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Best Things to do in Shanghai

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Living in Japan, it’s so tempting to just book a trip over to China to check it out. I’ve visited Hong Kong, but not mainland China so I am really curious about exploring more of this giant country. There’s so much to see and do here, and while many visitors find themselves heading to Beijing, I am actually a lot more curious about Shanghai. Many of my friends have visited this cosmopolitan city and it seems absolutely incredible; The Bund (Wai Tan), Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Circuis and Happy Valley of Shanghai. There’s so much to do in this city that chances are one visit wont be enough. There are a number of great Shanghai tours and China holidays available, so if you have been planning a trip to Shanghai, don’t wait any longer! 

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The Bund:

There are two ways to explore the Bund, the first is by foot and the second is cruising down the river. Both are equally amazing and you’ll get to enjoy the amazing skyline. It is a great place to visit in the evening as it’s well lit up. You’ll find a lot of great shopping options here as well, so it is definitely worth a visit. 

Shanghai Circus World:

It is no secret that some of the best gymnasts in the world are from China. At Shanghai Circus World you will be both entertained and delighted by the sheer level of talent here. The music is live and the acrobats are extremely talented. Although the production level might not be quite at that of international circus shows, the Shanghai Circus World is definitely worth a visit if you’re in Shanghai. 

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Shanghai Museum:

One of the best things about this museum is that it’s free! Always good for those of us traveling on a budget. Beyond that, there are over 4 floors of Chinese history, art and calligraphy. Shanghai itself has some 5000 years of history so expect a lot to be crammed in this museum. I think when you’re traveling it’s important to get a sense of the country and culture and this museum is a great place to explore both Shanghai’s culture and history as well as China as a whole. 

Happy Valley of Shanghai:

This is Shanghai’s answer to a theme park and is a lot of fun. There’s a wooden roller coaster, as well as a number of larger roller coasters and rides. Bare in mind it can get quite busy in the Happy Valley of Shanghai so it is a good idea to arrive early and be prepared for some queues. This is a theme park where you can easily spend the better part of a day, so plan accordingly. 

There’s so much to do in Shanghai, I can’t wait to plan a visit. These are just some of the things that are on my Shanghai bucket list. Have you been before? 

Top 5 Things to do in Singapore

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Although usually referred to as the ‘business capital of Asia’, Singapore is a fascinating place – it is an island, a country and a city, which is home to people from multiple religions and mainly three cultures – Chinese, Indian and Arabic. It is an extraordinary place, where you can’t chew gum, yet there are huge entertainment theme parks that can fully compete with Disney World. This unique gem located in Southeast Asia combines architectural miracles and ultramodern business centers, skyscrapers and mazes of traditional Chinese houses. While it is influenced by such rich and different cultures, it remains to be one of the cleanest countries in Asia, with strict rules that both locals and visitors must adhere to. Amongst the numerous things to do in Singapore, here are my top picks.

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It’s Cool Here: Exploring Ooty, Queen of the Hills

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Travelling South India and looking to beat the heat?  Board the next bus to Ooty, and retreat into a little mountain cool.  Perched 7,347 above sea level, the weather here is refreshingly pleasant, and the crisp mountain atmosphere is literally a breath of fresh air after the heat and bustle of the cities below.  Even its most famous products speak of an atmosphere of relaxation; Ooty is known for its high quality teas and chocolates.  While it’s possible to arrive by bus or train, getting around tends to be most successful by taxi so you can explore the captivating countryside.  Just don’t choose drivers offering to take you to shops or restaurants – the places will likely be overpriced, and the driver is collecting a commission, not just making a recommendation.

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Beijing Basics

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If Kate Melua is to be believed, there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing.  Since the Chinese capital has a massive population of 21.5 million people, that figure isn’t hard to believe.  While a metropolis this size has more to experience than can possibly be summed up in one travel piece (or one trip for that matter) there are some must-sees visitors to bustling Beijing should be sure to include in their itineraries.

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See the Sea: Experience Kochi

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The seaside town of Kochi is a fascinating cultural mash-up, a port city brimming with the influences of its diverse trading partners.  Its laidback atmosphere makes it a place you could easily get lost in.  While you’re soaking up this special place, be sure to experience these treasures to find all the wonder Kochi has to offer.

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Catch some Kathakali-

Kochi is a great place to see some Kathakali, the traditional storytelling dance of Kerala.  It’s a fascinating art, the practice of which requires an impressive mastery of details, from the positioning of fingers in a pose to rolling the eyes in a facial expression.  The elaborate costumes and traditional make-up are downright mesmerizing.  Visit the Kerala Kathakali Centre to catch one of their daily shows, which include a chance to glimpse the performers’ intricate make-up application beforehand.  The shows themselves include demonstrations and explanations of Kathakali movements before a performance of a traditional tale (accompanied by welcome translations.) Continue reading →

Island Hopping in Greece: My Top 5

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If you ask anyone what is the first image that comes into their head when they think of Greece, most probably it will be that of the Acropolis, Greek salad, Socrates and sunny, warm weather. Though Greece is indeed the country of olives, white sand, shiny sun, light blue skies, turquoise sea and a pleasant climate, its beaches are a true wonder – Greece has the longest coastline in Europe, not only on mainland, but also on the islands. Holidays in Greece can be extremely varied, you can choose from the numerous islands that this country boasts in both Aegean and Ionian seas. Whether it is a beautiful beach that you are looking for, a busy nightlife, Orthodox shrines and churches, scenic landscapes or luxurious resorts – Greece has it all and here is my pick of the top 5 islands to visit in the summer!  Continue reading →

Top summer picks in the French Riviera

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Côte d’Azur is the famous southern region of France, which stretches along the Mediterranean Sea. Starting from Marseille and up to the Italian border, this coastline is a popular playground for the rich and famous. Wonderful climate, beautiful landscapes, luxurious resorts, world-famous nightclubs, and various entertainment venues make this a great summer destination in Europe. Among the top things to do in Côte d’Azur are to sunbathe on one of the stunning beaches, to take a stroll down the Croisette in Cannes, to enjoy a chilled bottle of Chablis in Nice,and to spend the day at one of the famous beach clubs in Saint Tropez, where you most likely will be filmed by Fashion TV. Here are my top 5 picks of the places to visit this summer in the French Riviera.

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