If a destination is an end point, then the journey is the people you encounter along the way. They are what change “good” to “great”, “standard” to “extraordinary”, and “memorable” to “life-changing”.
Behind the smiling profile picture, the corporate email signature, the branded name tag, beats the true heart of WildChina; a vigorous network of personalities, dreams, and experiences driving magic and life through the company veins.
So, meet the fairy godmothers(fathers) who take your China travel dreams, and not only grant them, but sprinkle a dusting of surprise throughout, so that even when you think you know what your Wildest dream looks like, something you didn’t even know existed is waiting to amaze.
- Where are you from and where do you live now?
- Was there a specific moment in your life when you realized travel is what you wanted to do for work?
- Through your career, was there one piece of advice you received that really impacted how you do your job?
- What is the best travel experience you’ve had so far?
- What is the most memorable trip you’ve planned for a traveler?
- What is the coolest WOW moment you’ve done for a traveler?
- If you had to pick one thing that makes a trip outstanding (not just good, but great), what would it be?
- Tell us three places on your travel bucket list and why:
- What do you do when you aren’t working? (This can be family-oriented or a hobby or a sport etc.)
- What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know? (this can be like a skill or a piece of history or a niche interest…)
- Sara Liu’s Raving Reviews
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I am both from and currently living in Huizhou, a coastal city in Guangdong Province. This is a Hakka area and a historic city famous for being a nice place to live. Huizhou has a relaxed old district where a slow pace of life is the norm.
Was there a specific moment in your life when you realized travel is what you wanted to do for work?
It was 2015, my second year in the travel industry, I received feedback from a guest whose trip I designed. She said she’d never imagined that China could be such a beautiful place. Since then, I’ve made it my goal to bring the beauty of my country to life for my travelers, so they can experience China in a way that is far beyond their expectations.
Through your career, was there one piece of advice you received that really impacted how you do your job?
Over the years I have received a lot of advice that has really impacted the way I work, the habits I have formed and the skills I’ve learned. There is one that stands out for me though: “sometimes traveling is not about how well you know the destination and how much you see, sometimes it just happens when you sit quietly in a corner of the village.”
As a travel designer, my job is to make sure that guests have an amazing trip, down to every little detail. But in the design of the itinerary, I think it’s important to also leave some little spaces for travelers to stop and feel. For me, this is the difference between tourism and travel.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had so far?
Of course, every journey I’ve been on has left me with some amazing memories, but if I’m to pick one in particular, it would be a trip I went on few years ago to Shangri-La. The whole trip was really great, the perfect combination of natural landscapes and Tibetan culture. Nixi village was the biggest surprise for me because I didn’t know much about it before going there, apart from its famous black clay pottery. I enjoyed everywhere I visited in Shangri-La, but I knew a bit about most of the places before going, so there wasn’t that element of surprise that I had with the culture in Nixi village.
What I liked most about the village was its peaceful atmosphere, the traditional Tibetan houses (and their traditional toilets), the modern glass houses, the farmland and old trees, and the old grandmothers weaving in the yards. Even now when I look at the pictures from that trip, they remind me of the feeling of Shangri-La. In some ways, I think Nixi Village is more representative of Shangri-La than the famed Songzanlin Monastery.
What is the most memorable trip you’ve planned for a traveler?
I will always remember this one guest, she traveled by herself (about 24 years old) for nearly three weeks, taking a two-day train straight from Beijing to Tibet, and then drive all the way to Everest Base Camp where she stayed for one night in the big shared tent. About a year after the journey, I got an email from her again, mentioning how the journey had impacted her and opened up her life. I could just imagine her writing the email, her eyes bright and reminiscent with the memories of that journey that I helped make possible. That moment, right there, is the exact reason I’ve always wanted to work in the travel industry.
What is the coolest WOW moment you’ve done for a traveler?
I arranged a private picnic with an acrobatics show on the Great Wall for a little kid’s birthday. It was the first time this family of four came to China. During the acrobatic show on the Great Wall, one of the performers conjured up a cake and this really WOW-ed both the kid and the whole family. It was a great moment, and I’m sure a life-long memory for that family.
If you had to pick one thing that makes a trip outstanding (not just good, but great), what would it be?
The local guide. Finding a local guide who truly loves his/her hometown and really cares about sharing this with his/her guests is what brings a trip to life.
Tell us three places on your travel bucket list and why:
- I want to do the road trip from Yunnan all the way to Mount Everest in Tibet. This is a route I’ve wanted to do my whole life, I just haven’t had the chance yet.
- I want to go to the Guizhou mountains, so I can see the terraced fields and learn some traditional crafts.
- I want to go to Kenya to see the spectacular animal migration and feel the miracle of life!
What do you do when you aren’t working? (This can be family-oriented or a hobby or a sport etc.)
Over the past few years I have been spending more time with my two young children, a three-year-old girl, and a one-year-old boy. Lately, I have also been learning a new skill, making clothes for dolls.
What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know? (this can be like a skill or a piece of history or a niche interest…)
I actually have a secret skill, I’m really good at claw machines. My daughter is especially happy with this skill because I can get the toys out of the machine for her!
Sara Liu’s Raving Reviews
Very flexible and relaxed trip with young kids in Yunnan
We travelled in October 2022 to Yunnan with WildChina and we enjoyed it a lot. The planning of the trip was as per our requirements, we stayed in beautiful kids-friendly hotels, had relaxed walks, cultural activities, and travelled very safely. WildChina even provided car seats and strollers! We had 1 guide in each location, both were very friendly and adapted to our needs. We were happy to discover beautiful Yunnan and understand better the culture of some of its people. Thank you!
Dream Travel to Tibet
I travelled with my family to Tibet for an amazing trip of 12 days. The proposal from WildChina was a good one, to see as much as possible of the most remarkable sites. All was very good organized, and experienced guide and drivers were with us along the trip. It was a wonderful experience. It is tough to be at such high altitudes, but the guide was taking care of us all the time.
Best way to visit Guangxi
Perfect itinerary across Guangxi we saw all the top sites but still had time to enjoy our break, go for a run and do yoga in the morning.
Our guide was amazing and very accommodating.