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.

August 15th, 2012

Guizhou’s Defining Dish

By: WildChina | Categories: Chinese Culture, Dining Experiences in China, WildChina Travel Tips

Everyone knows about Beijing’s Peking Duck, and Shanghai’s soup dumplings, but what takes the cake in Guizhou? We sat down with WildChina Manager, and Guizhou native, Sherril Sui, to get the insider’s look at the province’s signature dish:

Sherril explained to us that one simply cannot discuss Guizhou cuisine without first understanding the peppery heat that permeates the regions flavors. While many areas of China have dishes that are spicy for a thrill, in the case of Guizhou, chili’s are frequently added to dishes for their health benefits. The reason that some Guizhou dishes are spicy is to rid the body of what traditional Chinese medicine refers to as “dampness”, the feeling of heaviness or over-fullness that can sometimes follow a big meal. As such, it is no surprise that spice is a key piece of Guizhou’s most famous dish: Suantangyu.

Suantangyu (or “Spicy Fish Soup”) is Guizhou’s crown jewel. Although it can come in either a sour or spicy flavor, neither version of the soup is as hot as its fireball orange color would have you believe. When the steaming bowl is placed in the middle of the table, with a beautiful handful of fresh greens tossed on top of the fish, the meal has officially begun. Traditionally just before the soup is served, each person at the table will receive an individual bowl of delicate seasoned tofu. Covered with a collection of regional herbs, crushed peanuts, and diced green leaks, the cool bean curd acts as a foil for heat of the soup. In addition to each person’s bowl of tofu, the soup is also served with a collection of sauces which one may dip the fish into for an additional burst of flavor. After all the meat in the soup is consumed, raw vegetables are snuck into the steaming broth and eaten as a light finish to this scrumptious treat. In our opinion, Suantangyu is one of the best dishes around, try it out next time you are in Guizhou, and after one bite we are sure you will agree.


This fall, if you are interested in traveling to Guizhou we highly recommend a look at Guizhou’s festivals. If you have something else in mind for Guizhou, send us an email at info@wildchina.com and we will be happy to tailor an itinerary to your desires.

Photos by Dr. Magnus Breidne and WildChina

Tags: Dr. Magnus Breidne Guizhou Peking Duck Sherril Sui soup dumpling Suantangyu wild China WildChina WildChina travel .

August 9th, 2012

Beijing’s Bird’s Nest or London’s Olympic Stadium?

By: WildChina | Categories: WildChina Travel Tips

Boom. Boom. Boom. Two thousand and eight percussionists skillfully silence the roaring crowds with the perfectly synched pounding of traditional Chinese drums, captivating each and every member of the audience with entrancing beats and invigorating sounds. Tap. Tap. Tap. The crisp tight choreography of more than fifteen thousand performers highlights China’s lush 5,000 year-long history, hypnotizing onlookers with the grace and elegance of each individual gesture. Four years ago, China’s Zhang Yimou astounded international spectators as each watched the mind-blowing Opening Ceremony for the Beijing Olympics in admiration, officially cementing the nation’s grand entrance into the global sphere. The Bird’s Nest Stadium, the venue for this truly unforgettable event, is itself just as impressive and monumental, standing imposingly in the Olympic Green Village as a representation of China’s rise as the glowing torch of Asia.

Designed by the renowned contemporary artist Ai Weiwei in collaboration with Swiss architects, the Bird’s Nest Stadium can easily be described in a single word: ambitious. One of the top architectural structures in terms of caliber, design, and construction, this titanic stadium perfectly depicts China’s expanding power and might. Its well-assembled firm steel frames are an ideal representation of the nation’s now fixed position as a global superpower. Covering an area of about 258 thousand square meters and capable of accommodating more than 91,000 spectators, the Stadium’s colossal size parallels China’s already sizable, and consistently increasing, populace. Its flexible and innovative design was carefully fabricated with a focus on both function and aesthetic. A unique aspect of the stadium’s overall blueprint is that regardless of where the spectator is seated, there is no visual obstruction in his or her view. With its futuristic façade, the National Stadium quickly rose as a symbol of not only China’s increasing power in the global economy and international politics, but also, as a benchmark in modern architecture.

London's Olympic Stadium

What differentiates the Bird’s Nest Stadium from London’s “bowl-like” Olympic Stadium? Both have set milestones in architecture not only in terms of their state of the art design, but also sustainability and versatility. On the one hand, the Olympic Stadium for the London Olympics was well-crafted with a primary focus on sustainability, using “green” elements such as rejected plastic crates and low-carbon concrete in the structure’s overall construction. On the other, the Bird’s Nest Stadium was laid out with more of a focus on aesthetics than on sustainability. Though the exterior steel frames look somewhat chaotic, each was thoughtfully calculated and organized into a balanced design. Regardless of whether it stresses façade or being “green”, the stadiums of London and Beijing have both individually made marks in the history of modern architecture and influenced the future of architectonics.

Beijing's Bird Nest Stadium

Even after the current London Olympics, relive the glory of this truly universal event on your next trip to Beijing. Take an early evening stroll in the Olympic Green Village to see firsthand the mesmerizing red and golden hued backdrop the setting sun creates for the Bird’s Nest Stadium. For architecture fanatics, WildChina is happy to organize a tour focused on exploring the various architectural and structural elements of this awe-inspiring edifice with one of our very own top experts. If you’re traveling with kids, join the locals and relax while flying kites in the nearby park. As the glorious sun slowly sets, the Bird’s Nest Stadium shines like a gold medal, a constant reminder of China’s entrance to the global stage as an economic and political superpower.


Photo credit: London Olympics Games 2012, Bird’s Nest Facts, Bustler

Interested in learning more about the architectural elements of the golden steel torch of Beijing? Check out WildChina’s trip to Beijing – A Glimpse into the Past and Future of the Middle Kingdom.

Tags: 2008 2012 beijing olympics Bird's Nest Stadium London Olympics London or Beijing Olympic Stadium Opening Ceremony traditional Chinese drums wild China WildChina WildChina travel Zhang Yimou .

August 3rd, 2012

A Hidden Gem in “Old Beijing”

By: WildChina | Categories: WildChina Travel Tips

Imagine waking up enveloped by the plush sheets of your cloud-like bed, finishing a refreshing cup of orange juice, and being transported to the magical world of imperial China during your early jog alongside Houhai. Feel revitalized by each and every encounter with the cool morning breeze that flows through the willow branches and become mesmerized by the vivid green, red, and golden hued reflections on the crystal-clear blue lake. No, you are not inside one of Monet’s many polychromatic works, but rather, simply experiencing the ageless beauty of Old Beijing, one composed of traditional architecture, vast history, and a lingering sense of mystery.

The Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel, located in the heart of the Capital, is nestled among Old Beijing’s lasting hutongs. As you walk outside the boutique hotel’s doorsteps, the rugged grey walls that merge to form the once narrow alleyways of the ancient city replace the towering skyscrapers that characterize this international megapolis. While casually meandering along these stone passageways, see firsthand where normal Beijiingers live and work while, at the same time, exploring some of the city’s most marvelous, yet unnoticed, treasures.

One night at the Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel is not only culturally enriching, but also, luxurious. Tucked away inside the maze-like backstreets of Beijing’s age-old hutongs, this boutique hotel maintains a pleasant equilibrium between contemporary and traditional elements in terms of its simple, yet sophisticated, interior and exterior décor. As you step inside the wooden doors of this hidden gem, be prepared to become completely immersed in traditional Chinese culture. This hotel, with its exquisite modern twist on the original opera-house structure, is the first of its kind. The minimalist design elements of every room are balanced with their individual themes, all based on the various characters of traditional Chinese opera. In terms of its location, design, and the platform on which it was built, the Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel provides each of its visitors with the opportunity to explore the cultural depth of Beijing’s rich history and experience firsthand the city’s age-old beauty.

So what sets Shichahai apart from other boutique hotels? Shadow art puppetry, an ornate form of traditional Chinese theatre, is a main component of the hotel’s overall polished design and modern structure. With complimentary performances twice a week,  guests are provided with the opportunity to experience an ancient and unfortunately, dying, form of storytelling. The lively, yet elegant, movements of the silhouette figures, each skillfully manipulated by a professional puppeteer, captures the audience’s attention with their artful creation of a mirage of moving images on an illuminated screen. Because these performances do not involve dialogue, this art form is an ideal medium for sharing the expansive scope of authentic Chinese culture with an inquisitive audience of all ages and backgrounds. Fusing chic modernity with shadow art puppetry, the Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel is helping to preserve this endangered tradition one performance at at time.

Similar to WildChina’s personal objective of providing each and every one of our clients with the opportunity to “Experience China differently,” the Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel bestows upon its visitors a luxurious stay enriched with unblemished Chinese culture. With its optimal location and distinct blend of the contemporary and traditional, this one-of-a-kind gem hidden inside the Capital’s many hutongs is a must stay for any traveler who desires an exclusive experience, one that takes advantage of all that the vast and magnificent city of Beijing has to offer.


Interested in exploring Beijing’s grand historical sites, exquisite Chinese art, and everything else that this rapidly growing metropolis has to offer? Check out WildChina’s trip Beijing: The Past and Future of the Middle Kingdom. If you have any other questions about hotels or travel in China feel free to email WildChina at info@wildchina.com


Tags: Beijing hutongs Chinese shadow art puppetry Chinese traditional performance art Houhai luxury travel in Beijing Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel wild China WildChina WildChina travel .

August 1st, 2012

Is there Wifi in China?

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

You have just taken an amazing picture of Jiuzhaigou. You have an incredible story from the home you just visited in Guizhou. All you want to do is get online and and share it with your friends, family, the twitter-sphere, what you will. Now you are wondering, can I find an internet connection in China?

In Chinese cities, one need not worry as wireless internet has become ubiquitous. Available in cafes, restaurants, and banks, one is seldom unable to find a connection. In addition to these locations, wireless is also becoming standard in higher end hotels (such as The Opposite House above). Although we cannot promise every hotel we take you to will have internet, 95% of the ones we use will. Sometimes though, isn’t the point of traveling to get away from some of these things? When you are lying in a tent in Mongolia’s Gegeet Valley with nothing but the stars above, you may find you do not need to email.

As with any trip that WildChina does, our top priority is ensuring you have everything you need to enjoy your journey. If you know you will need internet throughout the duration of your trip just let us know and we can adjust your itinerary accordingly. We will make sure technology doesn’t hold you back from visiting Yosemite’s Sister Park or sampling China’s delicious cuisine with Fucshia Dunlop.


If you have questions about technology, or any other aspect of travel in China please do not hesitate to be in touch at info@wildchina.com


Tags: Fucshia Dunlop Gegeet Valley Guizhou Jiuzhaigou wild China WildChina WildChina travel Yosemite's Sister Park .

July 31st, 2012

China’s best and worst fall travel times

By: WildChina | Categories: Chinese Culture, Environment, Holidays and Festivals, WildChina Travel Tips

In China’s fall, picking the right time to travel is essential. Thinking about traveling to Guizhou November 9-12th? Get ready for eye-opening adventure. Thinking about traveling October 1-7th? Get ready to wait in line. Timing your visit to China for early November will put you there for the Lusheng Festival, a time of rich celebration for a culture that is thousands of years old. Planning your visit during China’s National Holiday in October will get you closer to great crowds than the Great Wall.

During early November, those lucky enough to find themselves with WildChina in Guizhou are in for a real treat: The Lusheng Festival of the Miao people. This annual event is a festival that celebrates the courtship between the young men and women of the local villages. Taking its name from the Lusheng instrument played by the men during ceremonies, the festival is marked by a host of activities. In addition to singing by the women in their traditional bright colors and shimmering head dresses, buffalo fighting and horse racing are also a part of the celebration. If you choose to explore this event along the Damochong Valley with us, we will take you into the homes of the Paika villagers for dinner and give you a chance to try the Lusheng instrument for yourself. As Catherine Meng, one of WildChina’s travel consultants explains, “The Lusheng festival is unique because outside of the Sisters’ Meal Festival in the spring, it is the only festival where all the different Miao minorities come together for a single event.” China’s Lusheng festival truly has something for everyone to enjoy.

Now on to something no one enjoys. Have you ever tried booking a last minute ticket home for Thanksgiving? Now imagine trying to book that ticket in a country where the population is 1.5 billion. This is the reality of China’s two Golden Weeks, times during which it is virtually impossible to move about the country. While the first Golden Week which celebrated the Chinese New Year passed in January, the second Golden Week will take place October 1-7. During this time, WildChina would recommend you avoid visiting the country because not only will transportation be jammed, but national parks and monuments will be flooded with people.

Though travel during China’s Golden Weeks is certainly something to be avoided, a journey to Guizhou during the fall festivals can be life changing. WildChina traveler Anthony Garrett described the trip he and his wife had in Guizhou as something they “will treasure the rest of their lives.” Pick the right time to come to China and you stand a good chance of leaving feeling the same way.


If you are interested in service in Guizhou check out our recent trips with Harvard Business School Alumni and also with Princeton’s Summer of Service students. If you have any other questions about travel in Guizhou email us at info@wildchina.com

Photos by WildChina & Chinanews.com

Tags: Anthony Garrett Catherine Meng China's National Holiday Chinese New Year Damochong Damochong Valley Golden Week Guizhou Lusheng Lusheng Festival Paika Spring Festival wild China WildChina WildChina travel .

July 27th, 2012

Why use a travel company?

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

Have you ever woken up on a plane to discover that your flight has been rerouted mid-air? Or arrived at your destination only to discover every single bag is missing? Everyone has at least one story, that nightmare travel experience where a series of disasters have conspired to wreck a vacation. Sometimes it is a storm, sometimes it is a mechanical problem, sometimes its another thing entirely. Whatever the problem, you know you are going to spend a long time standing in line, or on the phone, while your wait for “the next available customer service representative.” Cue annoying music.

This past weekend, China was hit with a particularly aggressive weather system. A record rain storm in Beijing and a typhoon that passed over Hong Kong wreaked havoc on flight plans all over the country. While WildChina could not keep the storm from coming, we were able to act as advocates for those who had booked travel with us. For those who wanted to let their families know they were alright, even in remote regions, we used their emergency numbers and called home on their behalf. For those who had children scared of the storm, our guides provided laughs. And for those whose flight plans were headed for a snarl, we provided a way out. This past weekend we had a group flying from Guilin to Lijiang via Kunming that had missed their connection as a result of delays. While these travelers were in the air, WildChina arranged for a guide to meet them at their connecting airport free of charge. Our booking department then reached out to the airlines to get our guests on the next available flight, and when that did not work, we turned to our network of contacts to find seats. In the end, the group was able to make it to Lijiang only a few hours later then originally planned.

Our goal when we plan a trip for you is for it to be as smooth as possible, from start to finish. Whether you are exploring the Huanghuacheng section of the Great Wall, watching the sun rise on Mount Meili, or going on a trip to Pabongka Monastery in Tibet, we always prepare for the unexpected.


Interested in joining us for a journey through China? Email us at info@wildchina.com and we will start working with you to create your perfect itinerary.

Photo of flight screen by Eye on Spain. Photo of fisherman by Michael Deng.

Tags: Beijing rainstorm Chinese Treasures Hong Kong Typhoon Huanghuacheng Mount Meili Pabongka Pabongka Monastery wild China WildChina WildChina travel Yunnan Travel .

July 26th, 2012

A Regal Stay at The Peninsula Hong Kong

By: WildChina | Categories: WildChina Travel Tips

Imagine waking up inside a room overflowing with so much extravagance that even after getting out of bed, you still feel as though you are walking inside a dream. The blaring sounds of your alarm smoothly transition into the calming melodies of Mozart as you are taken by the lovely smells of lavender that permeate even the most hidden corners of your lavish quarter. Pull back the velvety curtains of the broad windows to unveil your spectacular front-seat panorama of Victoria’s Harbor as the sun gloriously rises. With a cup of some of the finest aromatic tea in one hand and a scrumptious blueberry scone in the other, jump back onto the plush sheets of your cloud-like bed and take a deep breath as you become mesmerized by the wondrous hues of cinnamon and golden yellow that form the ideal backdrop to the wondrous cityscape located in the best city in the world.

At The Peninsula Hong Kong, each and every guest is treated like royalty. A night at this grand hotel is not one of simple relaxation, but rather, an unforgettable and magical experience. Although the name “Peninsula” is one synonymous with first-class luxury and elegant style, the branch in Hong Kong embodies not only these elements, but also, much more. Unparalleled in its grandeur and top-level service standards, The Peninsula Hong Kong has begun redefining what it means to be a five-star hotel. As a front-runner in the luxury travel industry, it is only fitting that we at WildChina recommend The Peninsula Hong Kong, along with its sister locations in Beijing and Shanghai, to our clients who desire a leisurely stay suitable for a superstar.

This opulent hotel has recently embarked on a two-phase project focused on giving the interior designs of its 297 rooms a fresh new look, one composed of “classical modernity, chic simplicity, and timeless luxury.” The focal point of these renovations is not merely simple modifications in furnishing, but rather, further satisfying the needs of each and every one of its visitors by enhancing the overall convenience of each suite. Using only the finest materials and the best craftsmanship, this remodeling well meets the hotel’s lofty standards for quality, practicality, and functionality. The combination of modern décor and cutting-edge in-room technology will set these newly-revamped rooms as culminations of magnificence, cementing the hotel’s leadership in global luxury hospitality and its overall footing at the top of Hong Kong’s finest.

In a way, The Peninsula Hong Kong and WildChina are very similar. Both are front-runners in their individual fields, the former in the luxury hotel industry, and the latter, in the luxury travel industry. Although both are constantly evolving, whether it be staying on top of the most innovative in-room technology or maintaining the most eco-friendly travel standards, both The Peninsula Hong Kong and WildChina share the same ground when it comes to setting the personal needs of their clients as a top priority and preserving the individual foundations on which each was established. The five-star hotel’s fresh look composed of chic sophistication upholds its motto of “innovation as a part of tradition,” while WildChina’s upcoming “Gastronomic Tour of China with Fuchsia Dunlop” maintains the travel company’s motto of “Experience China Differently.” Whether one is exploring the Silk Road with WildChina or spending a night at the palatial Peninsula during a visit to Hong Kong, each and every client will feel like royalty, waking up each morning feeling refreshed and as though he or she is walking inside a dream.


Photo credit: Peninsula Hong Kong

Interested in dining on some mouthwatering dim sum in Hong Kong? Check out WildChina’s trip High Speed China to explore all that this “Pearl of the Orient” has to offer. 


Tags: Hong Kong luxury hotels in Hong Kong peninsula peninsula hong kong top hotel in hong kong traveling in style wild China WildChina WildChina travel .

July 20th, 2012

Bakery 88: From Auspicious Start to Dali Staple

By: WildChina | Categories: Dining Experiences in China, On the Road, Sustainable Travel, WildChina Travel Tips

Coffee, crumpets, and the chance to be cosseted by Karine Kafrell–chemical engineer, entrepreneur, and baker extraordinaire. This is what awaits customers at Bakery 88 in Dali, Yunnan.

A German bakery specializing in organic breads and jams made from locally sourced ingredients, Bakery 88 now resides at Foreigner Street Center 52 in Dali.  Perhaps the bakery’s success and popularity were pre-destined when Karine scored big time with the original address at Yue’erxiaojie No. 88–the number 8 is a lucky number in China (much more so than the 7), and 88 is of course, twice as lucky.  However, to believe this the sole reason for the bakery’s rave reviews is to do a disservice to Karine and her mission of empowerment.


Bakery 88's simple yet classy tables

Karine is German to the core–but also has the warm affection of an Italian mamma, enveloping her customers in hugs and smells of freshly baked bread. A chemical engineer by profession, she traded in her crucible for cookie sheets, and her formulas for recipes (but held on to her thermometer!) to start Bakery 88–simply because she loves to bake.  At 14 years of age she declared herself a baker, but after years of baking solo she now employs a large staff and has customers clamoring at her door.  Bakery 88 is a long-loved staple of the Dali food scene–a feel-good favorite of both locals and expats alike.


Bakery 88 is a home away from home for many of its customers

One of Karine’s aims in opening Bakery 88 was to employ local Yunnanese women who were, as far as the job market was concerned, skill-less. She teaches them to source, bake, and cook all kinds of recipes–including jam. In fact, one of Karine’s staff, after 3 years of working with Karine has succeeded in launching her own line of jam which Karine says is an ingenious combination of peaches, plums and pears–a gorgeous recipe she created on her own. Karine’s mission of female empowerment definitely has our applause at WildChina.


Deliciousness at Bakery 88

We love Bakery 88′s granola bars–a simple choice made with local Yunnan mulberries that just melt in your mouth. Here is to hoping my next journey leads me there sooner than later.


To truly treat your taste buds to Karine’s delicious baking, check out our trip Retracing the Ancient Tea & Horse Caravan Trail: Yunnan.  Starting in Dali, this journey takes you along (you guessed it!) the 1,000 year-old Ancient Tea & Horse Caravan Trail.


Tags: Bakery 88 Boailu Dali Granola bars Karine Kaffrell responsible travel wild China WildChina WildChina travel women entrepreneurship in China Yunnan .

July 19th, 2012

Travel Advice from WildChina’s Experts

By: WildChina | Categories: Adventure Travel in China, Chinese Culture, Environment, WildChina Experts, WildChina Explorer Grant, WildChina Travel Tips, Zhang Mei

This week, in addition to updating you on our adventures in Guizhou and Guangxi, WildChina has been concentrating on providing travel tips. If you have been following our blog, then you have seen our top five tips for easy China travel, as well as heard from our founder Zhang Mei about her essentials for running and hiking. In our final chapter of recommendations for this week, we turned to our team of specialists and advisers to provide us with their travel secrets. Below are recommendations from our experts which we think will appeal both for those excited by raw adventure and those more interested in the culture and history of China.

Zhang Mei: Although you did hear from WildChina Founder Zhang Mei only yesterday on her essentials for running and hiking, she also had a few recommendations for items she will not leave the house without when she is going traveling. Simple but crucial, Mei relies on her First Ascent EddieBauer raincoat, OFF! bug spray and Lindberg sunglasses. The raincoat is great if there is a quick shower in Yunnan, the bug spray perfect protection in Guizhou, and sunglasses block out the powerful sun in Xinjiang.

Katherine Don: Having made a career running galleries in Beijing and New York Katherine has spent plenty of time crossing the globe.  Her recommendations? Dig into the community as quickly as possible. Use jet lag in your favor and explore the neighborhood when you are awake in the early morning. Discover an aspect of the local community that you would otherwise have missed. Another trick is to download local applications for current listings of restaurants and major attractions. As Katherine notes, “GPS is great, but if the network is down, it’s a basic lifesaver to handover a phone number to a driver and let the other end communicate with directions. If all else fails, ask a local for directions or recommendations.” She explains, “Guanxi  -Chinese for ‘relationships’- is a point of pride for people living in China. People tend to go out of their way to help make connections. Just be aware of advice that is given when you have not asked for it!”

Shanghua Zhang: One of last year’s WildChina Explorer Grant winners, Shanghua recently completed an arduous trek through the Ganzi prefecture of Sichuan province. While in the back country, he found the two things he relied on the most were a good map and simply being polite. A map got him there, but Shanghua also found fostering good relations with the people he met in the mountains to be particularly important. In addition to sharing fascinating stories about their lives, newly made friends would sometimes offer Shanghua a soft bed and warm meals free of charge – a much appreciated change from his tent and diet of increasingly stale buns.

Sean Gallagher: When he is not giving lessons to WildChina travelers on the Silk Road, Sean is tramping around the world using photography to bring light to a host of environmental issues. Needless to say, Sean is used to schlepping a true assortment of equipment across a plethora of landscapes. Sean’s travel tip is simple, yet brilliant: bring plastic shopping bags. Sean says “Whenever I travel in the field on shoots, I always pack a bunch of regular supermarket plastic bags. They can serve a multitude of useful purposes from putting dirty shoes or clothes in, to acting as temporary waterproof housing for your equipment, separating foods or toiletries, and keeping your general rubbish in. You can even re-use them on multiple trips and since they are incredibly light, you won’t be lugging extra weight around.”

Gady Epstein: Since 2002, Gady has made a name for himself covering China and Asia for The Baltimore Sun, Forbes, and The Economist. During his time working for these periodicals, Gady has spent ample time in airports. His advice for getting through transportation hubs in one piece? Good noise-cancelling headphones and a book. As Gady writes, “Air travel has become the worst part of anyone’s China experience. At some point in your trip, you’ll find yourself waiting around in an airport and, worse, on an airplane sitting on the tarmac. You may even find your ears assaulted with the musical stylings of your captors, the worst kind of muzak playing on repeat, slowly chipping away at your sanity. Escape into your own music and a great book.”

We hope you find these tips helpful, if you have some of your own you would like to share feel free to post them on our Facebook page. As always if you have any questions about travel in China do not hesitate to be in touch at info@wildchina.com

Tags: Gady Epstein Katherine Don Sean Gallagher Shanghua Zhang Travel Tips in China wild China WildChina WildChina Explorer Grant WildChina travel WildChina Travel Tips Zhang Mei .

July 18th, 2012

Mei’s Must-Have Items for Travel

By: WildChina | Categories: WildChina Travel Tips, Zhang Mei

When she is not occupied with journeying around the world or updating her Weibo with the captivating sights she encounters on her travels, WildChina’s founder, Mei, thoroughly enjoys exploring the outskirts of greater China, whether it means running a marathon in Inner Mongolia or trekking up the boding hillsides of Guizhou. Traveling luxuriously is one thing, but traveling luxuriously in style is another. For us at WildChina, it is no surprise that Mei has effortlessly mastered both.

Whether she is racing along the Erhai Lake in Dali or simply on a treadmill at her local gym, Mei’s iPod nano is always by her side. Lightweight, durable, and reliable, this pink gadget has been her loyal companion on the most memorable runs through some of the most remarkable backdrops. So what are a few of the top hits on Mei’s track list? Not the predictable Mozart or Bach. As an avid fan of the latest chart-toppers, Mei’s eclectic taste in music ranges from Propellerhead’s jazzy beats to Adele’s crisp voice. Who says Lady Gaga is only for teenagers? Mei will be the first to admit that the country rock twist added to “Born This Way (Country Road Version),” along with the pop star’s strong vocals, are indispensable when running through nature’s most beguiling wonders. Besides, for those of you worried about getting lost amongst the monumental mountains of Abujee, the refrain will reassure you that you are in fact “on the right track.”

Not only does Mei have the perfect ‘pump-up’ track list for her run, she also looks très chic while doing so. From running shorts to racerback tanks and even socks, Mei is an avid fan of Lulu Lemon, an athletic apparel company whose lush lightweight fabrics ace the founder’s tests for functionality and durability. The racer back’s body-skimming fit is flattering and the top is so comfortable that you won’t ever want to take it off, even in exchange for your pajamas. With its loose fit, the featherweight “Light as Air” running shorts will help you “fly without taking off from the ground.” For the perfect amount of sun protection, Mei recommends the Adidas Adizero Sequence Hat, which, with its ClimaCool ventilation, will keep you cool, dry, and stylish all-in-one. For the winter months, check out a brightly-colored North Face Goretex Jacket to keep warm. Windproof and waterproof, nothing will ever get in your way from exploring Mother Nature ever again. Whoever said workout gear wasn’t fashionable?

An ardent runner, Mei knows from personal experience that the key to a great run is all in the sneakers. She loves the functionality of her Adidas Adistar Salvaation 3 , which helped her spring to the finish line in a recent marathon in Inner Mongolia. With its reliable support and cushioning, these sneakers are comfort and durability at their finest. With such a great pair of shoes, you are bound to get compliments while running in style. For hiking, Mei recommends Asolo’s indestructible hiking boots, which are perfect for trekking along the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan in either rain or shine.

Want to give your lips a whole lot of love? Mei recommends Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm, which will hydrate and revitalize your thirsty lips with antioxidant-rich pomegranate oil. Best of all, it smells absolutely delicious! L’Occitane’s best-selling crème is a classic, one of Mei’s go-to items. Even after an adventurous day exploring the high mountaintops of Gaoligong in Yunnan, this buttery cream makes her hands feel soft and luxurious.

What are some other necessities that Mei always keeps in her bright red, versatile REI Flash 18 Pack? Weighing in at almost nothing, this affordable and durable daypack is ideal for short hikes away from camp. It comfortably fits all of Mei’s essentials, from her impact resistant Camelbak water bottle to her handy dandy travel-size Purell Hand Sanitizer, which Mei admits, has collected as many mileage points as she has. Regardless of whether or not she is traveling by herself or with her kids, sunscreen is a must on Mei’s checklist. She loves the one from Shisedo, which not only boasts an SPF of 60+, but is also non-greasy and odor-free. To reenergize, Mei recently discovered the Dali Bar at Salvadore’s Cafe in Kunming, each and every one hand-made by locals. Consisting of a mixture of sunflower seeds, honey dates, oats, and walnuts, this bar is not only delectable, but also, full of nutrients. Who ever said healthy couldn’t taste good?

Whether it be luxury travel in China, chart-topping music, or the latest fashions, WildChina’s founder Mei is on top of it all. How does she pamper herself post-travel? Mei loves to relax while taking a bath using some aromatic Hongjintian Bath Salt with a cup of her favorite Longjing Green Tea by her side. With a fashionista as its founder, WildChina is not only a front-runner in simply luxury travel, but rather, luxury travel in style. Even Harper’s Bazaar is impressed!


Check out Mei’s Weibo (@yunnanzhangmeiand Twitter for some more travel trips from the best of the best and like us on Facebook for constant updates on the latest travels news in China.


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