Thursday, July 31, 2008

Travel China Guide – Beijing Games 2008

Beijing-Olympic-LogoEveryone knows that we need 4 Years of waiting to get involve Olympic Games. But now the games are quickly approaching, taking the host by China - one of the powerful countries in the world. Putting the controversy over the host aside, the Beijing Games 2008 is shaping up to be great. The facilities are simply astonishing. The Beijing National Stadium, nick-named the bird-nest, is certainly a unique piece of architecture. Herzog & de Meuron Architekten AG, a Swiss firm, won the bid to begin construction way back in 2003. Their other notable works include the Allianz Arena in Munich and the Tate Modern in London. The venue will have a seating capacity of 80,000.

With a newly designed, high-speed metro train service to help transport tourists to events and main attractions, visitors coming to the ancient metropolis are also presented with a series of user-friendly, innovative travel itineraries on the
Beijing event website.

On testing the new train system from the airport terminal, Chinese President Hu Jintao told a group of foreigners that the country was ready to “open its arms and welcome all of the friends of the world to come.” Certainly, the city has not looked more attractive.

Among the must-see attractions, such as the famous Forbidden City – where visitors can stroll through the residences of China’s former emperors – and the monolithic Great Wall of China, the Beijing tourism authority has suggested a number of culinary and nightlife hotspots too.

On the list, include the happening Houhai Bar Street and famous restaurants Kaorou Ji and Dasanyuan. But tourists looking for a taste off the beaten track, should aim for restaurants recommended or populated by locals

Other recommendations include visiting the Drum Tower, Beijing’s ‘Big Ben’ and original time-keeper. Around the tower is an antique market worth exploring and the bustling Hutong fruit market. Other interesting parts of Beijing include the Underground City near Tiananmen Square, a subterranean network built when the country feared Soviet invasion in the 1960s and the Ancient Observatory, an incredibly preserved Tibetan temple.

Despite the full of joys you’ll certainly receive from friendly sport competitions atmosphere, if you have a chance to visit China during Olympic 2008, it might also be decent chance to get to know more about this giant country as every people in China see this world’s major sport event as an opportunity to dazzle the world. Try traveling around,
Shanghai is one of the China’s top destinations as such.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Travel Japan Guide - The Fuji Rock Festival 2008

Travel Fuji Rock Guide
The music event of the year is on! The 2008 Fuji Rock Festival, Japan's very own outdoor music festival runs from Friday July 25th until Sunday July 27th. Originally inspired by Britain's Glastonbury Festival, the Fuji Rock Festival acquired its name due to the first event in 1997 being held on the foot of famous Mt Fuji. Its current home is nowhere near Mt Fuji, but the name remains. Featuring international acts such as Underworld and My Bloody Valentine playing alongside the best of Japan's local talent, this promises to be an event not to be missed for any music lover. The 100,000 people set to attend this year's festival will certainly agree.

Since 1999, the annual festival has been held in Naeba in Niigata prefecture, 200 km north-west of Tokyo. A ski resort during the winter, it offers plenty to do and see, even for those who don't necessarily like rock music. The surrounding area is stunning, set amidst forested mountains, hills and streams. Dragondola, the world's longest Gondola lift will take you to the top of the mountain overlooking the festival site, enabling you to fully appreciate the area's natural beauty. High up in the mountains, far away from city life, fans love this festival and its unique atmosphere.

This festival is by far the world's cleanest music festival with hardly any litter as everyone obediently uses litter bags handed to them upon arrival. This Japanese fixation on tidiness and recycling creates a pleasant space for enjoying the music. Japanese music fans watch performances and move between stages in a polite and friendly manner. Queues for the limited hot spring baths, cooling showers and toilets are inevitably long at peak times. For those willing to wait a little longer, there is even a hot spa loaded with soap and shampoos.

On the night before the festival (Thursday night), there is an opening party with free entry. It features Bon-Odori (traditional Japanese folk dance), prize draws, food stalls and a fireworks display. There is even a steak eating competition with the chance to win a year's supply of beef. But of course, a music festival is really about music, and this year's line-up competes with any of the world's big festivals.

Reaching the festival from Tokyo is an experience in itself as you travel on the JR Shinkansen, reaching speeds up to 300 km/h. From Tokyo Central Station you will arrive at Echigo-Yuzawa Station after the 80 minute rocket ride, where a free shuttle bus will transfer you to the festival.

If it's your first time at a music festival, it will definitely be a new experience as you walk long distances from stage to stage, and try to see all the artists on the many stages. However, all the talent, audience and staff together make the Fuji Rock Festival a perfect place to enjoy good music, meet new people and rock out in the wilderness.

Essential Information & Tips

• 3 day pass costs 39,800 Yen and 1 day pass costs 16,800 Yen. Camping costs 3,000 Yen per person for 3 days. You must supply your own tent.
• Festival tickets and camping reservations available at
• JR Shinkansen ticket, Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa is 6,490 Yen one way (for a reserved seat). Timetables and information available at
• Car parking available for 3,000 Yen per day.
• Purchase a camping ticket in advance and arrive early to choose your campsite otherwise you may end up camping on a slope.
• Be sure to have enough Japanese Yen as there is no currency exchange available.
• Further information about the festival lineup available at the 2008 Fuji Rock Festival official site

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

General Travel Tip - Advice on how to lug liquids

Lug Liquids TipsWith more airports adopting stricter regulations on carrying liquids, it was time to look at the whys and what’s of hand luggage security.

Ferrying liquid-based items abroad these days has become a complicated and confusing business. Especially as there have been discrepancies in airport regulations. But most countries prefer to err on the safer rather than sorrier side of precaution these days and are complying with global security standards.

The banning of certain liquidized items onboard airplanes began in 2006 when a major transatlantic aircraft plot involving the detonation of liquid explosives was foiled in Britain. Immediately after the incident, strict regulations were imposed on bringing liquids and aerosol products on board. Most of these regulations are still effective today, with the majority of airports adopting American Transport Security Administration (TAS) protocols.

According to TAS regulations, the basic rules are these: All liquids in containers exceeding 100ml are prohibited on board planes with the only exception being liquid baby food (including milk) and prescription medications. Popular banned items are everyday things such as drinking water, butane lighters, hair gel, hand lotion, perfume, toothpaste, moisturizing lotions and any other liquid-based products. To bring liquids on board, all items must come in containers less than 100ml and fit into quart-size re-sealable, transparent plastic bags.

Most major airports in Asia implemented the US security standards on liquids this year including Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi, the world’s newest airport. For many travelers in Southeast Asia – particularly Bangkok – the newly implemented regulations came as a surprise.

So, in order to avoid losing valuable goods, Here’s a series of tips to prepare you for take-off:

1. Create a checklist before you pack which highlights items that you are prohibited from packing in your hand luggage (check the for useful tips on packing or go to the TSA website for an easy-to-read brochure);

2. Pack all toiletries into your check-in luggage rather than hand luggage;

3. When purchasing duty-free items, check with the sales staff about how the products have been sealed and what regulations will apply after you have opened them;

4. When bringing ‘essentials’ in your hand luggage make sure they are under 100ml and packed in a ziplock bag. It may be handy to purchase travel-friendly toiletries to avoid the hassle of packing individual items. To travel in style, try Khiels travel packs for guys or beauty packs by Ren or Crème De Lamer for women.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Travel Japan Guide - Shinkansen the high-speed ride in Japan

Tokyo Shinkansen Guide
Reaching speeds near 300 kilometers an hour (slightly slower than a Formula 1 car) and a rail network that spans 2,459 kilometers, Japan's Shinkansen is the world's leading high-speed inter-city train service. Japan's "bullet train," is well-known around the world for its speed, (some test runs have have reached speeds of nearly 450 km/hr!), but the Shinkansen lines also have an excellent safety record and are incredibly punctual. The average delay throughout the year of any train is 0.4 minutes, which includes delays caused by earthquakes, typhoons, snowfall, heavy rains and other natural disasters, and over 6 billion passengers have arrived at their destination safely in its 40-year history, as no deaths have been caused by derailment or collision.

Regarding as one of the top tourist marks while travel in Japan, the bullet train first got its nickname because of its bullet-like nose cone. Developed in the early 60's just in time for use at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the Shinkansen is set on standard guage rail lines (set wider apart than those used in North America). The wider setting is extremely level, and restricts the curves within the rail line, resulting in a straighter, more stable and safer path to achieve those blistering speeds. North American trains may weave a slower path to their destination, but the Shinkansen believes in wasting no time connecting point A to point B. The train moves so fast that there is often a "tunnel boom" (similar to a sonic boom) emitted as the train leaves a tunnel. When the train enters a tunnel at such a high rate of speed there is a sudden build up of air pressure. As there isn't enough room within the tunnel for the air to escape, a "boom" is created at the exit as the train leaves the tunnel.

There are currently six main Shinkansen lines linking most cities on the Japanese islands of Honshu and Kyushu. The first section built and opened in 1964 was the Tokaido Shinkansen, which linked Tokyo to Osaka. The Tokaido Shinkansen is now the most heavily travelled, high-speed rail route in the world, and has reduced a journey that once took six hours to approximately two and a half. The city of Osaka is considered to be the laidback antithesis of Japan's hyperactive Tokyo, and is also where the Tokaido Shinkansen ends and the Sanyo Shinkansen begins, which continues on to the city of Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu. The Kyushu Shinkansen is the newest addition to this network and connects cities on the southern island. With lines running through major and scenic centers like Nagano, Akita, Kakunodate, Lake Tazawa, Niigata to name a few, all of Japan's favorite sites can be seen in a blur as the trains race by.

Tickets for the Shinkansen can be bought at vending machines or ticket counters at the train stations, though it may take a little bit of riding around on local trains before switching over to the Super Express. Because much of the information at train stations is in Japanese, spending a little time at the Japan Railways Group website-where information is clear, easy to understand (and in English) is recommended. For the first-time visiting Japan, do not forget to prepare and experience a ride on Shinkansen the rocketing-speed trains.