Jun 3, 2012

Fenghuang of Hunan Province – an Escape from Modernity

Possibly one of the most beautiful cities in China, Fenghuang of Hunan Province features all the ancient charm of traditional Chinese architecture, a rich history and culture, all staged along either side of a beautiful river with lush green mountains as a backdrop. Hunan fenghuang is otherworldly compared to China’s booming mega-cities.

Fenghuang, often referred to as Phoenix town, dates back to 1203AD and later in 1715 the city was revamped via a makeover in stone with stone paths, buildings and a 2km stone wall that surrounded the city. Inside the 1.8km sq area with the Tao River at its center there is 300 traditional homes, 20 streets, 10 lanes, temples, wells, stone bridges all completely preserved.

It is now a popular tourist destination but remarkably,known as the fenghuang ancient city,it has managed to keep all its charm. In amongst all the visitors crawling over everything and snapping shots along the river, there’s still people living there everyday lives in the same way as their ancestors, the Miao minority. The traditional cultures of the Miao are alive and well, perhaps thanks to tourism and that it’s a small community somewhat separated from China’s modern progression.

The first amazing fact about the old town is the welcome absence of commercialism. While there are plenty of shops inside the traditional buildings selling locally made products, you won’t find McDonalds, Starbucks or KFC or even the Chinese equivalents.

You can freely wander around the city and enjoy the magnificent views in your fenghuang travelbut some of the scenic attractions will ask for an entry fee, or you can buy a single ticket that gets you access to everything.  Just wandering around and taking in the peaceful existence of the locals going about their daily lives, the beautiful stone architecture and the houses on wooden stilts that line the river is a great way to easily fill a day or two.

For eating there’s plenty of stalls selling the local speciality, ginger candy plus there is plenty of restaurants selling local fare, usually spicy, there’s also a couple of eat streets lines with food stalls offering up barbecued meats and vegetables, noodles and more.

May 28, 2012

Hong kong Travel: Taking a Family Vacation with Your Kids

For many families, Hong Kong is one of the top destination when thinking about family vacation or even just shopping trip. With the easy access from various flights from many major cities, visiting Hong Kong is easy and convenient. Plus with first class hotels, efficient public transportation, wide range of activities and sleepless shopping areas, Hong Kong is a best vacation spots for families.

1.Hong Kong Disneyland
One of the most popular attractions for family is Hong Kong Disneyland. The park might not be the same scale but you would love to experience Disneyland in other locations. You would love to see how Disney creates magical memories for different cultures and couldn't wait to try Chinese food Disney style, surely your Hong Kong Disneyland trip will be excellent.

2.Ngong Ping 360
A fun way to enjoy breathtaking view of Hong Kong and Kowloon area from the bird’s eye view angle in the enclosed glass cable car. For thrill seeker, you can also opt for the glass bottom car to add to the experience. It will cost more but the wait will be shorter as well.

3.Peak Tram
Having a child who loves to ride any train and his eyes lighted up whenever he sees train, I knew that we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Victoria peak on the Peak Tram. Located at Central’s Garden Road St Joseph Building, it’s easily accessible from Central’s Star Ferry Pier, take bus 15C; or from Central’s Admiralty Station Exit B, Lippo Centre Bus Terminus and take bus 12S; or if you like to walk, you can exit Central’s MTR Station from Exit J2, walk along Garden Road which is in between The Bank of China building and The Cheung Kong Centre. The walk to the tram station only takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

4.Ding Ding Tram
As I move down the list of things to do in Hong Kong, I realized that it seems we have some obsession with transportation. I won’t deny it. We love to move around in the city using public transportation or anything that moves. So after reading about the Hong Kong tram or Ding Ding tram as local called it, I know I will have to add that to our to-do list. Riding local tram seems like a great way to experience Hong Kong in a more unique way and provide us a chance to explore into the area that most tourists won’t go. Plus with a low cost, it’s a win in our book.

5.Symphony of Lights @ Avenue of Stars
The Avenue of Stars is the equivalent of Hong Kong owned version of Hollywood boulevard where it honors celebrities of Hong Kong film industry. It’s located along the waterfront of the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui (on the Kowloon side). It’s also a perfect location to walk at night and catch the Symphony of Lights show. This synchronized light and laser multimedia show runs every day at 8PM for 10 minutes.

6.Victoria Harbor with Star Ferry Ride
A cheap but fun way to see Hong Kong in a more unique way is to take the Star Ferry ride across the Victoria Harbour. If we time it right, we might be able to catch the Symphony of Lights during the ride. I told you this trip will be all about every modes of transportation in Hong Kong. Another option is to ride on the Duk Ling – the authentic Chinese junk boat. The cost will be higher but for less than $15. I think it is worth the experience.

7.Lady Night Market
Our experience in Hong Kong will not be completed if we don’t visit at least one of many popular markets in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is the shopping capital in Asia. Many of my friends and families go there just to shop. So even if we don’t want to spend money buying toys or souvenir, it is still a great experience to walk along the bustling market at night.

So here is our short list of things we plan to do in Hong Kong with kids,may
it can be your Hong Kong travel guide.There are many other fun attractions and family-friendly things to do in Hong Kong that you might want to check out.