Ignite your zest for life with a pinch of culture

Posted by - June 21, 2018

There are a handful of hackneyed adjectives often used to describe the megalopolis that is Hong Kong, such as exciting, lively and vibrant.
Cliched as they sound, these words ring true, but not a single one does the destination justice.
Known as Asia’s New York City, the bustling megacity is home to shiny towering skyscrapers, glowing neon lights, sprawling country parks, diverse dining, and a kaleidoscope of life.
A beautiful fusion of East meets West, the experience of being in majestic Hong Kong is a sensory overload that can either overwhelm you or awaken your imagination.
If you’re coming here anytime soon, make it a point to check these off your to-do list.
Best eats and must try Food-obsessed people will be pleased to find that the city is particularly famous for its eats, so tease your palate with Hong Kong’s epicurean offerings, from street to restaurant.
Wherever you go in the city, cheap and delicious street food delights are aplenty.

Hop onto a Mass Transit Railway (MTR) towards Tsim Sha Tsui station then take a leisurely stroll down the busy district. As you admire the major activity hub, be sure to treat yourself to a toasty serving of gai dan jai, a spherical egg-based waffle wrapped in paper.
But it’s only the beginning so don’t stop there. Let your foodie journey continue just a few stalls down where you can take a bite out of a juicy curry fish ball on a stick.
When you’ve got your fill of shopping and sightseeing, get back onto the MTR and make your way to Mong Kok, Hong Kong’s intense maze of narrow streets.
Watch people go about their day on the crowded streets lined with shops and stalls, listen closely to the chatter and the buzz filling the air around you. Mong Kok is truly a hive of activity that’s authentically Hong Kong.
Before you allow yourself to get lost in the crowd, make a pitstop at Tim Ho Wan Sham Shui Po. You can’t say you been to Hong Kong until you’ve savored the traditional Cantonese dim sum in a yum cha restaurant.

Also in the area is the Australian Dairy Company, a much-lauded classic cha chaan teng (tea restaurant) that serves up delicious custard treats and its heavenly steamed milk pudding. If you’re up for dessert – and why shouldn’t you be since you’re on vacation – you know where to go.
An introduction to the Hongkongese culture Be sure to pay close attention to all that is around you because Hong Kong is steeped in culture, one that’s an identity of its own.
Derived from and heavily influenced by the Cantonese from the neighboring province of Guangdong, and later by the British culture due to the British colonialism, their culture is different from those of other Han Chinese people.
This is reflected in the wide array of tantalizing food, the different dialects and mannerisms, architecture, as well as fashion and music.
Discover how truly dynamic Hong Kong is while you stroll down the busy streets as the city’s unique architecture is sure to pique your interest.

As a former British colony, the main building of the University of Hong Kong naturally has a lot of British influence. But on the other end of the spectrum is the Kam Tin walled village, built by the Hong Kong indigenous people to fend off pirates between the 15th to the 19th century.
Not to be missed is the opportunity to catch a Cantonese opera performance.
Originating in south China’s Cantonese culture, the opera is an ancient art form involving music, a heavy use of makeup, costumes, singing, martial arts, acrobatics, and acting. Delicate yet strong all at the same time, the performance is an all-immersive experience.
Sunbeam Theatre, the largest performance venue for Cantonese opera in Hong Kong island, is one of the places that hold the tradition. To get there, take the MTR to the North Point station.
A city that never sleeps Hong Kong has more tricks up its sleeve than you think. Aside from being a food haven, the territory also boasts a bounty of activities from dusk till dawn. After all, no fun weekend is complete without hitting up the best entertainment spots in the city.
But it’s not limited to nights alone as Hong Kong also offers picturesque hiking trails, museums, exhibitions, pristine beaches, and Disneyland Hong Kong and Ocean Park.

Take the popular Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak to get a good look at the city’s glittering skyline that’s definitely Instagram-worthy. Then, enjoy a leisurely tree-lined walk on your way down.
Come night time, bathe in the glow of the city’s neon lights.
If you’re feeling particularly curious, take the MTR to Lan Kwai Fong. A small square of streets in central Hong Kong, the area was dedicated to hawkers before the Second World War but underwent a renaissance in the mid-1980s. These days, it’s bursting with clubs, bars, and a sea of locals ready to paint the town red.
Whether you’re a traveler who loves watering holes or one invested in artistic travel photography, Lan Kwai Fong is your “one size fits all”. You’d be pleasantly overwhelmed.
Royal Plaza Hotel Of course, no Hong Kong getaway is complete without an equally impressive place to call home for a couple of days.
Located in the Mong Kok area on the mainland Kowloon territory, the Royal Plaza Hotel features 699 beautiful rooms that you’re sure to appreciate. In particular, the 350 square feet Plaza Deluxe Family room is made for traveling families and couples in mind.
With two plush queen-sized beds, an LED TV with over 50 channels, an electronic safe, free in-room WiFi, and USB charging points, on top of an abundance of food options, you can rest assured that you’re well taken care of during your great Hong Kong escape whether you choose to be out and about or simply lounging “at home”.

Those with a family in tow will surely appreciate Royal Plaza Hotel Hong Kong’s Family 1 + 1 Combo Room Package, which offers a pair of connecting rooms for up to 6 people. Whether you’re traveling with young ones or with the elderly, all of you are entitled to a complimentary use of Royal Plaza Hotel’s Health Club and the shuttle bus service. It’s truly a vacation made easy.
Not to forget Royal Plaza Hotel Hong Kong’s Super Sales Promotion, which includes a 25 percent off Best Unrestricted Rate and a complimentary buffet breakfast for two at the hotel’s at La Scala restaurant, as well as access to the Health Club.
Be the first in line to enjoy the Royal Plaza Hotel experience and the best of Hong Kong. Head on over to the hotel’s website to book.
The post Ignite your zest for life with a pinch of culture appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Ignite your zest for life with a pinch of culture

Posted by - June 21, 2018

There are a handful of hackneyed adjectives often used to describe the megalopolis that is Hong Kong, such as exciting, lively and vibrant.
Cliched as they sound, these words ring true, but not a single one does the destination justice.
Known as Asia’s New York City, the bustling megacity is home to shiny towering skyscrapers, glowing neon lights, sprawling country parks, diverse dining, and a kaleidoscope of life.
A beautiful fusion of East meets West, the experience of being in majestic Hong Kong is a sensory overload that can either overwhelm you or awaken your imagination.
If you’re coming here anytime soon, make it a point to check these off your to-do list.
Best eats and must try Food-obsessed people will be pleased to find that the city is particularly famous for its eats, so tease your palate with Hong Kong’s epicurean offerings, from street to restaurant.
Wherever you go in the city, cheap and delicious street food delights are aplenty.

Hop onto a Mass Transit Railway (MTR) towards Tsim Sha Tsui station then take a leisurely stroll down the busy district. As you admire the major activity hub, be sure to treat yourself to a toasty serving of gai dan jai, a spherical egg-based waffle wrapped in paper.
But it’s only the beginning so don’t stop there. Let your foodie journey continue just a few stalls down where you can take a bite out of a juicy curry fish ball on a stick.
When you’ve got your fill of shopping and sightseeing, get back onto the MTR and make your way to Mong Kok, Hong Kong’s intense maze of narrow streets.
Watch people go about their day on the crowded streets lined with shops and stalls, listen closely to the chatter and the buzz filling the air around you. Mong Kok is truly a hive of activity that’s authentically Hong Kong.
Before you allow yourself to get lost in the crowd, make a pitstop at Tim Ho Wan Sham Shui Po. You can’t say you been to Hong Kong until you’ve savored the traditional Cantonese dim sum in a yum cha restaurant.

Also in the area is the Australian Dairy Company, a much-lauded classic cha chaan teng (tea restaurant) that serves up delicious custard treats and its heavenly steamed milk pudding. If you’re up for dessert – and why shouldn’t you be since you’re on vacation – you know where to go.
An introduction to the Hongkongese culture Be sure to pay close attention to all that is around you because Hong Kong is steeped in culture, one that’s an identity of its own.
Derived from and heavily influenced by the Cantonese from the neighboring province of Guangdong, and later by the British culture due to the British colonialism, their culture is different from those of other Han Chinese people.
This is reflected in the wide array of tantalizing food, the different dialects and mannerisms, architecture, as well as fashion and music.
Discover how truly dynamic Hong Kong is while you stroll down the busy streets as the city’s unique architecture is sure to pique your interest.

As a former British colony, the main building of the University of Hong Kong naturally has a lot of British influence. But on the other end of the spectrum is the Kam Tin walled village, built by the Hong Kong indigenous people to fend off pirates between the 15th to the 19th century.
Not to be missed is the opportunity to catch a Cantonese opera performance.
Originating in south China’s Cantonese culture, the opera is an ancient art form involving music, a heavy use of makeup, costumes, singing, martial arts, acrobatics, and acting. Delicate yet strong all at the same time, the performance is an all-immersive experience.
Sunbeam Theatre, the largest performance venue for Cantonese opera in Hong Kong island, is one of the places that hold the tradition. To get there, take the MTR to the North Point station.
A city that never sleeps Hong Kong has more tricks up its sleeve than you think. Aside from being a food haven, the territory also boasts a bounty of activities from dusk till dawn. After all, no fun weekend is complete without hitting up the best entertainment spots in the city.
But it’s not limited to nights alone as Hong Kong also offers picturesque hiking trails, museums, exhibitions, pristine beaches, and Disneyland Hong Kong and Ocean Park.

Take the popular Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak to get a good look at the city’s glittering skyline that’s definitely Instagram-worthy. Then, enjoy a leisurely tree-lined walk on your way down.
Come night time, bathe in the glow of the city’s neon lights.
If you’re feeling particularly curious, take the MTR to Lan Kwai Fong. A small square of streets in central Hong Kong, the area was dedicated to hawkers before the Second World War but underwent a renaissance in the mid-1980s. These days, it’s bursting with clubs, bars, and a sea of locals ready to paint the town red.
Whether you’re a traveler who loves watering holes or one invested in artistic travel photography, Lan Kwai Fong is your “one size fits all”. You’d be pleasantly overwhelmed.
Royal Plaza Hotel Of course, no Hong Kong getaway is complete without an equally impressive place to call home for a couple of days.
Located in the Mong Kok area on the mainland Kowloon territory, the Royal Plaza Hotel features 699 beautiful rooms that you’re sure to appreciate. In particular, the 350 square feet Plaza Deluxe Family room is made for traveling families and couples in mind.
With two plush queen-sized beds, an LED TV with over 50 channels, an electronic safe, free in-room WiFi, and USB charging points, on top of an abundance of food options, you can rest assured that you’re well taken care of during your great Hong Kong escape whether you choose to be out and about or simply lounging “at home”.

Those with a family in tow will surely appreciate Royal Plaza Hotel Hong Kong’s Family 1 + 1 Combo Room Package, which offers a pair of connecting rooms for up to 6 people. Whether you’re traveling with young ones or with the elderly, all of you are entitled to a complimentary use of Royal Plaza Hotel’s Health Club and the shuttle bus service. It’s truly a vacation made easy.
Not to forget Royal Plaza Hotel Hong Kong’s Super Sales Promotion, which includes a 25 percent off Best Unrestricted Rate and a complimentary buffet breakfast for two at the hotel’s at La Scala restaurant, as well as access to the Health Club.
Be the first in line to enjoy the Royal Plaza Hotel experience and the best of Hong Kong. Head on over to the hotel’s website to book.
The post Ignite your zest for life with a pinch of culture appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Dragon Boat Festival: Where to go for a roaring wet fun day

Posted by - May 1, 2018

CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, the Duanwu festival, otherwise known as the Dragon Boat Festival, has nothing to do with dragons. But it has got to do with boats.
The festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a poet and ministry who died in 278 B.C. Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Milou river after he was slandered by the members of the Han Dynasty and exiled from his home. After which, the local people who admired him raced out in their boats in an attempt to save him or retrieve his body.
When his body could not be found, they dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu Yuan’s body.
#CHINA
‘Venice of the East’: Charming water villages in China Thousands of years later, revelers across Asia still come out in droves for one day in the early summertime to eat sticky dumplings and race ornate boats shaped like dragons to honor Qu Yuan.
This year, the Dragon Boat Festival will take place on June 18, 2018, a public holiday in some Asian countries including Hong Kong and Taiwan. In celebration of the holiday of Duanwu, rowers will take to the rivers to show off their months of preparation for the festive dragon boat races.
A dragon boat is a brightly decorated human-powered boat or paddle boat that is traditionally made of teak wood to various designs and sizes that range anywhere from 40 to 100 feet in length.
It has a front end shaped like an open-mouth dragon and a back end with a scaly tail.
This year, the Dragon Boat Festival will take place on June 18, 2018, a public holiday in some Asian countries. Source: Shutterstock. Source: Shutterstock.
Usually, a sacred ceremony is performed before any race in order to “bring the boat to life” by painting the eyes. The first team to grab a flag at the end of the course wins the race.
Some of these races and festivities kick off way before the actual celebration.
For example, Jakarta’s Dragon Boat Festival will be held on May 5 to May 6, 2018, on the waterfront of Baywalk Mall in Pluit. Spectators can expect more than 40 teams comprising over 800 paddlers competing over two days, vying for 18 trophies, 340 medals, and cash prizes.
The race, which encompasses 250 meters, includes mixed, men, women and student invitational categories.
Dragon boat racing is a team sport in its purest form that encompasses the elements of power, speed, synchronization, and endurance. Source: Shutterstock.
Apart from the dragon boat race, attendees will also be able to engage in social events and enjoy the festivities around food and merchandise stalls.
Other Asian countries that will be a part of the Duanwu celebrations include:
China Observed dates: June 16 to June 18, 2018. Venue: Xixi National Wetland Park, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China. Details: Website | Facebook. Taiwan Observed dates: June 16 to June 18, 2018. Venue: Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park, Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City Taiwan. Details: Website | Facebook. Hong Kong Observed dates: June 16 to June 18, 2018. Venue: Victoria Harbor, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Details: Website | Facebook. Macao Observed dates: June 16 to June 18, 2018. Venue: Nam Van Lake Nautical Center, Macao. Details: Website. Malaysia Observed dates: May 12 to May 13, 2018. Venue: Likas Bay, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Details: Website | Facebook. The post Dragon Boat Festival: Where to go for a roaring wet fun day appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Surviving Asia’s 5 most expensive destinations for business travel

Posted by - April 3, 2018

WITH bleisure (a business and leisure travel combo) becoming a phenomenon, more and more business travelers are extending work travel for leisure.
However, extending your stay can be quite costly, especially if additional expenses for the trip has to come out of your own personal budget. This equals accommodation, meals, transport, on top of currency exchange, for the entirety of the extension.
The best way to go about this is to know firsthand which cities are expensive for travel.
#BUSINESS TRAVEL
These Asian countries are most welcoming for expats If you’re coming to Asia, keep in mind that despite the US dollar being the most powerful currency in the world, the cost of living in the region greatly varies and not all Asian countries are affordable.
In a survey released last December, market research company ECA International said 26 of the world’s top 50 most expensive cities to live in are in Asia, with 14 cities in China alone.
“This compares with just four EU cities and three US making it into the top 50,” the firm wrote.
It’s helpful to have a picture of how much life will cost as an expatriate or a business traveler in some of these locations, so here are Asia’s five most expensive destinations for business travel and the average daily expense you’d likely be making.
Tokyo Cost of living in Japan is generally high, with expatriates pegging the average monthly cost at around JPY100,000 (US$945). But it really depends on which Japanese city you’re going to.
For example, Tokyo is cheaper than both London and New York, but really expensive compared to Thailand or the Philippines, and a large chunk of your daily expenses will go to paying for your accommodation. Eating out at a restaurant, drinking at a bar, and going to the theater is also costlier than most Asian countries as they’re seen as more upscale activities.
There’s nearly nothing that you can’t find in Japan’s combinis. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$536 (JPY56,742).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the Tokyo Metro (Japan subway) and stock up on simple, money-saving meals from Japan’s popular combinis (convenience stores).
Hong Kong Although Hong Kong is no longer the most expensive city for business travel, it’s still one of the most expensive in Asia, and it certainly has the potential to empty out your bank account.
Four-star hotel prices in the land-starved country cost about US$284 per day. And due to the high price of goods, meals and drinks can cost up to US$186 per day. If you’re going to eat Western meals every day and dine out at nice restaurants all the time, then be prepared to cough up quite a bit of dough.
It’s not impossible to find affordable eats in Hong Kong. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$508 (HKD3,987).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the MTR (Hong Kong subway) and make cheap food places (market food, neighborhood noodle joints) your daily destination.
Seoul In 2015, The Economist‘s Worldwide Cost of Living report classified Seoul as the most expensive city in the world for buying everyday food items. For example, an average price for a loaf of bread (one kilogram) in Singapore costs US$3.54 while in Seoul it costs US$13.91.
And like the above well developed East Asian countries, staying in this South Korean capital can be expensive and business travelers should expect to fork out US$252 per day on a four-star hotel. That being said, subways, buses, taxis, eating out, and buying basic clothing is cheaper in South Korea than Toronto.
Remember to clink your soju glass and say, “Geonbae!” Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$490 (KRW518,625).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the Seoul Metropolitan Subway and seek out bars like Ssada! Maekju! or Makgeolli Salon in Hongdae where you can get free refills for draft beers (KRW7,295/person), soju (KRW4,863/person), and makgeolli (KRW5,269/person).
Singapore For the fifth year running, the Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked Singapore the world’s most expensive city to live. That goes hand-in-hand with it being one of the world’s most expensive cities for business travel as well.
Business travelers can expect to spend an average of US$251 on four-star hotels per day and about US$186 on food and drinks. You’ll never have a dull moment on the island because Singapore is home to various attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo, Underwater World, Madame Tussauds, and more.
But they come with a price, of course.
The world’s most expensive city to live is also one of the world’s most expensive cities for business travel. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$472 (SGD618).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the MRT (Singapore subway) and check out all these free things that you can do.
Dhaka Are you surprised to find that Dhaka, the capital and largest city of Bangladesh, is on the list too? According to The Daily Star, the cost of living in Dhaka is as high as the Canadian city of Montreal although the living amenities and conditions in these two cities are worlds apart. In fact, it’s considered more expensive to live and work in Dhaka than nearby capitals like New Delhi and Islamabad, and cities like Kolkata.
The living cost rose by 8.44 percent in Dhaka in 2017 because of hikes in prices of rice, vegetables, house rents, electricity, gas as well as other services. Hence, you should expect to spend about US$155 on meals and drinks. And as a business traveler, most of your expenses will go to your accommodation as it costs about US$277 on average for a four-star hotel.
Built in 1872 and standing on the Buriganga River, Ahsan Manzil is one of the most attractive historical sites in Dhaka. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$456 (BDT37,921).
Tip for surviving the trip: Public transportation is not an option there, and traffic and pollution are exceptionally bad so plan your travels well and mask up if need be.
The post Surviving Asia’s 5 most expensive destinations for business travel appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.