Culture can mean many things. It can mean traditions – historic and ancient, passed down from generation to generation. It can mean customs – social interactions, common taboos, work ethics. It can mean daily life – trendy restaurants, stylish clothing and hip music.
Culture is interpretive and encompassing, hard to define and hard to access, especially for those who exist on the outside. For corporate travelers, however, understanding culture is a crucial part of traveling to China. Business in China, to China and with China, all rely on effective communication, bridged through an understanding of culture.
Beyond the Cities: What to Expect
While China’s most famous urban hubs have a wealth of cosmopolitan culture to convey, the lesser-frequented provinces have a different culture and lifestyle to behold. Once, these off-the-beaten-path places were largely inaccessible, and for those who made the trek, accommodation and facilities were basic at best. No more.
Now, fueled by domestic and international travel interest in rural areas, luxury boutiques and five star hotels have sprouted up in the most unlikely of places, providing world-class accommodation for visitors while boosting local economies. Between the international brands, like Amandayan in Yunnan and Hilton in Tibet, and local boutiques, like Su House in Anhui and The River Collection in Ningxia, there is no shortage of quality accommodation on offer.
Beyond the brushed linen sheets and western-style toilets that one can expect in luxury, stationary hotels, WildChina’s corporate services team are experts at creating pop-up events in the most remote reaches of the Middle Kingdom. From solar-powered glamping to Michelin-chef catered banquets; no existing infrastructure, no problem. Tell us your dreams and we’ll make them a reality.
Interest-Based Destination Recommendations: Where to Go
For those interested in historical trade routes, cross-cultural influences and Buddhist beliefs, the Silk Road is a perfect place to head. The vast desert swathes of the Silk Road prove a perfect venue for pop-up events, like the 700-person desert carnival we organized for a corporate client’s company retreat.
For anyone interested in getting well off the beaten path to experience China’s ethnic minority culture, Guizhou is for you. Guizhou is home to several minorities, including many types of Miao as well as the Yi and Buyi people, each with their own unique clothing, customs and language. Guizhou’s natural beauty ranges from jutting karst peaks and gushing waterfalls to river gorges and azalea gardens.
For the restless souls seeking spiritual wellness amid nature, Qingcheng Mountain in Sichuan and Shangri-la in Yunnan are a great match. The high-altitude mountain slopes outside Shangri-La were where we established a 100% solar-powered campsite featuring luxury Tibetan-style tents and Tibetan tangkas (scripture paintings) for an executive retreat.
Looking to raise a glass to fantastic colleagues? Imbibe at the source of China’s wine revolution, undulating vineyards ribboning out into the distance while a local sommelier explains the nuances of the reds and whites produced onsite. Ningxia is home to over 100 wineries, the best of which we’ve been working with for years now.
For the most intrepid of travelers, Inner Mongolia is calling. We’re taking the concept of field learning even further – not only are we going beyond the boardroom, but we’re going to the furthest reaches of the modern world, the Mongolian Steppe. Here, astride a native stallion, even the most adept of leaders have space – both mental and physical – to grow.
Our recommendation? Get wild. Go beyond – beyond the boardroom, beyond the cities, beyond imagination. Make your next corporate trip, event, retreat (or all three) more than just an experience. Make it ground-breaking, never-done-before. Make it life-changing.