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The absolute latest updates in China travel information.

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Fulbright scholar exploring environment, agriculture, and tea.

January 11th, 2012

And the winner of the 2012 WildChina Explorer Grant is…

By: WildChina | Categories: WildChina Experts, WildChina Explorer Grant, Zhang Mei

WildChina is thrilled to announce the 2012 WildChina Explorer Grant awardees are… Zhang Shanghua AND team Bill Bleisch & Yan Lu! A split tie!


Mt. Gongga

Shanghua, a scientist based in Chengdu, Sichuan province,  will explore the natural beauty and local cultures of Baiyu County in the Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture. Along his journey, he will spend time in The Chaqingsongduo Nature Reserve which houses two-thirds of the world’s population of white-lipped deer or Thorold’s deer, the second largest glacier in the prefecture, and the sources of numerous streams and rivers, and the peak of the mighty Mount Gongga.


Yaqing Monastery in winter

Bill Bleisch, Program Director of China Exploration & Research Society and Yan Lu of Fauna & Flora International will scout a route along the backbone of the Ailao Mountains through the Ailaoshan Nature Reserve.  They are excited about their expedition as it could be the start of a trekking trail along the Ailao Shan ridge and beyond, continuing north to Dali where it would connect with existing trekking routes, creating a long “through-trail.”

Ailao Shan

After receiving  fantastic applications from all over the world, the WildChina Expert Panel, including WildChina founder Zhang Mei had a tough job of selecting three finalists.  From everyone at WildChina, we thank everyone who submitted fantastic applications and we look forward to keeping you posted on our 2012 WildChina Explorers exciting adventures…


For more questions about the WildChina Explorer Grant, please click here or send a question to explorer@wildchina.com

Pictures by Shanghua Zhang and Art Fund

Tags: Ailao Mountain Ailaoshan Baiyu County Bill Bleisch Edward Wong Friends of Nature Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture Jeff Fuchs Li Bo Mount Gonga National Geographic Traveler new york times The Bridge Fund The Chaqingsongduo Nature Reserve Thorold's deer wild China WildChina WildChina Explorer Grant WildChina travel Yu Hui Zhang Mei .

December 15th, 2011

Announcing the 2012 WildChina Explorer Grant Finalists

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

Ladies and Gentleman, the moment has arrived! Today we announce the 2012 WildChina Explorer Finalists. One of these three will be chosen and the winner will be announced in early January 2012!

The WildChina Explorer Grant is an annual grant of up to USD 3,000 that is awarded to adventurers seeking to push the boundaries of responsible, off-the-beaten-path travel in China. Last week, WildChina Founder Zhang Mei and the expert panel sat down to lunch at one of Beijing’s nicest hideaways– Capital M– to discuss the finalists.

The panel– Ed Wong of The New York Times, Li Bo of Friends of Nature and Yu Hui of National Geographic Traveler China– were blown away by the caliber of applications.  The panel mulled over amazing trekking trips in Gansu province by former Bowdoin College graduates, professional photographers who saught to travel to Jiangxi Province to learn more about Wuyuan County and a world famous journalist and author who desired to venture to Poyang Lake, the last wintering area for nearly all of the world’s critically endangered Siberian Cranes and some 400,000 other water birds.  We were so impressed.

However, tough decisions needed to be made.  And this is what the judges decided:

Announcing The 2012 WildChina Explorer Grant Finalists…

Finalist # 3:  Yachen Monastery & Tibetan Buddhism: Exploring the lives of Tibetan Nuns by Yasmin Cho.

Yasmin, a former graduate student in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, conducted preliminary field research over two summers focused on building relationships with non-Tibetan nuns and lay practioners. Yasmin is passionate about this subject as there has been no international coverage of the thousands of young Tibetan nuns who congregate in the Yachen monastery practicing Buddhism.  Yasmin hopes to explore the social impacts of this population in China.

Finalist # 2: Venturing to Ganzi Prefecture in Sichuan Province by Zhang Shanghua (张上华).

Ganzi Prefecture in Sichuan Province is some of the wildest parts of China. There are no roads, no cars and very few people.  As a result, Mr. Zhang wants to travel to experience this “primitive natural beauty and the most authentic religious atmosphere.” Mr. Zhang plans to use 25-30 days to explore in-depth this area to share with the outside world. Mr. Zhang lives in Chengdu Sichaun and works as a scientist at Chengdu ChemPartner Co., Ltd.

Finalist # 1: Trekking China’s Wilderness: Scouting a Route Along the Backbone of Ailao Shan & Connecting Routes by William Bleisch and Yan Lu.

With experiences such as the Program Director of China Exploration & Research Society, World Wildlife Federation China, Fauna & Flora International China Programme Office and Harvard University, this team of William and Yan is pretty dynamic.  In 2012, William and Yan propose to scout a route along the backbone of the Ailao Shan in Yunnan, through the nature reserves and up on to Dali where the route would connect with existing trekking routes.

Stay tuned to learn more about each of the explorers.  We will be doing a short feature on each of them in the coming weeks. One of these three will be chosen and the winner will be announced in early January 2012!


For more information on the WildChina Explorer Grant, please click here.

Tags: Ailao Shan Edward Wong Friends of Nature Li Bo National Geographic Traveler wild China WildChina WildChina travel Yachen Monastery Yu Hui .

November 30th, 2011

Holiday Wishlist: 10 Gifts for the China Travel Obsessed

By: WildChina | Categories: Chic China shopping, Exclusive Access China

As the holiday season is upon us, WildChina compiled a short-list of our favorite finds.  We hope you enjoy….

10: Everyone at WildChina loves sitting down with a steaming cup of  Pu’er tea in the afternoon for a quick re-charge session.  Newly-launched Jalam Tea Company is a great start-up to support and their tea is top-notch.  Highly recommend for any tea lovers out there.



9. Ezra Vogel’s recent book,  Deng Xiaoping and The Transformation of China, is not a short book coming in at over 800 pages, but it is definitely a gift we would love to see wrapped under the Christmas tree.  We know this book will be a great reference for years.


8.  We. love. this. bag.  It is the perfect travel bag.  MZ Wallace bags are durable, yet maintain an urban and effortless chic look.  Whether dining out in a swish new restaurant or doing a long-haul transit on an overnight train, this bag holds up.


7. Lost and Found, a Beijing based homeware store, has cheerful and colorful thermos that brighten up any winter day.  We hope to find one of these tucked in our stockings this year to be filled with hot chocolate.


6. Made in Mongolia produces just about the best slipper to pitter-patter around the house in. MIM has a beautiful range of handcrafted fair-trade felt products which use 100% natural Mongolian wool.  Their ethically produced fashion and home accessories combine the beauty of contemporary design with the timeless qualities of traditional Mongolian felting and embroidery.


5. Every once in a while it is good to escape reality,  and we can think of no better way of doing that than with a hotel staycation. This can easily be accomplished at The Peninsula Shanghai, arguably one of China’s yummiest hotels.  For something a bit more off the beaten path, WildChina also recommends a quick getaway to The Jing’s Residence in Pingyao to take in some of China’s ancient culture.


4. The holidays are not all about self-indulgence and WildChina likes to give back.  One of our favorite is Friends of Nature, China’s first environmental organization.

3.  UCCA, one of our favorite places to soak in some art and culture in Beijing, their online gift store has one of the best collections of China design.  From funky tee-shirts to great posters, any art lover would be over the moon to have a unique treasure from here.


2. We have our eyes on a big trip to Tibet this year.  For family travel, a journey to Tibet’s classic sites ranks high, while adventure travelers should head to Mt. Kailash for an unforgettable experience.

1. Luxurious cashmere scarves rank high on our most-wanted list, and Woo Scarves is a great place to find gifts.  We have our eye on this little number which can be picked up online or in boutiques throughout Beijing and Shanghai.

Tags: China Obsessed Friends of Nature Holiday Wish List Jalam Tea Lost and Found M.Z. Wallace Made in Mongolia The Peninsula Shanghai UCCA wild China WildChina WildChina travel Woo Scarves .

November 1st, 2010

China loses one of its first environmental crusaders

By: WildChina | Categories: Environment

We were saddened to hear of the passing at age 78 last week of Liang Congjie, a pioneering Chinese conservationist to whose legacy we owe a great deal.

Though unheralded and relatively unknown outside of China, Liang played a central role in the development of the contemporary Chinese environmental movement and protection of some of our favorite pristine wilderness areas in China.

In 1994 Liang founded Friends of Nature, China’s first environment-focused non-governmental organization (NGO). Over the next 16 years he and the staff of Friends of Nature worked tirelessly to educate the Chinese public about environmental issues and encourage the government to strengthen conservation laws and enforcement.

It is hard for us to imagine losing the mile-high cliffs of majestic Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the great natural wonders of not only China, but also the world. But that might have happened if Liang’s organization had not campaigned against a hydropower project in the gorge and won a last minute reprieve from China’s top leadership.

Friends of Nature won other practical victories in areas such as a dam project on the upper Salween River, the poaching of Tibetan antelope and illegal harvesting of virgin forests. But it also left a less tangible impact by inspiring and paving the way for the thousands of environmental groups that operate in China today.

We offer our condolences to Liang’s family and friends and our deepest thanks to all those who have followed his call and are working to keep China wild.


Photo credit: Rangichangi Roots

Tags: environmental movement Friends of Nature Liang Congjie NGOs Tiger Leaping Gorge wild China WildChina WildChina travel .


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