The World Traveling Guide

View the world with different eyes


Leave a comment

Mumbai

Mumbai is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, second most populous metropolitan area in India, and the fifth most populous city in the world, with an estimated city population of 18.4 million and metropolitan area population of 20.7 million as of 2011. Along with the neighbouring urban areas, including the cities of Navi Mumbai and Thane, it is one of the most populous urban regions in the world. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. In 2009, Mumbai was named an alpha world city. It is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest GDP of any city in South, West or Central Asia.

 mumbai1

The seven islands that came to constitute Mumbai were home to communities of fishing colonies. For centuries, the islands were under the control of successive indigenous empires before being ceded to the Portuguese and subsequently to the British East India Company. During the mid-18th century, Bombay was reshaped by the Hornby Vellard project, which undertook reclamation of the area between the seven islands from the sea. Along with construction of major roads and railways, the reclamation project, completed in 1845, transformed Bombay into a major seaport on the Arabian Sea.

 mumbai2

Bombay in the 19th century was characterized by economic and educational development. During the early 20th century it became a strong base for the Indian independence movement. Upon India’s independence in 1947 the city was incorporated into Bombay State. In 1960, following the Samyukta Maharashtra movement, a new state of Maharashtra was created with Bombay as the capital. The city was renamed Mumbai in 1996.

 mumbai3

Mumbai is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. It is also one of the world’s top ten centres of commerce in terms of global financial flow, generating 5% of India’s GDP and accounting for 25% of industrial output, 70% of maritime trade in India (Mumbai Port Trust & JNPT), and 70% of capital transactions to India’s economy. The city houses important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations.

 mumbai4

It is also home to some of India’s premier scientific and nuclear institutes like BARC, NPCL, IREL, TIFR, AERB, AECI, and the Department of Atomic Energy. The city also houses India’s Hindi (Bollywood) and Marathi film and television industry. Mumbai’s business opportunities, as well as its potential to offer a higher standard of living, attract migrants from all over India, making the city a melting pot of many communities and cultures.

 mumbai5

Mumbai has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate (Aw) under the Köppen climate classification, with seven months of dryness and peak of rains in July. The cooler season from December to February is followed by the summer season from March to June. The period from June to about the end of September constitutes the south-west monsoon season, and October and November form the post-monsoon season.

 mumbai6

Between June and September, the south west monsoon rains lash the city. Pre-monsoon showers are received in May. Occasionally, north-east monsoon showers occur in October and November. The maximum annual rainfall ever recorded was 3,452 mm (136 in) for 1954.The highest rainfall recorded in a single day was 944 mm (37 in) on 26 July 2005. The average total annual rainfall is 2,146.6 mm (85 in) for the Island City, and 2,457 mm (97 in) for the suburbs.

 mumbai7

The average annual temperature is 27.2 °C (81 °F), and the average annual precipitation is 2,167 mm (85 in). In the Island City, the average maximum temperature is 31.2 °C (88 °F), while the average minimum temperature is 23.7 °C (75 °F). In the suburbs, the daily mean maximum temperature range from 29.1 °C (84 °F) to 33.3 °C (92 °F), while the daily mean minimum temperature ranges from 16.3 °C (61 °F) to 26.2 °C (79 °F). The record high is 40.2 °C (104 °F) on 28 March 1982, and the record low is 7.4 °C (45 °F) on 27 January 1962.


Leave a comment

Yangon

Yangon is a former capital of Burma (Myanmar) and the capital of Yangon Region. Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw since March 2006, Yangon, with a population of over five million, continues to be the country’s largest city and the most important commercial centre.

yangon1

Although Yangon’s infrastructure is undeveloped compared to those of other major cities in Southeast Asia, it has the largest number of colonial buildings in the region today. While many high-rise residential and commercial buildings have been constructed or renovated throughout downtown and Greater Yangon in the past two decades, most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be deeply impoverished.

yangon10

The British seized Yangon and all of Lower Burma in the Second Anglo-Burmese War of 1852, and subsequently transformed Yangon into the commercial and political hub of British Burma. Yangon is also the place where the British sent Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor, to live after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.Based on the design by army engineer Lt. Alexander Fraser, the British constructed a new city on a grid plan on delta land, bounded to the east by the Pazundaung Creek and to the south and west by the Yangon River. Yangon became the capital of all British Burma after the British had captured Upper Burma in the Third Anglo-Burmese War of 1885. By the 1890s Yangon’s increasing population and commerce gave birth to prosperous residential suburbs to the north of Royal Lake (Kandawgyi) and Inya Lake. The British also established hospitals including Rangoon General Hospital and colleges including Rangoon University.

Yangon9

Colonial Yangon, with its spacious parks and lakes and mix of modern buildings and traditional wooden architecture, was known as “the garden city of the East.” By the early 20th century, Yangon had public services and infrastructure on par with London.

Before World War II, about 55% of Yangon’s population of 500,000 was Indian or South Asian, and only about a third was Bamar (Burman). Karens, the Chinese, the Anglo-Burmese and others made up the rest.

yabgon6

After World War I, Yangon became the epicentre of Burmese independence movement, with leftist Rangoon University students leading the way. Three nationwide strikes against the British Empire in 1920, 1936 and 1938 all began in Yangon. Yangon was under Japanese occupation (1942–45), and incurred heavy damage during World War II. The city was retaken by the Allies in May 1945.

Yangon became the capital of Union of Burma on 4 January 1948 when the country regained independence from the British Empire.

yangon2

Yangon has a tropical monsoon climate under the #Köppen climate classification system. The city features a lengthy rainy season from May through October where a substantial amount of rainfall is received; and a dry season from November through April, where little rainfall is seen. It is primarily due to the heavy precipitation received during the rainy season that Yangon falls under the tropical monsoon climate category. During the course of the year, average temperatures show little variance, with average highs ranging from 29 to 36 °C (84 to 97 °F) and average lows ranging from 18 to 25 °C (64 to 77 °F).

Myanmar

Downtown Yangon is known for its leafy avenues and fin-de-siècle architecture. The former British colonial capital has the highest number of colonial period buildings in Southeast Asia. Downtown Yangon is still mainly made up of decaying colonial buildings. The former High Court, the formerSecretariat buildings, the former St. Paul’s English High School and the Strand Hotel are excellent examples of the bygone era. Most downtown buildings from this era are four-story mix-use (residential and commercial) buildings with 14-foot (4.3 m) ceilings, allowing for the construction ofmezzanines. Despite their less-than-perfect conditions, the buildings remain highly sought after and most expensive in the city’s property market.

yangon4

In 1996, the Yangon City Development Committee created a Yangon City Heritage List of old buildings and structures in the city that cannot be modified or torn down without approval. In 2012, the city of Yangon imposed a 50-year moratorium on demolition of buildings older than 50 years. TheYangon Heritage Trust, an NGO started by Thant Myint-U, aims to create heritage areas in Downtown, and attract investors to renovate buildings for commercial use.

yangon5

A latter day hallmark of #Yangon is the eight-story apartment building. (In Yangon parlance, a building with no elevators (lifts) is called an apartment building and one with elevators is called a condominium. Condos which have to invest in a local power generator to ensure 24-hour electricity for the elevators are beyond the reach of most Yangonites.) Found throughout the city in various forms, eight-story apartment buildings provide relatively inexpensive housing for many Yangonites. The apartments are usually eight stories high (including the ground floor) mainly because city regulations, until February 2008, required that all buildings higher than 75 feet (23 m) or eight stories install elevators). The current code calls for elevators in buildings higher than 62 feet (19 m) or six stories, likely ushering in the era of the six-story apartment building. Although most apartment buildings were built only within the last 20 years, they look much older and rundown due to shoddy construction and lack of proper maintenance.

Yangon7

Unlike other major Asian cities, Yangon does not have any skyscrapers. Aside from a few high-rise hotels and office towers downtown, most high-rise buildings (usually 10 stories and up) are “condos” scattered across prosperous neighborhoods north of downtown such as Bahan, Dagon, Kamayut andMayangon. The tallest building in Yangon, Pyay Gardens, is a 25-story condo in the city’s north.

yangon8

Older satellite towns such as Thaketa, North Okkalapa and South Okkalapa are lined mostly with one to two story detached houses with access to the city’s electricity grid. Newer satellite towns such as North Dagon and South Dagon are still essentially slums in a grid layout. The satellite towns—old or new—receive little or no municipal services.

 


Leave a comment

Singapore

Singapore is a sovereign city-state and island country in Southeast Asia. It lies off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula and is 137 kilometres  north of the equator. Made up of the lozenge-shaped main island  and over 60 much smaller islets, it is separated from Peninsular Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south. The country is highly urbanised, with very little primary rainforest remaining. Its territory has consistently expanded through land reclamation.

Singapore

Part of various local empires since being settled in the second century AD, modern Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles as a trading post of the East India Company with the permission of the Johor Sultanate. The British obtained sovereignty over the island in 1824, and Singapore became one of the British Straits Settlements in 1826. Occupied by the Japanese during World War II, Singapore declared independence from the United Kingdom in 1963 and united with other former British territories to form Malaysia, from which it departed two years later. Since then, it has developed rapidly, earning recognition as one of Four Asian Tigers.

Singapore1

Singapore is one of the world’s leading commercial hubs, with the fourth-biggest financial centre and one of the five busiest ports. Its globalised and diversified economy depends heavily on trade, especially in manufacturing, which constituted 26 percent of Singapore’s GDP in 2005. In terms of purchasing power parity, Singapore has the third-highest per capita income in the world. It ranks high in international rankings of education, healthcare, government transparency, and economic competitiveness.

Singapore4

The first records of Singapore date back to the second and third centuries where a vague reference to its location was found in Greek and Chinese texts, under the names of Sabana and Pu Luo Chung respectively.

singapore5

According to legend, Srivijayan prince Sang Nila Utama landed on the island and, catching sight of a strange creature that he thought was a lion, decided to found a new city he called Singapura, Sanskrit for Lion City, c. 1299. Alas, there have never been any lions anywhere near Singapore (until the Singapore Zoo opened) or elsewhere on Malaya in historical times, so the mysterious beast was more probably a tiger or wild boar.

Singapore7

More historical records indicate that the island was settled at least two centuries earlier and was known as Temasek, Javanese for “Sea Town”, and an important port for the Sumatran Srivijaya kingdom. However, Srivijaya fell around 1400 and Temasek, battered by the feuding kingdoms of Siam and the Javanese Majapahit, fell into obscurity.

singapore8

As Singapura, it then briefly regained importance as a trading centre for the Melaka Sultanate and later, the Johor Sultanate. However, Portuguese raiders then destroyed the settlement and Singapura faded into obscurity once more.

Singapore9

The story of Singapore as we know it today began in 1819, when Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles made a deal with a claimant to the throne of the Sultanate of Johor: the British would support his claim in exchange for the right to set up a trading post on the island.

Singapore3

Though the Dutch initially protested, the signing of the Anglo-Dutch treaty in 1824, which separated the Malay world into British and Dutch spheres of influence (resulting in the current Malaysia-Indonesia and Singapore-Indonesia borders), ended the conflict. The Dutch renounced their claim to Singapore and ceded their colony in Malaccato the British, in exchange for the British ceding their colonies on Sumatra to the Dutch.

Singapore2

As Singapore is located a mere 1.5 degrees north of the Equator, its weather is usually sunny with no distinct seasons. Rain falls almost daily throughout the year, usually in sudden, heavy showers that rarely last longer than an hour. However, most rainfall occurs during the north east monsoon (November to January), occasionally featuring lengthy spells of continuous rain. Spectacular thunderstorms can occur throughout the year, any time during the day, so it’s wise to carry an umbrella at all times, both as a shade from the sun or cover from the rain.

 

Between May and October, forest fires in neighbouring Sumatra can also cause dense haze, although this is unpredictable and comes and goes rapidly: check the National Environment Agency’s site for current data.

The temperature averages around:

32°C (86°F) daytime, 24°C (75°F) at night in December and January

33°C (92°F) daytime, 26°C (81°F) at night for the rest of the year.

The high temperature and humidity, combined with the lack of wind and the fact that temperatures stay high during the night, can take its toll on visitors from colder parts of the world. Bear in mind that spending more than about one hour outdoors can be very exhausting, especially if combined with moderate exercise. Singaporeans themselves shun the heat, and for a good reason. Many live in air-conditioned flats, work in air-conditioned offices, take the air-conditioned metro to air-conditioned shopping malls connected to each other by underground tunnels where they shop, eat, and exercise in air-conditioned fitness clubs. Follow their example if you want to avoid discomfort in the searing heat and humidity of Singapore.


Leave a comment

Thailand

Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand  is a country in Southeast Asia with coasts on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. It borders Myanmar (Burma) to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Cambodia to the southeast and Malaysia to the south.

thailand 3

With great food, a tropical climate, fascinating culture, majestic mountains and great beaches, Thailand is a magnet for travelers the world over.

thailand 2

Thailand is the country in Southeast Asia most visited by tourists, and for good reason. You can find almost anything here: thick jungle as green as can be, crystal blue waters that feel more like a warm bath than a swim in the ocean, and food that can curl your nose hairs while tap dancing across your taste buds.

thailand

Exotic, yet safe; cheap, yet equipped with every modern amenity you need, there is something for every interest and every price bracket, from beach front backpacker bungalows to some of the best luxury hotels in the world. And despite the heavy flow of tourism,

thailand 4

Thailand retains its quintessential Thai-ness, with a culture and history all its own and a carefree people famed for their smiles and their fun-seeking sanuk lifestyle. Many travellers come to Thailand and extend their stay well beyond their original plans and others never find a reason to leave. Whatever your cup of tea, they know how to make it in Thailand.

View to Koh Tapu, so-called James Bond Island, The Man with the Golden Gun, Ko Khao Phing Kan, Phang-Nga Bay, Ao Phang Nga Natio

This is not to say that Thailand doesn’t have its downsides, including the considerable growing pains of an economy where an agricultural laborer is lucky to earn 100 baht per day while thenouveau riche cruise past in their BMWs.

thailand 5


Leave a comment

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China. It is a place with multiple personalities, as a result of being both Cantonese Chinese and under a more recent contemporary ex-British influence. Today, the former British colony is a major tourism destination for China’s increasingly affluent mainland population. It is also an important hub in East Asia with global connections to many of the world’s cities. It is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences from places as diverse as Vietnam and Vancouver and proudly proclaims itself to be Asia’s World City.

Hong_Kong1

You can find Hong Kong on the southwestern coast of China at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta. So vibrant with life, there’s so much this city could offer, like its extraordinary blend of Eastern and Western cultures. The Central is Hong Kong’s popular financial hub. Here, spectacular skyscrapers hold the city’s high-end shopping districts, fine-dining restaurants, and world-class luxury hotels. Don’t worry if you are traveling on a student budget, though, because Hong Kong City’s streets and lane ways are filled with wet markets and traditional Chinese restaurants that cater mostly to the budget-wise travelers. There are a good number of historic sights and museums to visit in Kowloon; lush gardens and parks at the New Territories, countless shopping malls to indulge in mostly at the Central, Admiralty, and Wan Chai districts, and entertainment centers in these areas as well. Several reasonably priced hotels can easily be found at the Central or in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island––and getting around the city won’t be a problem since Hong Kong has a very efficient transportation system. Hong Kong has a mild climate mid-September to February, warm and humid come May, and rainy in August. But regardless of the climate, Hong Kong is an absolute year-round travel destination where students can easily avail of cheap flights and affordable accommodations anytime!

Climate

Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate, but is cooled in winter by sea breezes. Summer (June to September) is long, humid and hot with temperatures often exceeding 32°C (90°F) and with night time temperatures that do not drop below 25°C (77°F). Typhoons usually occur between June and September and can bring a halt to local business activities for a day or less (see natural disaster section).

Winters are generally very mild, with daytime temperatures of 18-22°C (64–72°F) but with nights dipping into 10°C (50°F) and below sometimes, especially in the countryside. Christmas in Hong Kong is considered warm compared with many other Northern Hemisphere countries. Chinese New Year is notorious for cold (10°C/50°F), wet weather; this is because winter in Hong Kong tends to start out mild and dry and then turn a bit cool and wet later, though the cool weather is brief.

Spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November/December) have average temperature between 21-24°C (70-5°F). Autumn is probably a more comfortable season as spring tends to be more humid and rainy.

Things to Do in Hong Kong

There are so many things to do and sites to visit in Hong Kong, but you may want to start out by sampling some of the traditional cuisines, like dim sum. Hong Kong dim sum is considered a must-try experience, so go ahead and start your day with this delicious treat! After a satisfying meal, take a ride up Victoria peak to experience a breathtaking view of the city. If you want to take a closer look at Hong Kong’s majestic modern and historical architectural structures, you can join an architectural tour or visit the Taoist Temples. You could also take a trip to Lantau Island and see the largest Buddhist monastery in all of Hong Kong, or delight yourself at Stanley Market, where shops and stalls fill the streets with their inexpensive merchandise. After a long adventure-filled day, dine at the Aberdeen Harbor’s floating restaurants while enjoying the magnificent views of Hong Kong’s evening skyline!

Travel Tips for Hong Kong

  • Electronic fare cards are commonly used in Hong Kong for public transportation.
  • Aside from Cantonese, Mandarin, and other Chinese dialects, the English language is widely spoken in Hong Kong.
  • You only need a passport to get to Hong Kong. No Visa is required unless you want to extend your visit over the given visa-free period (length of period varies with country of origin).

Shopping in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, shopping is considered by many as a way of life, which is why this city has myriads of malls that can surprise even the most extravagant of shoppers. From expensive designer items to the inexpensive bargains, you will all find it here in this extremely dynamic city! Take a walk down Tsim Tsa Tsui’s Golden Mile or visit Causeway Bay and you will find many department stores, small boutiques and stalls that are wallet-friendly. However, if you fancy a splurge, make your way to the Admirality and Wan Chai areas where you will find a good number of exclusive brand name stores like Armani, Prada, and Dior. You will surely have a great time shopping in Hong Kong, so book your student flight now for an experience you will never forget!

Hong_Kong3

Most Popular Shopping Malls

  1. IFC Mall  – Located near the Star Ferry and Outlying Islands Ferry Piers in Central. Has many luxury brand shops, an expensive cinema and superb views across the harbour from the rooftop. Can be reached directly from the Airport via the Airport Express and the Tung Chung line.
  2. Pacific Place – Also a big shopping centre with mainly high-end brands, and has a wonderful cinema. Take the MTR to Admiralty.
  3. Festival Walk – A big shopping centre with a mix of expensive brands and smaller chains. There is also an ice skating rink there. Take the MTR East Rail to Kowloon Tong.
  4. Cityplaza – A similarly large shopping centre, also with an ice-skating rink. To get there, take the MTR to Taikoo on the Island Line.
  5. Landmark– Many the luxury brands have shops here Gucci, Dior, Fendi, Vuitton, etc. located at Central, Pedder Street. It used to be a magnet for the well-heeled but has since fallen behind in its management.
  6. APM – All new 24hr Shopping centre in Kwun Tong. Take the MTR to the Kwun Tong station.
  7. Harbour City [Huge Shopping centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on Canton Road, to get there take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui, or take the Star Ferry.
  8. Langham Place – A huge 12 storey shopping mall adjacent to the the Langham Place Hotel in Mong Kok. Mainly contains trendy shops for youngsters. Take the MTR to the Mong Kong station and follow the appropriate exit directions.
  9. Elements – Located next to Kowloon Station. Just like the IFC Mall, there are many luxury brand shops, a cinema and an ice rink. The International Commerce Centre, the highest commercial building in Hong Kong starting from 2009, is right on top of this shopping mall.
  10. Times Square – A trendy multi storey Shopping Mall with some luxury brands, with food courts at the lower levels, and Gourmet Dining at the upper stories. Take MTR to Causeway Bay, and exit at “Times Square”. Crowded on weekends. A popular meeting point for teenagers.
  11. Citygate Outlet – Located right next to Tung Chung MTR Station, the Citygate is a rare outlet mall with tonnes of mid-priced brands, some of them being Adidas, Esprit, Giordano, Levi’s, Nike, Quiksilver and Timberland.
  12. Laforet, Island Beverly and Causeway Place. Best places to find cheap stylish clothes, Asian style. Mostly girls clothes, but also bags, shoes and accessories, highly recommended if you are looking for something different. Immensely popular with teenagers. These three shopping malls are all located near exit E, Causeway Bay MTR station.
  13. New Town Plaza, a 9 storey shopping mall covering 1,300,000 m² retail area in Shatin, New Territories. Diverse variety of shops, consisting of sports brands, luxury brand shops, cuisines from countries in different continents, sports, etc. can be found in the mall, which is estimated to be one of the malls with highest footfall. The mall is linked with a number of shopping centres nearby, including Phase 3 of New Town Plaza with a Japanese style Department store, YATA. 30 bus lanes are available for accessing the shopping mall. Taking the MTR East Rail to Shatin is another possible way.

Nightlife in Hong Kong

You’ll have fun clubbing at Hong Kong Island’s Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo’s upmarket drinking spots, where bistros, jazz clubs, and fantastic restaurants come alive when the sun begins to set. If you are looking for stylish night clubs to go to for a late-night party, then Wan Chai is the place to be. But if you want entertainment without spending too much, visit Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, where bars, restaurants, cinemas, and shopping centers are abuzz until after midnight!

Hong_Kong4

Dining in Hong Kong

A visit to Hong Kong is never complete without having tasted their world-famous authentic Chinese cuisines. That is why most luxury hotels and fine-dining restaurants compete with each other, just for the glory. Though you’ll be traveling on a student budget, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy what these fine restaurants have to offer– there are still so many places around the city, especially in the Wan Chai and SoHo areas, that serve exceptionally delicious dim sums and other Chinese delicacies. If Chinese food is really not your thing, you can also find reasonably priced cafes and bistros that serve American and European dishes.

Museums

There are a variety of museums in Hong Kong with different themes, arguably the best museum is the Hong Kong Museum of History in Kowloon, which gives an excellent overview of Hong Kong’s fascinating past. Not the typical pots-behind-glass format of museums you find elsewhere in China. Innovative galleries such as a mock-up of a colonial era street make history come to life. Allow about two hours to view everything in detail.

Kowloon also includes a number of other interesting museums including Dialogue in the Dark, which is an exhibition in complete darkness where you should use your non-visual senses with the help of a visually impaired guide, the International Hobby and Toy Museum, which exhibits models, toys, science fiction collectibles, movie memorabilia and pop-culture artifacts from around the world, Hong Kong Museum of Art, which is a fascinating, strange and elusive place exhibiting Chinese ceramics, terracotta, rhinoceros horn and Chinese paintings as well as contemporary art produced by Hong Kong artists, Hong Kong Science Museum, primarily aimed at children, and Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre.

Central also has its share of museums including Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences, which shows how the healthcare system evolved from traditional Chinese medicine to modern Western medicine, and Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre.

New Territories has the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, which will appeal to those who have a serious interest in Chinese culture, and the Hong Kong Railway Museum.

Theme parks

themepark

  • Hong Kong Disneyland Resort opened in September, 2005. It is on Lantau Island, about 12km east of Hong Kong International Airport. The resort also features a Disneyland park, two resort hotels and a lake recreation centre. Though significantly smaller in size than other Disneyland-style parks elsewhere, the park has undergone an expansion to offer more attractions (including the recent-opened Toy Story Land and Grizzly Gulch). It offers some great attractions and short queues most of the year (except the week of Chinese New Year, Easter, Halloween and Christmas season).
  • Ocean Park is on the southern side of Hong Kong island, and is the park that grew up with many local Hong Kong people. With roller coasters and large aquariums altogether, it is still packed on weekends with families and tourists. The cablecar is an icon, though for those who are scared, there is now a funicular railway underneath the mountain that emulates a submarine dive. For many, the chance to see Hong Kong’s pandas would be a deciding factor. Young adults will be attracted to the wider range (and more adrenalin-pumping nature) of rides.
  • Ngong Ping 360 on Lantau Island is a Buddhist themed park that features Imperial Chinese architecture, interactive shows, demonstrations, restaurants and coffee shops. The highlight of this trip is the longest cable car ride in Hong Kong that affords stunning views. The ride also takes you to the largest outdoor seated Buddha. For details how to get there see also

Beaches

You are never far from the sea in Hong Kong and going to a good beach is only a bus-ride away. However, if you want a really good beach, then it is worth making the effort to travel, possibly on foot, and seek out the beaches of the New Territories. With more than 200 outlying islands, as well as an extensive coastline that is jam-packed with impressive bays and beaches, you will surely come across some good looking beaches to while the whole day away. Hong Kong’s urban beaches are usually well maintained and have services such as showers and changing rooms. Where beaches are managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Dept. shark nets and life guards are present. Dogs and smoking are not permitted on these beaches.

Hong_Kong2

The best beaches to use include:

Repulse Bay is a large urban beach on the south side of Hong Kong island. It has recently had money spent on its facilities and will appeal to those who have young children.

Middle Bay is popular with gay people and is a 20 minute walk from the crowds at Repulse Bay. Middle Bay has lifeguards, showers, changing rooms, shark nets and a decent cafe serving drinks and snacks.

Shek O is a beach popular with many young Hong Kong people. It is away from the bustle of the city but is well served by restaurants and has a good bus service from the north side of the island. The Thai restaurant close to the beach is worth a try.

Big Wave Bay This beach is smaller than others on Hong Kong Island but still has good services which include a number of small cafes close to the beach. Big Wave Bay, as the name suggests, has the sort of waves that appeal to surfers. From Big Wave Bay it is possible to take the coastal footpath to Chai Wan where you can find the MTR and buses. The walk to Chai Wan is about one hour, or more if you are not used to the steep climb up the mountain.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach is highly regarded as the most popular beach and is located on Lamma Island. This beach is Grade 1 and shows off powdery, fine sand as well as clear water. This beach is well-appointed by means of changing facilities, a barbecue area, and a refreshment kiosk. To arrive at this beach, take the ferryboat from Central Pier to Yung Shue Wan. Expect to walk around 20 minutes from the ferry terminal to the beach (buses and taxis are not an option on Lamma).

Sailing

You can rent out a Junk Boat for a sailing trip with your family and friends. A typical junk boat can accommodate more than 30 people and can be rented for the day to take you on a tour of your choice. Sai Kung is a popular spot for the trip to start and you can sail to nearby beaches for a more secluded time. A cheaper alternative is to hire a much smaller water taxi (水道) to take you to where you want to go

Hiking and Camping

Ham Tin beach is a great destination for campers in the Sai Kung East Country Park

Hiking is the best kept secret in Hong Kong, it is a great way to appreciate Hong Kong’s beautiful landscapes that include mountains, beaches and breathtaking cityscapes. The starting points for many hiking trails are accessible by bus or taxi. Hiking is highly recommended for active travellers who want to escape the modern urban world.

Hiking in Hong Kong can be strenuous because of the steep trails, and during the summer months, mosquitos and the hot, humid, weather combine to make even the easiest trek a workout. It is highly recommended that you wear suitable clothes, and bring plenty of water and mosquito repellent. It is fairly unlikely that you will have a close encounter with venomous snakes, although they are present in most rural areas. Most local people choose the winter months to undertake the more demanding hiking trails. If you are not especially fit you might plan your route so that you take a bus or taxi to the highest point of the trail and then walk downhill.

Campsites in Hong Kong are plentiful and free of charge. Most are located within the country parks and range from basic sites serviced with only with a drop-toilet, to those that provide campers with modern toilet blocks with cold showers. Some sites have running water and sinks for washing dishes. A few campsites have places to buy drinking water and food, whilst many are serenely remote. Weekends and public holidays are predictably busy, especially in the more accessible places close to roads. Many Hong Kong people like to camp in large groups, talk loudly and stay awake until very late, so if you are noise sensitive try to find a remote campsite or learn to keep your temper.

There are four major trails in the Hong Kong SAR:

  • Lantau Trail on Lantau.
  • Hong Kong Trail on Hong Kong Island.
  • Maclehose Trail through the New Territories. Oxfam organizes an annual charity hike of this 100Km trail every November. Winning teams finish in around 11-12 hours but average people take 30-36 hours to finish the whole trail, which starts from the eastern end of the New Territories (Sai Kung) to the western end (Tuen Mun).
  • Wilson Trail starting on Hong Kong Island and finishing in the New Territories.

Hong Kong has some exceptional rural landscapes but visitor impact is an issue. Please respect the countryside by taking your litter home with you. Avoid using litter bins in remote areas as these are not emptied on a regular basis and your litter may be strewn around by hungry animals.

Hong Kong Outdoors and Journey to Hong Kong are packed with information on hiking and camping, and other great things to do and places to go in the wilderness areas of Hong Kong.


Leave a comment

Asia

Asia is the world’s largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth’s total surface area and comprises 30% of its land area. With approximately 4.3 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world’s current human population. Asia has a high growth rate in the modern era. For instance, during the 20th century, Asia’s population nearly quadrupled.

Asia

The boundaries of Asia are culturally determined, as there is no clear geographical separation between it and Europe, which together form one continuous landmass called Eurasia. The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal, the Ural River, and the Ural Mountains, and south of the Caucasus Mountains (or the Kuma–Manych Depression) and the Caspian and Black Seas. It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean and on the north by the Arctic Ocean.

Given its size and diversity, the concept of Asia – a name dating back to classical antiquity – may actually have more to do with human geography than physical geography. Asia varies greatly across and within its regions with regard to ethnic groups, cultures, environments, economics, historical ties and government systems.

Geography and climate.

Asia is the largest continent on Earth. It covers 8.8% of the Earth’s total surface area (or 30% of its land area), and has the largest coastline, at 62,800 kilometres (39,022 mi). Asia is generally defined as comprising the eastern four-fifths of Eurasia. It is located to the east of the Suez Canal and the Ural Mountains, and south of the Caucasus Mountains (or the Kuma–Manych Depression) and the Caspian and Black Seas. It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. Asia is subdivided into 48 countries, two of them (Russiaand Turkey) having part of their land in Europe.

Climate

Asia has extremely diverse climates and geographic features. Climates range from arctic and subarctic in Siberia to tropical in southern India and Southeast Asia. It is moist across southeast sections, and dry across much of the interior. Some of the largest daily temperature ranges on Earth occur in western sections of Asia. The monsoon circulation dominates across southern and eastern sections, due to the presence of the Himalayas forcing the formation of a thermal low which draws in moisture during the summer. Southwestern sections of the continent are hot. Siberia is one of the coldest places in the Northern Hemisphere, and can act as a source of arctic air masses for North America. The most active place on Earth for tropical cyclone activity lies northeast of the Philippines and south of Japan.

Climate 1

The Gobi Desert is in Mongolia and the Arabian Desert stretches across much of the Middle East. The Yangtze River in China is the longest river in the continent. The Himalayas between Nepal and China is the tallest mountain range in the world. Tropical rainforests stretch across much of southern Asia and coniferous and deciduous forests lie farther north.

Climate change

A survey carried out in 2010 by global risk analysis firm Maplecroft identified 16 countries that are extremely vulnerable to climate change. Each nation’s vulnerability was calculated using 42 socio, economic and environmental indicators, which identified the likely climate change impacts during the next 30 years. The Asian countries of Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistanand Sri Lanka were among the 16 countries facing extreme risk from climate change.

Climate 2

Some shifts are already occurring. For example, in tropical parts of India with a semi-arid climate, the temperature increased by 0.4°C between 1901 and 2003. A 2013 study by ICRISAT aimed to find science-based, pro-poor approaches and techniques that would enable Asia’s agricultural systems to cope with climate change, while benefitting poor and vulnerable farmers. The study’s recommendations ranged from improving the use of climate information in local planning and strengthening weather-based agro-advisory services, to stimulating diversification of rural household incomes and providing incentives to farmers to adopt natural resource conservation measures to enhance forest cover, replenish groundwater and use renewable energy.

Demographics

East Asia had by far the strongest overall Human Development Index (HDI) improvement of any region in the world, nearly doubling average HDI attainment over the past 40 years, according to the report’s analysis of health, education and income data. China, the second highest achiever in the world in terms of HDI improvement since 1970, is the only country on the “Top 10 Movers” list due to income rather than health or education achievements. Its per capita income increased a stunning 21-fold over the last four decades, also lifting hundreds of millions out of income poverty. Yet it was not among the region’s top performers in improving school enrolment and life expectancy.

demographic

Nepal, a South Asian country, emerges as one of the world’s fastest movers since 1970 mainly due to health and education achievements. Its presentlife expectancy is 25 years longer than in the 1970s. More than four of every five children of school age in Nepal now attend primary school, compared to just one in five 40 years ago.
Japan and South Korea ranked highest among the countries grouped on the HDI (number 11 and 12 in the world, which are in the “very high human development” category), followed by Hong Kong (21) and Singapore (27). Afghanistan (155) ranked lowest amongst Asian countries out of the 169 countries assessed.


Leave a comment

The Himalayas

 

The Himalayas, are a mountain range in Asia separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The Himalayan range is home to the planet’s highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest. The Himalayas include over a hundred mountains exceeding 7,200 metres (23,600 ft) in elevation. By contrast, the highest peak outside Asia – Aconcagua, in the Andes – is 6,961 metres (22,838 ft) tall.[2] The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of South Asia. Many Himalayan peaks are sacred in both Buddhism and Hinduism.

Prepare for the Himalayas
If you are not planning to do any trekking, then you will not need any special equipment, or even warm clothing as you will be able to pick up good warm clothing on entry to the region. If you do need warm clothes, don’t miss the second-hand markets selling attire from wealthy nations.
If you are trekking, the equipment you will need depends on your destination, in most of Nepal you will need nothing more than a sleeping bag and a pair of boots; the Indian Himalaya offer a large number of routes that are possible to trek independently if you have a tent, stove, and all the equipment needed for unsupported trekking.
Flora and fauna
The diversity of wildlife in the himalayas is huge. In the lower ranges, tigers, leopards, and the one horned rhinocerous can be found while the higher altitudes support a smaller but more unique group of animals. These include the snow leopard, Markhor goat, argali, and red panda. Also the dog “tibetan mastiff” is popular for the Himalayas.
Must to see
Most sights relate to the mountains themselves, and to religious structures, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist. Many of the most popular destinations are sights in themselves.
Must to do
Trekking is the most popular activity, with a wide selection of possibilities, from deserts to jungles. It’s also popular to study Yoga or Meditation. White Water Rafting is popular in many places.