WildChina Blog

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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 22nd, 2014

Meet Our Bloggers

By: WildChina | Categories: WildChina Experts

Who are the people behind the scenes of the WildChina blog? Read about our team’s different personalities below!

 

Annika Frantizell

annika

Originally From: California, U.S.A.
Adventure Level: Medium
Dream City: Taipei
Travel Style: Cultural immersion
Favorite Travel Partner: Mom or girlfriends
Favorite Place: Taiwan
Favorite Mode of Travel: Moped
Least Favorite Mode: Subway during rush hour
Style : Fabulous
Should Have Been Born In: Hong Kong
Style Spirit Animal: Hedgehog – sharp but cute
Must Have Item During Travel:Sunblock
Theme Song When Traveling: La Oreja de Van Gogh – Geografía or Canardo – M’en Aller
Favorite Travel Quote: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu

 

Sylvia Liu

sylvia

Originally From: Beijing, China

Adventure Level: As long as I don’t need to touch bugs.
Travel Style: Like a local, food first
Favorite Travel Partner: Random traveler with the same taste and great camera
Favorite Place: Florence
Favorite Mode of Travel: Plane flown by hubby
Least Favorite Mode: Bus
Style : Monochromatic, eclectic
Should Have Been Born In: the future
Style Spirit Animal: Scarlet Johansson, Park Sora, Nini Nguyen
Must Have Item During Travel: Polaroid
Theme Song When Traveling: Massive Attack Paradise Circus or Bach, Cello Suite No.1 Prelude
Favorite Travel Quote: Wanderlust- Travel doesn’t become adventure until you leave yourself behind

Megan McDowell

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 4.09.02 PM

Originally From: Indiana, U.S.A.
Adventure Level: On a 1-10 scale, I’d be an 11

Dream City: Tokyo
Travel Style: Free spirit
Favorite Travel Partner: My best friend
Favorite Place: Thailand
Favorite Mode of Travel: Plane, preferably private
Least Favorite Mode: Car, unless its a fun road trip!
Style : Super Girly
Should Have Been Born In: France
Style Spirit Animal: Peacock
Must Have Item During Travel: Big hat
Theme Song When Traveling: My destination inspires my theme songs: Miami-Miami by Will Smith,  Bangkok-One Night in Bangkok by Murrary Head, Hong Kong-Toes by Zac Brown Band, etc.
Favorite Travel Quote: “Strangers are only friends you haven’t met yet.”

Kayla Paramore
Kayla

Originally From: Texas,U.S.A.
Adventure Level: HIGH
Dream City: Istanbul
Travel Style: Wanderer
Favorite Travel Partner: My little brother
Favorite Mode of Travel: Bicycle – you cover more ground than walking, but it’s easy to stop off and explore at any moment.
Least Favorite Mode: none? transportation is awesome!
Style: minimalist, with accent items (sometimes).
Must-have Travel Items: compass, hard-copy map of the area I’m traveling, notebook, book for reading, mosquito repellent stick, tiger balm, sleep mask, pack towel.
Theme Song When Travel: Something off of The National’s “Trouble Will Find Me” album.
Favorite Travel Quote:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

 

Christiana Zhu
chris

Originally From: Auckland, New Zealand
Adventure Level: Hardcore​
Dream city​: ​Atlantis – underwater city (wreck diving is so much fun)
Travel Style​: ​Live like a local, always searching for tasty morsels and hidden gems…
Favorite Travel Partner​: My sister​
Favorite Place​: Anywhere with great company
Favorite Mode of Travel​: Roadtrip
Least Favorite Mode​: Bus​
Style: Mountain Chic​
Must Have Item During Travel​: SwissCard – Swiss Army multi-tool in the size of a credit card which you can conveniently tuck away in your wallet
Them​e​ Song When Traveling: Local music of the place in which I am traveling
Favorite Travel Quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”​- Mark Twain​


Tags: blogger profiles WildChina Experts .







September 19th, 2014

Places to go During China’s October Holiday

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: WildChina Travel Tips

National Day in China is celebrated with a full “Golden Week” off (which this year falls on October 1st – October 7th), meaning all those residing in China have time to travel wherever they want. If you don’t plan ahead, the few remaining tickets and accommodations will be around double their original price. All major tourist destinations in China will be swamped with people, so you can cross a quiet hike at the Great Wall off your list.

As a result, it’s better not to travel to popular destinations like Beijing and Shanghai during Golden Week. For those of you who have this holiday off and are looking for something to do, here are some locations and trips we recommend that go to less touristy areas, perfect for the October holiday.

Private Tours:
Sichuan Province  
Sichuan offers remote,untouched natural landscapes that are great for exploring. A trekking adventure into Western Sichuan to Minya Gongga is perfect for the adventurous traveler. Check out our Trekking Mt. Minya Gongga trip.

sichuan
Sichuan Province

Guizhou province
Guizhou is relatively isolated and untouched by tourism.Check out our Discovering Hidden Minorities of Southeast Guizhou journey, which was featured in the Financial Times.

Tibet
Tibet is home to breathtaking landscape, remote terrains, and many sacred religious sites. If you travel here in late October or early November, there will be little to no tourists. Also, Tibetans are back from work during this season so you can encounter more local people.These private trips are great for nature and culture enthusiasts:  
1.Hiking the Pilgrimage Path: Ganden to Samye Monastery
2.Soul of Tibet

tibetMtEverest
Kartha Valley

Group Trips:  
Yunnan
In the fall, Yunnan is picture perfect; skies are a crisp blue and the trees are multicolored. The weather is great for hiking and picnic lunches. Our Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan trip is a great choice for fall.

The Silk Road
The Silk Road is rich in history and culture. Head to these less known stops on the Silk Road just as Marco Polo once did. This group tour offers a first hand look at this historic trade route: Along the Silk Road.

silkroad
Dunhuang,Gansu Province.Silk Road Tour.

 
If you can postpone your vacation to the weeks after the October holiday, late October or November, there are significantly less tourists, and accommodations won’t be inflated.
For more information on our trips, contact us at info@wildchina.com.
 


Tags: China National Holiday China travel tips Fall trips .







September 12th, 2014

Must Try Yunnan Recipes

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: China tours, Chinese cuisine

Chinese cuisine is much more than the sickeningly sweet orange chicken and limp chow mein you may have encountered outside of China. In fact, Chinese cuisine is very diverse and varies from province to province. For example, Beijing is known for its Peking duck while Sichuan is famous for its red chili or peppercorn based dishes and Hong Kong is famous for its dim sum.

WildChina has developed a new spinoff tour of our popular Gastronomic Tour with Fuchsia Dunlop that takes you to Yunnan province, one of the most geographically, ethnically, and culturally diverse regions in China which is home to a wide variety of exotic and diverse cuisines.

Yunnan cuisine provides a twist on the Chinese diet staples of rice and noodles with the use of exotic, savory spices and herbs. This region’s dishes feature local accents like mint, flowers, pineapple, mushrooms, and lemongrass. We’ve collected some Yunnan recipes below to get your taste buds excited and introduce you to this up-and-coming, increasingly trendy cuisine.

yunnanmeal
A local meal in Yunnan

Yunnan-style Soybeans
Soybeans (or edamame) are a popular snack in Asia served either shelled or peeled, depending on which part of Asia you are in. Here is a recipe for Yunnan-style soybeans that is simple but tasty – perfect for beginner chefs!

Yunnan Meal
For more advanced cooks, here is a whole Yunnan meal to try your hand at, consisting of Dai-style Ghost Chicken, Sichuan pepper oil, bean jelly, and salt-roasted broad beans.

Pineapple Sticky Rice
If you have a sweet tooth, try this healthy signature Dai minority dish.

Is your mouth watering yet? If you want to taste more of what Yunnan has to offer, check out our flavor-packed Yunnan Gastronomic Tour with Fuchsia Dunlop next October. For more info, contact us at info@wildchina.com.


Tags: China tours Chinese cuisine Yunnan food Yunnan recipes .







September 10th, 2014

Reasons You’ll Love Our Tea Travels

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, China tour

We focus on taking people on exciting, new adventures. Our Tea Travels with Jeff Fuchs is a trip designed to take you on a journey to experience local culture, ancient teas and tasty cuisines. Here are some highlights of the trip!  

1.Jeff Fuchs.
Jeff Fuchs, our 2011 WildChina Explorer grant winner, will be leading this trip. He is a well-known explorer, writer, and photographer and the first Westerner to have ever traveled the entire Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road. He has over a decade of tea exploration under his belt! Read an interview with Jeff Fuchs here.

tea
(Photo by Jeff Fuchs.2010 Xishuangbanna.)  

2.Homestay
While in Xishuangbanna, you’ll stay at an Aini village for one night. Here you will get a chance to spend time with the locals and see how they live. Village homestays are unique opportunities that give our clients a chance to experience local culture first hand. WildChina staff scouts out the villags in advance, ensuring they are clean and safe. Read about one of our experiences with a home stay here.

3.Chinese Cuisine
Adventurous Eater? During this journey, many meals will feature ethnic minority cuisine. In Xishuangbanna we will have dinner with Hani villagers and in each place we visit, we will try new teas, including those from ancient tea trees. We will taste the local flavors of Fujian by eating freshly caught fish and sweet, locally grown taro. You probably don’t eat like this at home but we like to give our guests the opportunity to experience this dynamic part of the region’s culture. In addition to local specialties, we make sure you’re provided with familiar Western food such as cereal and fresh coffee and tea for breakfast. (We can also provide special meals to those who have food allergies or special requirements.)

Teapicking
(Photo by Jeff Fuchs.2013 Yunnan.)

4.The locals
A trip favorite is interacting with locals. We go to minority villages where we eat and drink tea with local people. For example, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the lives of the She ethnic group and join them in the tea fields as well as visiting a Bulang village where we’ll meet the descendants of the first tea cultivators.

5. Knowledge
You’ll learn a lot about tea: its origin, how to pick it, and how to participate in a proper tea ceremony. You’ll also gain insight into the local culture and religion. After this trip, you might become a tea expert yourself!

Tea Travels with Jeff Fuchs leaves in March 2015, perfect for a spring getaway! If you would like more information, contact us at info@wildchina.com.


Tags: China tours Jeff Fuchs tea tour .







September 5th, 2014

8 Tips for Your Tibet Trek

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, Tibet Tips

WilChina prides itself on journeys that go above and beyond the typical itinerary. Some of our trips include more active adventures including hiking and trekking, so here are some tips to help you prepare for a trek.

hikinh

 

1.Prepare for Altitude Changes
You can climb high, but go slow! When hiking in the mountains, people can experience acute mountain sickness (AMS). People respond to changes in altitude differently – both experienced hikers and first timers can get altitude sickness. Some people don’t have a reaction while others react with symptoms such as headache, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and loss of appetite.

To avoid these unwanted symptoms and possibly a day in bed, it’s important to hike slowly when changing altitude. When going up, plan a practical journey that allows you to adapt steadily to the high altitude. Altitude sickness is not an issue when going down, so go as fast as your heart desires!
When WildChina travels to high altitudes, we plan time for rest and elevation adjustments. In the event of altitude sickness on one of our trips, our guides take hikers to a lower level to rest. Usually after some rest and water, symptoms go away.

2.Use Local Guides
In order to get a local experience during a trek (and to not get lost!), it’s important to travel with a local who knows the land and language. Also, be sure to do your research or ask family and friends to find someone you can trust.

Here at WildChina we combat such issues by hiring local, responsible, and friendly guides that will add a personal touch to your already epic trekking adventure!

mountain

3. Do Your Research
From our experience, it’s important to read about the places you’ll visit, even if it’s a simple Google search! Before going on a Tibet trip, WildChina recommends reading these books.

4. Be Prepared for the Worst

Rainstorms every night? Unexpected injury during the trek? You don’t know what’s going to happen! So, put this in mind when preparing for your hike.

Some things that WildChina recommends to bring for those unexpected disasters: itching cream, waterproof everything (jacket, shoes), extra batteries, headlamp, and first aid kit

5. Have Good Hiking Boots
Do your research in buying a great pair of hiking boots. These shoes become your life (and sometimes even life saver). Yes, a good pair of hiking boots is expensive, but the money spent will be worth it during long, enduring treks when your shoes are the only thing separating your feet from rain and/or snow.

 

hikinh2

6. Pack Light, but Pack Right
When it comes to trekking, you must find a balance between packing enough and not too little or too much.

WildChina provides you with top camping gear and cooking supplies, however, you’ll need to prepare some things yourself. We send out a detailed list to all of our clients beforehand to make sure you’re well prepared.

7. Prepare Your Body!
Depending on the route, some hikes can be physically challenging. To get your body ready for a long hike, it’s recommended to exercise before. It doesn’t have to be strenuous – you can do small things like climbing steps instead of taking the elevator. This is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to get ready for high elevation trekking. It’s best is to climb up a tall building’s staircases.

8. Have the Time of Your Life!
You may be one of the few to have trekked this route, so enjoy it! Take pictures and share your tales of chatting with nomads or running into a herd of domesticated yaks with your friends and family.

WildChina ventures to Tibet frequently. We explore the land with experienced guides and high quality equipment, allowing clients to experience active adventure with more comfortable travel conditions. We have two trips that are considered moderate,Expedition to Tibet’s Far West (Winner of National Geographic’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime for 2014) and Journey to Tibet’s Mt. Kailash Guge Kingdom.These journeys are designed for you to discover the hidden sites that the scenic land Tibet has to offer. For more information contact us at info@wildchina.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tags: China travel tips hiking in Tibet Tibet tips trekking .







August 29th, 2014

Along China’s Silk Road

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, China Travel

 

When you first heard of the Silk Road, you might have had romantic ideas of a smooth road made out of silk. In reality, the Silk Road is not even a road at all but an ancient network of trading routes that linked China all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Also, the road is not paved in silk and was far from a smooth journey in historic times. Judy Bonavia describes it well below:
“The early trade in silk was carried on against incredible odds by great caravans of merchants and animals traveling over some of the most inhospitable territory on Earth, including searing, waterless deserts and snowbound mountain passes. Beginning at the magnificent ancient Chinese city of Chang’an (Xi’an), the route took traders westward along the Hexi Corridor to the giant barrier of the Great Wall, then either orth or south of the Taklamakan Desert to Kashgar before continuing on to India and Iran, or farther to the great cities of Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. For today’s traveler, it is not only the weight of history that makes the Silk Road intriguing, but the incredible diversity of scenery and ethnic people along the way.” -The Silk Road: Xi’an to Kashgar

The Silk Road earned its title because silk made up a large proportion of trade along this route. Originating in China, silk-making was China’s well-guarded secret for almost 2,000 years. Silk was so valuable to people that prices were calculated in lengths of silk, just like they had been calculated in pounds of gold. It even became a currency used in trade with foreign countries.

Silk was not the only good traded on the Silk Road-people traded bronze, bamboo products, teas, medicine, and porcelain. There were many available routes to travel; ome were shorter and more dangerous, while others were longer and safer. Most of the things traded along the Silk Road were luxury items because the profit, to some, was worth the risk.

silkroad3

People exchanged religion, culture, philosophy, and art along the Silk Road. The route connected merchants, monks, and nomads from around the world and was an ancient highway for globalization. Innovative ideas that were traded along the route, like grape winemaking and paper money, are still in use today. By allowing people to make their first contact with distant civilizations, the Silk Road helped lay the foundations for the modern world.

Today, these ancient routes aren’t used to trade goods and ideas with other countries. Instead, the Silk Road is traveled by people who want to see the land and learn about the history and culture of the region. Most of the Silk Road is located in Xianjiang province in northwest China. Xianjiang is home to 47 ethnic minorities, including the Uygur, the major ethnic group living here. Uygur are the second largest Muslim ethnic group in China. They have their own Islamic culture and Turkic language, which uses a modified form of the Arabic alphabet.

silkroad

China’s northwest region is home to the beginning of the old, dangerous route, earning the nickname, “Wild West of China”. Today the region is safe and more accessible. While in this part of the country you feel like you are in Central Asia, not typical China. The people, clothes, culture, and cuisine are influenced from the ancient trade routes. Those who visit are fascinated by the diverse culture, people, and landscape.

 

 

If you are interesting learning about the Silk Road, we recommend reading, The Silk Road:from Xi’an to Kashgar, by Judy Bonavia. For a hands on experience, WildChina offers a trip, Along the Silk Road, departing in October.

 

 


Tags: ChinaSilkRoad .







August 27th, 2014

6 Facts about Tibet

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, China tours, Tibet Travel

Nature and religion define Tibet, so if you’re interested in viewing sacred sites or beautiful nature, it  should be on your list of travel destinations. Tibetans have a distinct culture and religion that sets them apart from the rest of the world. Along with rich history, Tibet has some of China’s most striking natural scenery, including vast grasslands, blue lakes and sky-high mountains.

tibet road to gyantse

1.Foreign travel to Tibet used to be restricted.
Tourists were first permitted to visit Tibet in the 1980s. Since then, people have been traveling to Tibet to learn about Buddhism and see the pure nature. The main tourist attractions are the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple , Namtso Lake, Samye Monastery, and Mt. Everest. Some areas remain restricted to tourists.

2.Tibet is considered one of the most secluded regions on earth.
Tibet is the least populated province in China, mostly due to its mountainous and harsh geographical features. The mountain ranges that surround Tibet create a barrier from the rest of the world, leaving some places in Tibet uninhabited. The mountains in Tibet average 22,960 feet high, earning the nickname “Roof of the World”. In Tibet, there are five mountains over 26,240 feet, including the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. Tibet is a great playground for hikers. Also, frequent flights to Lhasa, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, and several highways to Tibet have made Tibet easily accessible.

Tibetmonks

3.Buddism is the foundation of Tibet’s culture and everyday life.
In Tibet, Buddhism is not just a religious belief, it is a  way of life. You can see the influence of Buddhism throughout this region. Tibetans view the environment as a place where humans and nature coexist, therefore most of their land is colorful and pure. There are a great  amount of sacred sites, such as monasteries, nunneries, and palaces, to explore while in Tibet.

4.47% of the world’s population depends on the flow of fresh water from Tibet.
The Tibetan plateau has the third largest store of water and ice in the world. Tibet is the sources of many of Asia’s rivers. Tibet’s glaciers, rivers, forests, lakes, and wetlands provide key environmental resources to Asia.

5.Tibet is sometimes called the “Sea of Dances and Songs”.
Tibetans love music and dancing. Every night local people get in a circle around a fire and dance the night away. While visiting Tibet, you can participate in a nightly dance while sipping on one of their  national drinks, salted butter tea or Tibetan chang. Chang is an alcoholic drink that is made of barley, rice or millet. Tibetans of all ages drink chang at funerals, dinners, and celebrations.

tibetlhasa

6.Tibetan people believe Lake Yamdrok carries deep spiritual meaning.
Many pilgrims visit the lake prior to making important decisions, they believe the turquoise water of Lake Yamdrok carries deep spiritual meaning. Lake Yamdrok is one of the many beautiful place to visit in Tibet. Clear blue lakes, deep valleys and rivers, snow covered mountains, and green forests can all be found across the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tags: adventure travel China China travel Tibet .







August 24th, 2014

Stand In The Majestic Roof of the World:Tibet

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, China Travel, Tibet Travel

Why Tibet?
People have many kinds of travel styles and adventure levels: some people like to get away and relax on a beach, some seek thrills like bungee jumping or scuba diving, while others enjoy visiting historic sites and learning new information. Here at WildChina, we like to keep our adventure level high and our travel style a mix of exploration and luxury. One place that brings out our adventurous side is Tibet.
Tibet is not the first place that pops in your head when planning a trip to China. It is very different from the China you see on TV or in the media. The mountain ranges that surround it make it one of the most secluded regions on earth, giving this region its own cuisine, faith, and landscape. Along with rich history, Tibet has some of China’s most striking natural scenery, including vast grasslands, blue lakes and sky-high mountains as well a great amount of sacred sites, including monasteries, nunneries, and palaces. If you’re interested in viewing sacred sites or beautiful nature, Tibet should be on your list of travel destinations.

“Rich or poor, all come full of devotion and with no inner misgivings to lay their offerings before the gods and to pray for their blessing. Is there any people so uniformly attached to their religion and so obedient to it in their daily life? I have always envied the Tibetans their simple faith, for all my life I have been a seeker.”
― Heinrich Harrer, Seven Years in Tibet

Religion-Tsedang:
Buddhism developed in Tibet and the surrounding Himalayan region in the beginning of the 7th century. Tibet’s long history of Buddhism has inspired the building of many religious sites. In Tibet’s largest city, Tsedang, you can find Buddhist monasteries, monuments, tombs and royal burial sites. Samye Monastery, the oldest standing Tibetan Buddhist monastery, is a Tibet highlight. Samye is both a monastery and a village and used to be a school for Tibetan Buddhism. Some Tibetan Buddhists travel on foot for weeks to reach this popular pilgrimage destination.

Note: Out of respect, always walk around Tibetan Buddhist religious sites or monastery in a clockwise direction and don’t climb onto statues or other sacred objects

Tibetanmonks

“Tibet has not yet been infested by the worst disease of modern life, the everlasting rush. No one overworks here. Officials have an easy life. They turn up at the office late in the morning and leave for their homes early in the afternoon.” ― Heinrich Harrer, Seven Years in Tibet

Culture-Lhasa:
Tibetans live a easygoing life. They like music, games, and dancing. In Tibet you can participate in a nightly dance with locals, sample yak cheese, yoghurt, or butter, while sipping on the national drink, salted butter tea.
Tibet’s richest cultural marvels are found in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa. Buddhism is not just a religious belief, for many it is a way of life. Lhasa has been the center of Tibet’s political, religious, economic and cultural activities since the Fifth Dalai Lama moved the capital here in 1642.
This city is home to Potala Palace. This palace has served as both the winter residence of each Dalai Lama and the religious and political center of Tibet for 300 years. In 1645, it was built without either nails or the use of wheeled equipment. Today, it provides dormitories for the staff of the Dalai Lama schools, chapels, print house and tombs.

 Lhasa

“The country through which we had been travelling for days has an original beauty. Wide plains were diversified by stretches of hilly country with low passes.We often had to wade through swift running ice-cold brooks. It has long since we had seen a glacier, but as we were approaching the tasam at Barka, a chain of glaciers gleaming in the sunshine came into view. The landscape was dominated by the 25,000-foot peak of Gurla Mandhata; less striking, but far more famous, was the sacred Mount Kailash, 3,000 feet lower, which stands in majestic isolation apart from the Himalayan range.”
― Heinrich Harrer, Seven Years in Tibet

Landscape-Gyantse:
Tibetans view the environment as a place where humans and nature coexist and overconsumption of resources is looked down upon. Because of these Buddhist beliefs, the nature in Tibet is pure and well preserved. Gyantse is a great city to visit if you enjoy nature. Located 14,500 feet above sea level, the turquoise Yamdrok Lake is a famous stop for Tibetans and travelers. While visiting Yamdrok Lake in Gyantse, you can see views of Mount Donang Sangwari (17,400 feet) and the white peaks of Nojin Gangzang (23,000 feet). Be careful of altitude sickness; the mountains in Tibet average 22,960 feet high, earning the nickname “Roof of the World”.

The land, faith, and culture make Tibet an unforgettable experience.

In October, WildChina is going on a journey to Tibet. On our Soul of Tibet trip, we explores sacred sites and nature, while experiencing Tibetan Buddhism. Want to up your adventure level? Contact info@WildChina.com for more information.

 


Tags: China travel Tibet .







August 15th, 2014

Yunnan’s Ancient Tea&Horse Caravan Road

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, Best China Tour Operator, China travel guide

Where in China can you experience a mix of history, culture, and nature?      
You can explore some of China’s most diverse cultures, ecology, and landscapes in Yunnan Province, just south of the Tibetan Plateau. Yunnan features green low-lying valleys, white-capped mountains, and a vast assortment of ethnic communities. This diverse terrain is home to the beginning of The Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road, or “The Silk Road of Southern China”.

The 3,100-mile route of the Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road started in Southern China, passed through Tibet, Burma, Nepal, and ended in India. China’s desire to import horses from Tibet and Tibet’s desire to import tea from China was the main motivation of the trade along the Tea and Horse Caravan Road. Traveling this route was difficult due to its diverse terrain, and one minor misstep could be fatal for both trader and animals.

H&TCRoad

Today, the Tea and Horse Caravan Road attracts people from all over the world with its assorted teas, mixed cultures, stunning landscapes, and ancient centers of trade. By traveling along this route, travelers can experience both ancient and modern China by learning about the culture of local ethnic communities, hiking in the ancient tea tree forests, and exploring the scenic mountain, rivers and valleys.

How can you get there?
WildChina can take you on a 13 day journey along the route of the Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road in Yunnan. The first stop, Xishuangbanna, is the original place of pu’erh tea production. In Xishuangbanna, you can buy premium pu’erh tea at Menghai market, meet the descendants of the first tea cultivators, and stay in an Aini Village homestay. We pass through Dali as we follow the route through sloping valleys, golden barley and canola fields to Shaxi. After Shaxi, we see Lijiang’s Old Town and the legendary Yangtze River on our way to Shangri-La. In Shangri-La, we explore Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan lamasery in Yunnan, the Napahai Lake, and visit a nearby artisan village.


TeaAndHorseMap

Are you a spontaneous planner?
Join us this October in Yunnan! This is our last small group trip of the year, led by Jeff Fuchs, the first Westerner to have ever traveled the whole road. Our journey to China’s  Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road begins October 15 and ends October 24. If you’re interested in retracing the steps of those who traveled this ancient road, contact info@wildchina.com.

Like to make plans in advance?
If you’re interested in tea or Yunnan cuisine, keep your eyes open for our 2015 small group departures which include a tea-based journey of China and Taiwan with Jeff Fuchs and a special gastronomic tour of Yunnan with expert Fuchsia Dunlop.

 

 

 

 

 


Tags: China tours China travel china travel guide .







August 14th, 2014

Sixth year in a row! Travel+Leisure Names Mei Zhang Top Travel Agent for China

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: Luxury China Travel, WildChina Announcements

When booking a trip, the travel company you choose can make the difference between an ordinary or extraordinary travel experience. To guide travelers in the right direction, the editors of Travel + Leisure assess hundreds of travel agents around the world and select the best to make up their annual list of “A-list Top Travel Specialists”. WildChina’s founder, Mei Zhang, is featured on their 2014 list for her standard-setting services in China travel. The elite list features 133 of the world’s top advisors, arranged by location of expertise.

“There’s a reason we use the term advisor to describe the members of our 2014 A-List,” said Travel + Leisure News Editor and “Trip Doctor” columnist Amy Farley. “These destination experts offer much more than booking services. They offer insider insights, unparalleled access, the ability to create a seamless itinerary, and value.”

i-RV4cDcC-L A-List 2014[5][2] (1)

Mei can now add this accolade to her list of awards and recognitions, which include:Travel + Leisure’s   2009-2012 A-Lists of Top Travel Agents, Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist in 2010 and 2011, and The Daily Beast’s 2012 list of Women in the World. Riding on Mei’s 14 years of experience in the luxury travel industry, WildChina provides both insider access to China and personalized service. WildChina’s specialties are China, Tibet and custom luxury itineraries.

According to Mei, she “witnessed the push and pull between economic development and conservation of both nature and culture in Yunnan.” This push and pull inspired her to create WildChina to provide people with a sophisticated version of Chinese culture and nature through first-hand travel.

WildChina has also received acknowledgments for our luxury travel services, which set the bar for tailored, authentic travel experiences. In 2009 National Geographic selected WildChina as one of Adventure Magazine’s Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth, Traveler Magazine’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime, and Harvard Business Reviewed named WildChina “a leader in its field.”

Travel + Leisure’s thirteenth annual A-list will be featured in the September issue of Travel + Leisure and on travelandleisure.com. Congratulations Mei!


Tags: China travel chinatravelservice Mei Zhang travel in China WildChina .








 

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