Marco Island has been referred to as the Gateway to the Everglades and Florida’s 10,000 Islands. This tropical paradise has a climate that offers balmy breezes and sunny skies, with waters generally pleasant year-round.
Tucked away at the bottom of the Australian Continent between the natural bay of Port Phillip and the Great Dividing Range is the city of Melbourne.
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.
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.
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. the “Hawaii 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.
In spite of its rather infamous beginnings as a British Penal Colony, Sydney has grown into an international force to be reckoned with. With 4.6 million inhabitants Sydney is the largest city (population wise) in all of Australia and has a reputation for being the country’s cultural heart and soul.
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.
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.
Tucked on the lower western coast of Australia is the city of Perth. The fourth most populous city in Australia, Perth is located on the Swan Coastal Plain between the Darling Scarp (some low mountains) and the ocean. The Swan River runs right through the heart of the city.