WildChina Blog

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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.

October 29th, 2014

The China NCPA Orchestra Comes to America

By: Kayla Paramore | Categories: China News

NCA

The National Center for the Performing Arts is bringing the sounds of China’s top musicians on a traveling tour across the US and Canada this November 2 through November 13. WildChina is honored to be the China NCPA’s official travel guide on their journey. We will be showing China’s finest musicians all the best of the US, while making sure their journey is comfortable and enjoyable so they can focus on performing.

This is a wonderful opportunity for our US friends and travel partners to experience a bit of China in their own home cities. Take a look at the NCPA itinerary and see if they will be coming to your area.

See the NCPA website for all the details.


Tags: China News NCPA Orchestra .







October 28th, 2014

Rosewood Brings Ultra-Luxury to Beijing

By: Kayla Paramore | Categories: WildChina Announcements, WildChina Travel Tips

rosewood
Photo credit: Hospitalitynet.org

Rosewood Hotel Group, known for their ultra-luxury brand and curated local experiences, has opened their first Asia property in Beijing. The hotel is lavished with curated art pieces making the whole experience like a living gallery. Rosewood focuses on giving guests a ‘sense of place,’ hand-selecting experiences for an authentic taste of the city where they stay. Our very own, Mei Zhang, CEO of WildChina, was chosen as one of the hotel’s two curators for Beijing and offers her own unique Beijing experience suggestions to Rosewood guests. The hotel is located in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, just across from the iconic CCTV tower, and has 283 rooms and suites, beginning at 50 square meters, some of the largest in the city.

Visit the website for more details.

 

 


Tags: RosewoodBeijing WildChina Travel Tips .







October 28th, 2014

New Xi’an Restaurant:Great Option for Terracotta Warriors Visitors

By: Kayla Paramore | Categories: Dining Experiences in China, WildChina Travel Tips

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A newly opened restaurant in Xi’an, called Da Qin Xiao Ai (大秦小爱), is already rumored to be one of the top restaurants in the city. Intricately decorated in the ancient Qin dynasty style, the restaurant gives diners an impression of how the Emperor Qin Shi Huang might have enjoyed his meals. With a great location just 15 minutes from the Terracotta Warriors, this restaurant is an excellent choice for travelers. Our recommendations? The Gourd-shaped chicken, the Chinese Yam and Glutinous Rice Wrapped in Dates, and a Beefsteak!

Chinese name: 大秦小爱
Operating hours: 11:00-21:00
Average cost: CNY128-288 per person, set meal.
Location: No.9, Feng Huang Da Dao, Lintong district, Xi’an.


Tags: Top Xi'an Restaurants Travel Tip .







October 27th, 2014

Silk Road Film Festival Begins in Xi’an

By: Kayla Paramore | Categories: China News, Chinese Culture

silkroad
The Xi’an City Wall.Photo Credit:Mariusz Kluzniak via flikr
 

The first Silk Road Film Festival kicked off this week in Xi’an, promoting cultural exchange among countries along the traditional Silk Road route. More than one hundred films will be screened over the course of the week-long festival, with 41 Chinese and foreign films already chosen for the final competition. The festival will also play heavily on the Silk Road theme, showing documentary-style footage from various countries along the Silk Road, and sporting traditional Tang dynasty decor and clothing.


Tags: China News Xi'an film festival .







October 24th, 2014

A Guide to China’s 72-hour Visa Exemption Program

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: China News, WildChina Travel Tips

Before setting off for my first China adventure, I had the option to apply for a visa at a Chinese consulate in person or pay an agent to do it for me. Being a person who enjoys travel whether it be for business or leisure, I choose to make the 3-hour road trip to the nearest Chinese consulate to complete the two day process. Either way, foreigners jetting off to China must apply for a visa regardless of whether their intended stay lasts a few days or a few weeks. Now there is good news – a growing number of Chinese cities have passed 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption Programs. Hangzhou has been the latest to join this program, as recently as October 20th, while Kunming joined on October 1st.

How does the 72-hour visa program work?
This program applies to foreign visitors from 51 countries who have continuing flights to third countries. Travelers must already have tickets for a flight that departs for a third country within 72 hours of their having landed in China and possess valid international travel documents allowing them to enter their final destination.

The visa exemption program can’t be extended beyond 72 hours. If a traveler is unable to depart within 72 hours for unexpected reasons, such as a flight cancellation or sudden illness, they need to apply for a visa from the Municipal Public Security Bureau.

passports

Limitations:
The 72-hour visa free stay only applies to transit via airports. Passengers by train or any other modes of transport are not eligible. Also, this program does not apply to passengers traveling on round trip flights, for example: a US citizen flying from Korea to Beijing for 3 days and then back to Korea would not be eligible.

What cities and airports offer 72-hour visa free transit?
Currently, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an, Guilin, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Dalian, Chongqing, and Shenyang. Visitors can only travel within the precinct they fly into, which means they cannot visit other cities in China or leave the administrative region where they have landed (for example, a traveler taking advantage of this policy in Beijing would not be able to go to Tianjin for a day).

airplane

What can I experience in 72 hours?
With a limited amount of time in China, it’s important to maximize your time and minimize your stress. Our Concierge service does just that: we can pick you up from the airport, provide you with a reliable driver and transport, and / or arrange flexible guided tours and return you the airport in time for your next flight. Take a look at our preexisting itineraries below to get an idea of what you can experience during 3 days. While nearly all of these itineraries are longer than 3 days, you can pick and choose any activities you like. All these itineraries are customizable to your preferences.

Beijing
Explore China’s illustrious history at the Great Wall and Forbidden City or China’s modern side at the Olympic Park and 798 Art District. Check out our Beijing itinerary.

Shanghai
With 72 hours in Shanghai, we recommend going to the Bund, the French Concession, Yu Garden, or the Shanghai Museum. Browse our sample itinerary to discover all the “Paris of the East” has to offer.

Chengdu
Chengdu is famous for its iconic pandas, spicy cuisine, and face-changing opera. Look at our Chengdu itinerary for inspiration on how to spend 72 hours in Sichuan’s laidback capital.

Xi’an
You can get a special VIP view of the Terracotta Warriors or relax with a private taichi lesson on the city’s ancient wall while transiting through Xi’an. Our 3-day adventure is the perfect itinerary for 72 hours in Xi’an.

Guilin
This area of China is so stunning that it’s featured on the 20 yuan bill. 72 hours in Guilin will afford you with enough time to discover this area’s natural beauty and diverse culture.

For more information, contact us at info@wildchina.com

 

Find out more about 72-hour visa-free transit.

 

 


Tags: 72 hour visa exemption program China travel tips .







October 22nd, 2014

Our Shared Experience in Yunnan

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

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A group of students hiking in the Abujee mountains

Adventure offer an opportunity for personal growth at any age. When we create a trip, we want it to be a meaningful journey. Here at WildChina, we strive to see people learn and grow from their experiences with us. Recently, we led a brave group of international high school students and teachers on an educational adventure in Yunnan province. Our guides shared the highlights, cultural exchanges and WOW moments of their moving education trip.

Farmwork
Community service at a Tibetan family farm

Informed that one afternoon of community service at a local family farm would help complete a few days worth of hard work, the students and teachers weren’t hesitant to roll up their sleeves and help out the Tibetan family. They jumped right in and with a few instructions, chopped down barley with sharp sickles, secured their big bundles with barley ties, and put the golden barley on an old tractor to be hulled away
 to the barn.

Most Tibetans speak in Tibetan languages, so our local WildChina guides usually translate, but on this occasion, the quick-witted students took communication into their own hands. They worked side-by-side with the local Tibetan family while using universal hand motions and facial expressions to communicate. They used arm motions to signal strength, smiles to exchanging gratitude and appreciation, and big waves of goodbyes and thank yous. After seeing the huge loads of barley they harvested, the students, teachers, and guides directly saw the true value of their work at the family farm. The students’ feelings of accomplished glowed on their young, tired faces.

Tibetanfieldwork
Students working hard in the barley field

Spending an evening at a Tibetan home gave the students another opportunity for a shared cultural experience. After a tasty Tibetan meal, the family preformed a lively traditional dance, and then asked the high school students to join. After dancing around the room with the locals, the students decided it was time the switch things up and teach the kind family some Western dance moves.

The energetic students choose one of the most iconic 1990s dance hits, the Macarena. A student played the song from their iPhone as they taught the family the catchy dance. The Tibetan women and children had a blast! Seeing the huge smiles on the family’s faces, sharing laughs and exchanging dances, taught the high school students that while it’s great to go and experience new culture, it’s also rewarding to share yours along the way.

familydance
Sharing dances at a Tibetan family home

Along their adventure in the Tibetan plateau, the high school students were taking trip notes of their exciting learning experiences for a paper they would create after the Yunnan trip. One student had another idea for the project; instead of writing a conventional paper, he would capture the magic of Yunnan with a video compilation. He video recorded the community service, the strenuous hikes in the Abujee mountains, the tour of a local school and villages, and every smile and struggle in between.

On their last night camping,sitting around a bright,warm fire in the Abujee mountains, the student volunteered his video for viewing. Projected onto the ceiling of the tent, the students, teachers, and guides watched their life-altering journey together. Mixed emotions overcame the group as they watched their trekking voyage unfold in front of them.

studentscamp
Wildlife visiting the campsite

Outside the tent, local Tibetans who were assisting the trip, caught a view of the video as well; this was the first time some of them saw themselves on video. They were in awe at the technology and thoroughly enjoyed seeing themselves, some even wondering, ‘Do I really look like that?!’
After viewing the touching video, one of the teachers told a WildChina guide that she loved being a teacher because she can guide students to learn, but it’s breathtaking seeing students take their learning into their own hands. On this expedition, the students stepped out of the classroom to learn about Tibetan people and experience the culture hands on, changing themselves and the Tibetans they befriended along the way.

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Students’ campsite

If you would like to Experience China Differently with us, contact info@wildchina.com.


Tags: educational travel China .







October 21st, 2014

40th Anniversary of the Terracotta Warriors Discovery

By: Kayla Paramore | Categories: China News, WildChina Travel Tips

Warriors

Four decades ago, local farmers in Shaanxi province were hard at work digging a well when they came across one of the world’s grandest archeological discoveries. Four chambers were eventually unearthed, filled with over 6,000 soldiers, horses and chariots arranged in military formation. Now travelers from around the world come to see these treasures and hear stories of the ruthless Qin Shi Huang Emperor who unified China and had a fondness for burying things, both statues and dissidents.

In celebration of the discovery a new exhibit has opened in Xi’an displaying special never-before-seen pieces including clay fragments that still retain some of their original color. The exhibition will continue until March 2015.


Tags: .







October 20th, 2014

Conde Nast Recommends October for China Travel

By: Kayla Paramore | Categories: WildChina Travel Tips

Octoberchina

There’s just a little bit of time left to complete all of the Conde Nast travel recommendations for the month of October. Start book your Christmas tickets, get an early deal on 2015 cruises and, of course, follow the advise of our very own, Mei Zhang and go see China. Check out the full recommendation list here.

 

 


Tags: China travel WildChina Travel Tips .







October 10th, 2014

An Introduction to Taiwan

By: Megan McDowell | Categories: Travel Guide to Taiwan

People tend to stereotype Taiwan as a little, overcrowded island centered around manufacturing industries. However, Taiwan is much more than that. Taiwan has something for everyone: stunning natural scenery, rich traditional and modern culture, beautiful beaches, renowned hot springs and delicious food.

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Culture:
Taiwanese culture is the distinct result of a mix of traditional Chinese, aboriginal, and Japanese culture, which is reflected in Taiwan’s food. Taiwanese people are known for treating others with politeness and respect and the friendliness of the local population is remembered long afterwards.

Nature:
Do you love the outdoors? Taiwan’s nature varies from sandy beaches to misty mountains, which gives guests an array of destinations to visit. Many people go on weekend trips to Hualien to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and relax on the coast. Taroko Gorge, a 12 mile long canyon bursting with green vegetation and turquoise waters, is located in in Hualien. There are activities for the whole family ranging from swimming, water sports and hiking.

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Taiwan is also home to pebble beaches, beaches of golden sand, and even black sand beaches. Recommended beaches:

1.Kenting’s golden sand beaches are located on the southernmost tip of Taiwan and are the best beaches in Taiwan. Fun family activities include boating, diving, swimming, surfing and jet skiing.

2. Hualien’s Cow Mountain Beach is located perfectly between Taiwan’s aquamarine ocean and sky-high mountains, offering easy access to both. This isolated black sand beach is a great place to relax in untouched nature.

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Tea:
Taiwan is known for refreshing, first-rate oolong tea. Oolong tea flourishes due to Taiwan’s geographical location and mountainous landscape. There are many locations throughout Taiwan that you can visit tea plantations and sample freshly picked tea.

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Hot Springs:
If you want a relaxing getaway, there are more than 150 hot springs throughout the country you can visit. The warm waters of these springs soothe, revitalize and reinvigorate the body, perfect for a relaxing vacation.

 

If you are interested in visiting Taiwan, come relax with us on our Refreshing Taiwan trip! Contact info@wildchina.com for more information.


Tags: China luxury travel Taiwan introduction .







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 Frantzell

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: Depends on the destination
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 .








 

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