring more adventures and images to the millions of readers who frequent our newspaper's site. The Toronto Star is the largest newspaper in the country with an enviable readership. Perhaps next time I am in Beijing I will look you up. I have my regular guide in Beijing and she can bring me to you for a visit. Sincerely, Spencer Wynn www.travelstock.org (this is only my stock website)
Feb 03 2010 Posted By: Yunnangirl
Loved the untold story behind the conde Nast piece.
Jan 27 2010 Posted By: Yunnangirl
Interesting. but also there are other solar centers around China. Know any more?
Jan 18 2010 Posted By: Li.rui
Yes, we had a week training classes that we leart lots of informitiaon and knowledge from it, thanks every teacher. Expecting I'll have more training chance to study and promote myself.
Jan 12 2010 Posted By: WildChina Blog · NYTimes’ “31 Places to Visit in 2010″ features Shanghai and Shenzhen
[...] the Travel+Leisure feature, and now this article in the New York Times: it is increasingly apparent that China is set to [...]
Jan 08 2010 Posted By: Rongkun
I wish I could have known it earlier!
Dec 28 2009 Posted By: Bart Batsleer
Hi, I`ve been in touch with Stewart when I was in Guilin, but I lost his phone number... could you bring him back in touch with me for I have my brother and sister going to Guilin... Thank you. Bart
Dec 09 2009 Posted By: Bo Poats
Abby: Intruiging intro....easier to be a leader in renewable energy when you have a single view of the value of externalities, and an ability to scale manufactuiring to lower unit costs in order to hit financial objectives on the supply side. Would be good to know how the average Zho utilizes renewable energy and is educated about its economic applicatiions (i.e., the role of public education and programs), as there may be some lessons to be learned in more "developed" economies.
Dec 08 2009 Posted By: Beth Dohrn
I can't wait to share this with my son! What great information Alexander!
Dec 08 2009 Posted By: mitey de aguiar
This is a fascinating article! I had no idea that T Rex lived in that part of the world. I'm sure some amazing discoveries are on their way.
Nov 19 2009 Posted By: Jason
Thanks for the helpful information. I plan to be in China during that time... just need to make plans.
Nov 19 2009 Posted By: Alex G
Hi Jason, thanks for your inquiry! The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival begins on January 5 and continues for about a month. However, there are a variety of related activities at Sun Island Park, Zhaolin Park, and venues in Harbin city proper starting in mid-December. You may find a full schedule of events here: http://bit.ly/2DT6EE It is open from 9 am to 10 pm daily, and daily admission for adults is 150 RMB. There are separate entrance fees for Sun Island Park and Zhaolin Park; admission is 30 RMB per adult. Please let us know if you have any other questions!
Nov 17 2009 Posted By: Jason
What is the schedule for the Harbin winter festival in 2010? Is there an official time or schedule of events?
Nov 09 2009 Posted By: Andrea
Just catching up on your blog, Heth...beautiful stuff
Nov 08 2009 Posted By: Yunnangirl
fantastic news..thanks for sharing .
Oct 31 2009 Posted By: Yunnangirl
Oh, this entry made me homesick. I still remember the sound of us driving on top of the crop that's being dried on the road. That was the first step of processing rice after harvest. Thank you for writing this piece.
Oct 26 2009 Posted By: Tessa
I love the blog Heather- hope everything is going well for you
Oct 23 2009 Posted By: Elyane
Very jealous Heather! Can't wait to hear about Xinjiang...
Oct 15 2009 Posted By: Linda Winn
What a wonderful generous gesture to get a beautiful new basketball court built for this poor village so that the children can thrive. Xiao is a very special person and his love for the Miao people is great indeed. How happy he made these people!
Oct 15 2009 Posted By: Kevin
This is a great article. Look forward to reading the rest. I will be going to a small village in January to visit my wife's grandmother and brother. They also do not live too far from Xi'an. I am looking forward to your updates and pictures.
Oct 14 2009 Posted By: Jason
Very very cool. Thanks for sharing.
Oct 03 2009 Posted By: Clark
I just got back from the Yinqixing Indoor Skiing Area and was not impressed with the place. They jacked the prices up for the National Day holiday, but only half the park was even functioning. What a rip-off.
Oct 02 2009 Posted By: Kate
I've subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading more...thanks for your eloquent insights Heather! Australians can learn so much from ancient and indigenous cultures.
Oct 02 2009 Posted By: Heather.Graham
Yes, you are absolutely correct Russell. A large majority of the young people from Huayang go to the bigger cities (particularly in southern China) to work after they finish secondary school here. Receiving money from your children working elsewhere, is one of the two main forms of income for the people of Huayang (the other is growing medicine plants). Thanks for your question.
Oct 01 2009 Posted By: Andrea Redford
Great blog Heather. Thanks for sharing your unique insights into China. All the best with the Golden Week influx!
Sep 30 2009 Posted By: Li.rui
it 's really really true and a good place of CNNR and a beauty Astrilian work and devote here now~~~
Sep 26 2009 Posted By: prizebig.ru
superb article . Will definitely copy it to my blog.Thanks.
Sep 25 2009 Posted By: Russell
Heather, great post. A question that came to mind: with such a small population, is there pressure on the younger people to move away to the big cities to secure work?
Sep 16 2009 Posted By: frank
Hey, i liked this article, Im a hiker my self and i promise to go take time one day to go check it out :) and will I will put a link back at http://www.travelmastery.com as a complementary purpose. please post more pics!
Sep 11 2009 Posted By: sandrar
Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post... nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.
Aug 10 2009 Posted By: Maureen Lopez
china has never been associated with the snow sports.howvever you will definitely enjoy in the ski resorts which has been listed. it will be a very nice experience to visit these resorts and enjoy the snow sports.
Jul 20 2009 Posted By: Jason Witt
This is a nice complete list of the basic Chinese teas. Any tea lover should have tried all these listed here a few different times with different water temperatures and multiple steepings. Of course loose leaf tea will be needed. It's all about the fun of exploration and the adventure of discovering new favorites.
Jul 13 2009 Posted By: stephen
Great tips! About the Eating one though, I've also heard a different side: leaving anything behind could be seen as a sign of wastefulness or ingratitude (especially for a man). I've often been told, "If you know how hard somebody worked to harvest that rice for your meal, you wouldn't waste a single grain." I guess it probably depends where you are or who you talk with though, and like everything else, foreigners do have some leeway for any cultural faux pas made. :)
Jul 11 2009 Posted By: auf Abriss « Carl August
[...] Bild: wildchina.com [...]
Apr 08 2009 Posted By: costa caleta
costa caleta... I think the post- vacation blues definitely set in last week when I got back, and linger on today. I saw a lot of neat things and met some wonderful people, but it's back to the grind here in DC. I wish I could travel more. /...
Mar 03 2009 Posted By: Yeah That’s Kosher! >> a Kosher Travel blog » Blog Archive » Focus on: CHINA
[...] Keeping Kosher while Traveling in China [...]
Feb 14 2009 Posted By: Rongkun
it seems to require quite some time to display the photos since they are too big-sized.
Feb 14 2009 Posted By: Rongkun
It would be some misleading since Beijing University was not a recognized name, if referred to Peking University. The latter name is officially adopted in public.
Oct 10 2008 Posted By: Beijing » Condé Nast World Savers Congress: China Panel
[...] Condé Nast World Savers Congress: China PanelSo far we’ve hosted four WWF guides on month-long stints in the WildChina Beijing office to learn about responsible travel best-practices, marketing and service standards. The goal of this project is to expose local leaders to different … [...]
Aug 26 2008 Posted By: Wilbur
Taking photos with the guards looks fun. The view of the Great Wall is undoubtly magnificant.
Aug 05 2008 Posted By: China Journal : Best of the China Blogs: August 5
[...] of the Great Wall and other popular tourist attractions may be closed due to Olympic events. See here for updates. WildChina [...]
Aug 05 2008 Posted By: Emma
Anita is too shy to post her videos from this trip, but I think they're pretty cool! Check out her YouTube videos of Miao Minority Dances in Guizhou, as well as a ground opera at Jichang Village. The quality isn't great (we're travel gurus, not videographers!!) but you can still get a flavor of her trip. http://www.youtube.com/user/wildchinaus
Jul 30 2008 Posted By: Emma
Love your first blog post Anita! Very excited to follow your trek through China from my computer in the WildChina office in Beijing. Come back to us safe and sound!
Jul 06 2008 Posted By: Joy
Yes, really appreciate your visit, thank you so much!
Jun 17 2008 Posted By: elachian
給四川的人, 我是從電視上看到你們的地震的災情. 我知道你們現在很痛苦, 特地寫了這封信, 想要告訴你們, 安威你們, 希望你們好好加油. 重建家園, 讓我們一起努力, 幫助你們, 早日忘記現在的陰影. 不只我們在這裡我要告訴你們, 現在全球各地大家都希望你們會再一次站起來. 我相信你們. 加油, 四川人! 陸愛蓮 Kainan University taiwan
Jun 17 2008 Posted By: elachian
給四川的人, 我是從電視上看到你們的地震的災情. 我知道你們現在很痛苦, 特地寫了這封信, 想要告訴你們, 安威你們, 希望你們好好加油. 重建家園, 讓我們一起努力, 幫助你們, 早日忘記現在的陰影. 不只我們在這裡我要告訴你們, 現在全球各地大家都希望你們會再一次站起來. 我相信你們. 加油, 四川人! 陸愛蓮 Kainan University Taiwan ROC
Jun 07 2008 Posted By: seb
Thank you Philip for these précisions. I wish China stand as soon as possible after the disaster. I plan to come in Siguniang next October. Do you think it will be re oppened for foreign visitors? Thanks
Jun 07 2008 Posted By: Eric
At this very time, all of people are united to overcome the catastrophe! I just went through the earthquake in person. It felt horrible and so many tragedies happened! With our deepest condolence!
Jun 03 2008 Posted By: Eric
Eric... Hello, I have a few websites of my own and I must say that your site is really top notch. Keep up the great work on a really high class resource....

December 9th, 2014

Top 7 WildChina Experiences for the Whole Family

By: WildChina | Categories: Chinese Culture, Uncategorized


1. Kungfu class at Shaolin Temple with student monks

After seeing the Legends of Kungfu show in Beijing, you’ll be itching to try out some of the moves yourself. Bring everyone along and head to one of China’s most well-known kung fu schools where you can learn to kick like Bruce Lee!



Tags: China experiences family

Comments on "Top 7 WildChina Experiences for the Whole Family"