Travel tips for the first time business or leisure traveller to ChinaWritten by Ken Cheong
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Local Hotels There is a good choice of hotels in China ranging from one star to most luxurious 6 stars. Most of time, rooms are safe and clean and in my opinion, cheap does not mean bad.
There are many websites selling hotel rooms on internet. You can also check out 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.
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 menu that includes photographs or simply point at food of your neighbouring table, especially if it looks good!
However, avoid street side stalls and drinking directly from taps if you have delicate stomach.
Mobile phone coverage is good in most locations. Global auto-roaming is not a problem.
There are cyber-cafes everywhere, especially in tourist areas. Most are patronised by young people playing online games but you still can check your Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. Access may be a bit slow for international websites.
You will need to show your passport as China has tight regulations at Internet CyberCafes.
One of worst experience many has with China is 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, 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 taxi.
Try to take namecard for each hotel that you are staying at as these cards will have a Chinese address and map of your hotel location. This is useful if you need to seek assistance to find your way back as English version or pronounciation of a hotel or a street name may be quite different from Chinese version.
After a tiring day, check out Chinese foot reflexology or Chinese TuiNa (Chinese massage). Wonderful for body after a hard day and very cheap to boot. Just look out for any shop that has two feet as it's signboard!
Make friends with Chinese whenever you can. They love to meet foreigners and will make good tour guides. Just buy a small present as a small token of appreciation.
For more information, check out this interesting China Book.
Ken Cheong worked and live in Mainland China for 5 years. He has great admiration for the Chinese people who has suffered for many years from war and political unrest to become a up and coming economy today. He shares his experience in China with people interested in visiting or working in China in his chinese culture website.
New Places to Live and Retire Around the WorldWritten by Phillip Townsend
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Asia's best-kept secret for expatriates, Malaysia has a vibrant mix of foreign and indigenous tribal cultures, creating a veritable melting pot of peoples, traditions and religions. A sizable enclave of foreigners (Brits, Americans, Australians, and Canadians) live full time or maintain holiday homes in Malaysia, and you'll find that just about everybody speaks English, since its compulsory in local schools. Not only are three world-class playgrounds (Thailand, Bali, and Philippines) all within a few hour's travel from Malaysia, but miles of beaches and numerous coastal islands add to its tropical appeal. Despite being capital of a developing nation, Kuala Lumpur is a modern cosmopolitan with clean streets and every modern convenience to found in New York or London. Compared with other major Asian cities (Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong, for example), Kuala Lumpur is downright cheap. The cost of 2-bedroom rental apartments begins at around $225 per month and 3-bedroom houses start at $35,000. Naturally, comparable housing in expatriate communities or luxurious homes that date from British colonial period can set you back considerably more.
New Zealand Imagine an interesting land of breathtaking and contrasting scenery: craggy coastlines, golden beaches, lush forests, snow-capped mountains, bubbling volcanic pools, fish-filled rivers and glacier-fed lakes, all beneath a brilliant blue sky. New Zealand is accessible, spread over three relatively small islands with modern and efficient transport, quiet roads, plenty of flights and two stunningly scenic rail journeys. Other pluses are friendly, English-speaking people, virtually no crime, and a trio of rich cultural influences: adventurous Polynesian navigators (Maori), pioneering European settlers who followed a thousand years later, and modern Pacific Rim immigrants. The plant and animal life are unmatched, giving opportunities for close-up experiences with birdlife (including kiwis), seals, dolphins and whales. Enjoy chance to explore two of richest wine regions on planet, taste wonderful cuisine, stroll on sandy beaches. Prefer urban living? Immerse yourself in culture of capital Wellington or large cities of Auckland or Christchurch.
Tanzania Many people tend to associate African countries with wars, famine and political unrest rather than good life, but Zanzibar, Tanzania is an exception. Located only a short distance off east coast of Africa, exotic Zanzibar has lured explorers, traders and colonists for centuries. The islands’ powdery white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and turquoise waters continue to attract European and Asian tourists. Outside of an unusual mix of black African and Arab cultures, you’ll find islands teeming with tropical forests, remote villages and idyllic coastline. Despite flare-ups between residents of Zanzibar Island and smaller island of Pemba (due to differing views on unification with mainland), Zanzibar is usually quite stable. Cheap real estate (oceanfront or raw land with fruit trees), mouth-watering seafood, some of world’s best scuba diving, and pure tropical bliss make it an attractive expatriate haven. A few wealthy Europeans and African aristocrats have already made Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania home. Why not join them?
For more information about these and other locations, visit: www.nsliving.info
Phillip Townsend, an international reloacation consultant, is the author of Passport to Canada: The Complete Guide to Living and Retiring in Nova Scotia, and the special report The Caribbean's Best Kept Secret. His website is www.nsliving.info