This year a University from Canada, decided to partner with Extravagant Yak for a portion of one of their travel studies. Extravagant Yak organized 7 days for them between Chengdu, Lijiang, and Shangri-la.
Day 1 & 2: The travel study started in Chengdu where they visited a few businesses in and around the city. Extravagant Yak (and our sister company Simple Bikes) hosted the group at our office to introduce our business(es), values, and answer the students’ questions as they related it to what they were learning in their courses (predominately focused on human resources and marketing).
↑ Visiting Extravagant Yak's Office
They had several other company visits in Chengdu (through some of their own connections), but they also had a little time to have fun. They spent their second morning at the Giant Panda Research Center, which is an iconic stop before leaving Chengdu.
Day 3: As the students had visited a few businesses in Chengdu already, we planned some activities for them to do in Lijiang that took them beyond the classroom and their business visits. On the day they arrived in Lijiang, we took the group to watch the Lijiang Impression Show in the afternoon. The Lijiang Impression Show is a cultural performance which demonstrates the traditions and lifestyle of the Naxi, Bai, and Yi ethnicities in the area. Afterwards, the students got to explore Lijiang Old Town before settling down to dinner.
↑ Lijiang Impressions Performance
Day 4: After breakfast, we took them to Jade Mountain (approximately 4400 meters high). Some of students had never been this high before but they overcame the change in altitude and enjoyed the sights of Jade Mountain. In the afternoon, they drove to Shangri-la, with a stop at Tiger Leaping Gorge along the way.
↑ Jade Mountain
Day 5: Still being business students, they visited Nixi Pottery to learn how these locally made products are bringing benefit to local people through enhancing the tourism industry. The students not only learned about the pottery business, but also had a little experiential learning as they tried their hands at making pottery cups.
↑ Visiting Nixi Pottery
In the afternoon, they visited Songzan Lvgu Lodge and had another business visit there. The general manager (ZhangLing) of the lodge shared Songzan’s business development to date, and their vision for the future. She also answered the student’s questions about HR and marketing in their local business setting. After a big day of presentations and discussions, the students enjoyed dinner at this wonderful lodge to see a little of this business in action!
↑ At Songtsam Lugu Lodge
Day 6: In the morning, the students visited Benzilan Wood Bowls production sites, followed by a visit to the Shangri-La Beer factory. Students had a tour of the beer factory and got to see some of the steps it takes to produce food products in a factory setting. The founder of Shangri-la Beer shared his story about being an entrepreneur, some of the business challenges, and plans for future. Students were particularly interested in the sales and marketing this company has done to become a nationally recognized product.
↑ At Shangri-la Beer
Day 7: In the morning, they visited Arokhampa Boutique Hotel. The founder Tapa shared how he started the business, and how he’s working to introduce and preserve Tibetan culture through the hotel industry. Both he and the students appreciated discussing HR, staff management, and marketing topics, etc. The group enjoyed lunch at Arokahampa, to further see the culture and service of this boutique hotel.
↑ Visiting Arro Khampa Boutique Hotel
After lunch, they visited a handicraft shop managed by Tashi Reqing. Tashi has been working in the handicraft field for a long time, so he was a great local professional to ask due to his history in the local business setting. He walked the group through how his work and his team benefited the local Tibetan community through their business ventures.
Overall, we only got to show this group from Canada around for a week before they continued on to other parts of China, but we enjoyed every minute that we got to spend with them. There’s something really exciting about watching others learn – particularly when it’s in a setting we’ve come to know well. Extravagant Yak has known for quite some time that there are some Tibetan small business gems that are flourishing in the communities around us, so to have a group of business professors and students come here to see, encourage, and learn from our Tibetan neighbors was a joy!
As much as we love running custom group tours, we understand that not everyone travels with other people. Whether you use the adventure to get out and meet new people, or just didn’t have friends or family who could join you this time around, sometimes it just makes sense to travel alone.