China is a large country at a size of 9,596,960 sq km. China was only partially open to the world from 1980 onwards and has been a communist country for many decades. Although there is much progress in the travel industry and infrastructure of China, there remain areas that need to be improved before it can match the level that most tourist would require.
However, much of the fun remain that it is different from the rest of the world. China will be the host nation for the Olympics in Year 2008. Travel facilities and infrastructure will be improving quickly as we approach Year 2008.
China is rich in culture and history. Visit the Great Wall of China in Beijing, sip Chinese tea in Xiamen, dance with ethnic tribes in Yunnan, check out 19th Century European buildings in Qingdao – there are just so much to do and see in China!
Below are some travel tips to make your travel in China easier:
China require entry visa from most countries. Apply at the Chinese consulate or through your travel agent before travelling to China.
Extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north. Be prepared with the right seasonal clothing.
The unit of currency is known as Renmembi(RMB) or Yuan. Get some Chinese Yuan in your local country before travelling. When in China, exchange foreign currency for local currency in the banks or at the hotel. Banks tend to give slightly better rates than hotels. Take note that some banks close for a noon siesta between 12-2pm.
Most better class hotels and shopping centres take Credit Card or Travellers cheques. Smaller hotels and shops take cash only. Once out of the bigger cities, credit card and ATM cards tend to be almost impossible to utilize. Cash is still king in Chinese business and trade.
Counterfeit notes are common in China. Check carefully before accepting change, especially if it consists mostly 100RMB notes. You can feel a texture difference where counterfeit notes is concerned.
Understanding of English
Most civil servants, custom officials, police, hotel staff and men in the street do not speak English or at best a smattering of English.
Most signboards and notices will carry both English and Chinese. However, be aware that some translations can be so notorious that one can hardly understand what was it’s original Chinese intention.
Do not expect hotels or shops to understand English. Only the very big hotels will have staff that will understand English.
Most young people can understand basic English if you speak slowly.
China is generally a safe country. However, hang on tight to your wallet especially in crowded, popular tourist sites in tourist cities such as Beijing and Xian.
These tourist cities also has a lot of touts in the streets touting tourist from currency exchange to jewelleries to female companionships. Avoid at all cost!
Bus, train, ferries and domestic flights are quite well developed. Avoid the crowd at the stations and book your tickets through the hotel tour desk or the nearest tour agent. Prices are likely to be competitive and tickets will be delivered to your hotel room. Again, avoid ticket touts who approach you in the streets.
Local buses are cheap (US$0.10 or YS$0.20) and you may want to try out. Taxis are convenient and are available at all hours. Starting fares differ from each city and may be as cheap as US$0.70 in Weihai and US$1.50 in Shenzhen.
Avoid travel in China during peak holiday seasons or book tickets well ahead.
There is a good choice of hotels in China ranging from one star to the most luxurious 6 stars. Most of the time, the rooms are safe and clean and in my opinion, cheap does not mean bad.
There are many websites selling China hotel rooms on the internet. You can also check out the travel counters which are available in most train, bus stations as well as airport.
Book ahead if travelling in peak seasons.
Peak Tourist Seasons
Chinese New Year: Date varies but generally late January or early February.
May Day: First two weeks of May
China National Day: Middle two weeks of October
Avoid travelling during these period. Book rooms and travel modes way early if need to travel. Believe me, the crowds during these period of time will be scary. What do you expect when the entire Chinese nation of 8 billion people are on holiday as well!
Local food is absolutely fabulous. Try as much Chinese food as your wallet or stomach can afford. Restaurants are available everywhere and open to late hours. Most restaurants will have a menu that include photographs of the various dishes. Better yet, simply point at the food that your next door table is having, especially if it looks delicious!
However, avoid street side stalls and drinking directly from the taps if you have delicate stomach.
Mobile phone coverage in China is good in most locations. Global auto-roaming within China is not a problem.
There are cyber-cafes everywhere in China, especially in tourist areas. Most are patronised by young people playing online games but you still can check your Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail. Access may be a bit slow for international websites.
You will need to show your passport as China has tight regulations at Internet Cyber Cafes.
One of the worst experience many has with China is the atrocious toilet facilities. Things has improved very much but it may still be a good idea to empty your stomach or bladder at every opportunity in a hotel, restaurant or departmental store. Public toilets and toilets in small shops can be a nose hazard!
* Useful China travel tips *
Try to get a English speaking tour guide at every opportunity you can. China has a rich and wonderful history and culture and without a guide, somehow, the flavour and significance of most tour sites can be lost.
*Sneaky tip: Hang around a group that has a English speaking guide if you cannot afford one!
Always ask for a receipt from a taxi driver so that you can complain if you have been cheated or for tracing purposes if you happen to leave your camera behind in the taxi.
Try to take the namecard for each hotel that you are staying at as these cards will have a Chinese address and the map of your hotel location. This is useful if you need to seek assistance to find your way back as the English version or pronunciation of a hotel or a street name may be quite different from the Chinese version.
With the holidays looming on the horizon, many travelers are looking for a change of pace and scenery. Now is as good a time as any to plan a vacation to Europe. In fact, those wanting to get away from it all will find a true gem in Madrid, Spain’s capital and largest city. With landmarks ranging from the Royal Palace of Madrid to the city’s National Library, and such revered museums as the National Archaeological Museum of Spain and Prado Museum, this place truly brims with history and culture. The city has gained prominence as a major hub for international commerce, making it an ideal place for the business-minded. Nightclubs, theaters, parks and galleries abound, offering something to fit pleasure seekers’ unique tastes as well.
A great way to reach the heart of the city is via Paseo de la Castellana, one of Madrid’s longest avenues. Various financial buildings and government offices lie along this tree-lined stretch, as does Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, which is slated to host the 2010 Union of Football Associations (UEFA) Champion Leagues Final. After a busy day of work or sightseeing, travelers can call it a night at the nearby Hotel Hesperia Emperatriz, which features rooms decorated in a classic style. Also gracing La Castellana is the posh Hesperia Madrid. Designed by Pascua Ortega, who’s also credited with designing the renowned Royal Theater, this 5-star retreat is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.
Madrid’s city center is heralded for its striking architecture, and travelers know a visit to Spain isn’t complete without taking pictures of the area’s awe-inspiring buildings. Even H10 Villa de la Reina, a 4-star property on Gran Via, sports 20th century architectural details. Hotel El Coloso is also easily accessible, offering a restaurant, social lounges and business area.
Head northeast and you’ll reach the district of Salamanca. One of Madrid’s wealthiest neighborhoods, it is yet another great place to immerse yourself in history, not to mention shop at fashionable stores and boutiques. Once travelers are ready to put the shopping bags down and unwind, they can stay at the modern Hotel Zenit Abeba. Further, Confortel Suites Madrid is also convenient to Salamanca and lies in close proximity to the M-30 motorway and Juan Carlos I Exhibition Center.
Whether you’re a history buff, avid shopper or simply in need of a refreshing alternative to the daily grind, there’s no question that Madrid rivals and is included among the world’s must-see destinations
Not very long ago travelling about 20 miles from where you lived was considered to be an amazing feat. Even if you could manage to find your way safely there and back and you could walk at about 3 miles per hour, it would obviously take you at least 7 hours non-stop each way. That is if there was a good track for you to follow.
Travelling across country would have been a much more difficult prospect. So a more realistic travelling speed might have been half of that. In which case, a journey of 20 miles could have been split into a 2 day journey of approximately 7 hours each day. Still a very exhausting journey for most people. More likely, the journey would have taken about 4 days, allowing for rest periods and stopping for refreshments and sleeping. A round trip of 8 days, just for travelling to a village 20 miles away and back.
You would have to have a very important reason to expend that much time and energy. And considering the Roman Armies of the past would march at roughly 3 miles per hour and they had good roads to travel on, this estimate for ordinary citizens, no matter how fit, is still probably too optimistic.
So it’s not surprising, therefore, that most people did not venture very far from where they lived. It’s not very likely that they considered journeys like this as ‘Travel and Leisure’!
What a contrast to today’s average traveller! Ten times the 20 miles mentioned above, i.e. 200 miles, can be achieved in around 3 hours by car and even less by train or plane! With far less energy expended by the traveller. Although, when watching people who have been sitting in a plane or train for hours getting off at the airport or station, you might be forgiven for thinking that they had been working really hard for the whole journey!
Today, travel is often for leisure, pure and simple. As we set off on holidays to parts of the world that didn’t even exist as far as our neighbours of the past were concerned, we are beset now by afflictions such as ‘jet lag’, which have taken over from the purely physical aspects of travelling. Having to spend perhaps 24 hours on a plane, drinking, eating, reading, talking or sleeping seems to be far more exhausting for today’s traveller than the ‘obviously’ far easier task of walking for 4 days through often unwelcoming terrain endured by our ancestors!
But now we can sit back in our own armchairs, in front of our own fire places, eating our very own toast and jam while we sip our cup of piping hot tea and take a virtual journey to many countries of the world. The wonders of science and in particular, photography, have made our journey to many parts of the world as easy as clicking a button to control our computer. While our great-grandparents could only dream of distant lands, we can stay in our own homes and visit those lands. When you think about what the eye sees and what it transmits to the brain, it’s only our other senses that tell us that we have not really been to the places we see in films, etc. But the images we see can stay with us as if we had actually been there.
Nowadays, it is easy to get trapped in the corporate world. We barely notice how getting a day job eats up most of our time only to be rewarded by so little income, or at least income that equates the amount of work that you do. What many of us do not understand is that there is a way for us to earn money in such a way that it will be the one that works for us, not the other way around. We can actually become our own bosses, and when we become such, we earn residual income.
What is residual income?
There are generally several types of income, first being the earned income. With earned income, the amount of work that you do equates to the amount of money that you earn-basically, it is a linear process. Then we have the portfolio income, where you sell an investment for a price higher than what you paid it for. Lastly, we have the residual or the passive income, where your assets earn the income for you. For example, buying a property and renting it out to tenants. Residual income is not just limited to physical properties. This could also be applied in intellectual property. Getting paid for the photos that you posted on the internet so that a commercial brand can use it is another example of a residual income.
What are ways on how you can earn residual income?
Needless to say, the best type of income is the residual income because it is basically letting the money roll in while you sit back and rest. In essence, it is like you are investing in something that people are willing to pay for over and over again. Can you think of investments that can do that for you? Investing in travel and leisure is the way that is closest to us, but it is not limited to only that. There are numerous investments that you can have. Aside from investing in a travel property, you can also invest on a blog. When you are already reaching a decent number of readers, brands and businesses will actually pay you so you can promote them.
In a nutshell, the possibility of building residual is endless, and the more creative you are, the better. It can be about mixing and matching-investing in travel property AND writing a travel blog sounds like a dynamic duo. What matters the most is how willing you are to invest.
The Norfolk Broads consist of over 200 miles of navigable rivers, lakes and man-made waterways. Its formation was long thought to be the result of glacial activity during the ice age. However, it has since been discovered that the landscape was actually formed by medieval excavations for peat and turf.
Farming and fishing dominated the Norfolk Broads during the 16th century with the waterways playing an integral role in the transportation of goods. Drainage windmills were introduced to encourage cattle grazing and the local economy flourished, as marshmen tended the land and maintained the water levels and dykes. During the 19th century the introduction of the railways heralded a boom in tourism as trains brought city dwellers to The Broads who were keen on escaping the harshness of city life. Traditionally used for trade, Wherrys became the most popular mode of travel on the waterways and they were soon built for pleasure rather than trade. But the Second World War brought about an agricultural revival as all the available was used for the war effort. This renaissance in Norfolk’s farming economy would last through to the 50’s and 60’s as Government funding was made available for new tools and equipment.
It became clear during the 1970s that measures needed to be taken in order to protect Norfolk’s heritage – the ravages of the weather and the onslaught of tourists was beginning to take its toll. As a result over 5000 buildings became listed and large swathes of land protected. The Norfolk Broads is now the largest protected wetland in the United Kingdom. Rare insect species such as the Norfolk Hawker dragonfly thrive, while birds such as the Kingfisher and Greylag attract birdwatchers from far and wide. The natural splendour of the region is made more accessible by paths such as the Hoveton Great Broad Trail. Nature reserves like the Wildlife Centre at Ranworth Broad vividly exhibit the rich variety of wildlife that inhabits the area.
The waterways that criss-cross East Anglia still remain very popular amongst pleasure-seekers and water-sports enthusiasts. Altogether there are 30 Broads, threaded together by the River Bure and its tributaries. Other rivers such as the Wensey and Waveny offer some attractive, picturesque routes through the countryside and feed into Breydon Water – for long stretches, these waterways are actually set below the level of the surrounding countryside.
Towns such as Wroxham and Beccles seem to epitomise the character of the region. The old town of Beccles for example is a notable attraction and is dominated by a 97ft bell tower that dates back to the 14th century. The busy resort town of Great Yarmouth is a particularly popular destination with tourists, its piers and fairgrounds contrasting sharply with the wooded tranquility of nearby Horning.
The combination of natural beauty and human ingenuity make the Norfolk Broads one of the most intriguing, enchanting regions in the United Kingdom. Despite its popularity with tourists, people dedicated to the preservation of this wonderful region ensure that the influx of visitors does not have a detrimental effect on the natural surroundings and as a result Norfolk, like some of the best holiday regions, has something to offer everyone.
Most camera gadgets these days are designed to perfectly fit our busy lifestyles. Compared to old model cameras, an ultra compact camera is quite very light and handy. It only weighs at less than 5 and half ounces but cannot be discounted in its quality and its high resolution picture output. It is perfect for leisure travel, outdoor picnics, and vacation tours. It is very thin that you would not mind carrying it around to capture that precious moments wherever you are.
Here are some selections of ultra compact digital camera from different brands that has an amazing wide angled view for landscape pictures and architectural shots. First on the top of the line is the Canon Powershot SD980 IS digital camera. What sets this gadget apart from others is its 24-120mm equivalent lens and its IS – Canon’s anti-shake feature that will allow low shutter speeds.
If you are looking for a very handy ultra compact camera units that gets good marks for focus tracking of moving object, the Nikon Coolpix S640 digital camera is the one for you. Olympus FE-5020 digital camera is the most inexpensive compact travel camera that has the same lens range and the anti-shake technology as the Cannon Powershot. This camera would be the best buy for budget-tight travelers who want to make the most out of their vacation and outdoor experience by keeping memories by owning an ultra small camera with quality resolutions.
If you are looking for a classy ultra compact digital camera, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 digital compact camera is the one for you. With its stylish touch-screen features, it is lightweight and very tiny that can surely satisfy your sophisticated taste. It has 10.2 mega pixels that are perfectly adequate for outdoor photo shoots. Although the range of its lens falls a little short compare to its other competitors.
These are just among the wide array of handy digital camcorders and cameras that are manufactured by well-known and highly trusted brands. There are still cheaper choices and different digital devices that come with different and unique features.
Indeed, the growth of digital industries and the fast-paced information technology has paved the way to the quick evolution of different devices and gadgets all over the world. And digital cameras are just part of the evolution to the unending search of a more sophisticated lifestyle.
Having some time to unwind is a good thing. You may travel to any place you would like to be, where you could find peace and serenity, as well as having some fun and adventure. There are different tips you may consider in order to have a perfect weekend travel and leisure.
Know first where you would like to travel. Pick the best place where all your personal needs can be accommodated. If you want to have some relaxation, you can try staying in a hotel or even have a spa or a body massage.
If you are looking for a fun and extreme adventures, you may go to entertainment areas like amusement parks, have bungee-jumping or even try zip lining. If you are a nature lover, you may try to go to a place where there are waterfalls, beaches, underground caves, and rivers.
Another tip in order to have an enjoyable travel is to plan and prepare the things you need to bring. You can make a list of the things to bring, so you will not be able to forget anything. Bring toiletries, extra clothes, your personal gadgets like smartphones and digital cameras, and the most important is your money.
You really have to spare some money for your travel. Make sure that you will bring extra money, so you won’t end up without a single bill or coin in your pocket. If you will travel to another country, you will really need a big budget for that.
Never forget to bring a map on your travel and leisure. If you don’t have a map, you can use your smartphone to locate the exact location on where you will go and on how to go to that particular place. For example, if you are going on mountain climbing, you must use your map to know the routes you shall take to be able to get there.
You shall study your transportation options to reach your destination. Will you need to ride a taxi, train, or bus? Think through the means of transportation you shall use, and on how much time you will be able to consume to reach the place.
Never forget to take pictures and videos while travelling. Bring digital cameras that have high pixels and resolutions. You may also use your smartphone if in case you do not have a camera. After your travel, you can share them on your social media accounts.
Instagram is one of the best apps you can use. Your friends and family will be very happy to see the places where you have gone to because they have not yet been to these places. Make sure that your storage has free spaces so you can take as many photos and videos as you want.
Travel and leisure can give you time to relax, unwind and make your mind and spirit be calm. You shall spend some time for yourself. Consider these different things when planning for your travel. Capture the best moments so you will have a remembrance of your adventures.
If you’re going on a trip abroad, it is best to be well-prepared with travel tips in mind. There are items that you need to bring as well as things that won’t be much use on the trip. A tour of a country usually involves a lot of walking and transferring from one town to another; thus, it is best to travel light. One carry-all luggage should be enough for a 7-day and 6-night tour and a handbag that contains only the essential things you need for the trip.
There are things that you must bring and keep with you at all times. These are the items that must be placed inside your handbag. Thus, it is best to bring a large handbag with lots of compartments or a bag with an organizer inside it. This way, it will be much easier to find and retrieve items that you need. Here are the items that are recommended to be placed inside your handbag when traveling to any foreign country. Let these packing tips help you to travel light and pack only all the essential stuff.
- Passport with visa
- Airline ticket
- Identification preferably a driver’s license
- Wallet with cash (US dollars), credit cards and an ATM card
- An international cell phone (a handy and cheap one will do)
- Digital camera that’s lightweight with extended battery
- Small flashlight
- Calling card of the hotel you’re staying at
- Map of the country you’re visiting in case you get lost
- Wet ones and small pack of tissue paper
- Medication if any
- Contact number of the person who handles your tour group
Depending on your needs and daily requirements, you may also need to bring other extra stuff in your handbag to make your vacation more enjoyable. A small sunscreen would be a great idea as well as any device that allows you to connect with friends and family via wireless internet. There are also people who bring their iPods with them so that they can listen to music while traveling in the bus. A book would also be a nice addition so you can read something while waiting for your flight. Just remember though, that bringing too many gadgets can make your handbag heavy. A great idea would be to bring only one gadget that already contains an eBook, music, contacts and wifi connection among other things. A cellphone or one gadget that comes with all of these features would be a great idea to travel light.
For your suitcase, make sure that it contains chargers for your gadgets, and the clothes that you will be wearing on the trip. Clothing must include a nice dress for the ladies, shirts, shorts, jeans, a rain jacket and disposable underwear. The latter makes traveling so much easier as you can simply throw these away after use; thus giving your luggage extra space on your return flight. A rain jacket, on the other hand may come in handy if you’re going to a place with tropical climate. If you’re expecting sun and rain on your trip, do bring a rain jacket but also include flip-flops and a bathing suit if you plan to do some swimming and sunbathing at the beach. While you want to travel light, you also need to keep in mind that bringing the above items will make your stay more enjoyable.
While there are things that must be brought, there are also items that are not necessary. The items that can just make your bag heavy are as follows:
- expensive jewelry
- water bottles
- high-heeled shoes
- blow dryer
- shampoo, soap and conditioner
- first aid kit
On evenings out, girls can wear ballet flats instead of uncomfortable high heels as flat shoes are lighter. There’s also no need to bring things that you can find in your hotel room such as blow dryer, shampoo, soap, conditioner, towels and lotion. Also ask if the tour you are joining has a first aid kit ready if in case something goes wrong. This way, you don’t need to bring an emergency kit. Having a light luggage is so convenient as it let’s you quickly pack and move from one hotel to another.
If you plan to do a lot of shopping, then it’s alright if you pack only one or two outfits on your trip. You can buy new clothes and then just wear these clothes on the trip. Doing this allows you to further reduce the weight of your luggage while getting yourself new clothes to wear.
It is advisable to wear jeans on the plane as this is not only bulky when placed inside a suitcase, but it also allows a person to easily move when travelling. Also keep your jacket with you in case it rains. Wearing jeans and a nice rain jacket on the plane further gives your luggage less weight; thus, allowing you to really travel light to and from the country you’re visiting.
Travel and leisure is fun and exciting. With travel tips in mind and knowing what items to bring and leave behind, you can properly plan your vacation and truly enjoy your stay. It is always an advantage to travel light while making your trip more comfortable by bringing only all the necessary items.