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Tick off two China bucket list items in one trip: the formidable Terracotta Warriors and the adorable Giant Panda. Expand your China knowledge and horizons as you explore one of the greatest finds of modern archaeology and a present day success in wildlife conservation.
Dive deeper into understanding China’s “national treasure”, the giant panda. Beyond the cuddly facades that have allured and transfixed admirers far and wide, these pandas have an array of social, biological and environmental complexities to be explored. To explain you could ever want to know about pandas, we have arranged for former WWF panda conservation program manager, Wan Hui, to join the excursion to Louguantai Panda Center as an expert guide.
Having initially studied Environmental Ecology at the prestigious Peking University, picking up a Masters in Geography immediately after, Wan Hui began her corporate career in Shanghai’s concrete jungle. Luckily for China’s wildlife, after four years in the city, Wan Hui shifted back to nature conservation and worked within World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for ten years, focusing on landscape conservation for giant pandas in western China. In 2019, she left her post as the director of WWF’s panda conservation program to head up her own consulting firm to share her knowledge with visitors and research centers the world over.
During the tour, make sure you keep the questions coming, as there’s little that doesn’t fall within Wan Hui’s expertise. Whether it’s explaining the nuances of China’s biodiversity and ecosystem, or the effects of local populations on the distribution of China’s pandas – she’s got you covered (and then some).
Though Beijing has stolen the thunder as China’s new capital, its history and prestige are nothing compared to the old capital of Xi’an, where emperors ruled China for thousands of years. Home of the treasured Terracotta Warriors, the eastern end of the Silk Road, and a history that stretches longer than the Great Wall, Xi’an epitomizes traditional Chinese culture.
Islam first entered China more than a thousand years ago via the Silk Road, flourishing around the Great Mosque in the heart of the Xi’an’s thriving Muslim Quarter. Entering the elegant grounds at sunset, you might mistake the undulating roofs and colonnaded halls for a Chinese temple until the evening call to prayer confirms that this is instead a potent fusion of Chinese and Islamic culture.
As Islam flowed along the Silk Road into China 1,300 years ago, its faithful followers, both locals and foreigners alike, settled in a busy commercial area of the capital, Chang’an. After centuries of prosperity, the very same Muslim Quarter is still one of the most bustling areas of modern-day Xi’an, and a sensory feast of neon signs, exotic spices, and mouthwatering barbecued fare.
Meals included: dinner
The ride from Xi’an downtown to Louguantai will take around 2 hours.
Having just opened to the public in 2023, the Louguantai Giant Panda Breeding Center offers brand new access China’s national animal: the giant panda. Founded in 1987, the expansive research center is home to ten giant pandas – the main attraction – as well as a host of other animals native to these areas of the Qinling Mountains. While seeing the pandas in their natural environment is a rewarding experience in itself, learning more about them – their habits, relationships, diets, and of course, their struggles, adds so much more to the experience. As such, we’ve arranged for former WWF panda conservation program director, Wan Hui, to join as an expert guide.
The origin of a philosophy that now reaches around the world, the Lou Guan Tai temple is where Taoism was created, where the famous Lao Tsu wrote Dao De Jing as well as where he lectured its principles to Taoism’s first followers. Just five minutes from the research center, exploring this historic site in the company of a modern Tao philosopher is an experience that will stay with you long after you leave its grounds.
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, and dinner
In 1974, while digging a well in the vast countryside outside of Xi’an, a group of farmers made a legendary discovery. They struck a chamber containing 8,000 soldiers belonging to China’s fearsome first emperor, a terracotta army buried beneath the earth to guard his tomb for eternity. Less than an hour outside the city, you’ll spend two hours coming face-to-face with row upon row of these ancient guardians, an experience no trip to China is complete without.
Your WildChina guide will escort you to the train station/airport and help you check in for your train/flight home.
Inside Xi’an’s ancient city walls, Hilton Xi’an brings together contemporary design, Tang dynasty artwork, and plush beds to create an urban escape for travelers after a day filled with sightseeing. Close to the cultural treasures in the heart of the city, the hotel’s spacious rooms, marble baths, Shaanxi dishes, and spa treatments help guests relax and recharge for another day exploring the delights of Xi’an. Pop up to the landscaped roof garden for a moment of secluded serenity.