A road to restoration for China’s other great wall. Source: Shutterstock
WHEN it comes to walls, China has the most famous one in the world.
But if you look a little further south from where the Great Wall of China runs across the country, you’ll discover another incredible example of ancient engineering.
Constructed 600 years ago from 350 million bricks, the City Wall of Nanjing is the largest circular city wall in the world.
Standing 21 meters high and 14 meters thick, the wall has stood the test of time throughout centuries of battles and invasions.
Sunset over Nanjing, seen from the old city walls. Source: Shutterstock
After the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty in 1368, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang founded the Ming Dynasty and named Nanjing as the capital.
In a quest to protect his sovereignty and keep out invaders, Zhu sought the advice of his advisor Zhu Sheng.
Zhu Sheng, known to be a reclusive but wise man, told him to build a city-encompassing wall.
The wall took 21 years to finish and enlisted more than 200,000 laborers who moved over seven million cubic meters of earth.
Zhongshan Gate in Nanjing. Source: Wikimedia Commons
But according to records, Zhu also ordered 118 counties and 20 states across China to make bricks, each weighing 10 kilograms and measuring around 50 centimeters.
To this day, most of the bricks on the wall still have the names of the officials who were responsible for overseeing the quality of the bricks.
Experts suggest the wall has withstood the test of time because each brick contains a mixture of starch water, in which glutinous rice had been cooked, as well as tung oil, known for its strength in bonding materials.
Cannons still line the City Wall of Nanjing today. Source: Shutterstock
However, despite the enduring materials used in the wall, the 1960s and 1970s brought a bout of neglect for the wall and parts of it began to crumble.
Other parts were knocked down to make way for roads and to facilitate Nanjing’s sprawling economic development.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
90-year-old Nanjing resident Xie Zhiru told BBC Travel that although a lot of wars took place in Nanjing, none managed to ruin the wall.
“When the Japanese invaded, even they couldn’t destroy Nanjing. We [the city’s residents] destroyed this wall ourselves,” she added.
As the wall began to collapse, market sellers used the fallen bricks to build tables and stalls.
“I couldn’t believe people were sitting on 600-year-old bricks,” explained Xie.
A view over Nanjing’s Turtle Lake from the wall. Source: Wikimedia Commons
In 2016, the local government launched the Every Grain to the Granary campaign which requested residents to return any bricks they had taken.
In total, 80,000 bricks were returned and used to restore parts of the wall.
The Xuanwu Gate, one of the gates of the city wall. Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Great Wall of China is also facing a massive restoration project after years of overtourism has taken its toll.
But unlike Nanjing’s Every Grain to the Granary campaign, authorities at the stretches of the Great Wall which need repair have been reckless.
In 2016, it was revealed a 700-year-old “wild” stretch of the Great Wall had been covered in cement under orders from Suizhong county’s Cultural Relics Bureau.
This caused an outcry from historians, locals, and netizens.
Since then, however, greater care has been taken to restore the wall to its original glory.
A road to restoration for China’s other great wall. Source: Shutterstock
Some truths you need to know about Hua Hin island. Source: Shutterstock.
THE pristine island of Hua Hin, located in the southern Thai province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, was Thailand’s first seaside holiday destination.
The quiet fishing village was first discovered by railroad engineers in 1909 before growing into a fashionable escape after the 1920s when the Thai royal family built summer palaces here.
This gave Hua Hin the title of a “royal resort.”
Today, it is a pretty beachside town that is unlike other popular Thai destinations such as Phuket and Pattaya.
Because of the island’s close links with Thai royalty, Hua Hin remains moderately developed without the overcrowding or all-night partying at bars and clubs pulsating with pounding beats.
Its long white sandy beaches, small and laidback town, relaxed vibe, and bountiful of activities make it the perfect destination for families.
Which is why Hua Hin’s authorities scrambled to set up a giant net off its beach recently.
In April, 54-year-old Norwegian tourist Werner Danielsen was attacked by a bull shark while swimming at Hua Hin’s Sai Noi beach.
Officials had initially tried to pass off the man’s severe leg injury as being a gash from sharp rocks, according to The Straits Times.
However, the abbot of Wat Tham Khao Tao released video clips showing four sharks swimming off the beach not far from the temple, which pressured officials to reveal the truth.
The Marine and Coastal Resources Department deputy director general Jatuporn Buruphat later confirmed the wound was caused by a shark. Werner suffered tendon damage and received 19 stitches, Bangkok Post reported.
Shortly after, the officials announced it would be sealing off the beach for at least 20 days due to safety concerns for tourists.
Signs warning people not to swim out further than 20 meters were also erected.
The department quickly jumped into action, announcing plans to install long, floating nets at the beach to demarcate swimming zones. It was finally completed this week.
The net was erected at a depth of three meters covering a demarcated area of 50 by 310 meters from the shore and equipped with buoys to alert boats going into the area and blocks only big fish from coming close to the beach, according to Bangkok Post.
Meanwhile, Hua Hin’s governor said a camera drone would fly patrols over the area to alert officials about any dangers for swimmers.
Hua Hin’s Sai Noi beach is the first beach in Thailand where a shark net has been set up, which would also save swimmers from deadly jellyfish.
This onsen resort in Indonesia is tattoo-friendly. Source: The Onsen Hot Spring Resort
FOR travelers to Japan, especially those who are going there for the first time, the onsen, with its own set of etiquettes and beliefs, can be quite an unfamiliar territory.
A good example would be the ban on bathers with tattoos from using onsen facilities in Japan to keep out Yakuza, members of organized crime syndicates who traditionally have elaborate full-body decoration.
By 2015, about 56 percent of onsen operators in Japan have enforced the ban. 13 percent said they would grant access to a tattooed bather but the tattoo has to be covered up.
However, about a seven-hour flight away from the Japanese capital city of Tokyo is an onsen that is tattoo-friendly.
Located in Batu in East Java, Indonesia and set against the backdrop of lush rolling mountains, the The Onsen Hot Spring Resort adopts a traditional Japanese onsen concept.
Upon arrival, guests will be welcomed by a torii (a traditional Japanese gate) as well as a red bridge and a beautiful pond connecting you to Fushimi Restaurant.
The Onsen Hot Spring Resort uses sulfur hot springs that flow from the Songgoriti Temple. The 42 degree Celsius water not only warms the body but also benefits the skin.
In fact, bathing in an onsen has potential to heal sickness and fatigue of body and mind. It improves blood circulation and increases metabolism, and loosens muscles which leads to a relaxation of body and mind.
At the The Onsen Hot Spring Resort, the public hot springs are divided into male and female sections, which each pool accommodating up to 20 people.
Disposable undergarments and camisoles or boxers will be provided so guests will not be required to bathe naked.
The resort also comes with cold water pools, as well as 25 ryokans with their own hot spring baths for those who want a little bit of privacy.
Each ryokan, overlooking a serene scenery, is designed with a real Japanese ambiance, complete with a yukata robe, tea setting, tatami flooring, and comfortable beds. It is available in two- or three-bedroom.
Source: The Onsen Hot Spring Resort
For those who are worried about hygiene, the The Onsen Hot Spring Resort has assured the water is changed every day. However, for safety reasons, guests are not allowed to use their gadgets while bathing in the onsen.
The Onsen Hot Spring Resort charges a fee of IDR150,000 (US$10.06) per person for one hour for the public onsen. Visitors who just want to tour the resort without using the onsen will need to pay an entrance fee of IDR50,000 (US$3.37).
For more information, visit the resort’s website.
You must make space in your tummy for these Indonesian dishes the next time you visit the country. Source: Shutterstock.
THE Southeast Asian archipelago of Indonesia boasts 6,000 populated islands of the total 17,508. These are home to more than 300 ethnic groups.
And because there are so many ethnicities, coupled with Indonesia’s rich history spanning centuries-long, the country is blessed with thousands of traditional recipes influenced by techniques and ingredients from India, the Middle East, China, and Europe.
One can always expect an explosion of complex flavors when savoring Indonesia’s vibrant foods.
Ordinarily, Indonesia’s cuisine may include rice, noodle, and soup dishes in modest local eateries to street-side snacks and top-dollar plates. Sumatran food often has Middle Eastern and Indian influences while Javanese food has a hint of Chinese influence.
Most Indonesians enjoy hot and spicy food, usually cooked by frying, grilling, roasting, dry roasting, sautéing, boiling, or steaming.
Selecting a national dish has proven to be a challenge due to its ethnic groups. In 2014, its Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy picked tumpeng, a cone-shaped rice dish with side dishes of vegetables and meat, as its official national dish.
However, popular Indonesia dishes such as soto (aromatic soup), nasi goreng (fried rice), satay (skewered and grilled meat), and gado-gado (vegetables with peanut-based sauce) can be found just about anywhere.
Satay, for example, is so popular that it can be found in the neighboring countries of Malaysia and Singapore.
Acknowledging Indonesia’s most popular dishes, the country’s Tourism Minister Arief Yahya announced that the aforementioned dishes, as well as rendang (meat stewed in coconut milk and spices), will be declared Indonesian foods.
The move would solve the problem of Indonesia not officially having any national food, Tempo.co quoted the minister as saying.
“This is a problem of plenty because we have so many [types of] food.”
Satay, nasi goreng, and rendang were picked by CNN as some of the world’s most delicious food while soto is widely available in the archipelago.
Get to know Indonesia’s national dishes a little bit better:
Satay Satay is a dish of seasoned, skewered (from the midrib of the coconut palm frond) and grilled meat over a wood or charcoal fire.
The meat may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, other meats, or tofu.
It can be served with various sauced but the most often is peanut sauce.
Nasi goreng Nasi goreng is an Indonesian dish of pre-cooked rice stir-fried with vegetables and pieces of meat such as chicken or prawns, spiced with caramelized sweet soy sauce and ground shrimp paste.
It can be modified or jazzed up with ingredients such as ikan masin (salted dried fish) or ikan bilis (dried anchovies).
The trick to a double thumbs up-worthy nasi goreng? When it is fried with overnight rice (leftover rice from the previous night).
Rendang One of the characteristic foods of the Minangkabau people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Minangkabau Highlands of West Sumatra, rendang is a spicy meat dish.
It is often likened to curry, but the dish is actually richer and contains less liquid.
Rendang is made of beef is slowly simmered with coconut milk and a mixture of lemongrass, galangal, garlic, turmeric, ginger, and chilies.
Gado-gado Also known as an Indonesian salad, the word gado-gado literally means “mix-mix.”
It is made of slightly boiled, blanched or steamed vegetables and hard-boiled eggs, boiled potato, fried tofu and tempeh (fermented soybean), and lontong (rice wrapped in a banana leaf).
Vegetables such as potatoes, long beans, bean sprouts, spinach, chayote, bitter gourd, corn, and cabbage are often used in the mix.
Soto Soto is a traditional Indonesian comfort food/soup mainly composed of broth, meat, and vegetables.
The meats that are most commonly used are chicken and beef, but there are also variations with offal, mutton, and water buffalo meat.
Served from Sumatra to Papua, soto can be found in anywhere from street-side warungs to open-air eateries, and even fine dining restaurants.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Tourism Ministry is also looking to promote culinary tourism in Indonesia.
It is in currently in the process of certifying three culinary destinations: Bali, Bandung, and Yogyakarta.
Probably the only airline in recent history to spell its own name wrong. Source: Cathay Pacific via HKADB.
“YOU had one job.”
Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific just flew right into a giant blooper. A blooper so huge, it is the size of its Boeing 777-367.
Photos of the livery surfaced recently with words “Cathay Paciic” freshly painted on its fuselage instead of “Cathay Pacific”.
It appeared that the plane was on the ground at Hong Kong International Airport at the time.
The photos, which were originally published by Hong Kong Aviation Discussion Board (HKADB), quickly went viral and got the attention of the airline.
Cathay Pacific took it in good humor, however, sharing the photos on its Twitter account captioned, “Oops this special livery won’t last long! She’s going back to the shop!”
Oops this special livery won’t last long! She’s going back to the shop!
(Source: HKADB) pic.twitter.com/20SRQpKXET
— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) September 19, 2018
According to The Guardian, the plane had been flying overnight from Xiamen in China, arriving in Hong Kong in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
“We did not intend to make it a big fuss in the first place, but photos went viral within the aviation enthusiastic groups, so we just shared the hilarious moment with everyone,” a Cathay Pacific spokesperson told CNN Travel. We are not having many chances to have such ‘limited edition,’ right?”
According to an engineer for Haeco, a sister company of the airline, the mistake which could cost thousands of dollars to correct.
It is not known how the giant typo could have been made. Perhaps someone lost the “F” stencil?
Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific and Boeing donated the first-ever Boeing 777 airplane to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Arizona yesterday, one of the world’s largest facilities devoted to celebrating aerospace.
The iconic 777-200 airplane flew from Cathay Pacific’s home airport in Hong Kong to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona
Well, here’s one proper way to indulge your Crazy Rich Asians fantasies. Source: Shutterstock.
STORIES about Crazy Rich Asians filming locations in the Southeast Asian countries of Malaysia and Singapore are probably done to death by now.
But who can blame them for continuing to rave about the movie, perhaps one of the most (if not the most) successful all-Asian cast flicks of our time?
Directed by Jon M. Chu (of Now You See Me 2 fame), Crazy Rich Asians stars Henry Golding, Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Harry Shum Jr., Pierre Png, Carmen Soo, Nora Lum (otherwise known as Awkwafina), and many more.
Based on the novel by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians centers on New York City Chinese American economics professor Rachel Chu (played by Constance Wu) who accompanies her boyfriend, Nick Young (played by Henry Golding) to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding.
It garnered exceptionally good reviews, raking in a whopping total of USD 26.5 million during its opening weekend.
Expectedly, Crazy Rich Asians left quite a dent in the Singaporean tourism industry, with Gardens by the Bay seeing a 10 percent rise in bookings on Klook.
In fact, the travel activities and services booking platform reported a 55 percent increase in page views for a Singaporean street food experience.
Acknowledging the opportunity, Klook has created a Crazy Rich Asians-inspired tour, offering tourists the chance to “live like a ‘Crazy Rich Asian’ for the day.”
“Have you seen the acclaimed Crazy Rich Asians movie? Are you enamored with the lavish lifestyles of the characters? You’re in luck!” Klook wrote.
Fans can either book a Crazy Rich Asian experience for four or seven, a Crazy Rich Asian luxury experience for four, or a Crazy Rich Asian ultimate experience for four.
The Crazy Rich Asian ultimate experience comes at a cool price tag of RM11,467 (US$2,767), which works out to about US$691 per person in a group of four.
The Crazy Rich Asian ultimate experience itinerary includes being picked up at your hotel by a professional English-speaking driver in a luxury car of your choosing (Merc E200, Audi A6, BMW Series 5, or a similar vehicle)
Then, you will be taken to Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, Singapore’s gorgeous iconic landmarks where you can indulge your Crazy Rich Asians fantasies.
There is also a premium sky dining experience on the Singapore Flyer, a giant Ferris wheel (and the world’s largest observation wheel) located along the Marina Promenade. Feast your eyes on the sweeping views of the Marina Bay as you tantalize your taste buds with the finest cuisine.
And if that is not enough, there is even a four-hour private yacht charter and a 15-minute supercar driving experience so you can really feel like a crazy Asian.
As Klook says, “This is a must for fans of the film and the book.”
Interested? Check out Klook’s Crazy Rich Asians-inspired tour here.
It is the age of the average university graduate. Source: Shutterstock.
Cathay Pacific and Boeing have donated the first-ever Boeing 777 airplane to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Arizona, one of the world’s largest facilities devoted to celebrating aerospace.
The iconic 777-200 airplane (line number WA001 and registered B-HNL) flew from Cathay Pacific’s home airport in Hong Kong to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona on Sept 18, 2018.
B-HNL will be displayed permanently at the museum alongside more than 350 other historic aircraft.
The Boeing 777, often fondly referred to as the “Triple Seven”, is the world’s largest twinjet and has a typical seating capacity of 314 to 396 passengers.
Its distinguishing features include the large–diameter turbofan engines, long raked wings, six wheels on each main landing gear, fully circular fuselage cross-section, and a blade-shaped tail cone.
Boeing’s first fly-by-wire airliner, it has computer-mediated controls. It was also the first commercial aircraft to be designed entirely with computer-aided design.
It ranks as one of Boeing’s bestselling models.
Boeing first flew the aircraft on June 12, 1994 and continued to use it as a test airplane for several years.
It joined the Hong Kong flag carrier’s fleet in 2000 and was retired in May after 18 years of service.
During its time with Cathay Pacific, B-HNL operated 20,519 flights, recording 49,687 hours of flying time.
Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg said in a statement, “As the world’s very first 777, B-HNL holds a very special place in the history of both our airline and that of commercial aviation, and we are very pleased it will soon bring enjoyment to enthusiasts at its new home in Arizona.
“Our 777-200 aircraft have served us exceptionally well over the last two decades, and as we progressively retire these over the months ahead, we eagerly look forward to welcoming the state-of-the-art 777-9 aircraft into our fleet from 2021.”
In the 1990s, Cathay Pacific was one of a handful of airlines to provide input for the 777 at the design stage, which gave Hong Kong’s home airline a unique opportunity to refine the aircraft’s features to suit its needs.
Among the requests were a cabin cross-section similar to the 747 Jumbo Jet, a modern ‘glass’ cockpit, fly-by-wire system, and, crucially, lower operating costs.
Today, Cathay Pacific operates one of the largest 777 fleets in the world.
Nearly ready for the off. B-HNL and her crew. #first777 pic.twitter.com/Y5fQ5eWj8B
— Alex Jenkins (@alexjenkins88) September 18, 2018
A new addition! Pima Air & Space Museum received the first-ever #Boeing 777 (WA001) today by way of @cathaypacific, one of the largest operators of 777s and a launch customer for another addition—the all-new #777X. RELEASE: https://t.co/PwKs9GjcI2 pic.twitter.com/Lfk5PoB5hs
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) September 18, 2018
Goodbye and see you soon, B-HNL https://t.co/lwJhgrDp9R pic.twitter.com/Hxab6kE02M
— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) September 18, 2018
Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister said, “Cathay Pacific has been instrumental in the tremendous success of the 777 programme. The airline contributed greatly to the airplane’s original design and has been one of its biggest ambassadors ever since. And now they are a launch customer for our new 777X airplane.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Cathay on this donation to the museum as a way to share the remarkable story of the Boeing 777 for years to come.”
According to AirlineGeeks, there’s not much left inside B-HNL besides a few rows in the middle. It is now with the Pima Air and Space Museum’s restoration team.
Find out why this Indonesian-born author is the epitome of the saying, “Home is where the heart is”. Source: Shutterstock.
Clarissa Goenawan is living proof that you can be a multinational citizen at heart no matter where you are, as long as you feel a connection with the place.
Born and raised in Indonesia but currently has her footing in Singapore where she lives and with an immense appreciation for anything and everything Japanese, Goenawan’s love for discovery and travel, be it through the words she pens or real-life adventures, is admirable.
By day she is award-winning Rainbirds author Clarissa Goenawan, a strong believer in equality and inclusivity. All other times she juggles multiple roles between being a daughter, a wife, and a mother.
Come October, she will be at The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2018 in Ubud on the Indonesian paradise island of Bali, where she will be speaking at The Big Read: Telling Tales and It Takes A Village.
Let’s get to know her a little bit better:
In Rainbirds, you penned a story about a young Japanese man’s path to self-discovery. Was it hard to write about a country or a culture that wasn’t your home ground? Why (or why not)?
Writing is challenging whether or not you write about your own country or culture. When writing outside my domain, I try my best to approach the subjects with care and respect.
Plenty of research always helps, and so does getting opinions from people who are familiar with the culture.
What do you love most about the Japanese culture and how would you describe it to someone who has never been to Japan?
There are too many things to love!
From the delicious food to the beautiful temples and gardens to the wide breadth of traditional and contemporary art, Japan has plenty to offer.
Source: Clarissa Goenawan.
Oh, and don’t get me started on the toilets. Japan has the most hi-tech toilets in the world. Heated toilet seats in cold weather are divine.
Japan is a kaleidoscopic mix of the old and new. It’s fascinating.
For curious travelers who have never been to Japan, what things to do or places to eat you would highly recommend?
I could go on and on, suggesting hundreds of things to do, but I’ll try to keep it short.
Located in Shibuya, Meiji Jingu is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the emperor and his empress. It takes a 10-minute stroll from the massive torii gate into a tranquil forest before you reach the main complex.
Source: Clarissa Goenawan.
In the early morning, the place is so peaceful. It makes me feel like I’m being transported to the past.
Just a short walk from Meiji Jingu, there is Harajuku, the place for the young and fashionable.
The main focal point of Harajuku is Takeshita Dori, a street lined with quirky vintage boutiques, trendy stores, and alternative fashion shops. Many youngsters gather in the area, dressed in their individual style.
The contrast between Meiji Jingu and Harajuku is captivating. Even though they’re right next to each other in Shibuya, they couldn’t be more different.
Source: Clarissa Goenawan.
There are a couple of crepe shops in Harajuku, such as Santa Monica, Marion, and Angel’s Heart. Take your pick from a huge display of appetizing sweet and savory variations. You can never go wrong with any of them.
Not far from Harajuku, Luke’s Lobster Roll in leafy Omotesando is to-die-for. A generous portion of fresh lobster meat chunks slapped over a warm and crispy bun.
Source: Clarissa Goenawan.
Go for the US size instead of the regular, and don’t be surprised if you still crave more.
Being an Indonesian-born who has spent so much time in Singapore, which culture do you feel you relate to better?
I was born and raised in Surabaya. It’s my hometown. No matter what, Indonesia will always have a special place in my heart.
When I was 16, I migrated to Singapore and have lived here ever since. My family is here too. This is where we build our lives. To me, Singapore is home.
It’s impossible for me to choose just one. I relate strongly to both countries and their cultures. They form a crucial part of my heritage and my identity.
What are some of your biggest takeaways and learnings from working in Singapore?
It’s perfectly fine to follow your heart and passion. If you don’t go after your dream, it will never come true.
Be willing to take a calculated risk. Good luck favors those who work hard and never give up.
Describe how you feel about going home to Indonesia to speak at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival.
Incredibly excited and honored! Also, kind of nostalgic.
When I still lived with my parents in Surabaya, our family used to drive to Bali every year for a holiday. Sometimes, we went twice a year.
Bali is a gorgeous place, and the locals are so friendly. I can’t wait to go back.
Tell us why this year’s Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is not to be missed.
With a strong line-up of speakers such as Dee Lestari, Hanif Kureishi, Geoff Dyer, and many others, you know it’s going to be a magical and inspiring once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is the major annual project of the not-for-profit foundation, the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati.
It was first conceived of by Janet DeNeefe, co-founder of the foundation, as a healing project in response to the first Bali bombing.
Stay tuned to their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates.
These amazing airports in Asia are really good at connecting you with the world. Source: Shutterstock.
ACCORDING to the recently released International Megahubs Index 2018, six Asian airports have been ranked among the top 20 most connected airports worldwide.
Released by OAG, the index looks at airports with the highest ratio of scheduled international connections to the number of destinations served.
“The top 50 International Megahubs are those airports with the highest ratio of possible scheduled international connections to the number of destinations served by the airport,” OAG explained.
“Online and interline connections are included and utilizing the power of Connections Analyser, low-cost carriers (LCC) connections are also included.”
The largest megahubs in Asia-Pacific are all located in Southeast Asia. Singapore’s Changi Airport (SIN) ranked 8th overall, followed by Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) in 10th place.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL), Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) are also within the top 15 International Megahubs.
Singapore: Changi International Airport – 8th Jakarta, Indonesia: Soekarno-Hatta International Airport – 10th Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur International Airport – 12th Hong Kong, China: Hong Kong International Airport – 13th Bangkok, Thailand: Suvarnabhumi International Airport– 14th Incheon, South Korea: Incheon International Airport – 15th “Robust demand for international air travel is making Asia-Pacific a pivotal region for connecting flights,” according to OAG Regional Sales Director JAPAC Mayur Patel.
In the International Low-Cost Megahubs section, ongoing low-cost airport infrastructure development, route network expansions and seat capacity growth enabled Kuala Lumpur International Airport, home of Asia’s largest low-cost carrier AirAsia, Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, and Singapore’s Changi International Airport to retain the top 3 global rankings.
Manila Ninoy Aquino International, jumped from 12th place to 4th, with dominant carrier Cebu Pacific operating one-third of all flights.
Meanwhile, Shanghai Pudong International Airport is China’s most connected airport at 24th, with Guangzhou Baiyun and Beijing Capital International Airport, the world’s largest airport for scheduled airline seat capacity, at 31st and 32nd place respectively.
But eyes are starting to turn towards Beijing Daxing International Airport, scheduled to open as the world’s biggest airport in 2019.
“Asia’s dominance is clear to see but we are likely to see some interesting movements when the new Beijing airport opens,” Patel said.
With China driving air travel growth, we expect Hub connectivity to Hong Kong, currently undergoing unprecedented growth, driven by mainline operators (Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon) will undoubtedly see further evolution,” he added.
It sounds like Okinawa’s residents knew the secret to life all along. Source: Shutterstock.
KARATE is spread across many places, from India to China to Japan.
It is believed to have been developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom of Japan prior to its 19th-century annexation. Karate was made popular by the The Karate Kid film series and today, it is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, loved by millions around the globe.
But despite its fame, the original and traditional karate has been preserved in Okinawa, with its principles carefully guarded.
Okinawa prefecture, Japan’s southernmost prefecture, is home to many dojos (a room or a hall in which martial arts are practiced) where tourists can enjoy tours and experience karate.
Its handful of bookstores sell rare books about karate and karate-related stone monuments are some of its many tourist attractions. But its tourist attractions are not limited to karate alone.
The prefecture comprises more than 150 pristine islands in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland and boasts a pleasant tropical climate, on top of broad beaches, and coral reefs.
The largest island, also named Okinawa, played a critical role in the Korean War, Vietnam War, Afghanistan war, and Iraq war, which explains its many World War II sites such as old battle sites, various memorial monuments, and museums.
Perhaps contradictory to its dark past, the island is also where people live the longest, with 34 centenarians per 100,000 people, five times more than the rest of Japan.
Gyokusendo Cave in Okinawa island, Japan. Source: Shutterstock.
Okinawa is also home to some natural and marine wonders such as the Gyukusendo Cave, a soaring underground cave with over a million stalactites and pools of water.
For those who want to get up close and personal with whale sharks, the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world, is a must-visit.
Churaumi, which means beautiful or graceful (chura) and ocean (umi), houses the gentle giants and their majestic manta ray friends alongside many other colorful fish species.
Also worth mentioning is the “unboring” Okinawan food, which goes beyond just sushi or yakitori. Its signature dish, goya champuru (which means “something mixed) is the region’s culinary heritage on a plate.
Be sure to slurp up a generous serving of delectable Okinawan soba as well. Thick wheat noodles swimming in a clear broth of pork, bonito fish flakes and konbu (kelp).
Take a look at what Okinawa prefecture has to offer: