Pingyao – Explore “The Turtle City” & House of 1,000 Wang’s

Once the financial center of China during the Qing Dynasty and honored as a UNESCO World Heritage

Site in 1997, the ancient city of Pingyao, located in Shanxi province is a throw back to another century, actually many centuries.

Surrounded by a four mile, 6,000 km perimeter wall almost 12 meters high, meandering through the city can be a Disneyesque experience. Narrow alleys appear to crisscross the city, which consists of of 70 interconnected streets along four main thoroughfares. The main roads, led by Ming-Qing street are lined with shopkeepers and craftsman appearing to practice their trade. Although I suspect most of the goods are mass produced elsewhere, the effect works. As does the traditional architecture, cobble stone streets and smells of authentic Shanxi cooking. Hostels, quaint hotels and guesthouses are found throughout the main roads along with a number of traditional restaurants and noodle shops. Automobiles are off limits inside the city walls, so walking is the way to go, although bikes and carts can be rented for the weary traveler. Be sure to climb and check out Pingyao’s Cit tower, especially at night for an impressive view. Continue reading “Pingyao – Explore “The Turtle City” & House of 1,000 Wang’s”

Dalian – The Hong Kong of Northeast China with a hint of the Riviera

Conveniently located near the southern end of Liaoning Province, only an hours

flight between Beijing and Seoul and slightly longer from Shanghai and Tokyo, Dalian is a well positioned up and coming tier two city in Northeast China.

As a leading port city and the financial center of North East China, Dalian is trying to live up to it’s nickname of the “Hong Kong of the North” and “the Romantic City”.     Known internationally for it’s seafood and as a summer tourist destination, Dalian has a lot to offer the influx of visitors from Japan, Korea, Russia and all over Europe.  Located between the Yellow Sea to the east and the Bohai Sea to the West, Dalian’s long expansive beaches in Jinshitan (a.k.a. Golden Pebble beach) as well as numerous smaller beaches scattered among the picturesque coastline, have a lot to offer the adventuresome traveler.  Numerous golf courses, amusement parks, zoos, hiking trails and inner city parks provide an abundance of outdoor recreational options. Continue reading “Dalian – The Hong Kong of Northeast China with a hint of the Riviera”

Sanya “The Hawaii of China”…not quite

During a frightfully cold January Dongbei winter and feeling the need for frolicking

in the sun and surf, I fell for the hype and found myself heading to the south of China and the resort town of Sanya,  a.k.a. theHawaii of China”.

Located on the Southern tip of Hainan province,  Sanya does share the same parallel as Hawaii, has palm trees and features warm tropical weather year round.   However, having visited Hawaii on several occasions including 5 of 7 main islands, I can say that’s where the comparison stops.

A destination for China’s emerging tourist class and frost-bitten Russians  migrating south for the winter, Sanya definitely has a beach scene, but it won’t be confused for South Beach or Waikiki.

Older mid-tier resorts, catering to budget conscious domestic tourists and aforementioned Russian clientele, can be found along Sanya Bay Beach lining the Sanya Harbor waterfront.  Newer and certainly upscale international 5 Star resorts with several golf options can be found 25 km away along Yalong Bay. Continue reading “Sanya “The Hawaii of China”…not quite”

Ways To Take The Hassle Out Of Your Next Trip

There’s a saying that when you go on vacation, getting there is half the fun. Well,

it can be, but modern travel can also be exhausting and frustrating – after you have been standing in a queue at the airport for an hour, you’re no longer in a holiday mood. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to make travel much easier, provided that you plan ahead.

English: The waiting area at London Heathrow a...
The waiting area at London Heathrow airport’s terminal 3.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s talk about that airport queue. Waiting in line at the check-in desk is not only frustrating, it’s also completely avoidable. Most airlines let you check in on the web before you leave for the airport – you can often do this starting 24 hours before your flight leaves. All you have to do is log in with your ticket number, answer a few simple questions and then print out your boarding pass. In fact, some airlines let you download your boarding pass to your smartphone, so you don’t even have to worry about losing the piece of paper. Once you get to the airport, just drop your bags at the curbside baggage check, and then go straight to security with your boarding pass. Continue reading “Ways To Take The Hassle Out Of Your Next Trip”