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Cities of the Far East

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Major cities within the Far East are often used by travellers simply as a gateway to the country, or perhaps as a stop en route to a further afield destination such as Australia or New Zealand. They are often major hubs for international flights, and therefore lend themselves well to this. However, they can also make for interesting and exciting destinations and often warrant a longer stay. Here we mention just a few of the popular ‘stopover cities’ in the Far East.

 

Singapore

Once a British colony and later a part of Malaysia, Singapore became an independent nation in 1965. The city is home to a melting pot of cultures and this in turn makes Singapore a vibrant and exciting place to visit. Explore Chinatown and Little India, meander the shops of Orchard Road, the bars and restaurants of Clarke Quay or take afternoon tea in the historic Raffles Hotel. A ride on the Singapore Flyer provides a unique perspective of the city, and a visit to renowned Singapore Zoo is a popular family activity. Sentosa Island provides an escape from the city itself, with beautiful sandy beaches and relaxed resort-style hotels. Many would consider Singapore to be solely a ‘city stay’ but Sentosa Island certainly offers a more relaxed alternative or addition to a visit there.

Picture courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board

Picture courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong

Another Far Eastern hub with a rich and interesting history, this former British colony is so much more than just a city. Whilst its modern city skyline is world renowned, the traditions of old Hong Kong are still very much alive and can be found threaded through the backstreets, countryside and islands of this vibrant destination. Explore some of the many markets from Stanley to the Ladies Market, take a sampan ride in Aberdeen Fishing Village, use the historic Star Ferry to cross the harbour, or head to Repulse Bay to relax by the beach. A visit to Victoria Peak is a must – ideally using the historic tram – to see the skyline, but also consider visiting some of the many outlying islands – Lamma Island has a well-marked walking trail, Cheung Chau is best known for its annual bun festival in May, and Lantau Island is home to the Ngong Ping 360 cable car.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kuala Lumpur

Located at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers, Kuala Lumpur’s name in English literally means ‘muddy confluence’. It is Malaysia’s capital and an extraordinary city with an intriguing cultural mix. Explore the shopping districts, Chinatown, Independence Square and the Sultans Palace. The Old Station in the city was built in colonial times with a roof carefully designed to withstand at least a metre of snow! Visit the botanical gardens, the central market or try one of the many excellent restaurants or street foods in Jalan Alor. The Batu Caves, located 11km from the city, are well worth a visit, and no visit to KL is complete without a visit to the iconic Petronas Towers.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bangkok

Bangkok was founded in 1782 and with a history spanning more than two centuries, it comprises of an eclectic mixture of old and new. Thailand’s capital, it is perhaps best known for its ornate shrines and colourful tuk tuks. Take a tour of the Grand Palace, visit the floating markets on the river by longtail speedboat, or explore the Chatuchak weekend market for a spot of shopping. Wat Arun is a sight to behold, and Wat Pho is well worth exploring. A day trip from Bangkok can be taken to visit the Bridge over the River Kwai and the JEATH War Museum.

Above are just four of the popular ‘stopover’ cities in the Far East, but these are by no means the only options. For further information on these cities, or ideas for alternatives, please do get in touch.

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

Hong Kong

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Hong Kong – More than just a city

Back in November, Angie visited Hong Kong and here’s what she thought –

Whilst for many, a visit to Hong Kong is a short city break en route to Australia or New Zealand, in my opinion it has plenty to offer as a ‘stand alone’ destination for a holiday of a week or even longer. With the recent addition of a direct flight between Gatwick and Hong Kong to complement the regular services from Heathrow and Manchester, Hong Kong has never been more accessible.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Alongside the most famous sights of the city, such as the iconic Star Ferry, the many and varied markets, the tram to Victoria Peak and the stunning skyline, there are plenty of things to see and do away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

 

Take a cruise of Victoria Harbour on a traditional junk ship, or take a longer cruise around Hong Kong Island to the south side and the town of Stanley. Home to a fantastic market with arts and crafts amongst other wares, Stanley is well worth a visit along with neighbouring Repulse Bay with its sandy beach and safe swimming.  A visit to Aberdeen Fishing Village can take in the renowned Jumbo Floating Restaurant as well as a sampan boat ride around the floating houseboats.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Spend a day on Lantau Island, taking the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to see the giant Buddha statue. From here, take a bus to Tai O – a traditional fishing village built on stilts over the water, where a sense of the Hong Kong of yesteryear can be understood, and take a boat trip out to see the rare Chinese pink dolphins.

There are many other islands to be explored too – Lamma Island offers a gentle hike between its two main towns, with great seafood restaurants the reward at the end. Cheung Chau Island is most famous for its’ Bun Festival in May, but is also home to plenty of seafood restaurants, a sandy beach and a temple.

A popular pastime for locals is horse racing, and to take in an evening of racing at Happy Valley or Sha Tin is an exciting experience to consider. Hong Kong even has two theme parks to offer – Ocean Park has thrill seeking rides along with a zoo, and is reached via a cable car ride. Disneyland offers fun for all the family in typical Disney style, and is located on Lantau Island.

All in all, a week to ten days in Hong Kong provides all of the ingredients for a great holiday destination – great weather (at the right time of year!), interesting history, fascinating culture and varied experiences.

If you would like to find out more about Hong Kong and put together your own bespoke tailor made itinerary, please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

Good News For Locals!

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Picture courtesy of Cathy Pacific Airways Ltd

Picture courtesy of Cathy Pacific Airways Ltd

Good News – Cathay Pacific has announced that they will be launching a new service offering direct flights from Gatwick to Hong Kong four times a week. This is in addition to their longstanding routes between Heathrow and Hong Kong, and between Manchester and Hong Kong.

This new route is great news for those living in the South East wishing to visit Australia and New Zealand, as there will be connections through to key hubs in both countries from Hong Kong.

The new service is due to commence in September 2016 with Cathay Pacific’s new Airbus A350-900 with refreshed Business Class cabin and new Premium Economy Class seats.

Hong Kong makes a great stopover location, as well as a holiday destination in its own right. For more information on this, and how these flights could work well for your future holiday plans, give us a call on 01323 446550, or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

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