WildChina Blog


Featured Bloggers

In The News
The absolute latest updates in China travel information.

On the Road
Our tales from the trail and dispatches straight from the source.

Travel Tips
What to bring, where to go, and how to get around China.

Mei Zhang
WildChina founder, entrepreneur, mother.

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

September 2nd, 2013

WildChina Update: Earthquake in Yunnan

By: WildChina | Categories: In the News, WildChina Announcements, WildChina Travel Tips

On Saturday, August 31st, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake occurred China’s southwestern province of Yunnan.  The quake hit the counties of Shangri-La and Deqin, on the border with Sichuan, at 8:04 a.m. local time.

No WildChina travelers have been hurt or seriously affected by the incident.

Local authorities have reported 3 casualties and 50-plus injured, mostly due to landslides caused by the quake.

The roads connecting Shangri-La and Deqin have been blocked by landslides, and the Songtsam Benzilan and Songstam Meili hotels in the area are also temporarily closed due to power outages.

Since Saturday, over 300 aftershocks have been recorded by the China Earthquake Networks Center, with the largest measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale. In the short term, the Tibetan Autonomous Region of Deqin recommend tourists and residents in Shangri-La not visit Tiger Leaping Gorge, Meili Snow Mountain and Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey National Park.  Local tourism authorities have also shut down some scenic spots to avoid potential risks.

If you are a WildChina traveler and had a trip planned to Shangri-La, one of our travel consultants will be in touch with you or you can email us at: info@wildchina.com.

Much of western China, and its neighboring areas of Central Asia, is prone to earthquakes caused by the impact of the Indian Plate into the Eurasia Plate. Over time, this collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates has lead to the formation of the Himalayan Mountains, the Tibetan Plateau, and the mountains of southwest China, Central Asia and the Hindu Kush.


UPDATE – September 10, 2013:

There are currently no restrictions on traveling to Shangri-La, though access to some of the more remote regions in Yunnan continues to be affected.

If you intend to travel to northern Yunnan–specifically to Meili, Deqin or Weixi, please note that the road heading west from Nixi is currently closed. This restricts access to Songstam Lodges (Meili/Benzilan) and to western Sichuan via Derong. Songstam Meili is scheduled to reopen to the public on September 17th, while Songstam Benzilan will remain closed until further notice. 

If you are planning to visit the Yading nature reserve (Sichuan), the road to Xiangcheng from Shangri-La is open, though it is in poor condition and WildChina does not recommend taking it during this period. In addition, the road between between Tibet and northern Yunnan remains closed.

We are paying close attention to the situation and will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.


Tags: .

August 30th, 2013

WildChina Update: Earthquake in Urumqi

By: WildChina | Categories: In the News, WildChina Announcements

BREAKING – August 30, 2013

At 1:27 p.m. local time, a 5.1-magnitude earthquake was registered by the China Earthquake Networks Center in Urumqi, the capital city of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China.   The epicenter was at a depth of 12 kilometers (approximately 7.5 miles).

As of 3:44 p.m. today, no casualties or injuries have been reported. There are currently no WildChina travelers in the area of the earthquake.

As with all earthquakes of this magnitude and higher, visitors and residents are advised to travel with care and be mindful of aftershocks.

We at WildChina will continue to monitor the situation and provide any updates that become available.



Tags: wild China WildChina WildChina travel xinjiang xinjiang earthquake Xinjiang Travel .

March 25th, 2013

Photography in Jiuzhaigou: Snap the shutter, roll on adventure

By: WildChina | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, Exclusive Access China, WildChina Announcements

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 Islands. 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 info@wildchina.com 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.


Tags: 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 .

March 13th, 2013

Can I breathe that?

By: WildChina | Categories: Environment, WildChina Announcements, WildChina Travel Tips

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, 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.

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 info@wildchina.com and we will be happy to assist you.

pollution comparison photo by BBC News, Forbidden City photo by Minnie Kim


Tags: air pollution in China China air pollution Forbidden City Guangxi Guizhou wild China WildChina WildChina travel Yunnan .

February 7th, 2013

It’s all about the love

By: WildChina | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, WildChina Announcements

Travel + Leisure is once again conducting their World’s Best Survey, a comprehensive look at the very finest organizations in all things travel. The survey covers airlines, airports, cities, cruise lines, destination spas, hotels, islands, rental-car agencies, and–most importantly!–tour operators.  Survey closes the first week of April.

If you have enjoyed traveling with us in the past year, jump on the link above and let us know your thoughts. WildChina works hard around the clock to provide the best possible experience we can for our travelers in China. If we’ve done that for you in the last year, show us some love! Until next time, safe travels.


If you have any other questions about travel in China send us an email at info@wildchina.com and we will be happy to assist you.

Image by Travel + Leisure

Tags: Travel + Leisure wild China WildChina WildChina travel World's Best Awards .

February 7th, 2013

WildChina’s Beijing Office Closed for Chinese New Year

By: WildChina | Categories: WildChina Announcements

WildChina’s Beijing office will be closed February 9th through 15th for China’s Spring Festival (better known as Chinese New Year). During this time the U.S. offices will remain open to answer any of your travel questions. If you are thinking about travel this spring, now is the time to start planning!

Send us an email at info@wildchina.com and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Happy Year of the Snake!

Tags: Chinese New Year Spring Festival wild China WildChina WildChina travel Year of the Snake .

February 1st, 2013

WildChina Attends Pacific Asian Travel Association Forum

By: WildChina | Categories: Environment, WildChina Announcements

On January 19th, the Chengdu Culture and Tourism Group (CDCTG) and Jiuzhai Valley National Park (JVNP) hosted a workshop in Jiuzhaigou on Destination Crisis Management and Marketing. Who was there? What is that? And to quote one of our Facebook followers “who cares?” All good questions. Supported by the Pacific Asian Travel Association (PATA), the forum featured not only representatives from CDCTG and JVPN, but we heard from PATA’s CMO Alexander Rayner, as well as John Koldowski, a special advisor to PATA’s CEO. On hand from WildChina was our very own Director of Marketing, Nellie Connolly.

Discussions during the day covered a range of topics from ways to improve hotel standards, to crisis management strategy, as well as a look at what benefits new technology has brought to travelers. Looking to the future, the discussions addressed the important issue of the sustainable development of the Jiuzhaigou’s Zharu valley. As part of WildChina’s efforts to have a positive impact on the destinations we travel to, we feel it is particularly important to be involved in discussions like this. As Nellie noted after the conference “Traveling is about learning. If we aren’t learning ourselves, and helping to shape a positive travel future, how can we do a good job introducing other people to China?”


If you have more questions about the forum, or questions about travel in China in general, send us an email at info@wildchina.com and we will be happy to assist you.

Tags: Chengdu Culture and Tourism Group Jiuzhai Valley National Park Nellie Connolly Pacific Asian Travel Association PATA wild China WildChina WildChina travel .

January 25th, 2013

Travel blogger Ellen Barone highlights a WildChina Trip

By: WildChina | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, WildChina Announcements, WildChina Travel Tips

If you’re still trying to figure out which corner of this wonderful world you should head to in 2013 then look no further than this post by travel blogger Ellen Barone. Ellen is an accomplished independent writer-photographer who specializes in global travel. She has journeyed to six continents in search of compelling travel tales and evocative images, using her experiences to help people travel smarter as well as keep them up to date on the latest travel trends and gadgets. WildChina was honored to have our trip Soul of Tibet featured on Ellen’s list of Extraordinary Experiences for 2013.

Although Tibet is closed at the moment to foreigners, we are hopeful it will be reopened in April–we’ll keep you updated via Twitter and Facebook. As Ellen notes, “Tibet is one of those epic destinations so enticing, so enchanting and so compelling that it tends to get put on the back-burner, saved for another day (or decade) when the time and money for such an expedition will be possible. But guess what. There’s never enough time or money. And, while those easier, more accessible, places are fulfilling, Tibet still beckons.” We couldn’t agree more. Is Tibet beckoning to you?


If you have questions about travel in China or Tibet send us an email at info@wildchina.com and we will be happy to assist you.

Photo of Ellen Barone courtesy of careerbreaksecrets.com all other photos by WildChina

Tags: Ellen Barone Extraordinary Experiences Soul of Tibet Tibet wild China WildChina WildChina travel .

January 24th, 2013

WildChina’s founder Zhang Mei on CNN

By: WildChina | Categories: Chinese Culture, WildChina Announcements, Zhang Mei

Some exciting news from WildChina! WildChina founder Zhang Mei has been featured on CNN’s “On China” series with Kristie Lu Stout. “On China” is the first regular series on the Middle Kingdom by CNN and provides an insider’s view of China from within the country’s own borders. Mei was invited to speak on Chinese explorers and the spirit of exploration in China.

In the feature Mei notes how China’s philosophy of filial piety has made exploration anathema. One Chinese proverb that Mei discusses is “Fu mu zai, bu yuan xing,” or — roughly translated — “When your parents are around, don’t travel far away.” Mei explains that “The first virtue was to be “xiao,” or filial to your parents and that held back a lot of people and they stayed home. But with the internet, young people now see the world and say, ‘Wow… why can’t I do that?’” Why not indeed. Tune in this weekend to catch the full story.


If you missed the earlier broadcasts of Mei on CNN they will be shown again this weekend on Saturday, January 26 at 9:30PM and Sunday January 27 at 1:30PM Beijing time. If you have other questions about travel in China, send us an email at info@wildchina.com and we will be happy to assist you.

Tags: CNN Kristie Lut Stout Mei Zhang On China wild China WildChina WildChina travel Zhang Mei .

January 21st, 2013

And the winner of our 2013 WildChina Explorer Grant is…

By: WildChina | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, WildChina Announcements, WildChina Explorer Grant


It was no easy task, but after much deliberation our judges chose this applicant and his journey to study the Tianshan Snow Lotus in Xinjiang’s Uighur Autonomous Region. An avid adventurer whose personal journeys have taken him all over western China and Tibet, Heli is currently a graduate student at Beijing’s Forestry University.

In addition to receiving WildChina’s 2013 Explorer Grant, Heli will be outfitted head to toe in gear provided by WildChina Explorer Grant sponsor The North Face. Our judges were particularly intrigued by Heli’s destination–remote, unexplored, and completely off the beaten path–and inspired by his genuine life-long interest in the Snow Lotus. Heli’s journey will not only push the boundaries for exploration, but will bring attention to the crucial issue of environmental protection.

We received some fantastic video submissions this year–our judges were impressed with the creativity and passion for exploration demonstrated and had a hard time reaching consensus. In recognition of this, we also have a runner-up this year, Zhao Jiang Bo who will receive a portion of the grant to support the furtherance of his bird research in Yunnan. We thank all our followers for their enthusiastic participation and hope everyone had as much fun with the contest as we did.

Once again, please join us in congratulating Heli, winner of the 2013 WildChina Explorer Grant.


If you would like to know more about our contest please click here. If you have other questions about travel in China send us an email at info@wildchina.com and we will be happy to assist you.

Tags: Beijing Forestry University Heli The North Face wild China WildChina WildChina Explorer Grant WildChina travel .


Private Journeys - Ask Us a Question

Please use the form below, or email us at info@wildchina.com, to tell us more about your travel plans, so that we can craft the itinerary of your dreams.

Trip Info:

Personal mPinFormation



Other Info:

Please tell us about your dream trip, including your reasons for taking this journey to China (e.g. first time to China, to celebrate an occasion, better understand a specific place or cultural aspect of China, etc.). If you have questions, please browse our Frequetly Asked Questions page or post your question below.